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Sentosa Cove turns sea to gold with $3b land sales

Relaunched Pearl Island could see luxury villas going at hefty prices, market watchers say

(SINGAPORE) The combination of sand, sea and location have worked wonders for Sentosa Cove Pte Ltd (SCPL).

It has raised more than $3 billion selling land parcels in its namesake upscale waterfront housing district since late 2003, market watchers have calculated. And by the time SCPL finishes selling the last few land parcels that remain, the total takings are expected to go way over $4 billion.

By the time it is completed, Sentosa Cove will have about 2,500 homes.

The remaining 99-year leasehold plots that the master planner and developer of Sentosa Cove is now left with include four seafronting bungalow plots; the man-made Pearl Island which can be developed into 19 bungalows (this site is being relaunched today) and a plum condo site, dubbed The Pinnacle Collection at the entrance of Sentosa Cove’s marina basin.

The tender for The Pinnacle Collection was launched earlier this month and closes on Dec 12, with a reserve price set at $963.8 million or $1,600 per square foot per plot ratio. But most market watchers expect the winning bid to be much higher.

As for the 159,742.1 sq ft Pearl Island, CB Richard Ellis executive director Li Hiaw Ho expects it to draw bids of $800 to $900 psf of land area. This is about 30 to 46 per cent above the $617 psf that the next-door Sandy Island fetched during an expression of interest that closed in November last year.

Pearl Island was offered for sale during the same exercise but the site was not awarded by SCPL although it received offers above the reserve price.

Pearl Island, which can accommodate up to 19 luxury waterfront villas with private berths in their backyards, will not be sold to individual buyers seeking a plot. Instead, the entire land parcel must be bought at one go, presumably by developers. ‘This is an opportune time for developers to develop and offer luxury waterway villas in Sentosa Cove to satisfy the pent-up demand,’ said Ms Kemmy Tan, general manager of Sentosa Cove.

CBRE said that assuming land bids of $800-900 psf for Pearl Island, prices for the completed individual bungalow units will likely start from $8 million upwards.

Taking a more bullish view, Savills Singapore director of marketing and business development Ku Swee Yong predicts winning bids for Pearl Island will come in at $1,200 to $1,300 psf, reflecting absolute quantums of $191.7 million to $207.7 million.

The breakeven cost works out to about $13 million per bungalow. ‘This still leaves a profit margin for the developer. After all, the owner of a seafronting completed bungalow at Sentosa Cove with a 9,000 sq ft land area is said to be asking for close to $20 million,’ Mr Ku said.

The expression of interest for Pearl Island closes on October 25. Its award will be based solely on price.

SCPL yesterday also revealed that new benchmarks have been achieved for individual bungalow sites during an expression of interest that closed on Sept 4. A waterway plot fetched $1,247 psf of land area – a new high for such a site – while a fairway facing site achieved $1,527 psf, surpassing even the $1,473 psf that a seafronting bungalow site achieved during an expression of interest that closed in May this year.


Source: Business Times 27 Sept 07


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