Government places 7 plots of land on list of sites for sale in H1 ’07

The government has released a prime site in the central business district for sale in the first half of next year.

The one hectare site at Raffles Place can be used for office space with complementary hotel or retail use.

It is one of seven sites placed on the confirmed list of sites for sale and strong interest is expected from developers.

According to property experts, the upcoming Business and Financial Centre (BFC) at Marina Bay has partially released the pent-up demand for more new land parcels to develop office and commercial space.

With the economy booming and the BFC not coming online until 2010, they say the release of sites in the CBD for sale is timely.

And they expect strong interest for the one hectare site at the junction of Central Boulevard and Shenton Way.

Dennis Yeo, Managing Director, Colliers International, says: “By releasing this site, it may be a stop-gap measure or it could mitigate the short-supply within these three years, provided that the site is able to be completed within two to two and a half years from now.”

It is believed that with One Raffles Quay and the BFC going to the consortium comprising Keppel Land, Hong Kong Land and Cheung Kong Holdings, the new site could be hotly contested.

Meanwhile, a commercial site in the outlying Tampines has also been placed on the confirmed list.

“In addition to the traditional office developers, I would expect interest from Ascendas, who through A-REIT are able to go into development projects. I will expect some funds, not convenient for me to mention names, that have actually created a development fund, that they would then also be interested in projects like this,” says Mr Yeo.

Another site along Handy Road, earmarked for residential development, is also expected to generate interest.

“The Handy Road site is really at Orchard Road’s doorstep. In that sense, it will probably, for next year, set a new bench mark for government land sale site price for that location because the market for the premier prime luxurious sector of the residential sector is actually very heated now.”

When it comes to the residential site in Woodlands, experts are more reserved about the potential interest from developers.

“The Woodland site having to integrate with the LRT may have some advantage but may also have some cost implications. It could also be more complicated in terms of timing, in terms of cost and in terms of construction. So in those sense, developers if they have a choice of other sites without these complications in a location that is not so well in demand, may not be too interested in the site. But again, the market is matured, the market is active and depending on what the price is, I’m sure there will be interest,” says the Managing Director of Colliers International.

The land sale programme for the first half of 2007 will also have 32 sites on the reserve list.

Analysts say they believe the government will continue to release sites for the development of hotels in the years to come.

This will help to meet the anticipated increase in tourist arrivals when the integrated resorts open their doors in 2010.

Source: Channel NewsAsia, 21 December 2006 

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