Saturday, December 20, 2008

Frasers, Ascendas To Invest $500m In Changi Biz Park

Source : The Business Times, December 20, 2008

Their JV plan is to build an integrated retail, hotel and business park on the 60-year leasehold plot, which they paid $150.8m for.

A JOINT venture between Frasers Centrepoint and Ascendas will invest about $500 million building an integrated retail, hotel and business park project next to Expo MRT Station and within Changi Business Park (CBP).

BUDDING PARTNERSHIP - Mr Lim of Frasers Centrepoint and Ms Chong of Ascendas. The new mixed development will support and leverage on the upcoming financial backend facilities to be located in CBP as well as Singapore's fourth university and the Singapore Expo, says JTC

The two partners are paying $150.8 million or about $119 per square foot of potential gross floor area for the 60-year leasehold plot. The tender, conducted by JTC Corporation, is understood to have attracted just one other bidder, United Engineers, which is developing the plot next door.

JTC said bids were evaluated on concept and tender price under the two-envelope system. The 4.7-hectare site can have a maximum gross floor area of about 1.26 million sq ft. Groundbreaking for the project is expected to take place by June 2009, JTC's assistant CEO Philip Su said in a release yesterday.

BT understands the project will be developed in stages. The first phase, for about 220,000 sq ft net lettable area of retail space, is expected to be completed around 2011. The hotel component in the project is likely to have about 250-300 rooms and will probably cater to longer-staying business visitors. There's a shortage of hotel rooms and serviced apartments in the eastern part of Singapore. Frasers Centrepoint will bring to the partnership its expertise in the retail and the hospitality businesses while Ascendas (a fully owned subsidiary of JTC Corp) will contribute its experience with developing and managing business parks.

JTC launched the tender for the plot in June this year. It was the first time that private developers were invited to submit proposals to design, build and operate a mixed-use development in CBP. The plot has a 2.5 plot ratio (ratio of maximum potential gross floor area to land area) and is zoned 'Business Park - White 40'. This means up to 40 per cent of the maximum GFA will be set aside for 'white' or commercial activities. And of this 'white' component, up to 60 per cent can be for retail activities with the rest for hotel.

Ascendas president and CEO Chong Siak Ching said: 'This project will set a new benchmark for business parks in Singapore.'

'When completed, we fully expect the development to inject a fresh vibrancy to the area and offer a unique alternative to companies seeking high quality business space outside the Central Business District,' she added.

Frasers Centrepoint CEO Lim Ee Seng said: 'The retail and hotel components are expected to capitalise on demand generated from the CBP, the Singapore Expo, the upcoming university at Changi as well as the nearby estates. On top of that, they are able to reach out to beyond the immediate catchment as a result of the convenience and connectivity afforded by the future Downtown Line and the present Expo MRT station.'

Next to the site awarded yesterday, United Engineers is developing a global information and communications centre with a hotel, offices and retail mall.

JTC yesterday noted that despite challenging economic conditions, pipeline projects in CBP remain strong. 'Its current working population of 6,000 is expected to surge to 20,000 by 2011,' JTC said.

The new mixed development by Ascendas and Frasers Centrepoint will support and leverage on the upcoming financial backend facilities to be located in CBP as well as Singapore's fourth university and the Singapore Expo which are located nearby,' JTC said.

Citibank, Credit Suisse, DBS Group Holdings and OCBC Bank are poised to set up backroom operations in CBP.

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