Published January 10, 2007

Far East buys Bukit Timah en bloc sale site for $55m


FAR East Organization is expanding its presence in the Bukit Timah-Keng Chin roads area. The property giant has paid $55 million for a freehold site owned by wine merchant Hock Tong Bee, descendants of pioneer local architect Seah Eck Jim and other parties.

The deal was brokered by DTZ Debenham Tie Leung late last month.

The $55 million price works out to about $820 psf of potential gross floor area including an estimated $22 million development charge (DC).

In September last year Far East paid $145.5 million for the site next door comprising three adjoining properties - Century Ville, Le Marque and Villa Margaux. This reflected $665 psf per plot ratio inclusive of DC.

This means Far East's average unit land price for the two sets of acquisitions is $708 psf ppr.

In a separate deal brokered by Credo Real Estate and announced yesterday, Far East has just been awarded 25 & 27 Amber Road for $28.1 million. This works out to $478 psf ppr for the 21,242 sq ft freehold site. However, if Far East buys a 1,453 sq ft of adjoining state land, its unit land price will be lowered to $459 psf ppr.

The Amber Rd plot, which can be developed into a boutique apartment project of about 40 units averaging 1,500 sq ft, is next to the leasehold Amberville site that Far East bought last year.

The property giant's acquisition late last month at Bukit Timah/Keng Chin roads involves six land parcels with a total area of 44,976 sq ft. The six comprise Nos 347 and 351 Bukit Timah Rd belonging to Hock Tong Bee, No 349 Bukit Timah Rd owned by Kwok Weng Fai (Mr Seah's grandson), No 353 Bukit Timah Rd (owned by his sister Dawn Kwok and her husband Wee Kok Wah of Stamford Tyres fame), a road reserve (belonging to the estate of Lim Buck Sim (Mr Seah's widow) and No 2 Keng Chin Rd (owned by a neighbour).

The acquisition, with Far East's earlier purchase of Century Ville, Le Marque and Villa Margaux next door, will give the group a combined freehold site of 161,837 sq ft that can be developed into a condo with about 220 units averaging 1,500 sq ft. The site is zoned for residential use with a 2.1 plot ratio - the ratio of potential maximum gross floor area to land area - and 24-storey maximum height, under Master Plan 2003.

Far East's Bukit Timah/Keng Chin Rd acquisition in December cements its position as 2006's No 1 buyer of collective sale sites here, with a total of $893 million of such deals.