SEPTEMBER 08, 2012
Property fund buys former convent
Lucrum pays $34.4m for what will be a 'rental income play'

[SINGAPORE] Home-grown property fund management outfit Lucrum Capital has bought the former CHIJ St Joseph's Convent premises at Hillside Drive off Upper Serangoon Road for $34.4 million.
Lucrum's purchase price works out to $422 per square foot based on a land area of 81,467 sq ft. The property is being sold on a 103-year leasehold tenure by its registered owner, The Lady Superior of the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus in Penang, BT understands.
The church holds 999-year leasehold title on the site starting December 1878.
On site are the former school premises, which are thought to be around 70 years old but which have been vacant when the school moved to Sengkang around 10 years ago.
When contacted, Lucrum Capital director David Batchelor said the property will be a "rental income play". The plan is to stick to the property's current "education" use. Lucrum is mulling whether to spruce up the building and lease it out for rental income or to redevelop the site and build a new structure on it to be leased out for educational use.
However, market watchers say that under Master Plan 2008, the site is zoned for residential use with a 1.4 plot ratio (ratio of potential gross floor area to land area). This means that the plot can be redeveloped into a private residential project up to five storeys, subject to payment of a development charge (DC) to the state for the change of use.
Based on a conversion to residential use, Lucrum's purchase price would translate to a unit land price of $648 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr) including an estimated DC of $39.5 million.
The sale is thought to have been brokered by CBRE, which earlier marketed the property through a tender that closed in mid-August.
Lucrum made the headlines earlier this week when it teamed up with Wee Hur for a $590 million purchase of Thomson View Condominium through a collective sale.
The price reflects a unit land price of $712 psf ppr, taking into account two premiums payable by the site's developers to the state - a differential premium to tap a higher plot ratio and a lease upgrading premium to top up the site's lease from a balance term of 62 years to 99 years.
Talk in the market is that Wee Hur and Lucrum's acquisition is subject to the two premiums payable to the state not exceeding $220 million. The collective sale is also subject to approval from the Strata Titles Board.
Thomson View Condo sits on land area of 540,314 square feet along Upper Thomson Road (opposite Thomson Plaza). The site is zoned for residential use with a 2.1 plot ratio and 24 storeys maximum height under Master Plan 2008, and is close to the recently announced Upper Thomson MRT Station under the upcoming Thomson Line.
Market watchers say the $712 psf ppr unit land price for Thomson View Condo is close to the $720 psf ppr that a UOL Land-Singapore Land joint venture paid at a state tender last month for the neighbouring 99-year leasehold condo plot at Bright Hill Drive.
Meanwhile, another Lucrum tie-up is getting ready to launch a seven-unit cluster housing development at 3 Jalan Ulu Siglap next month.