A Singapore-listed developer headed by a brother of former US president George W Bush has scooped up a residential site for S$840.9 million ($632.5 million), amid a surge of collective sales in the southeast Asian city-state.
The site, Park West at 2-20 Jalan Lempeng, is being acquired by a subsidiary of SingHaiyi Group, of which Neil Bush serves as Non-Executive Chairman. The buyer intends to redevelop the 633,639 square foot (58,867 square metre) site into a property with a maximum gross floor area of about 1.46 million square feet (135,983 square metres), after paying an estimated S$144.6 million to lift the existing title restrictions.
Adding in the estimated premium for a fresh 99-year lease, the site’s total price tag of around S$1.13 billion ($851 million) equates to about S$773 ($581) per square foot of gross floor area. The deal marks the year’s first en bloc residential sale in Singapore and one of the biggest such transactions in the country.
Neil Bush’s SingHaiyi Buys in SG’s Clementi
The buyer of the site is Sing-Haiyi Gold, a 50-50 joint venture between SingHaiyi’s wholly-owned subsidiary SingHaiyi Land and Haiyi Wealth, an entity controlled by Gordon and Celine Tang, according to a statement by SingHaiyi. The Tang husband-and-wife duo are controlling shareholders and directors of SingHaiyi Group, a Singapore-based real estate specialist formed in 2013.
Park West is located near the Clementi MRT station in Clementi, a residential town in western Singapore. The 633,644 square foot property currently has 432 residential units and four shops.
An executive at marketing agent Huttons Asia noted that the regular shape of the plot and its attractive location — near the One-North R&D Park and the planned Jurong Lake business district — offers good redevelopment opportunity. The winning developer can choose to build anywhere from 1,200 to 1,700 units, with an average size ranging from 750 to 1,100 square feet.
Owners Cash in on Collective Sale Wave
The successful deal represents the third collective sale attempt by the unit owners of Park West, following failed efforts in 2007 and 2011. The property was put on the market last month with an asking price of S$818 million, after more than 80 percent of the owners consented to the en bloc sale.
Although SingHaiyi’s filing indicates a maximum gross floor area of about 1.46 million square feet for the redevelopment project, Huttons Asia commented to the media that the site can yield about 1.33 million square feet, which would imply a land cost of S$850 per square foot of plot ratio.
Collective sales of housing projects in Singapore totalled S$8.6 billion ($6.4 billion) last year compared to just over S$1 billion ($750 million) in 2016. The en bloc mania reflects a broader optimism in the country’s property market, with analysts forecasting price growth ranging from five to ten percent in 2018.
The sale of Park West is one of the largest en bloc transactions in Singapore over the past year, trailing closely behind the S$970 million sale of the Tampines Court public housing project in August and the S$906.7 million deal for the Amber Park freehold project in October.
SingHaiYi Builds Up Singapore Portfolio
In the statement, SingHaiyi said the acquisition of the site in an established residential area would allow the group to expand its development portfolio in Singapore. SingHaiyi has built a portfolio of public residential and executive condominium (a hybrid of public and private housing) projects in the city-state, as well as a commercial redevelopment project, 9 Penang Road.
The company also ventured into distressed assets in the US in 2013, buying the Tri-County Mall in Cincinatti, Ohio and Vietnam Town, a commercial condo project in San Jose, California, and followed that up by acquiring San Francisco condo development 5 Thomas Mellon Circle.
The company, formerly called SingXpress, appointed Neil Bush, the fourth of six children of former president George H W Bush, as non-executive chairman in 2013 after the Singapore-based Tang couple decided to expand their business into the US. Bush and the Tangs had been longstanding business partners via Oregon-based hotel owner and operator American Pacific International Capital (APIC).
SingHaiyi, which has also invested in a mall portfolio in Malaysia, proposed a $143 million rights issue for property investments in December.