CapitaLand announced on Monday that it has topped out the 1.2-million-square-metre Raffles City in Chongqing, a month after the Singapore-listed firm announced the S$11 billion acquisition of fellow government-backed developer Ascendas-Singbridge, its partner in the project.
Now structurally complete, the RMB 24 billion property will be launched in phases starting from the second half of 2019, according to a statement by the developer. The Moshe Safdie-design project, in which CapitaLand held a 62.5 percent stake at end of 2017, was first announced in 2011 and broke ground in 2012.
The eight-tower development, which CapitaLand has christened “the crown jewel of Chongqing” by CapitaLand, is the largest single investment by a Singaporean firm in China. Crowned by a sky-bridge reminiscent of Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands, the complex is located near the southwestern Chinese city’s Chaotianmen area at the intersection of the Yangtze and Jialing rivers.
CapitaLand Expands Core Portfolio
“Upon Raffles City Chongqing’s structural completion, we are now focusing on the interior fit-out works, including transplanting trees to enliven The Crystal sky bridge, which will feature the tallest observation deck across Western China. Positioned as a must-visit destination for local residents as well as domestic and overseas travelers, Raffles City Chongqing has been garnering a strong response from our customers,“ said Lucas Loh, President of CapitaLand Group.
Raffles City Chongqing was the fourth project that the state-controlled Singaporean giant had undertaken in the city after the Tujia Somerset Palm Springs serviced apartment, and the Chongqing Jiulongpo and Shapingba malls, both of which it sold last year as part of a S$4 billion divestment of mainland retail property assets.
In mid-2018 the company added a fifth project in the city, buying a 32 -hectare mixed-use site in suburban Chongqing’s Liangjiang New Area for RMB 5.7 billion (894 million).
The Raffles City project, which has been pre-certified as a LEED Gold green building for its core and shell, will add approximately 1,400 housing units to the firm’s presence in the city, with the Liangjiang project planned to contribute up to 2,100 more, in addition to its retail and office components.
Adding a Skybridge to the Chongqing Skyline
The development occupies a 9.2-hectare site and 817,000 square metres of construction area (excluding the three-level carpark), and includes a 235,000-square-metre shopping mall, 150,000 square metres of grade A office space, 1,400 residential apartments, Ascott serviced residences, and an InterContinental hotel.
The skybridge, called The Crystal, will be 300 metres long, 30 metres wide and 22.5 metres high, spanning the tops of four 250-metre-tall skyscrapers. The structure will also connect to two additional towers through bridges. Composed of a 12,000-ton steel structure, 4,800 aluminum panels and 3,200 pieces of glass, the skybridge will include an observatory, a clubhouse, a hotel lobby, and several restaurants,
In an interview with the Guardian, the project’s architect Moshe Safdie, who also designed the Marina Bay Sands, said one of the main purposes of the bridge was to “lift gardens into the sky” since there is no room for big public parks in crowded cities like Chongqing.
The project has already secured a number of core tenants for its five-storey mall which has a capacity to house approximately 450 retailers. Chinese electric vehicle company NIO will open a 1,500-square- metre showroom and clubhouse for NIO car owners, with other tenants including a 5,600 square metre CGC cinema and an Ole supermarket.
72% of Launched Units Sold
To date, Raffles City Chongqing has sold 72 percent of the 772 residential units launched (approximately 556 homes), which are included in the first, second and sixth towers of the development, said Loh. According to a February report by the Edge Singapore, the average price of the condos sold to date is RMB 38,466 per square metre.
At the end of last year, the Chongqing project had sold 546 homes — some 71 percent of the 769 units launched at the time — at an average price of RMB 42,111 per square metre, according to its fourth-quarter financial report.
In 2019, the project will add another 501 homes to its sales pipeline with an additional 268 residential units on the way in 2020. If the projections hold true, the Chongqing development will account for approximately seven percent of the 7,000 units CapitaLand expects to launch in China in 2019.