Singapore Pools buys IOI Plaza

Singapore Pools is understood to have purchased IOI Plaza, a landmark 12-storey granite office block at the corner of Middle Road and Prinsep Street, for $139 million. The seller is a unit of Malaysia’s IOI Properties Bhd.

This works out to about $1,381 per square foot (psf) based on a net lettable area (NLA) of about 100,640 sq ft. The site has about 85 years’ remaining lease.

Singapore Pools, whose headquarters are currently located a stone’s throw away at PoMo at 1 Selegie Road. Singapore Pools’ betting lounge is on the ground floor and it also occupies three floors in the office tower of PoMo. Australia’s Lend Lease group has a stake in PoMo, which was formerly known as Paradiz Centre.

Singapore Pools is the island’s only legal lottery and sports betting operator. The group has been on the lookout for its own premises for some time. It would be ideal for it to move its HQ to Middle Road, especially given that there are more than 100 car park lots at IOI Plaza.

IOI Plaza’s ground-floor units are vacant and leasing activity in the building has ceased for over a month, suggesting an imminent arrival of new occupiers, say market watchers.

IOI unit Future Link Properties developed the building at a total cost of about $100 million, inclusive of about $52.2 million or $444.18 per square foot per plot ratio paid for the 99-year leasehold plot which it won at a state tender that closed in January 1996.

The 27,992.60 sq ft plot was one of the first ‘white’ sites to be sold by Urban Redevelopment Authority. Owners of such sites can make changes of use during the plot’s 99-year leasehold tenure without paying a differential premium. The plot was sold with a 4.2 plot ratio (ratio of maximum potential gross floor area to land area). The plot’s zoning and plot ratio remain unchanged in the current Master Plan 2008.

Future Link Properties is majority owned by IOI Properties; its other shareholders include a low-profile Lee family in Singapore which developed the former South Marina Food and Recreation Centre, which has since been pulled down.