Monday, January 21, 2008

S'pore Is 6th Hottest Market For Hotel Sales In Asia In 2007

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 21 January 2008

Hotel sales in Singapore topped US$376 million last year, putting it in sixth position in transaction activity in Asia.

This is a 3.5 per cent growth from 2006.

According to Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, Japan saw the highest activity last year with US$6.8 billion of deals done, a 63 per cent jump from the previous year.

Jones Lang attributed the lure of Japan to the low cost of debt.

It added that while economic growth rates may not be as strong as some parts of the world, Japanese hotels still offer a positive yield spread.

Hong Kong trailed a far second with US$850 million of sales transacted, followed by China with US$727 million. - CNA/ac

GIC Real Estate In S$336m Deal To Develop Urban Township In Moscow

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 21 January 2008

GIC Real Estate is partnering with Russia's PIK Group to develop a large urban township in the city of Mytischi in Russia.

The 114-hectare site is located in the Moscow region to the northeast of the capital.

GIC Real Estate will acquire a 25 per cent stake in the project for US$233 million (S$336 million).

A CB Richard Ellis appraisal carried out 12 months ago valued the site at over US$1.3 billion.

The township will contain 50 high-rise apartment buildings and 13 low-rise commercial buildings.

There will also be five schools, seven kindergartens, two polyclinics and over 17,000 parking lots.

When completed in 2013, the development can house about 50,000 residents.

The PIK Group is one of the largest real estate developers in Russia. - CNA/ac

Genting International To Build Hotel At New S'pore Sports Hub

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 21 January 2008

A new hotel will be built at the new National Stadium and Sports Hub in Kallang.

The four-star hotel will have about 500 rooms and will occupy 30,000 square metres.

Dragages Singapore, which is the construction firm for the winning consortium -the Singapore Sports Hub, said that at least three groups expressed interest in building the new hotel, which will cost S$200 million to develop.

Singapore Sports Hub Group's dome-shaped stadium design

Even before last Saturday's announcement that the consortium had won the bid to build the new sports hub, Dragages had already been in talks with Genting International for the past few months.

Genting will build and run the new hotel for 25 years.

Ludwig Reichhold, Managing Director of Dragages Singapore, said: "The hotel was an option in our bid, which I think was to bring more life to the project which SSC liked very much. So it would be included in the construction, but it is only one component of the project."

However, details still need to be sorted out. These include finalising the financing with banks and negotiations with the Singapore Land Authority and Urban Redevelopment Authority over issues like development charges and the right to use the land.

The details have to be finalised before the paperwork can be signed in one or two months.

The head of the consortium said the hotel's construction will begin in the middle of 2008. The hotel's plot is near the two multi-purpose halls, the future MRT station and the main entrance road.

As for the sports hub, it will be called Premier Park and it's expected to generate at least S$10 million a year in commercial revenue, for a start.

Up to 75 per cent of the money will be used to fund activities and facilities at the hub.

Reichhold said: "The revenue is also linked to the expenditure. If the market is good, we will invest more money into the project to have more events and more facilities, to have more return."

The consortium plans to open the hotel at the same time as the new Sports Hub, which is in three years. - CNA/vm

Property Transactions Between Dec 10th - 28th, 2007

房地产市场料续淡静 新项目可能春节后才推出

《联合早报》Jan 21, 2008


莱坊(Knight Frank)研究部主管麦俊荣认为,最近的国际动荡局势肯定会对市场上的购屋气氛起一定的影响,一些人可能因此采取观望的态度,不敢进场签下一纸买卖合约。



今年开年以来正式推出的私宅项目,只有丰隆集团的Aalto。这个位于东海岸一带麦雅路(Meyer Road)的永久地契共管公寓,其实早在去年8月已经举行了预售活动。因此,本月初正式推出前,这个共有196个单位的共管公寓,已卖出了大约60%的单位。




因此,一些发展商宁可通过预售活动,以及只看不卖的“预展(preview)”活动,来试探温度。例如Marina Bay Suites的发展商并没有在上周的记者会上,公布确实的销售日期,只透露单位将“从本月底”开始预售,平均尺价从3000元起。

发展商去年推出 历来最多新单位







今年可能推出的一些主要项目,包括升涛湾的几个新公寓项目,以及靠近乌节路的超级豪华项目如前豪景园、前兰馨园、Ardmore 3等。

至于郊外99年地契的共管公寓,则包括高文地铁站旁的西门路私人住宅地段、马林百列的SilverSeas、勿洛水池路的Waterfront Waves、淡滨尼11街的淡滨尼阁,以及白沙、碧山和宏茂桥8道的新公寓项目。不过,由于这些项目的地价都不便宜,所以推出价格都很可能“瞄准”在每平方英尺700元以上。

Shake-Up Ahead As 5-Year China Property Boom Dies

Source : The Straits Times, Jan 21, 2008

Beijing seeks to prevent crippling price bubble that may spark unrest

GUANGZHOU - CHINA'S steps to cool a frenzied residential market are finally biting and look likely to usher in an industry shake-out that may see thousands of small-time developers forced out of business, leaving large listed operators sitting pretty.

Beijing wants to stave off the kind of price bubble and crash that fed the United States sub-prime crisis, flung South-east Asia into an economic meltdown in 1997 and depressed Japan in the early 1990s.

Bankruptcies, however, may flood banks with bad loans and end up sparking the social unrest that communist party chiefs dread.

After four months as a budding real estate agent, 24-year-old vet-turned-property agent Wu Qixin was protesting at his employer's gleaming headquarters in the southern city of Guangzhou. It had been three months since his first and last pay packet.

Chuanghui, one of China's biggest property agencies, said it closed more than half its 1,800 outlets since October, as a clampdown in bank loans prompted a sharp fall in home sales, especially in southern China.

Led by multi-millionaire developers often in their thirties, China's private property industry is barely a decade old, with mortgages only made widely available in 1997.

In the last five years, a surging economy fuelled a huge construction boom as farmers bought one-way bus tickets to cities and the urban middle class left crumbling houses for sparkling new flats.

Foreign funds run by the likes of Dutch financial group ING, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank have also funnelled Western pension money into Chinese homebuilding.

With average home prices doubling since 2002 and high-end apartment prices rising much further, Beijing has tried, but mostly failed, to cool markets with curbs on supply and demand.

Because of China's immature market economy, however, the government often prefers edicts to market tools, often with clumsy results.

For example, authorities blocked building on farm land but backtracked because it cut land supply and drove up prices.

'The problem with heavy-handed market interference is it often leads to unintended consequences,' said Mr Peter Churchouse, manager of a property hedge fund for LIM Advisers.

Thousands of developers are likely to go bankrupt as bank loans dry up, which will please a government bent on slowing economic growth, he said, but a consequent drop in housing supply may stoke property prices rather than cool them.

A construction industry slowdown will also hurt consumption in the world's fourth-biggest economy that some economists hope will take up the slack from any US recession.

'It just takes a hiccup and non-performing loans will rise, just as banks are cleaning up balance sheets,' Mr Churchouse said.

However, unlike in the US, securitisation of mortgages and other loans is almost non-existent in China, so the impact of loan defaults will be limited, and property-related lending typically makes up less than 15 per cent of a bank's business.

Signs have emerged that the government's measures are hitting home. In November, property sales in Shenzhen ground to a near halt and other markets either slowed or fell.

However, many analysts believe housing demand will stay strong, as household disposable income grows at 20 per cent a year, and recommend investing in listed Chinese developers who can obtain cheap land by devouring small, cash-strapped rivals. -REUTERS

Fengshui Master Says Sports Hub Will Prosper For 100 years

Source : The Straits Times, Jan 21, 2008

If fengshui Master Chong Swan Lek is right, Singapore's new Sports Hub will prosper for the next 100 years.

Advice sought: Fengshui Master Chong Swan Lek was involved in the design of the Sports Hub. -- ST File Photo

That is because the winning design for the dome-shaped stadium resembles a turtle, which can live for over a century, said the renowned geomancy consultant.

Master Chong, who has over 40 years of experience, was roped in last year by the Singapore Sports Hub Consortium to fine-tune its design for the sports venue at Kallang.

The 67-year-old is one of Singapore's foremost experts on fengshui, having worked on projects like the integrated resorts at Marina Bay and Sentosa.

His resume also includes the Burj tower in Dubai, which will be the tallest man-made structure in the world when it is completed.

For the last eight months, Master Chong has been poring over designs for the Sports Hub - the first time he has worked on a stadium project.

'The dome is the highlight, not just because of the turtle shell,' he said. 'It is also round, which means that good luck will keep coming round.'

He noted that the stadium's roof, when retracted, resembles the Chinese symbol for yin-yang (balance and harmony).

'This is very good for sporting events, which emphasise friendship and cooperation,' he said.

Another plus point is the stadium's proximity to a water body.

He said: 'It's a good sign to have a stadium so near the Kallang Basin, because water brings wealth.'

Geomancy also influenced the direction the stadium would face.

'Because it faces the North-east, the wind that comes from there between September and March will bring more luck,' he explained.

The geomancer also suggested planting more trees at the Sports Hub, because 'plants signify life and vibrancy'.

But as Master Chong puts it, the success of the Sports Hub will not just depend on fengshui.

He said: 'The good fortune is there, but all of us will have to work hard to make it come true.'

Sports Hub - Singaporeans Like The Dome Design

Source : The Straits Times, Jan 21, 2008

They praise its iconic design, functionality but voice concerns over hefty price tag

SINGAPOREANS have given the design of the new Sports Hub at Kallang the thumbs up, praising its iconic design and functionality.

Their only concern: the project's hefty price tag.

However, the $1.87 billion figure is not only for the cost of building Singapore's new National Stadium and its surrounding facilities, but also for running the Hub for 25 years.

The figure had increased from previous estimates of $800 million because of rising construction costs and extra features like a public watersports centre, which was added last year.

However, some people fear that the high cost of the project may translate into high usage fees.

'If it's going to cost so much, I hope ordinary people will not have to pay through their nose to use it,' said marketing executive Genevieve Loh, 28.

But, even if they have to fork out more to watch a sports event or swim in a pool, Singaporeans are getting a world-class sports facility in return.

For the new 55,000-capacity dome-shaped stadium will have a retractable roof to cater to all weather conditions, a first. Two other unprecedented features are the indoor aquatic centre and the whitewater rafting facility.

There will also be 41,000 sq m of leisure, shopping and dining facilities.

On Saturday, the Government announced that the Singapore Sports Hub Consortium (SSHC) was the preferred bidder for the project. It beat two other consortia - SingaporeGold and Alpine.

To be completed by 2011, the Kallang development is believed to be the world's first integrated sports public-private partnership project.

Once the contract is signed in March, the Government will pay $1.87 billion to SSHC over a 25-year period. The consortium will, in turn, foot the bill for the construction and operating costs, estimated at $1.2 billion.

This means that it will pay for the project's capital expenditure, and take on risks involved, like the rising cost of materials or labour.

Third-party revenue such as ticket sales and rental of facilities will be shared between the consortium and the Government.

At a press conference on Saturday, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, assured Singaporeans that the money will be well spent.

'In the sporting arena, we will become a key node in a global system where events are held, where you will participate and watch top international sporting events,' he said.

'People will come to Singapore and Singaporeans will also be able to find jobs, pursue their passion in sports. This will therefore be a project which will open up many more opportunities for our people.'

Cost aside, readers gave full marks for the new design.

Said engineer Dennis Png, 40: 'I think the best design won. The dome looks futuristic and gives the sense that Singapore is moving forward with the times.'

But, some, like corporate communications executive Kevin Tan, felt that the money for the Sports Hub could have been put to better use.

'It's a steep price given the current economic climate,' said the 32-year-old. 'Perhaps the money could have been channelled to enhance our existing sports programmes.'

Businessman Paul Ong, 30, also questioned the need for such 'extravagance'.

'Tan Howe Liang won an Olympic medal without any fancy facilities,' he said. 'The money could have been spent on the 'software', like the people and the athletes.'

But others believe the benefits brought about by the new Sports Hub will outweigh its initial cost.

Said sales manager Michaes Chan, 28: 'It sounds very expensive, but I believe the Government has done its homework.

'The Sports Hub should boost the economy in the long run, which will also benefit me.'

What NSAs say

'We have been looking for a whitewater rafting facility for the last 15 to 20 years. Hopefully, when it is completed, more canoeing and rowing events will come to Singapore.' - HENRY SIM, honorary secretary, Singapore Canoe Federation

'The design is aethestically pleasing. But I hope it won't cost too much to hire the stadium for sports events.

It's a big stadium, and whatever athletic events held there have to have big-name athletes. Otherwise, the crowds won't come.' - LOH LIN KOK, president Singapore Athletic Association

'With World Sports Group on board, the winning consortium has a very strong appreciation of local and regional football.

It's good to have a stadium with four sides. That gives a gladiator-type feeling for both athletes and spectators.' - STEVEN YEO, general secretary of the Football Association of Singapore

'I'm glad to see that they plan to make the new Sports Hub more than just a sporting venue.

Leisure activities are very important. Perhaps beach volleyball can be introduced on the Kallang waterfront. That would help attract more people to the area.' - BAEY YAM KENG, president, Volleyball Association of Singapore

'I think it would definitely meet our sporting needs. But it still needs some tweaking. The whitewater rafting, for example, might reduce the space for other water sports.' -

President Singapore
Sailing and Singapore Rugby Union

Property Data Eagerly Awaited

Source : The Straits Times, Jan 21, 2008


THE Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the Housing Development Board (HDB) will release a slew of figures on Friday covering property sales, rentals and prices for all of last year.

Flash estimates earlier this month indicated that while demand for homes soared for most of last year, it slowed sharply towards the end.


All eyes are on the housing market, which has become subdued in recent months amid the stock market turmoil and portents of a United States recession.

Developers and home buyers alike are now waiting with bated breath for signs that there is still an upside to the local property market.

Official figures will make it easier to analyse whether the year-end slowdown was a temporary seasonal blip or the first sign that the party is truly over.

New Marina Makes A Splash

Source : The Business Times, January 21, 2008

Keppel Bay offers best of premium waterfront lifestyle

RIGHT from the outset, Marina at Keppel Bay is proving to be the jewel in the crown of Keppel Land's 32-hectare Keppel Bay waterfront residential precinct. The $30 million marina was opened by Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong last Saturday and immediately afterwards saw its first major event with the arrival of the 10-boat Clipper fleet into Singapore.

'Marina at Keppel Bay will enhance the premier and intimate waterfront lifestyle experience for homeowners in Keppel Bay, boaters from the region as well as visitors to Keppel Island with its premium berths, fine dining experiences and warm hospitality,' said Keppel Corp executive chairman Lim Chee Onn.

The 170-berth marina is designed by leading architects and marina consultants Alfred Wong and Partners and Bellingham Marine Industries. It has facilities to take a wide range of boats from 20 feet to megayachts 200 feet long.

Marina at Keppel Bay also features new fine dining experiences which include Michael Lu's multiconcept food- and-beverage entertainment venue Prive, bay-fronting bar The Wine Glass, South-east Asia's first Takumi Tokyo Japanese restaurant, The Coffee Connoisseur and private dining room The Island Suite.

It is the closest marina and waterfront lifestyle development to the city centre, located on the privately- owned Keppel Island, across the bay from the Caribbean and within walking distance of VivoCity and Harbour- Front MRT.

'Keppel Bay is envisioned to be a place where people, boaters and non-boaters, can come to enjoy the best of what Singapore's premium waterfront has to offer, be it to Live, Work or Play,' said Mr Lim. 'The return of the Clipper fleet is timely and lends colour and excitement to this vibrant southern waterfront hub.'

SM Goh on Saturday presented the Uniquely Singapore Cup, sponsored by Keppel Corp, to New York Clipper, the first boat to finish race five from Fremantle to Singapore. The Uniquely Singapore Clipper came in seventh on its home leg but was still greeted by a huge crowd of fans and well- wishers dockside. The boats will be at Marina at Keppel Bay till Jan 27 when they leave for Qingdao. The marina is open to the public.

Waterfront Waves Enjoys Brisk Sales

Source : The Business Times, January 21, 2008

60 units of condo project near Bedok Reservoir sold at $750-800 psf

DEFYING wide consensus of a more subdued private property market here amid US sub-prime woes, house hunters bought half the 120 units launched over the weekend at Waterfront Waves.

The project, near Bedok Reservoir, is a 405-unit condominium jointly developed by Far East Organization and Frasers Centrepoint (FCL).

The average price achieved for the 60 units sold was $750-800 per square foot (psf), with one unit fetching the highest price of $874 psf.

'Waterfront Waves has this exclusive product differentiation - it is one of the last developments with direct view of the Bedok Reservoir,' said Cheang Kok Kheong, chief operating officer of Frasers Centrepoint Homes.

The private preview of the Waterfront Waves over the weekend drew a good turn-up of close to 1,000 people.

Giving the breakdown on the profile of the buyers, Mr Cheang noted that 30 per cent of them have HDB addresses and 70 per cent have private addresses. Most of them indicated that they were looking to stay in the new units.

Located near the Bedok Reservoir and less than two minutes from the Pan Island Expressway, the condominium is slated for completion in 2010 with construction work likely to start by the third quarter of this year.

Mr Cheang said he does not see a softening of property market sentiment as the sub-prime problem will likely blow over in another six months to one year.

'There is still strong demand for the entry-level private property market in selected areas with quality living standards,' said Mr Cheang.

With three of the nine blocks at Waterfront Waves already launched, FCL is now looking to launch a few more blocks this weekend.

Avery Invests $100m On 'Upmarket' Dorm

Source : The Business Times, January 21, 2008

Morgan Stanley- controlled venture aims to be market leader in this sector

Avery Strategic Investments, a Morgan Stanley-controlled venture that bought three foreign workers' dormitories from JTC Corp last year for $153 million, is gunning to be the biggest player in this sector, investing a further $100 million to develop an 'upmarket' dormitory fronting Jurong River.

Avery Lodge: When completed in March next year, the facility will be able to house about 8,000 workers in 486 units. Each unit will have 16-18 beds and its own living, dining and kitchen areas

The facility, when completed in March next year, will be able to house about 8,000 workers - making it the biggest on the island, says Vernon Chua, managing director of Averic Capital Management, the asset manager for the venture and which holds a 3 per cent stake in Avery Strategic Investments.

Morgan Stanley Real Estate-managed funds hold the remaining 97 per cent.

The new six-storey property, to be named Avery Lodge, will bring the total bedcount in the group's Singapore dormitory portfolio to about 21,500, probably putting Avery Strategic on par with the biggest player currently, Mini Environment Services.

Avery Lodge's 8,000-bed maximum capacity will surpass the 7,000 beds at Capital Development's Toh Guan Dormitory, now the largest in Singapore.

But more than just aiming for a pole position in the industry, Avery Strategic is planning to brand its product.

'We see an opportunity to differentiate our product and be a market leader. It's a bit like the hotel industry, where a brand is associated with a standard experience. We're trying to run this more institutionally, more professionally, giving our corporate tenants (the employers of the foreign workers) a sense of reliability,' Mr Chua said in a recent interview with BT.

Avery Lodge, designed by ADDP Architects, is being built on a 30-year leasehold plot at Jalan Papan which Avery Strategic clinched at a JTC tender last year for about $40.1 million.

The nearly two-hectare site will be developed into 486 units, which are like self-contained apartments with their own living, dining and kitchen areas in addition to sleeping quarters. Each unit will have 16-18 beds.

'This will be a relatively upmarket dormitory, with bay windows, more generous floor-to-ceiling heights and space per worker, and amenities,' Mr Chua said.

All common areas will be tiled, and the facility will also have a gym, video games room, Internet cafe, mini-mart and canteen.

Security features include access through biometric cards and 24-hour guard patrols.

'We'll be providing a well-balanced living environment for the workers, not just a place where they spend the night,' Mr Chua stressed.

Avery Lodge's tenants will be mostly the shipyards and other companies in the marine industries in the Jurong area.

Industry players say foreign worker dormitory rents rose more than 30 per cent last year to about $130-$180 per worker monthly on the back of strong economic growth and a shortage of such facilities. Net yields on such properties are understood to be double-digit, in the low teens, although Avery Strategic declined to comment on this.

'We're keen on investing further in this industry, whether it is buying dormitories from existing operators or building more quality dormitories, like what we're doing for Avery Lodge,' says Eric Tan, Averic's director (asset management) and co-owner of the company with Mr Chua.

'The fundamental demand in this market is going to remain strong against the backdrop of the global economic market,' Mr Tan added. 'As the Singapore economy grows, likely so will the dormitory business. We're hopeful the economy remains robust; then there'll be more opportunities to invest in this asset class.'

Although the Morgan Stanley-Averic tie-up is currently only for Singapore, the pair are open to replicating this model elsewhere.

This is the first time Morgan Stanley has invested in workers' dormitories anywhere. It saw an opportunity to pursue a non-traditional asset class and to be a market leader when JTC Corp last year offered for sale its three dormitories - Kian Teck Dormitory in Jurong, Woodlands Dormitory and Tampines Dormitory - with a total of 13,544 beds.

'It was an industry not dominated by any institutional player, except JTC, which was exiting the business. So there was a niche for a player like us. There's demand among corporates for better quality dormitories to house their foreign workers,' said Mr Tan.

Genting In Talks To Build Hotel In Sports Hub

Source : The Business Times, January 21, 2008

Singapore Sports Hub (SSH) Consortium, which nailed the bid for the upcoming Sports Hub with its iconic dome-shaped design, is now in preliminary talks with Genting International to build a hotel in the Sports Hub.

Provision for hotel: The winning design of the Sports Hub, which is expected to be ready in end-2011, includes an optional 528-room hotel

'We are in discussion with Genting International to invest in a hotel in the Sports Hub. The construction cost of the hotel will be roughly $200 million,' Ludwig Reichhold, managing director of Dragages Singapore, told BT yesterday.

In the retail space, the consortium is looking to team up with Frasers Centrepoint as its partner, he added.

The winning design comprises an optional 528-room hotel, retail, and a food and beverage area of more than 41,000 sq m. There will also be a water leisure park, a multi-purpose indoor area, an indoor aquatic centre, a watersports centre and the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Dragages is a subsidiary of France-based Bouygues Construction, which is behind world-renowned landmarks like the Stade de France stadium in Paris, the renovation of the Louvre art gallery, also in Paris, and the restoration of Singapore's The Fullerton hotel.

Other main partners in the consortium are HSBC Infrastructure Fund Management Limited, United Premas, Global Spectrum Asia Pte Ltd, World Sport Group, Active Rights Management, ARUP Sports and DP Architects.

Far from a new kid on the block, Dragages has been participating in public-private partnerships in other parts of the world such as the UK, South Africa and France.

In Singapore, Dragages is the main contractor for City Developments' condominium project The Sail @ Marina Bay.

Commenting on the winning proposal over the weekend, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Vivian Balakrishnan said the preferred bidder for this Public-Private Partnership project displays significant strengths in programming, team culture and partnership, functionality and layout, as well as offers the best value for money solution for Singapore.

The first international event that SSH Consortium hopes to bring in is the SEA Games 2013, Mr Reichhold said. It is also looking to set up professional football leagues, including two Singapore football clubs at the Sports Hub targeted at youths.

'We intend to organise community events to promote sports among the youth . . . and the fact that we are re-investing some of the commercial revenue back into the project in sports events and community events will help Singapore to have a broader sports play than now,' Mr Reichhold said.

The Sports Hub is expected to be ready in end-2011 to replace the 35-year-old National Stadium. Once it is up and running, the bulk of the revenue is expected to come from retail and events. Up to 75 per cent of the revenue will be ploughed back into the project.

The government will pour in $1.87 billion over the 25-year tenure while the consortium will bear another $1.2 billion in capital expenditure.

Mr Reichhold said he does not expect the costs of building the Sports Hub to be affected by rising construction costs.

Hotel Rooms During F1 Race Period Going Fast

Source : The Straits Times, Jan 19, 2008

RATES of $1,000 a night and higher have not deterred Formula 1 fans from snapping up trackside hotel rooms for the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix.

Hotels ranging from the glitzy Ritz-Carlton Millennia Singapore to the Peninsula-Excelsior Hotel are already fully booked for the Sept 26 to 28 race. This is despite significantly higher than normal room rates of over $1,000 per night for the Ritz (about a 100 per cent increase) and $300 for the Peninsula (about a 50 per cent increase).

Two other hotels - Swissotel The Stamford and Pan Pacific Singapore - anticipate a 100 per cent occupancy rate.

One reason for the higher rates is that the Government will be imposing a special hotel tax on total room revenue from Sept 24 to 28 - the week of the race.

The tax will range from 30 per cent - for the 11 trackside hotels - to 20 per cent for all other hotels.

Trackside hotels such as Marina Mandarin ($1,500 per night) and Fairmont Singapore ($1,830) are still entertaining bookings.

The Fullerton has yet to confirm rates, but will place those interested on a wait-list.

The high take-up rate is not confined to trackside hotels.

The Four Seasons, along Orchard Boulevard, also managed to sell out all of its rooms from Sept 20 to 28.

The race will be held on Sept 28. Qualifying sessions begin on Sept 27.

Tourists are expected to form a significant portion of the 100,000 fans expected for the grand prix, and they are expected to spend around $100 million on hotels, and at food and beverage outlets, nightspots and the like.

Corporate hospitality packages ranging from $3,500 to $7,500 per head have also been selling well. These were put on the market by race organisers Singapore GP in November.

A Singapore GP spokesman declined comment, but it is believed that suites in areas such as the pit area and exclusive Paddock Club are close to being sold out.