Top Print Edition Stories
Published February 2, 2007

Della Lee inks conditional deal to sell Meyer Rd properties

Hong Leong unit expected to pay $350m: sources

(SINGAPORE) Della Suantio Lee of Lee Foundation is said to be selling her properties at Meyer Road and plans to move to new homes at Sentosa Cove.

Dr Lee, wife of Lee Seng Gee, the eldest son of the late China-born philanthropist Lee Kong Chian, is believed to have signed a conditional agreement to sell the couple's freehold Meyer Road properties, on which stand the lush bungalow they live in. The properties add up to slightly more than 210,000 sq ft of land.

The buyer is said to be a member of the Hong Leong Group.

The price is believed to be about $350-360 million, which works out to about $710-730 psf per plot ratio including an estimated $74 million development charge that Hong Leong will have to pay to the state.

The unit price is about 20 per cent higher than the previous record in the area - set in early 2000 when Viewpoint Condo was sold to Keppel Land for $598 psf ppr including DC. A couple of months before that, in November 1999, DBS Land bought First Mansion and Meyer Tower nearby for about $580 psf ppr.

The Meyer Road sites being sold by the Lees are zoned for residential use with a 2.8 plot ratio - the ratio of potential maximum gross floor area to land area - and a 36-storey height limit. The land can be redeveloped into a condo of about 330 units averaging 1,800 sq ft.

Assuming Hong Leong pays about $710-730 psf ppr for the site, its breakeven cost for a new luxury condo there could be about $1,200 psf.

The Lees have lived in their Meyer Road bungalow for many years but are expected to move to their new bungalows being built at Sentosa Cove. Dr Lee bought two bungalow sites at Sentosa Cove - one fronting the sea and another behind it, but separated by a road, facing the waterway.

When Dr Lee bought the seafront plot back in late 2003 - under the maiden tender of land parcels in the upscale housing district - she paid the highest unit land price for a bungalow plot of $456 psf during the tender.

On hindsight, that was a wise buy - prices of 99-year leasehold seafront bungalow plots at Sentosa Cove have now crossed $1,300 psf.

Savills, which is understood to have some involvement in the Meyer Rd deal, declined to comment when contacted.

Hong Leong Group is no stranger to the Meyer Road area. It developed The Atria at Meyer and The Makena during the 1990s property bull run.

More recently, in September 2005, it bought Eastern Mansion further up Meyer Road, closer to Amber Road, and an adjoining site at a combined unit land price of about $410 psf ppr, according to an earlier report.