Friday, July 18, 2008

$3b Farrer Condo Boasts Sensuous, Curvy Towers

Source : The Straits Times, July 18, 2008

Renowned architect Zaha Hadid behind their design; project to be launched in 2009

PROPERTY giant CapitaLand has unveiled the 'branded' upmarket designs for a $3 billion residential project in Farrer Road that it aims to launch next year.

UNIQUE DESIGN: The as-yet-unnamed condo's 36-storey towers will feature a series of sensuous lines not commonly seen in residential developments in Singapore. The penthouse units (left) in the project offer good views. The project will be launched in the first half of next year. -- PHOTOS: CAPITALAND

The as-yet-unnamed condominium boasts a series of sensuous lines that are not commonly seen in residential projects in Singapore, while the curving towers give an ultra-modern feel without the harsh edges present on many blocks.

It is all very much in the recognised style of architect Zaha Hadid, the first female recipient of the coveted Pritzker Architecture Prize.

This is her first condo project in Singapore but she has designed two bungalows for niche developer Elevation Developments.

Past Pritzker Architecture Prize winners include Mr Frank Gehry, Sir Norman Foster and Mr Rem Koolhaas.

The seven 36-storey blocks on the sprawling 838,488 sq ft site will hold about 1,500 homes. There will also be six pairs of unique semi-detached houses.

CapitaLand is developing the 99-year leasehold plot with three partners. Hotel Properties and a Morgan Stanley Real Estate fund will each hold 22.5 per cent, while Wachovia Development will take 20 per cent.

These parties, which borrowed a whopping $1.996 billion for the ambitious project, yesterday held a signing ceremony for the loan with their bankers at the Four Seasons Hotel.

It is the largest syndicated residential property development loan ever arranged in Singapore and comes amid a slow housing scene and tight credit markets.

CapitaLand said the deal comprises a $1.362 billion term loan, $500 million of revolving credit and $133.9 million in bank guarantees.

The collective sale deal for the former Farrer Court condo site was inked in June last year at $1.338 billion, or up to $783 per sq ft (psf) of potential gross floor area.

Ms Patricia Chia, chief executive of CapitaLand Residential Singapore, said the project's break- even cost is around $1,350 psf to $1,450 psf.

The condo will be launched in the first half of next year.

Developers generally see no need to hurry given the slow property sector, falling share markets and continuing bad news from the United States.

CapitaLand chief executive Liew Mun Leong said at the signing ceremony that the past few months have been challenging, but the business world must go on, notwithstanding the current economic turbulence in the US.

He said bankers, developers, businesses and potential partners could come together to exploit opportunities that increase during bad times.

Mr Liew added later: 'Sentiment has been affected in the US, but I think the fundamentals in Asia - in terms of economic growth, the demand, urbanisation - are still very strong.'

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