ERA Daily Research - 27 August

5 BTO projects face delays, 2 public projects affected as contractor Greatearth goes bust

The Straits Times, 27 Aug 2021, Fri   

By Michelle Ng

 Five ongoing Build-To-Order (BTO) housing projects will be delayed and two public projects face possible hold-ups as the main contractor for these sites has gone bust. 

This will impact more than 2,900 home buyers across these affected BTO projects: Sky Vista @ Bukit Batok, Senja Heights and Senja Ridges in Bukit Panjang, and Marsiling Grove in Woodlands.

The fifth one is West Coast Parkview in Clementi, located opposite West Coast Park. This serves as one of the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (Sers) replacement sites for residents in Blocks 513 to 520 West Coast Road.

There are a total of 2,982 units in the five projects.

The two affected public projects are the Mandai Crematorium and Columbarium under the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Gali Batu bus depot under the Land Transport Authority. 

Read more at: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/housing/5-hdb-projects-in-bukit-batok-clementi-bukit-panjang-and-woodlands-face-further

Five BTO projects face delays, two public projects affected as contractor Greatearth goes bust

The Business Times, 26 Aug 2021, Thu 7:13 pm   

FIVE ongoing Build-To-Order (BTO) housing projects will be delayed and two public projects face possible hold-ups as the main contractor for these sites has gone bust. 

This will impact more than 2,900 homebuyers across these affected BTO projects: Sky Vista @ Bukit Batok, Senja Heights and Senja Ridges in Bukit Panjang, and Marsiling Grove in Woodlands. The fifth one is West Coast Parkview in Clementi, located opposite West Coast Park. This serves as one of the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (Sers) replacement sites for residents in Blocks 513 to 520 West Coast Road.

There are a total of 2,982 units in the five projects.

The two affected public projects are the Mandai Crematorium and Columbarium under the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Gali Batu bus depot under the Land Transport Authority. 

On Aug 25, HDB informed the affected homebuyers that the main contractors, two related companies called Greatearth Corporation and Greatearth Construction, had “run into financial difficulties” and the projects would be further delayed.

HDB did not specify the length of the delay, but said homebuyers would be kept updated on the situation once new contractors have been appointed and the construction schedules worked out.

Greatearth informed HDB last week that it was unable to complete the five BTO projects under its management, despite the government assistance provided, HDB said in a statement on Thursday.

HDB said it had explored possible options to resolve Greatearth’s challenges, such as through advance payments, but Greatearth did not have the financial ability to continue operations.

Since Aug 20, all works at the five sites have stopped. Prior to this, the progress of works was satisfactory and there was no sign of work slowdown or any sudden reduction of supplies or workers on site, added HDB.

New contractors will be appointed as soon as possible to complete the remaining works, said HDB. Contingency contractors will be brought in to secure the work sites and carry out housekeeping and mosquito control until new contractors are appointed.

The 230-unit Senja Ridges in Bukit Panjang was earlier slated to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year, while the 552-unit Senja Heights was due to be completed in the first quarter of next year.

The 257-unit Sky Vista @ Bukit Batok was slated to be completed in the third quarter of next year, the 1,246-unit Marsiling Grove in Woodlands in the fourth quarter of next year, and the 697-unit West Coast Parkview in the second quarter of 2023.

The completion dates for these projects had already been pushed back because of manpower and supply disruptions in the construction sector caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“These delays will affect home buyers and disrupt their life plans and they will understandably be disappointed by this latest development,” HDB said in its statement. “HDB will do our utmost to bring the replacement contractor/s on board as soon as possible, to minimise the extent of any delays while ensuring that safety and quality are not compromised.”

Greatearth is a home-grown company that has worked on more than 400 projects, including the Raffles Town Club, Mount Elizabeth Hospital and Nanyang Technological University’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine campuses in Boon Lay and Novena. 

NEA told The Straits Times that it expects the completion date of the new crematorium complex in Mandai to be delayed, given the change of main contractor. It was originally set for the end of next year.

For the Gali Batu bus depot off Woodlands Road, LTA said it is currently in discussion with Gamuda Berhad Singapore, an engineering and construction company that was partnering Greatearth on the project, on how to ensure project continuity and minimise the impact on the completion timeline.

The bus depot, which will be able to accommodate around 500 buses, is currently around 15 per cent completed and is slated to be completed around 2024.

Greatearth has two other ongoing public projects – Bulim Square and the infrastructure in Jurong Innovation District – under JTC Corporation. Both projects were joint ventures with other partners who have agreed to take over and fulfil the contract commitments, said JTC. “At this juncture, we do not foresee delays to the ongoing works resulting from Greatearth’s financial difficulties,” it added. 

Source: https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/five-bto-projects-face-delays-two-public-projects-affected-as-contractor-greatearth-0

Firmus Capital acquires Le Quest Mall in Bukit Batok

The Business Times, 26 Aug 2021, Thu 12:43 pm   

By Vivienne Tay

FIRMUS Capital has acquired Le Quest Mall, a single-storey commercial property at Bukit Batok Street 41. The property is the retail component of private mixed-residential development Le Quest.

The move comes just a month after the private equity real estate investment manager leased a building in Toa Payoh Lorong 8 to electric car maker Tesla.

The latest acquisition brings Firmus' newly launched Firmus Opportunity Fund VCC's total assets under management to S$200 million. The fund is Firmus' inaugural Singapore-focused investment vehicle launched under the Monetary Authority of Singapore's (MAS) variable capital companies framework.

Le Quest Mall has a gross floor area of 64,584 square feet. Its key tenants include FairPrice Finest, Koufu, McDonald's, KFC, Pizza Hut and Guardian Pharmacy.

It is the second shopping mall in Bukit Batok other than the 22-year-old West Mall and is positioned to serve a catchment of some 10,000 households within a 500-metre radius in the Bukit Batok West area and upcoming Tengah estate.

The mall is a five-minute walk from the future Tengah Park MRT Station and Tengah Plantation MRT Station. It also has a direct bus connection from the Bukit Batok and Bukit Gombak MRT Stations.

Le Quest received its temporary occupation permit in March 2020. Its residential component comprises 516 units, all of which have been sold.

Firmus said the mall has the potential to be a last-mile fulfilment hub for retail as well as food and beverage companies offering delivery and click-and-collect services. This comes amid the pandemic and the increased adoption of work-from-home arrangements which have reshaped consumer preference for retail centres closer to home versus the city.

Established in 2017, Firmus operates under the capital markets services licence issued by MAS and the financial services licence issued by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission.

In July, it entered into an agreement to lease its entire Toa Payoh Lorong 8 building to Tesla's Singapore subsidiary for the carmaker's showroom, corporate office and service centre for a period of up to 20 years.

Source: https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/firmus-capital-acquires-le-quest-mall-in-bukit-batok

Selangor Dredging looks to sell conserved freehold building at guide price of S$18.9m

The Business Times, 27 Aug 2021, Fri 5:50am   

By Nisha Ramchandani

WITH Jui Residences recently sold out, Malaysian developer Selangor Dredging Berhad (SDB) is putting a conserved freehold commercial building, which is integrated with the residential development, up for sale at an indicative price tag of S$18.9 million.

SDB purchased the parcel of land along Serangoon Road from National Aerated Water Company in December 2016 for S$47 million, although there were additional development charges to intensify the land use from industrial to residential.

In December 2017, the Urban Redevelopment Authority announced that the main building of the former bottling factory would be partially conserved to salvage a piece of Kallang's industrial history, after the sale reportedly incited some concern among the heritage community that it may be torn down.

"As a boutique property developer with projects in Singapore and Malaysia, our main aim is to develop and sell the product," a spokesperson for SDB told The Business Times, explaining its rationale for putting the commercial building up for sale. "By doing this, we are able to explore other opportunities and new developments along the way. We also do not intend on being (a) landlord at this point of time."

SDB has two other residential projects under construction in Singapore presently - One Draycott at Draycott Park and Myra in Potong Pasir.

Built in 1954, the factory used to house the National Aerated Water Co and was used to bottle popular soft drinks, such as Sinalco, Royal Crown Cola and Kickapoo Joy Juice. Since the sale of the defunct factory to SDB, it has been refurbished and is integrated with the 117-unit freehold Jui Residences, which was fully sold as of last month.

Residential units within the 18-storey tower in District 12 were sold at S$1,600 per square foot (psf) to about S$2,000 psf, the developer said. Jui Residences was soft-launched back in September 2018.

The indicative price of S$18.9 million for the commercial building works out to about S$2,883 psf based on the strata area of about 6,555 sq ft. The two-storey art deco-styled industrial building has a 30-metre-long main road frontage, and features a communal roof terrace (not part of the strata area) with views of the Kallang River. It also offers access to the park connectors along Kallang River.

The property is fully approved for restaurant use on the ground floor and office use on the second floor. It is being put up for sale as a whole, under one strata title, SDB said.

The sale is being conducted through an expression of interest exercise, which kicked off in mid August and will close on Sept 21 at 3pm.

Clemence Lee, senior director (capital markets) for the appointed marketing agent, CBRE, said: "Subject to approval from the relevant authorities, the successful buyer can explore multiple value-add opportunities to unlock further value of the asset. Some options include utilising the sizeable porch as an outdoor refreshment area, or converting the roof terrace into a rooftop cafe, which will appeal to the ready catchment of about 4,900 residential units in the immediate vicinity."

Mr Lee expects that a successful buyer could reap "strong capital appreciation" in the medium to long term, given the building's attributes which include a prime location, freehold tenure, approvals for F&B use on the ground floor, and proximity to two MRT stations. The property is situated 650 metres from Potong Pasir MRT station and 850 metres from Boon Keng MRT station.

Steven Ming, managing partner at Sakal Real Estate Partners, finds the indicative price tag palatable and suggested that the commercial building could potentially attract buyers such as high-net-worth individuals, family offices and boutique real estate funds.

With a location by the riverfront promenade and within walking distance of MRT stations, "the property will appeal to a certain group of occupiers," said Mr Ming. "It offers a different kind of dining experience, while the conservation status adds character."

Mr Ming expects that the F&B space could appeal to hipster restaurant and cafe concepts, while the office space could suit some occupiers seeking an alternative office experience. "There's a general emerging trend of people seeking decentralised office locations nearer (to) homes. This might tick those boxes," he added.

Source: https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/real-estate/selangor-dredging-looks-to-sell-conserved-freehold-building-at-guide-price-of-s189m

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