Fragrance plans hotels along Waterloo St, Hoe Chiang Rd

Fragrance Group, controlled by James Koh Wee Meng, is planning to develop hotels along Waterloo Street and in the Tanjong Pagar area. It plans to redevelop the 999-year leasehold Waterloo Apartments, which it has just been awarded through a S$131.1 million collective sale, into a hotel. The price it is paying works out to S$2,172 per square foot per plot ratio.

In addition, Fragrance has applied to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) for a change of use for one of its existing properties, Tower 15 at 15 Hoe Chiang Road, to full hotel usage. Currently the freehold property comprises a 29-storey commercial building with a three-storey hotel block and multi level carpark. In its third quarter results statement released on Wednesday evening, Fragrance revealed that it has obtained URA’s advice that rezoning for the Hoe Chiang Road site is allowed subject to various conditions, including payment of rezoning fee and submission of full redevelopment proposal.

“The group has paid the rezoning fee and noted that the proposed amendment to the master plan has been processed. The group has made a planning submission and obtained advice from URA in October 2018 and is in the midst of complying with the various technical requirements.” Fragrance said that the change of use will result in a substantial uplift to the fair value of the Hoe Chiang Road property, of about S$210 million. Cushman & Wakefield, which brokered the sale of Waterloo Apartments, had already announced back in September when it launched the collective sale, that outline planning permission (OPP) has been obtained for a change in the property’s zoning from the existing “residential with first-storey commercial” with a plot ratio of 2.8, to hotel use with a plot ratio of 4.2, or a total maximum gross floor area of about 60,348 sqft. No development charges are payable due to the high development baseline for the site.

The property has a land area of about 14,369 sqft and is in the Brash Basah / Bugis area. It currently comprises 30 apartments; owners will receive gross sales proceeds of about S$4.37 million per unit. Christina Sim, director of capital markets at Cushman & Wakefield, said: “We decided to change the course of the collective sale and instead of selling Waterloo Apartments as a residential development site, we opted to submit an OPP and wait for the hotel approval – given that the residential en bloc market was reeling from the blow of the July 6 cooling measures. The sale is subject to obtaining the Strata Titles Board’s Approval.

Waterloo Apartments is a stone’s throw from the Bencoolen MRT Station on the Downtown line and the Bras Basah MRT Station on the Circle Line. It is also a train stop to the Dhoby Ghaut Interchange (serving the North-East, North-South and Circle lines). “This offering gives the successful developer an opportunity to capitalise on our city’s rich heritage by building an exclusive boutique hotel befitting the Civic District,” said Ms Sim.

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