Friday, July 18, 2008

Tanglin Road Site Goes At 124% Above Guide Rent

Source : The Business Times, July 18, 2008

THE former Ministry of Home Affairs complex at Phoenix Park, off Tanglin Road, has been awarded to LHN Group for $368,888 a month - a huge 124 per cent more than the guide rent of $165,000 a month.

The site, with a gross floor area of 143,195.4 sq ft, is managed by the Singapore Land Authority (SLA). The tender attracted 11 bids - 10 of them at or above the guide rent.

Phoenix Park: LHN, which won the site, plans to configure it into separate tenant clusters

Bidders included United Engineers Developments (UE) which put in the second-highest offer of $315,033 per month.

Teo Cher Hian, director of land lease (private) with SLA's land operations group, said LHN offered the 'best value for the state' based on allowable uses, business concept, track record and corporate financial health.

LHN plans to configure the site into separate tenant clusters, he said. The adjacent former Education Ministry headquarters now houses the Youth Olympic Games headquarters. And with more office set-ups pending, Phoenix Park 'completes the area as an office hub', said Mr Teo.

LHN is the master tenant for other state properties, including the former Gan Eng Seng School and CID Training Centre.

LHN managing director Kelvin Lim said the investment cost at Phoenix Park is expected to be about $4 million. He estimates that rents could be around $6 psf per month when it opens at the year-end.

Rising office rents are forcing more businesses to consider alternative office space like Phoenix Park. UE, for instance, had intended to use most of the space to house its own engineering operations, and to lease the rest to other tenants. 'The existing structures and layout would also allow rather quick occupation with minimal works,' a UE spokesman said.

Marine engineering firm Allbest Equipments, which was awarded the former Monk's Hill Secondary School site by SLA, also expects to relocate its corporate offices there.

Allbest put in the highest bid of $211,328 per month for the site, which has a GFA of 83,889.5 sq ft.

Seven bids were received, with Allbest's 43 per cent higher than the guide rent of $147,300.

Allbest general manager Chan Cheong Hoy said it will lease the remaining space at $7.50-$10 psf a month and expects to complete the first phase of renovations within four months.

Cushman and Wakefield managing director Donald Han said that as well as getting such properties ready to let as quickly as possible, developers have to keep construction costs under tight control to ensure their projects are feasible.

Mr Han says that in the Newton area transitional office space is going for $7.50-$8 psf a month, while the former Gan Eng Seng School could achieve $4.50-$5 psf a month.

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