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28 June 2019 / Issue 26

By in Weekly News Review with 0 Comments

Top News for the Week


40% of Sky Everton units sold

A consortium led by Sustained Land has sold nearly 40 per cent or 102 of the total 262 units at the Sky Everton project during its weekend launch.

The average price is S$2,550 per sq ft for the freehold condominium on the former Asia Gardens site at Everton Road.

The project has been pitched for its MRT connectivity (it is a stone’s throw from the future Cantonment Station on Circle Line 6) and proximity to the future Greater Southern Waterfront district.

Unit types range from one-bedroom apartments to four bedders; there are also four penthouse units. Most of the units in the project have a high ceiling of 3.25 m.

Absolute prices start from about S$1.14 million for a 463 sq ft one-bedroom unit. Prices of two- bedroom units begin from S$1.56 million for a 624 sq ft unit. Three bedders are priced from S$2.3 million for a 915 sq ft unit.

Sky Everton, which will have a single 36-storey residential tower, is slated for completion in 2023.

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End of school holiday is start of race to launch new projects

It may be the June school holiday lull period for property launches but developers in Singapore are quietly getting ready to release a slew of projects within the next few months.

These include Singhaiyi Properties’ 1,468-unit Parc Clematis condo along Jalan Lempeng in the Clementi area; and UOL Group, United Industrial Corporation and Kheng Leong’s 1,074-unit Avenue South Residence in Silat Avenue.

Some niche projects are also expected to be rolled out such as City Developments’ 188-unit Haus on Handy near Dhoby Ghaut interchange station; and Fragrance Group’s 36-unit Jervois Treasures.

Link to the story: projects


Strong demand expected for one-north Gateway site launched for sale by tender

Market watchers are anticipating strong demand for a residential-with-commercial site at one- north Gateway, launched for sale by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), with the analysts’ expected top bids ranging from S$900 to S$1,200 per sq ft per plot ratio (psf ppr).

Also launched for sale by application under the first half of the 2019 Government Land Sales Programme are two residential sites at Hillview Rise and Dunman Road, though property consultants are of the view that the probability of either site being triggered for sale may not be high at the moment, given ample supply in the market.

Zoned residential with commercial at the first storey, the one-north Gateway site occupies an area of 5,778.7 sq m, with a maximum gross floor area of 14,447 sq m. URA estimates show the plot could yield about 165 housing units.

Huttons Asia head of research Lee Sze Teck noted that the site could attract a top bid of between S$900 to S$950 psf ppr. “More than 50,000 people work in one-north with foreigners making up the majority. Yet the number of residential homes has stayed stagnant. There will be demand for homes in one-north,” added Mr Lee.

Tenders for the one-north Gateway site will close at 12pm on Sept 5.

Links to the story: sale-by-tender


Singapore not relaxing property cooling measures soon, says MAS chief

If real estate developers and property buyers here are pinning hopes on the government relaxing the cooling measures soon, they can kill that thought.

Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) managing director Ravi Menon said that it takes time to allow the measures to work their way through since they were implemented only a year ago.

The cooling measures have since tempered demand and sentiments, prompting fresh calls for the government to relax the restrictions.

But Mr Menon dashed any hopes of the curbs being lifted in the near future when asked at the central bank’s annual report media briefing.

Mr Menon said that the government will continue to monitor the property market closely, and stands ready to help ensure a healthy and sustainable market.

Link to the story: says-mas-chief


Freehold Bukit Timah condo Juniper Hill opens for sale on July 13

Units at upcoming freehold Bukit Timah condo Juniper Hill, at Ewe Boon Road, will be up for sale on July 13, developer Allgreen Properties Ltd said in a media statement.

Prices start from S$1.6 million for a two-bedroom unit, and S$6.1 million for a five-bedroom unit. Units range from 581 to 2,217 sq ft in size, with prices ranging from S$2,600 to S$2,900 per sq ft.

The 12-storey, 115-unit residential development will have two and three-bedroom apartments, as well as five units of four and five-bedroom apartments on the top floor.

The condo expects to receive its temporary occupation permit in the second half of 2021, with March 31, 2022 being the latest date that the developer will deliver vacant possession of the condo units to purchasers.

On top of typical condo facilities such as a tennis court, a swimming pool and a gym, Juniper Hill will also offer smart home provisions such as smart door locks.

Allgreen Properties has partnered Shangri-La Hotel Singapore to provide residents with concierge services such as free delivery of baked goods from the hotel’s Shophouse, laundry services and restaurant booking assistance.

It is a 10-minute walk from the Stevens MRT station, an interchange station for the downtown and upcoming Thomson-East Coast lines, and a short drive from Orchard Road.

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Phoenix Road shops, apartments make second attempt at en bloc sale

The owners of a row of apartments and shops in Phoenix Road at Bukit Panjang are putting up their properties for collective sale for a second time with an unchanged indicative price of S$42 million.

Owing to a bigger estimated differential premium, this works out to a higher land rate of S$621 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr), up from S$617 psf ppr in the earlier tender exercise.

The property has a land area of 5,853 sq m and was previously put up for sale on Nov 29 last year. It comprises 24 apartments and 12 shops spread over two three-storey blocks and a 99-year leasehold tenure that started from Jan 1, 1969.

The 36 units in the property are sized between 83 sq m and 91 sq m. Each owner will stand to receive estimated gross sale proceeds of S$1 million to S$1.5 million upon a successful sale.

The site is zoned residential and has a gross plot ratio of 1.4 under the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s 2019 Draft Master Plan.

The tender will close at 3pm on July 25.

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Singapore CBD Grade A office rents to climb 8% in 2019

Rents for Grade A office buildings in Singapore’s Central Business District (CBD) are expected to rise by 8 per cent this year, and 5 per cent in 2020, amid tight supply and high pre-commitments, according to a report.

New supply in 2019-2021 will average 614,000 sq ft (57,000 sq m) per annum, or 2 per cent of stock, versus 5 per cent over the last five years. This should keep vacancies tight in 2019 through 2021.

It added that of the six micro-markets in Singapore’s CBD, rents in Shenton Way/Tanjong Pagar could grow at the fastest rate on a three- and five-year horizon, driven by redevelopment and rejuvenation in the area.

New buildings such as Frasers Tower, Guoco Tower, and UIC Building, which were completed in 2016-2018, have raised the image and rents of the vicinity.

Redevelopments in Shenton Way/Tanjong Pagar, including the Afro-Asia Building and the CPF Building (to be named ASB Tower), should raise rents further in 2020 when completed.

Rental growth could be further supported by the withdrawal of existing stock for redevelopment, as landlords adopt the URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority) incentive scheme.

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Korea pension fund expected to take stake in Frasers Tower

South Korea’s National Pension Service (NPS) is expected to take a stake in Frasers Tower in Singapore’s Central Business District.

Market watchers note that NPS has been doing exclusive diligence on the acquisition for some time, for a 50 per cent stake in the 38-storey, premium Grade-A specification office building on Cecil Street.

A deal could be inked soon, and when that happens, it will mark NPS’ first major real estate investment in Singapore. The transaction is expected to value the entire property at just under S$2,900 psf on net lettable area (NLA), or nearly S$2 billion.

Completed last year, Frasers Tower has about 663,000 sq ft NLA of office space and some 22,000 sq ft NLA for retail. Designed by DP Architects, it comprises an office tower and an adjacent three-storey cascading retail podium with a roof garden. It also has a park with a restaurant in it, and a three-storey basement car park.

It has 32 office floors starting at Level 5; all but one of these floors range from around 19,400 sq ft to 21,800 sq ft in size. The 38th floor has about 10,000 sq ft of office space. Above that is a sky garden with a view of the city.

Link to the story:


Selegie Centre buyer seeks approval to build hotel

Peak Tower Corporation, which is acquiring Selegie Centre in a collective sale, is seeking approval from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) for its plans to build a hotel on the site, which is presently zoned for commercial and residential use.

An earlier application by Peak Tower for a proposed one block, 11-storey hotel on the site and to change the use of the site was turned down by the URA in March. Peak Tower has since submitted an appeal as well as its amended plans to the URA, which is assessing the appeal.

The Business Times understands that the earlier proposal likely faced issues linked to the hotel’s coach bay and plans have been tweaked to provide more space for a 40-seater coach to turn into the service road via a two-metre setback to Peak Tower’s land. The developer is also looking to implement a motorised bus turntable, which will rotate the coach to facilitate its exit.

Peak Tower is keen to build a 175-180 room microhotel as it offers a more efficient use of space, said chief executive officer, Vinson Keefe. If given the green light, Peak Tower plans to approach the Hilton and Marriott groups as a potential hotel operator – in particular, eyeing the microhotel brand, Motto by Hilton, and the affordable-but-edgy Aloft brand by Marriott.

Link to the story:


Sim Lim Tower office floor up for sale at $15m

A freehold strata office floor at Sim Lim Tower in Jalan Besar has been put up for sale by tender with an asking price of $15 million.

The 15th storey of the 17-storey building has a total area of about 778 sq m or 8,374 sq ft. It offers a 360-degree panoramic view over the surrounding shophouses and the city skyline.

The asking price of $15 million works out to about $1,791 per sq ft on the strata area. The tender exercise will close at 3pm on July 23.

Link to the story:


Springleaf Tower’s 30th floor up for sale with S$29.5m price tag

The entire 30th floor located in Grade A office building Springleaf Tower is up for sale via an expression of interest exercise, with a guide price of S$29.5 million.

This works out to about S$2,746 per sq ft based on the strata area of 10,742 sq ft. There will be no additional buyer’s stamp duty or seller’s stamp duty.

Springleaf Tower, located at Anson Road, is a 37-storey office building in Singapore’s central business district (CBD). The sale offering, which will be sold on a vacant possession basis, comes with exclusive use of the lift lobby, restrooms and pantry.

The expression of interest exercise closes on Aug 1 at 3pm.

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Sim Lim Square extends deadline for en bloc tender

Sim Lim Square is keeping its sale tender open for an extra month to give potential buyers more time to assess if the commercial site on Rochor Canal Road can be turned into a mixed-use project that could include a hotel.

The move comes as the area undergoes a makeover in the wake of high demand for hospitality assets and new guidelines that urge developers to explore how older buildings can be gentrified. The redevelopment potential for Singapore’s gadget central has attracted about 10 queries from developers and investment funds for its $1.25 billion collective sale tender.

The tender was due to have closed but it will now stay open until 3pm on July 22.

The 7,260 sq m plot is fully zoned for commercial use, so there is no mandatory requirement to top up the lease, which has 63 years left.

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Models take over Orchard junction at start of Great S’pore Sale

Orchard Road had its own Shibuya Crossing moment on Saturday (22 June) when a crosswalk fashion show kicked off the rebranded Great Singapore Sale, now called GSS: Experience Singapore.

Titled Orchard Road Fashion Scramble, the fashion showcase opened with a flash mob of more than 100 dancers at the intersection between The Heeren, Mandarin Gallery and retail store Design Orchard.

In nine 50-second sequences timed between traffic lights, 100 models walked around and inside the yellow traffic square, donning designs from both local and international designers.

The Fashion Scramble is one way to reach out to the younger generation, said Mr R. Dhinakaran, president of the Singapore Retailers Association, which organised GSS: Experience Singapore. “The traditional GSS in the past did many things the traditional way. We realised this is no longer relevant for the younger generation,” he said. “We have to try new things out – after 25 years, we wanted to change the format to make it more experiential.”

The annual sale, that has been launched since 22 June, is now shorter by half, and ends in five weeks on July 28.

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Funan fills 95% of retail space; tenants include Taobao store

Ahead of its opening, the new shopping mall at Funan has achieved 95 per cent committed occupancy for its retail space, including Singapore’s first standalone physical Taobao store.

More than 60 per cent of the over 190 brands housed in Funan mall originate from Singapore, CapitaLand said in a regulatory update.

Newly signed tenants include Taobao’s new concept store. Operated by Virmall, the store will offer a wide range of products available from Taobao that are specially curated for Singapore shoppers, covering categories such as furniture, household items, textiles and fashion. Previously, there was a pop-up Taobao outlet as part of a multi-label store in Plaza Singapura called NomadX. Nikon will launch in Funan mall its first standalone outlet and flagship “experience hub” in Singapore. This includes the Nikon School, a workshop space for photography tutorials by professionals.

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Trade tension ‘unlikely to lead to crisis, but global economy could split’

Trade tensions between the United States and China are not likely to lead to a global financial crisis, but could, in the long term, cause a split in the structure of the global economy, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

“They are going to have a bifurcation of technology, of markets, of trust. I think that is a very bad consequence for the world,” he told the Nikkei Asian Review.

“That will be a structural thing which will last for many decades, and that is even more serious than a financial crisis.”

Mr Lee noted that the tensions have hurt global business and consumer confidence, leading to a decline in global trade and investment, and will eventually affect jobs.

PM Lee was asked how he saw trade tensions between the US and China, and if the impact could be as serious as the fallout from the global financial crisis 10 years ago.

“In the short term, I do not think so. It is a minus, and you can see the impact already,” he replied. “But I do not think it will lead to a global financial crisis. A crisis has a different kind of immediate and sudden trigger.”

Link to the story: economy-could-split


Up, down, in the sea: Ways to get more out of land

Land-scarce Singapore has three ways to stretch its land options: go upwards, downwards and seawards.

The first, upwards, goes beyond high-rise living. National Development Minister Lawrence Wong raised other applications such as solar panels on Housing Board block rooftops and vertical farms. Using the new Tengah town as an example, the minister said chillers for centralised cooling systems are being placed on rooftops for better energy efficiency.

The second strategy – downwards, or underground – is already being used, with underground utility systems like the power grid, telecoms lines and Marina Bay’s district cooling system. But more is being done, Mr Wong said.

The first underground 230kV substation will soon be built in Pasir Panjang and more underground district cooling systems will be added in new areas like Punggol.

The last strategy highlighted by the minister was extending seawards through reclamation.

For example, Singapore has reclaimed land in Tuas for a new terminal, and is moving its existing ports in the south there.

This will free up about 1,000ha of prime waterfront space, he wrote, allowing the downtown area to extend beyond Marina Bay. Mr Wong also highlighted a new method to reduce sand used in reclamation by 40 per cent – by using polders and dikes in Pulau Tekong.

Link to the story:


New office aims to create 10,000 jobs in tech over 3 years

An estimated 10,000 new tech-related jobs are expected in the private sector over the next three years, thanks to a new government office that will encourage public-private partnerships to help companies digitise and keep up with the rapid pace of technology.

The Digital Industry Singapore (DISG) office, announced by Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran is the “first stop” for companies to seek help in matters related to the sector. They can work with it to secure talent and market access, build capabilities and expand overseas. The DISG office has already begun its work, said the minister, pointing out that it supported the establishment of Grab’s new headquarters here. The headquarters will house up to 3,000 employees.

Speaking at the opening of this year’s Smart Nation Summit at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre at Marina Bay Sands, Mr Iswaran added: “There are several other similar projects in the DISG pipeline, which will also bring broader benefits for Singapore’s digital ecosystem, including the creation of an estimated 10,000 new jobs over the next three years.”

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Singapore sets sights on being 5G innovation hub

Singapore cannot be happy just building towers when it comes to fifth-generation – or 5G – mobile technology, said Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran.

To that end, the government has pledged an initial S$40 million to fund research and innovation in uses for 5G, which he has dubbed the “key digital infrastructure of tomorrow”.

Besides developing systems and networks, the Republic must also become “a global node for innovation in secure 5G applications and services”, Mr Iswaran told event-goers at the two-day Innovfest Unbound symposium.

The latest amount – which was set aside for the coming year but could be topped up again – will go towards exploring 5G applications that are deemed to have strong growth potential and global opportunities.

Six clusters – maritime operations, urban mobility, smart estates, manufacturing, public sector applications and the consumer sector – will generate the most value for Singapore and could be exported, the minister said.

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Property transactions to go digital with likely law change

It may soon be possible to buy and sell properties purely electronically as the Government looks to change a key digital economy law.

In the same vein, Singaporeans may be able to apply for a Lasting Power of Attorney online, while cross-border trade documentation is also set to go electronic with the digitalisation of bills of lading, which are documents that acknowledge receipt of cargo for shipment.

These changes, which could make shipping much cheaper and property deals more convenient, could be ushered in with the review of the Electronic Transactions Act as Singapore seeks to amend its laws to grow its digital economy, Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran said. With these changes, the Republic will be among the first to tweak their laws in the face of new technologies such as blockchain and smart contracts that are opening up new ways of transacting digitally.

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Singaporeans warned of some fallout from trade war

Singapore must expect some fallout from the US-China trade war, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, as he warned Singaporeans to brace themselves.

Already, exports have been affected, factory orders are down, and “the mood is significantly dampened”.

“You can already see our economy slowing this year,” he said. This year’s growth forecast is between 1.5 per cent and 2.5 per cent, lower than last year’s 3.1 per cent.

While the tit-for-tat spat between the United States and China plays out, Singapore will have to focus on factors within its control, such as restructuring its economy and retraining its workers. “What we can do is keep on focusing on upgrading and training, and restructuring of the economy, so that we have the productive capability and potential to pick up again when external conditions improve, and to make the best of the conditions as they are now.”

The trade war is also proving to be an impetus for Asean to press on with regional economic integration, PM Lee said in remarks to the Singapore media on the sidelines of the Asean Summit in Bangkok.

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Singapore reviewing again 2019 growth forecast: MAS chief

Barely a month after the government lowered the upper-range of the full-year growth forecast by one percentage point to between 1.5 and 2.5 per cent, it is again reviewing this estimate, as recent indicators suggest that second-quarter growth could even be weaker than the 1.2 per cent recorded in the quarter before.

Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) managing director Ravi Menon said: “GDP (gross domestic product) growth for the year as a whole is likely to be weaker than earlier envisaged.” This less-than-stellar performance to date has prompted the MAS and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) to review the full-year GDP growth forecast, he said at the central bank’s annual report media briefing. The review comes on the back of last month’s downgrading by the MTI of the growth forecast for the year to between 1.5 and 2.5 per cent, from 1.5 to 3.5 per cent.

Still, when asked if the review would bring the current forecast even lower, Mr Menon replied that “it’s too early to tell where we would land”.

MAS is waiting for the second-quarter growth figures to come in next month. The MAS chief noted that the current full-year forecast is premised on the economy stabilising in the third quarter, with a modest pickup thereafter.

Growth in the first half of the year is looking to be quite weak, particularly in the trade-related sectors, as the ongoing US-China trade war continues to bite. The other two engines of global growth – manufacturing and investment – have also shifted into lower gear.

A prolonged technology conflict could lead to a bifurcation of technology infrastructures globally; this could in turn significantly impair the process of knowledge creation and diffusion – and, ultimately, productivity and income growth.

Links to the story:  chief


May core inflation stable, overall consumer prices up

Last month’s core inflation remained stable as higher retail and food inflation offset a steeper decline in the prices of electricity and gas.

Core inflation – which strips out private road transport and accommodation costs – came in at 1.3 per cent year on year in May, unchanged from the figures in April.

However, when private road transport and accommodation costs are included, overall consumer prices rose slightly to 0.9 per cent last month.

This is up from 0.8 per cent in April, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in a joint statement.

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Singapore factory output down 2.4% in May, worse than forecast

A positive result in April proved to be a false dawn for struggling manufacturers, with output slumping last month as factories scrambled to contain the fallout from the trade war.

The increasingly bitter dispute between China and the US is upending supply chains across the region and playing havoc with local manufacturers, especially those in the electronics cluster.

Overall output declined 2.4 per cent last month compared with May last year – a bigger contraction than the 1.8 per cent fall forecast by analysts in a Bloomberg poll.

It was also a bitter pill after the 0.1 per cent rise in April but not as bad as the 4 per cent fall in March, which had been the sector’s first contraction in more than a year.

If the volatile biomedical manufacturing were excluded, the decline last month would have been a steeper 4.9 per cent.

The main culprit was the key electronics sector, where production dived 10.8 per cent compared with May last year, according to Economic Development Board data.

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SMEs optimistic for H2, but less than past years

Singapore’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are cautiously optimistic about the third and fourth quarters of 2019 – though gloomier than they have been about any other second half in recent years, according to a quarterly survey.

The SBF-Experian SME Index rose marginally to 50.8 in the latest quarter, from 50.4 the quarter before. A reading above 50 indicates that companies expect business to improve in the next six months, while a reading below 50 indicates that they expect lower business activity.

Despite the marginal rise, the latest figure was down 1.95 per cent year on year, and marked the lowest reading for the third and fourth quarters since the survey began in 2010.

Businesses should not pin their hopes on a resolution in the trade war anytime soon as the current trade tensions are fuelled by underlying problems that run deep. Business sentiment therefore could deteriorate further.

Link to the story:


Logistic firms urged to adapt to tech trends

Logistics businesses will need to be agile and adapt to new technology, said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of a platform to promote innovation in the industry. The Connected Logistics Innovation Platform was created by international service provider DHL Express with the support of the Economic Development Board (EDB).

Over the next three years, the initiative will help to develop pilot projects that accelerate digitalisation. It will tap Singapore academia, researchers and local talent to assist with these innovation projects.

The platform will focus on areas such as secure digital services for customers, smart facilities with digital interaction with people and assets, and advanced analytics. Technologies that could be harnessed include the Internet of Things, machine learning, artificial intelligence, blockchain and automation.

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Soilbuild Group awarded Gambas Way industrial land parcel for S$40.02m

An industrial land parcel at Gambas Way was awarded to Soilbuild Group for S$40.02 million in an industrial government land sales (IGLS) tender, JTC Corporation announced.

This was above the minimum bid price of at least S$19.31 million. That was the bid price a developer had committed when it applied earlier this year to put the reserve list site under the first half 2019 IGLS up for sale.

The tender for the site was launched on March 26, 2019 and closed on May 7.

Located close to Sembawang and Woodlands, the nearly 12,000 sq m Gambas Way (Plot 2) plot has a tenure of 30 years and a gross plot ratio of 2.5.

The proposed redevelopment on the site will take 60 months to complete. It is zoned for Business- 2 development or heavier industrial use.

Link to the story: s4002m


Tuas site triggered for tender, Kaki Bukit plot up for application: JTC

An industrial site at Tuas South Link 3 has been triggered for tender with a minimum bid price of S$2 million, while another plot at Kaki Bukit Road 5 is available for application under the first half of 2019 IGLS (industrial government land sales) programme.

In a media statement, JTC said it has received an application for the Tuas site to be placed for public tender, with a minimum committed bid price of S$2 million.

Zoned for “Business-2” (B2) development, or heavier industrial use, the Tuas site has a 20-year tenure, with an area of 0.45 hectare, and a gross plot ratio of 1.4. Tender for this site will close at 11am on Aug 6.

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Linde investing US$1.4b to expand Jurong Island gas complex

Gas and engineering giant Linde has signed a long-term agreement with ExxonMobil Asia Pacific which will see it investing US$1.4 billion to expand its existing gasification complex at Jurong Island and integrating it with ExxonMobil’s project to produce and supply additional hydrogen and synthesis gas.

The deal will support ExxonMobil’s multibillion-dollar expansion project of its integrated manufacturing complex. It will also be the single-largest sale of gas contract in the history of the newly merged Linde and of its legacy companies.

The agreement will see Linde producing and supplying additional hydrogen and synthesis gas to ExxonMobil by upgrading the heavy residue feedstock from its new facilities.

The project will include building and operating four additional gasifiers, a 1,200 metric tonne per day air separation plant, and Linde’s proprietary downstream gas processing units and sulphur recovery plants.

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Club Street heritage shophouse on the market again for $23m

Bought back in 2006 for $2.8 million, a corner conservation shophouse in Club Street has been relaunched for sale by tender at an indicative price of $23 million.

The heritage three-storey building with an attic is at 65 Club Street.

It has a 999-year lease tenure and occupies a land area of 2,083 sq ft and a total floor area of 5,640 sq ft. The indicative price works out to around $4,078 per sq ft of total floor area.

The shophouse is nestled in the elevated cul-de-sac of Club Street, within the Telok Ayer conservation area, opposite the Chinese Weekly Entertainment Club, a private millionaire’s club with a history dating back to 1891.

The public tender exercise closes on July 31 at 3pm.

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Second Raffles hotel to open in 2022 on Sentosa Island

More than a century after Raffles Hotel welcomed its first guests in Singapore, a second Raffles hotel is slated to open here in 2022 on Sentosa Island.

Hotel operator Accor Group announced, together with property developer Royal Group, that the new Raffles Sentosa Resort & Spa Singapore will be built on a 100,000 sq m site on Sentosa.

The resort, which can accommodate 200 guests, is estimated to cost S$70 million to build. It will have 61 villas, each with a private pool and terrace area. The villas range from 260 sq m for the one-bedroom villas to 450 sq m for the three-bedroom presidential villa. The average rate per night is S$1,500, an Accor spokesperson said, in response to queries from The Business Times.

The Raffles Butlers service – popularised by its predecessor which first opened its doors at Beach Road back in 1887 – and the Raffles Spa will be among the resort’s signature offerings.

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Raffles Hotel rolls out new tech as part of productivity push

Guests at posh Raffles Hotel can now bypass the butler service and order food, spa sessions and other treats with a click on a tablet that comes with the room.

The Digitvalet Guestroom Management System (GRMS) is just one of a slew of initiatives that the hotel has put in place to increase productivity and combat manpower issues.

The GRMS alone can do the work of about three staff.

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat visited the hotel to learn more about its productivity campaign. The hotel, which is under renovation, will reopen on Aug 1.

Another initiative is a mechanical sling shaker used in the hotel’s legendary Long Bar to help prepare the famous Singapore Sling cocktail.

The machine can mix up to 18 glasses of the cocktail at once, reducing the time taken to make each one from about eight minutes to under three.

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Ibis Novena sold for nearly S$170m

Property funds managed by Alpha Investment Partners have sold the freehold Ibis Novena for nearly S$170 million, The Business Times understands.

The price works out to around S$700,000 per room and a net yield of about 3 per cent. Alpha has made a profit from the deal; it paid S$150 million for the 241-room hotel in 2013.

Accor will continue to manage the property, which is at the corner of Irrawaddy and Balestier roads.

BT understands that the buyer is an entity linked to Mohammed Saiful Alam, who controls Bangaldeshi conglomerate S Alam Group, which is involved in a range of activities including agrobusiness, consumer products, cement, steel, power, energy, transportation, shipping, manufacturing, trading and property

Link to the story:


Indonesia showers property buyers with waivers to spur economy

Indonesia slashed income tax on the sale of luxury properties in the latest bid to spark a revival in its stagnant property sector and support growth in South-east Asia’s largest economy.

The tax on income from sales of luxury houses and condominiums priced at 30 billion rupiah (S$2.87 million) or more was reduced to 1 per cent from 5 per cent, according to a statement issued by the Cabinet Secretariat.

The threshold for the application of the lower tax, effective from June 19, was raised from 10 billion rupiah previously, it said.

President Joko Widodo is seeking to stimulate the property sector in the hope of the industry’s multipliers effect on sub-sectors such as cement, ceramics, electronics and furniture helping overall economic growth.

The government is extending tax breaks to the luxury property segment as it has seen sluggish sales in the past five years.

Growth in the overall property sector eased to 3.58 per cent last year from 3.68 per cent in 2017, according to data from statistics bureau.

As the mass-housing market makes up a large part of the industry, the government has also waived value-added tax up to a certain value for those properties.

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Lee Sze Teck Head, Research




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