Saturday, July 19, 2008

​New Face In Farrer

Sourc : TODAY, Friday, July 18, 2008

Pritzker Prize-winning architect to design new $3-billion development

WHEN 31-year-old Farrer Court is demolished over the coming months, its replacement will be a “curvaceous” condominium that is set to dominate the skyline ofDistrict 10 and clock several firsts.

Giving the media a sneak peek yesterday, a CapitaLand-led consortium gave hints of how it planned to transform the site of Singapore’s biggest-ever en bloc sale.

In a precinct made up largely of landed homes and low- to mid-rise buildings, the upcoming 99-year leasehold project will comprise seven towers, which willeach reach a height of 36 storeys. There will be a total of1,500 homes, including 32 penthouses and 12 garden villas.

The condominium, yet to be named, will be launched in the first half of next year and is estimated to cost $3 billion to build, said CapitaLand Group chief executive Liew Mun Leong. The breakeven price ranges from $1,350 to $1,450 per square foot.

Unite pricing will be set closer to the launch, “but it will be affordable and we can make money”, said Mr Liew. He was confident that the project would find takers as en bloc sellers still need homes.

He said: “I am not worried about the economic downturn in the United States. Business must still go on.”

Behind the Farrer design is Pritzker ArchitecturePrize-winner Zaha Hadid, the first woman to clinch the architecture world’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize and the one who drafted the masterplan for the Buona Vista science hub, one-north. This will be her first condominium contract here.

“Zaha is very famous for her ‘sensuous architectural silhouettes’, whatever that means,” straight-talking Mr Liew said to laughter all round. “It just means curves to me.”

Later at the briefing, Mr Liew again had the audience in stitches when he replied to a question on how the consortium persuaded Ms Zaha to take up the job.

“It started with Mr Ong Beng Seng having a relationship — I mean ...” Mr Liew paused abruptly as the room erupted with laughter. “... Having a good working relationship with Ms Zaha, because all these require personal relationships.”

Mr Ong heads Hotel Properties Limited (HPL), which is the number-two shareholder of the consortium after CapitaLand.

Mr Liew was addressing business partners, lawyers and senior executives from the 10 banks that have sewn up a loan of $1.996 billion, the largest ever syndicated residential property development loan arranged here.

The funds will be used to cover some of the construction costs — which are estimated to total $3 billion — and to partly finance the cost of the site, which has a maximum gross floor area of 2.35 million square feet.

Last year, CapitaLand and its three partners — HPL, Morgan Stanley Real Estate Special Situations Fund III and Wachovia Development Corporation — agreed to pay$1.34 billion to buy Farrer Court.

It was the biggest collective sale in local history and made 618 homeowners instant millionaires, as each unit fetched an average of $2.15 million.

The en bloc sellers of Farrer Court will be invited to a preview of the new condominium. “But there will be no special price for them,” said CapitaLand Residential Singapore chief Patricia Chia.

Landmark Ruling

Source : TODAY, Friday, July 18, 2008

Judge sets out role of Strata Titles Board and whichof its findings can be challenged

IT IS a situation that may apply to some en bloc deals: The selling price could have been higher if the sales committee or its agent had tried harder to secure a better deal.

In the case of Horizon Towers, a potential buyer was even standing by with a higher price than the one that was eventually chosen.

But that cannot be reason enough to disallow an en bloc sale, according to Justice Choo Han Teck as he brought a protracted saga to an end.

In a landmark decision, the judge set out the role of the Strata Titles Board as well as which of its findings can be challenged, and which ones cannot.

When it comes to price, as long as the STB finds that a purchase price is fair, which would make it a “finding of fact” in legal parlance, it would have fulfilled its duty and is entitled to approve an en bloc sale.

Minority residents at Horizon Towers who argued that the $500-million sale to Horizon Partners Private Limited (HPPL) was done in bad faith — as evidenced by Vineyard Holdings’ higher offer of $510 million :— had failed to prove their case.

Justice Choo found “no error of law” and said the High Court “cannot and will not” interfere in findings of fact made by the STB.

“Whether it was the right time to sell, or that the sales committee ought to have made a little more effort to persuade the purchaser to offer more, are not crucial matters that oblige the STB to withhold approval.

“Nor would it be the concern of the STB that some, or all, of the appellants might have consented had the Vineyard offer been made known to all of them,” he said.

If the STB were to make such enquiries, it “would never get its job done within the time limited”.

The minority owners had appealed to reverse a Dec 7 decision by STB to approve the sale. But if residents believe that the sales committee had “deliberately or negligently” not pursued a higher offer, resulting in a financial loss to them, the recourse is through litigation in the courts, said Justice Choo.

“It is necessary for this point to be made, not to encourage further litigation, but to emphasise that a subsidiary proprietor who does not wish to sell his unit can only object to the en bloc sale on such grounds as the relevant statutes allow,” he said.

And, the statutes do not allow the STB to deal with “allegations and counter-allegations against parties” as its tribunal hearing does not give such parties “the full recourse of trial to defend themselves”.

He concluded that all sides were treated fairly in this deal as “fairness requires only that the rules and regulations of each en bloc deal to be properly and duly administered”.

Condo-Like Flats For Less Than $700,000

Source : The Straits Times, July 19, 2008

Four 30-storey blocks under the design, build and sell scheme for Ang Mo Kio

SINGAPORE'S third condo-style public housing project is about to go on sale, this time in the heart of bustling Ang Mo Kio.

The project is located at Ang Mo Kio Street 52, which is flanked by Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 and Avenue 5 and within walking distance of the Ang Mo Kio MRT station.

LIVING IN STYLE: The Park Central development will boast amenities like barbecue pits and jogging path on the roof-top garden above the carpark. -- ARTIST'S IMPRESSION: COURTESY OF UNITED ENGINEERS

The prices for Park Central @AMK are about 10 per cent below the last such project, City View@Boon Keng, launched early this year. Sales there were slow amid some concerns that prices were too high.

Developer United Engineers (UE), through its unit Greatearth Developments, is launching the 578-unit Park Central project for sale on Wednesday.

It aims to take advantage of the small window before the Hungry Ghost month starts in early August when some home hunters are wary of buying.

The project, comprising four 30-storey towers, will feature only four- and five-room flats. The average price will be about $490 to $500 per sq ft, with the four-room units going for about $400,000 to $500,000. The five-room units will cost about $600,000 to $670,000.

Park Central also has 20 'loft units', which have higher ceilings of 3.6m, compared with the typical flat height of 2.6m. They will cost $580,000 to just below $700,000.

These high-end HDB flats will boast condo-style fittings such as built-in wardrobes, kitchen cabinets, air-conditioning systems, timber flooring and planter boxes.

The developer will also put in barbecue pits and a 400m jogging path on the roof-top garden above the carpark, allowing for more privacy, though these are public areas.

PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail expects strong demand as the prices are very fair, particularly considering the significant run-up in construction costs, he said.

UE chief executive Jackson Yap said he priced the units slightly above resale flat prices. He is optimistic as resale prices are still rising.

UE won the Park Central site in a tender last November at $212 per sq ft of potential gross floor area. It is the third project under under the Housing Board's Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS).

In such projects, private developers set the price of the flats but are bound by general public housing rules. For instance, they can sell their flats only to households earning not more than $8,000 a month.

Because of this restriction, the project's price seems a little high, said Chesterton International's head of research and consultancy, Mr Colin Tan. 'But the interest will be strong as Ang Mo Kio is one of Singapore's largest housing estates.

'People tend to buy in areas they know or have lived in. With a little clever marketing, enough people may be persuaded to really stretch themselves and part with their hard-earned money.'

The first DBSS project, The Premiere@Tampines, met with an overwhelming response when it was launched at the end of 2006. But demand at City View@Boon Keng, which was priced over 50 per cent more than The Premiere, was slower. Some buyers felt the prices - the five-room units cost $536,000 to $727,000 - were too high.

The fourth DBSS project, in Bishan, could come to market at the end of the year.

UE's Park Central @ AMK To Sell For $490-500 PSF

Source : The Business Times, July 19, 2008

It has 'condo-style' fittings and finishes, & expects a sell-out

UNITED Engineers (UE) has priced its Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) project Park Central @ AMK at an appealing $490-$500 psf - in an apparent bid to move units fast.

UE acquired the Housing and Development Board site in November 2007 and based on the $212.40 per sq ft per plot ratio (psf ppr) it paid, property consultants estimated the launch price could be around $580 psf.

The actual price, revealed yesterday by UE, is lower than the reported average price of $520 psf for another DBSS project, City View @ Boon Keng, launched earlier this year.

UE did not comment on its pricing strategy but said Park Central @ AMK will comprise four 30-storey towers with a total of 578 four and five-room units.

With 'condominium-style' fittings and finishes, four-room units are not expected to cost more than $400,000, while five-room units will be under $600,000.

PropNex CEO Mohamed Ismail said the project is, 'competitively priced'. 'I am glad the developer has priced it sensitively.'

Mr Ismail said that when City View @ Boon Keng was launched there was, 'some resistance' to the pricing.

Savills Singapore director (marketing and business development) Ku Swee Yong agrees that Central Park @ AMK is attractively priced. He believes UE could be looking at a slim profit margin, given a breakeven price of around $400 psf.

Increasing construction costs, which he estimates at between $200-$250 psf, could also weigh in.

Still, a sell-out development would be good for overall market sentiment, he said.

Comparing the pricing of Central Park @ AMK with the prices of HDB resale flats in the area, ERA Asia-Pacific assistant vice-president Eugene Lim said UE's project looks like good value.

Mr Lim said that five-room flats in the area, which are at least five years old, are going for around $400,000.

That UE aims to sell Central Park @ AMK seems clear.

Still, the response from buyers is unlikely to reach the fever pitch experienced at the launch of the first DBSS development in late 2006. Then, almost 6,000 people applied for 616 units at Premiere @ Tampines. But those units were going for around $300 psf.

宏茂桥私人组屋下周发售 平均每平方英尺500元

Source : 《联合早报》July 19, 2008



由私人发展商设计、兴建和销售的宏茂桥52街组屋“Park Central@AMK”,下周三起发售。

Park Central@AMK是第三批私人组屋,4座30楼高组屋共有578个单位。(蔡家增摄)



宏茂桥私人组屋由联合工程(United Engineers)设计、兴建和销售。集团董事经理兼执行总裁叶吉祥受访时说,虽然它的售价比宏茂桥组屋转售价高,但比同区的公寓低。

建屋发展局记录显示,今年4月到6月售出的宏茂桥52街四房式转售组屋,介于42万元到48万8000元,平均屋龄6年。靠近宏茂桥地铁站的99年地契公寓Grandeur 8,今年上半年的平均售价约每平方英尺690元。 

Park Central@AMK是第三批私人组屋,平均售价比前年推出的淡滨尼私人组屋高,不过比今年初推出的文庆路私人组屋“City View@Boon Keng”低。






私人组屋售价 仍比公寓便宜

Dennis Wee房地产经纪行董事许家荣说,尽管私人组屋价格不菲,不过售价仍是同区公寓的四分之三,相信会引起公众兴趣。








作词人小寒的寒舍 非黑即白

Source : 《联合早报》July 19, 2008








担任科技研究所实验师超过10年的她,下个月中便辞职了,转而投身她和音乐人黄韵仁合开的“Funkie Monkies”制作室,负责掌管音乐学院和版权,闲时继续写歌。同时,她又是医生娘——老公是在私人诊所工作的医生,两人有个4岁的女儿。家庭、事业、爱好团团围绕,难怪她需要冷静。










落叶从客厅 飘进女儿房