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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs   1  January 2014  
Top five developers in Singapore to watch in 2014

Property developers did not have the easiest year, what with the cooling measures imposed in January and the loan curbs in June, but some still managed to do well while others made their first foray abroad.

The Straits Times looks at the top five developers to watch over the next 12 months.


Fresh off the strong sales of Duo Residences at Bugis last month, M+S is riding high. It is expected to launch the much-awaited Marina One within the next six months.

The company is a 40:60 joint venture between Singapore investment firm Temasek Holdings and Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional.

The launch of Marina One, a mixed-use development in Marina South, will be keenly watched, analysts said.

It will span over 3.67 million sq ft in gross floor area - about twice the size of the Duo integrated development at Fraser Street.

Chief operating officer Kemmy Tan said Marina One would offer an "inner-city" location and connectivity.

Consultants say homes there could go for around S$2,800 (US$2,210) to S$3,000 per sq ft (psf).

The Duo integrated development includes Duo Residences, offices, retail space and a five-star hotel.

The 660-unit Duo Residences next to Kampong Glam notched up strong sales when it went on the market last month - about 87 per cent of the 540 units released were sold within the first three days. The average selling price was about S$2,000 psf.

"The intense interest in the Duo launch last month underscored the demand for integrated work-live-play projects that are well-located," Ms Tan said.

"We expect these factors to be key features of the local real estate market in the coming year."

City Developments

Another major project that will hit the market next year is South Beach, a mixed-use development located between Raffles Hotel and Suntec City and next to the Esplanade MRT station.

South Beach, developed by City Developments (CDL) and IOI Corporation, includes homes, offices, retail space and a hotel.

The 190 homes at South Beach Residences are expected to go on sale at around S$3,000 psf, according to analyst reports.

CDL has not announced a launch date for the project, but it is expected to begin sales by the end of March.

The development blends four historic buildings - three former army blocks and the Non-Commissioned Officers Club built in 1952 - with two new towers.

A 29,000 sq ft area will be set aside for a private club.

Renowned British architect Norman Foster has been engaged for the South Beach development.

Leasing for some of the offices is already under way. Rabobank was reported last month to have signed up for about 26,000 sq ft at South Beach Tower.

There will be 34 levels of offices at South Beach Tower, amounting to about 520,000 sq ft of net lettable area.

The South Beach project is expected to be completed in 2015.

CDL said it and its joint venture partners, Hong Leong Holdings and Hong Realty, plan to launch a 944-unit residential project in Pasir Ris and an 845-unit development in Commonwealth Avenue in the first half of next year.

Frasers Centrepoint

Having been infused with fresh cash for acquisitions and a new spirit of daring, Frasers Centrepoint Limited (FCL) could shake up the market next year.

"It needs to bid to build up its land bank, and it will definitely have to come in next year," said Chesterton Singapore research head Elaine Chow.

FCL is expected to be spun off from its parent company, Fraser and Neave (F&N), and listed on the Singapore Exchange on January 9.

The firm used to be quite conservative in bidding for land tenders, but that seems to have changed since Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi took control of F&N.

FCL stunned the market in September with an aggressive bid for a Yishun site.

Its winning bid of S$1.43 billion for the mixed-use plot in Yishun Central 1 was 47 per cent above the next-highest offer, which came to S$969.3 million.

Just a month before, it had won a Telok Ayer commercial site with a bid of S$924 million, which was 19 per cent above the second-highest bid.

Oxley Holdings

Group chief executive Ching Chiat Kwong has grand plans for Oxley Holdings, which made its maiden foray overseas this year.

The local developer has been on an acquisition spree, and now has ventures in Malaysia, Cambodia and China.

Its first move abroad came in May, when it bought a firm with rights to a mixed-use site in Kuala Lumpur.

Last month, it bought Royal Wharf, a 16.2ha mixed-use site on the banks of the River Thames in London, for £200 million (about S$419 million).

Oxley plans to transform the site into an entirely new district with residential units as well as commercial, retail, leisure and educational facilities.

Ching told The Straits Times last month that Oxley hoped to launch the project by August next year, subject to obtaining the necessary approvals.

The company moved from the Singapore Exchange's Catalist board to the mainboard in February.

Oxley is also redeveloping the site of the Pines country club in Stevens Road, which it bought from motoring tycoon Peter Kwee for S$318 million.

It plans to build two eight-storey hotels, two commercial buildings and a four-storey clubhouse on the site. Construction is set to take two to three years.

Kingsford Development

Another developer that could bid aggressively for land over the next 12 months is Kingsford Development, consultants said.

The firm, a fairly new entrant to the Singapore property development scene, is owned by three Chinese nationals.

It made waves last month when it lodged the highest bids for two adjacent private residential plots in Upper Serangoon View, which each attracted eight contenders.

Analysts said Kingsford's high bids were not surprising given that it must compete with established players to shore up its land bank.

It is developing the 512-unit Hillview Peak project in Upper Bukit Timah, although sales for that project have been slow.

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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