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ARA buys Robinson Centre for undisclosed sum

ARA Asset Management has purchased Robinson Centre for an undisclosed sum via one of its private real estate funds, the real estate assets manager revealed in a press release on Monday. 

The Business Times had reported on Dec 3 that the ARA was a potential buyer for the 20-storey office building, with market watchers expecting the price to be around S$340 million, or about S$2,550-2,600 per square foot. Robinson Centre has a net lettable area of about 132,300 sq ft, and sits on a site with about 76 years left on its leasehold tenure.

The purchase is a "rare acquisition opportunity in a mature office district with short supply of office space and limited pipeline", ARA said in its press release. The company plans to embark on asset enhancement initiatives, which may include refurbishment and upgrading of the existing building façade and interiors.

It may also reposition the property through active leasing, given its short weighted average lease expiry (WALE) of 1.5 years. The building boasts some of the highest floor-to-ceiling heights of 3.5 metres, compared to the typical three-metre height of grade A office developments in the Singapore CBD, ARA noted.

“The successful acquisition of Robinson Centre demonstrates ARA’s extensive network and excellent deal-sourcing capabilities. True to our investor-operator philosophy, we are ready to execute our asset enhancement plans to rebrand, reposition and revitalise the property, said David Kim, acting CEO of ARA Private Funds, in the press release. 

Robinson Centre is ARA’s 12th asset acquisition this year, via its real estate investment trusts (Reits) and private real estate funds. Others include 51 Bras Basah Road in Singapore, Seoul Square in Korea and  21 Harris Street in Australia. 

Excluding Robinson Centre, ARA’s portfolio in Singapore exceeded S$12 billion as at end-September.