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Market St Car Park may be redeveloped into offices

The total project cost could range from $1 billion to $1.5 billion

CAPITACOMMERCIAL Trust (CCT) has been granted outline planning permission by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) to redevelop Market Street Car Park into an office tower that could cost up to $1.5 billion.

Lynette Leong, chief executive of CCT’s manager CapitaCommercial Trust Management Ltd, said the viability of the project would depend on the development premium to be paid for changing the use of the 58,964 sq ft site from a car park to an office tower.

The premium will depend on the enhancement in land value as assessed by the chief valuer, which CCT expects to be made known by May.

Ms Leong said the outline permission is subject to the payment of 100 per cent of the enhancement in land value, instead of the standard 70 per cent, as well as there being no extension of the present lease, which runs to 2073.

Assuming a land value for 99-year commercial land of $900 psf per gross floor area, and adjusting for the shorter leasehold of the site, CCT estimates the land and development premium to be $800 psf.

Including construction and other costs, the project cost would be $1.25 billion.

But CCT said that depending on the development premium, the total project cost could range from $1 billion to $1.5 billion.

Assuming that necessary approvals are granted, a new office tower with an estimated gross floor area of 850,000 sq ft could be built within 36 or 40 months. Ms Leong said that existing tenants, who only moved into

Market Street Car Park in end-2006 after a $14 million renovation, will be given notice soon.

Currently, there are 704 car parking spaces, 28 tenants, and 21,205 sq ft of net lettable area. As at June 1, it was valued at $59 million.

Saying that CCT has no plans to divest the office tower if built, Ms Leong added: ‘When completed, the property would augment the core assets in CCT’s portfolio which currently includes landmark office buildings such as Capital Tower and 6 Battery Road.’

She said she was bullish on the office sector. While she did not reveal estimated yields for the development, she said that it was looking at projected rents of $12-$14 psf per month.

The outline planning consent comes years after CCT parent CapitaLand first mooted plans to redevelop both Market Street Car Park and Golden Shoe Car Park.

It was reported that the URA first rejected redevelopment plans for the car parks as earlier as in the mid-1990s when the properties belonged to the now defunct Pidemco.

Ms Leong said there are currently no plans to redevelop Golden Shoe Car Park, although it has also applied for a change of use for the site.


Source: Business Times 4 Jan 08


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