Published November 16, 2006

Lippo pays $132m for Kim Seng Plaza

Site is next to plot Lippo bought earlier from OCBC

LIPPO Group has expanded its presence in the River Valley/Kim Seng area, clinching the freehold Kim Seng Plaza for $132 million in the latest collective sale, BT understands.

Kim Seng Plaza: Freehold property zoned for commercial/residential use

It emerged as the highest bidder at the close of a tender yesterday. The tender, handled by Jones Lang LaSalle, is said to have attracted eight bids. Lippo is understood to have pipped City Developments.

The price Lippo is paying reflects a unit land price of $737 per square foot of potential gross floor area (psf ppr), including an estimated $6 million development charge.

This almost matches the $739 psf ppr that Lippo paid for an adjacent freehold site it bought from OCBC early this year. Lippo plans to develop the earlier site into a 230-unit condo, slated for launch in January or February next year.

Lippo is expected to redevelop the Kim Seng Plaza site into a new project with apartments rising from a retail podium block. The development will offer views of the Singapore River.

The 60,400 sq ft Kim Seng Plaza site is zoned for commercial/residential use and has a 3.1 plot ratio, giving it a maximum floor area of 187,200 sq ft. The maximum building height is 35 storeys.

The existing 18-storey Kim Seng Plaza comprises a four-storey podium with shops on the first and second storeys, a 28-lane bowling alley on the fourth storey and apartments from the sixth to 18th storeys of the tower block.

When it launched the tender last month, Jones Lang LaSalle suggested the site could be redeveloped into small office home office (Soho) units, subject to official approval, to capitalise on its central location.

Such a concept would appeal to people who want to work from home and live in a lively neighbourhood with plenty of leisure, recreational and entertainment activities on the doorstep. Kim Seng Plaza is diagonally opposite Allgreen Properties' Great World City mall and near CityDev's Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel.

CityDev is expected to begin previews this weekend of its 175-unit Tribeca freehold condo next to Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel.