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URA launches tender of Bernam Street site in CBD with 30% more residential units

THE Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) on Thursday put a Bernam Street residential-with-commercial land parcel up for sale by tender, with about 75 more dwelling units, or 30 per cent higher than previously estimated under the first half 2019 Government Land Sales (GLS) programme.

The site comes with commercial space on the first floor, and is on the GLS confirmed list.

The URA now allows for an increase in gross plot ratio (GPR) to convert office developments in the Central Business District (CBD) to hotel and residential use, under the CBD Incentive Scheme announced at the launch of the URA Draft Master Plan in March. The scheme encourages developers to build more homes and hotels in the city centre, which includes the CBD, to add more life and vibrancy after office hours.

Sites in the Anson area, including the Bernam Street land parcel, are thus permitted to increase their previous GPR – and in turn the estimated number of units – by up to 30 per cent if they are slated for residential with commercial at first-storey use.

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As a result of the increased development intensity, the Bernam Street site can now potentially yield up to 325 residential units, compared to the 250 estimated in December.

URA noted that the actual number of units provided by the developer may vary.

Said Tricia Song, head of research for Singapore at commercial real estate services firm Colliers International: “The implied GPR has increased to 7.28 times, compared to the 5.6 times in the current Master Plan.”

She added: “The Bernam Street site is a rare fresh site in the mostly built-up Shenton Way Central Business District (CBD), and could ride on the future Greater Southern Waterfront development and CBD Incentive Scheme.”

The land parcel has a 99-year lease period with a site area of around 41,400 square feet (sq ft) or 3,846.2 square metres (sq m), and a maximum gross floor area of 301,400 sq ft or 28,001 sq m.

The maximum building height is 35 storeys in the high-rise zone, 20 storeys in the mid-rise zone, and four storeys in the low-rise zone.

Ms Song pointed out that 99-year leasehold residential projects in that area, such as Altez, Skysuites@Anson and Icon, transacted at S$1,700-2,500 per square foot (psf) on average in the past 12 months, depending on age and unit size.

"We expect this Bernam Street site, with a site area of 41,400 sq ft, to fetch a top bid of S$535 million or S$1,780 psf per plot ratio.

"Developers could look to price the new project at an average of S$2,600-2,700 psf," she said.

The tender for the Bernam Street site will close at 12pm on Sept 5. It will be batched with the tender close of another site at Tan Quee Lan Street, which was launched in March under the first half 2019 GLS programme.

On Thursday, URA also said that a hotel site at Sims Avenue will be removed from the GLS programme to facilitate a review of development plans in the area. The site was originally scheduled to be released on the reserve list of the first half 2019 GLS programme this month.