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Govt sees potential in Rochor area remake

Plans not firm but it intends the area to complement Marina Bay development

(SINGAPORE) The government intends to remake the Ophir Road/Rochor Road corridor into a commercial centre that will complement the Marina Bay area, Minister of State for National Development Grace Fu said yesterday.

‘This area could be developed as a mixed-use corridor featuring offices, hotels and other supporting uses, connecting the established commercial node at Marina Centre to the Bugis area,’ Ms Fu said. ‘The corridor will inject vibrancy and activities into this part of the city.’

Ms Fu was speaking at the signing of the building agreement for a 3.5-hectare mixed-use site along Beach Road.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) awarded the site to Singapore-listed City Developments and its foreign partners Istithmar (part of the Dubai World Group) and Elad Group in September for some $1.69 billion.

‘The government intends to build on the momentum by developing the land parcels along Beach Road and at the Ophir Road/Rochor Road corridor,’ Ms Fu said.

The URA will release more details of the plans for the Beach Road/Ophir Road corridor early next year, Ms Fu said, but she did not provide a timeline for the development of the area.

The authorities could partner both local and foreign developers to draw up development plans, she said.

In fact, there is increasing foreign interest in real estate investment in Singapore, Ms Fu said.

Foreign real estate investment in Singapore has come to about $8.8 billion for the year-to-date, Ms Fu said. The amount is an increase of 66 per cent over the 2006 total of $5.3 billion.

The amount also represents a huge jump over the amount of foreign real estate investments seen in 2005 and 2004.

For 2005, foreign investment came to $4.1 billion and in 2004, the figure was only $800 million.

‘This dramatic increase reflects the optimistic economic outlook and development potential in Singapore,’ Ms Fu said.

The Beach Road project marks the first participation of Istithmar and Elad, two major international investors, in a government land tender in Singapore.

Dubai World – which is the investment holding firm of the Dubai government – and Elad Group each have a one third stake in the Beach Road project.

Together with CityDev, the consortium will invest some $2.5 billion in all to build the project, CityDev said yesterday. The amount includes the land cost of $1.69 billion.

Dubai World is merging its two subsidiaries Nakheel and Istithmar Real Estate into a single unit as it looks to increase its property portfolio in Asia, Yu Lai Boon, the group’s chief investment officer, said. He added that the group hopes to invest some US$50 billion in Asia over the next 10 to 15 years.

Dubai World is set to raise $300 million with its first listed property trust by June next year.

The real estate investment trust, which will be based on Dubai World’s residential properties in the United Arab Emirates, will be listed in Dubai and have a secondary listing in either London or Singapore.


Source: Business Times 5 Dec 07


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