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A tale of two developments for MCC Land

Two projects show how, in riding Singapore's property market cycles and with some strategising, MCC Land has grown

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'MCC Land has its own construction expertise and it can leverage on this combined service strategy to achieve better control of design, quality and project management.' - Tan Zhiyong, MCC Land managing director.

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CURRENT PROJECT: The Alps Residences.

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CURRENT PROJECT: The Poiz Centre.

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CURRENT PROJECT: The Poiz Residences and The Poiz Centre.

IF YOU want to have a general feel of how Singapore's residential property market has been developing in recent years, just look at Santorini and The Alps. No, not their European namesakes, but two separate projects, both developed and launched by Chinese developer MCC Land, that are located within a stone's throw of each other. The Santorini, a Mediterranean-inspired condominium that was launched in March 2014, is located along Tampines Avenue 10. Further down the same road is a newer development coming up. That's the Swiss-inspired The Alps Residences that was also launched by MCC Land in October 2016.

"We wanted to cater to the diverse wishes of potential homebuyers, so we strategised our presence here; we also felt that we are familiar with Tampines itself," says managing director Tan Zhiyong.

MCC Land's roots in Singapore can be traced all the way back to 1990, when China's MCC Group ventured into Singapore. The new unit, MCC Singapore, then secured a contract to erect steel structures for Keppel Distripark in 1992, thereby establishing itself in the Singapore market.

Over the next few years, it went on to clinch other steelworks projects including those for the Singapore Expo building, Woodlands Checkpoint and the MRT Circle Line. In the 2000s, MCC Singapore would then venture into lift upgrading and HDB flat construction projects, as well as providing steel structures for large-scale projects such as Resorts World Sentosa.

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MCC Land was then established by MCC Singapore in 2010 in an attempt to enter into the property development sector. MCC Land has since been developing residential projects in mature housing estates in Singapore. They currently have a portfolio of 12 property development and project management projects that are spread across housing estates like Tampines, Yishun, Potong Pasir, and Queenstown, to name a few.

This focus on mature housing estates is a means for MCC Land to latch onto larger town planning trends in Singapore so as to make a name for itself. Having two projects within a stone's throw from each other on Tampines Avenue 10 is perhaps the best example of this.

The Santorini is a nine-block condominium, with eight blocks that are 15 storeys, and one that is 14 storeys high. It is a 597-unit condominium project on a 99-year lease. Most units will have a view of Tampines Quarry Park that is not far from the compound, or of the estate's swimming pool, or both.

The Alps Residences, on the other hand, has nine blocks of varying heights ranging from 9 to 15 storeys. It is a 626-unit condominium project on a 99-year lease. The property's architecture is reminiscent of the mountainous region it is named after, with residential blocks featuring a cascading facade that mimics the ice-capped mountains, and gabled structures found across the premises that look like the roofs of Swiss chalets.

Both properties are near to the upcoming Tampines West station on the MRT Downtown Line, Bedok Reservoir, Temasek Polytechnic, and also the United World College of South East Asia (UWCSEA). Shopping malls such as Tampines Mall and Century Square are a short drive away, as is IKEA's outlet in Tampines.

"Most, if not all mature housing estates have well-established transport services and infrastructure, a wide range of amenities to cater to different lifestyle needs, and a steep history to boot," says Mr Tan. "These are attractive qualities which homebuyers look out for, among others, and we are confident in creating desirable homes that ideally blend modern home concepts and designs with the location's rich heritage."

But just focusing on location alone would not be enough for MCC Land to sell units. It also has to strategise its market approach. MCC Land had acquired the land for The Santorini in July 2013. The land was bought at S$289.7 million, or S$562 psf ppr. New property cooling measures soon piled on.

The plot of land for The Alps Residences was acquired at S$227.78 million or S$482.60 psf ppr in May 2015. By then, the several rounds of cooling measures were already exerting their maximum impact. "The market must have already hit its bottom then," Mr Tan recalls.

"But we were undeterred by the sentiment then, we thought it would be good to have these two projects so near each other. More importantly, it's also because we think Tampines is really a good location, and we know this area well enough."

The result is a diversification of MCC Land's portfolio in Tampines that can cater to the diverse needs of prospective homebuyers. The Santorini has larger units, with some being dual key units. This caters to families looking to upgrade their apartments into bigger units. The Alps Residences, on the other hand, has smaller units. They're aimed at investors, says Mr Tan.

"It's nearer to UWCSEA, so there are many foreign students who might want to rent from owners of the units here, it can be a good investment proposition. It's also good for small families," adds Mr Tan.

The greatest validation for MCC Land's strategy in diversification is the healthy sale of units. The Santorini was launched in March 2014, a time when impact from the cooling measures was at its greatest, and sales at launch were slow.

The Alps Residences, however, recorded encouraging sales during its launch weekend in October 2016, having sold about 45 per cent of the total number of units.

Sales at The Santorini picked up after the launch of The Alps Residences. Some 50 Santorini units were sold towards the end of 2016, and another 275 or so this year. It's the best year for The Santorini thus far, says Mr Tan.

Mr Tan thinks that homebuyers are ultimately attracted by the quality of the homes that MCC Land builds. "Unlike most big-scale developers, MCC Land has its own construction expertise and it can leverage on this combined service strategy to achieve better control of design, quality and project management, thereby achieving higher construction efficiency as well as time and cost economies," he says.

As at July this year, The Alps Residences has sold 80 per cent of total units, out of a total of 626 units. The Santorini has sold 95 per cent, out of a total of 597 units.

Mr Tan thinks it's a sign that things may be on the uptrend for the property market here, and it will be a steady upswing, unlike the spike that was seen around 2010. That's a sign of the maturity of the property market as a whole, he says.

"I think Singaporean buyers are still rational. Sales of units didn't shoot up just because prospective buyers saw that land parcels nearby were sold at a higher price and think that they need to get into the market soon."

Mr Tan thinks that MCC Land's growth in Singapore is a good learning experience - and brand name - for it to look to regional markets. "We've gained some experience, and I think regional markets like Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia are attractive," he says, adding that MCC Land is already conducting intensive market studies in some of these countries.


CURRENT PROJECTS

The Alps Residences: The property's architecture is reminiscent of the mountainous region it is named after, with residential blocks featuring a cascading facade that mimics the mountains, and gabled structures found across the premises that look like the roofs of Swiss chalets.

The Poiz Centre: The Poiz Centre is part of a mixed-use development which will be connected to the adjacent Potong Pasir MRT station. Spanning a gross floor area of 50,000 sq ft and housing 84 shops, about 10 per cent of the space at The Poiz Centre will be allocated to food and beverage outlets.

The Poiz Residences and The Poiz Centre: This mixed-use development integrated with Potong Pasir MRT station will comprise The Poiz Residences and retail component The Poiz Centre. The residential area has three distinct zones - hotel-like 'Suites' suitable for singles and young couples; 'Urban' units which can function as home offices; and 'Habitat' units for families looking for bigger spaces.

Add: 21 Bukit Batok Crescent, #19-73 WCEGA Tower, Singapore 658065
Tel: 6395 9289
URL: www.mccsingapore.com.sg

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