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Far East bags coveted Holland site for S$1.2b

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The Far East-led group plans apartments, serviced residences, offices, dual office/residential units, and retail space.

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The plan for the site includes a Pocket Park, which will face the existing Holland Village and provide green spaces for residents and visitors.

Singapore

A CONSORTIUM led by property giant Far East Organization, which has clinched a coveted commercial and residential site in Holland Road, is planning a development with apartments for sale, dual office/residential use units, offices, retail space and serviced residences on the site.

Far East Organization executive director of property services Augustine Tan, on behalf of the joint venture, disclosed the above to The Business Times on Wednesday evening.

The winning bid of S$1.213 billion works out to nearly S$1,888 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr).

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The total development cost has yet to be worked out, but market watchers suggest it could be around S$1.8 billion, he said.

Far East's fellow consortium members are Sekisui House and Sino Group; the lead architect for the consortium's concept proposal is homegrown MKPL Architects. This is a sweet victory for property giant Far East Organization, which has fallen behind other Singapore developers in the ongoing residential land-buying spree.

The Far East-led consortium's winning bid was the highest of the five shortlisted tenderers' for the dual-envelope (concept and price) tender, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said. The tender, which closed on March 20, drew 15 bids from 10 consortiums. The Far East-led tie-up placed the most bids, three, each with a different concept proposal.

The Holland Road site, which sits near Holland Village's F&B outlets, can have a maximum gross floor area (GFA) of 59,715 sq m (642,766 sq ft). Up to 13,500 sq m of that can be used for retail. At least 60 per cent of the total GFA should be for residential use, and the remaining 40 per cent, for commercial use.

Although the winning consortium could have used the full 60 per cent for apartments for sale, it chose to split this GFA into 400-plus apartments for sale, and 100-plus serviced apartments. Mr Tan said: "We are in this for the long term. We have confidence there will be good demand for serviced residences in this location, so we did not maximise the apartments for sale in this project."

Far East's proposed scheme will have two towers of 33 storeys and 25 storeys housing the 400-plus apartments for sale, a 10-storey serviced apartment tower and five levels of office space above the retail/F&B space. There will also be dual office/residential units as a component of the office space.

Mr Tan said: "Our future development will build upon the existing identity of Holland Village, and we will ensure that it remains sensitive to the existing community while enriching the social fabric.

"Holland Village is a much-loved precinct with a distinctive character, heritage, and history. Like many of our fellow Singaporeans, we too cherish the precinct's unique atmosphere and quaint charm, as well as its valuable store of social memories."

URA said that overall, the concept proposal by the winning bidder is "compelling in its design concept and planning of the public realm".

Among other things, the URA noted that the public spaces form a series of unique street experiences that would extend the street experience of the existing Holland Village. The future development features a series of ground-floor public spaces, including a "Pocket Park", which opens into Lorong Mambong in Holland Village.

There will also be a "Commons Square" for holding events such as weekend markets and outdoor performances; there will also be a "Communal Green", a courtyard flanked by shops leading to a water court and a terraced water feature.

The URA also said that the building form and massing of the scheme will allow the development to sit comfortably with the existing Holland Village.

Furthermore, a series of connected open walkways will be built to link these public spaces to the surrounding areas.

The URA said: "Through street-paving design, the existing Lorong Liput and Lorong Mambong will be extended into the future development, thus creating a consistent and distinctive streetscape for the larger Holland Village precinct."

This is the first acquisition of over S$1 billion by Far East in seven years. In 2011, it partnered Frasers Centrepoint (now Frasers Property) and Sekisui House to clinch a site in Punggol for S$1.02 billion. The trio have since developed it into the Watertown mixed-development project.

The other four shortlisted bids for the tender came from:-

  • A consortium comprising GuocoLand, Hong Leong Holdings, TID and Hong Realty, which bid S$1.06 billion or S$1,650 psf ppr;
  • A tie-up between Perennial Real Estate Holdings and Qingjian Realty, which bid S$1.055 billion or S$1,641 psf ppr;
  • A Capitaland and Hotel Properties (HPL) tie-up, which bid S$1.02 billion or S$1,585 psf ppr; and
  • A Pontiac Land and Lendlease tie-up, which bid S$950 million or S$1,478 psf ppr).

Except for the CapitaLand-HPL tie-up, the other three consortiums had also placed two bids each.

All bidders were required to submit their concept proposals and tender prices in two separate envelopes. Only the envelopes containing concept proposals were opened on the day the tender closed. The URA released on the same evening the names of the bidders but not the bid prices.

A Concept Evaluation Committee (CEC) first evaluated the concept proposals against the evaluation criteria. Following the close of the tender, all tenderers were given the opportunity to present their proposals to the CEC, which was able to seek the necessary clarifications.

The CEC concluded that the five concept proposals submitted by the above five tenderers had substantially satisfied the evaluation criteria, and shortlisted them for the second stage of the tender evaluation.

At the second stage, the price envelopes of the five tenderers were opened and the site awarded to the tenderer with the highest bid.