LaSalle Investment Management late last week issued a statement announcing its second joint venture with Singapore’s TE Capital Partners, confirming a Mingtiandi report from earlier in the week that the pair have teamed up to purchase an office building in the city-state’s Orchard Road area.
The fund management unit of Jones Lang LaSalle said that a fund under its management, in a joint venture with TE Capital, has exercised a put and call option agreement to purchase the VisionCrest Commercial building at 103 Penang Road. Sources familiar with the transaction say the JV is paying nearly S$450 million ($331 million) for the 11-storey office building.
Beyond acquiring the LEED Gold certified building, LaSalle described the investment as a vote in favour of the outlook for Singapore’s office market.
“We are pleased to extend the strong and fruitful partnership we’ve had with TEC,” said George Goh, head of acquisitions and asset management for Southeast Asia at LaSalle. “This asset is a very rare freehold offering in a well-performing market, with potential for value-add and growth.”
With TE Capital and LaSalle having set new price records earlier this year when they sold out their Solitaire on Cecil project within a few months of its official launch, the US firm also pointed to the potential for returns from this latest acquisition.
The firm noted that the office block, which has 154,711 square feet of strata-titled office area, is currently 99 percent occupied, providing immediate cash flow. At the reported compensation, the joint venture is paying the equivalent of around S$3,023 per square foot to acquire the building from a fund managed by Germany’s Union Investment.
LaSalle effectively holds a 50.1 percent interest in the joint venture, with TE Capital maintaining a 29.9 percent stake and Metro Holdings having the remaining 20 percent as an indirect investor, according to an announcement by the SGX-listed developer last week.
“This asset is a strategic addition to the fund’s portfolio as we respond to the continued interest of global institutional investors and private investors in the Singapore’s office sector, buoyed by sustained occupier demand in this market,” said Claire Tang, co-CIO for Asia Pacific at LaSalle.
Orchard Road Upgrades
The VisionCrest Commercial deal now ranks as the largest office transaction in Singapore this year with LaSalle joining its partners from TE Capital and Metro in pointing to government plans to upgrade the Orchard Road commercial district as adding value to the property.
“Not only does the asset enjoy immediate access to abundant retail, dining, entertainment and accommodation options at its doorstep, it is also expected to benefit from the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s plan to rejuvenate the Orchard Road precinct to strengthen its position as one of Asia’s most sought after retail and commercial corridors,” LaSalle said in the statement.
Located within a few minutes’ walk of the Doby Ghaut MRT station, the building faces Istana Park along a stretch of Penang Road which will connect directly to a section of Orchard Road which is expected to be converted to a pedestrian mall in the coming years.
Under the plans by Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority the stretch of Orchard Road from Istana Park to SMA House is set to merge with Penang Road, with the shopping strip rapidly becoming a redevelopment hub.
In August, Ong Beng Seng’s Hotel Properties Ltd secured provisional permission from the Urban Redevelopment Authority to redevelop the Forum mall, the Voco Orchard Singapore hotel and the HPL House commercial block on Orchard Road into a 114,153 square metre (1.2 million square foot) mixed-use project.
Then just over one month ago mainland tycoon Du Shuanghua’s Bright Ruby Resources agreed to acquire the Far East Shopping Centre on Orchard Road for a reported S$908 million ($667 million), in Singapore’s largest collective sale this year.