The Business Times, November 28, 2007
By ARTHUR SIM
WESTWOOD Apartments at Orchard Boulevard has been sold for $435 million or a unit price of $2,525 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr), making it the most expensive site to be sold by collective sale to date.
In June, The Ardmore was sold for $262 million or $2,337 psf ppr.
The price achieved for Westwood Apartments is perhaps all the more remarkable as it comes after the US sub-prime crisis rocked markets around the world recently.
Sold to Malaysia's YTL Corp, the deal was brokered by Savills Singapore. Savill's director (Investment Sales) Steven Ming added: 'It's a good shot in the arm for the market as it has not been as hot as it was in the first half of the year.'
Mr Ming would only reveal that 'a handful' of bidders took part in the tender. But he added: 'That the buyer is a foreign investor shows that foreigners are still optimistic on our market.'
Savills is also marketing another four to five collective sale sites, and Mr Ming says that 'there is interest from both foreign and local buyers'.
Westwood Apartments did, however, sell for slightly under the indicative price of $2,800 psf ppr when it was put up for tender about two months ago.
Although investors were expected to bid cautiously, YTL group managing director Francis Yeoh said its bid reflects that YTL is 'bullish on Singapore'.
'I don't think the bid was cautious,' he added.
YTL, which is listed on the Malaysian stock exchange and has a market cap of about US$9 billion, ranks as one of Malaysia's top 20 companies.
The conglomerate, whose businesses include construction, real estate and energy, has already acquired two Sentosa Cove sites.
The breakeven price for a new development at Westwood Apartments is estimated to be between $3,500 and $3,600 psf.
Mr Yeoh would not say what the expected launch price would be but cited the reported $5,000 psf for Ritz Carlton Residences at Cairnhill (RCR) as a possible benchmark.
YTL is the developer for RCR in Kuala Lumpur, and Mr Yeoh said that Westwood Apartments could also be a branded residence.
Mr Yeoh added that its Lakefront Collection development at Sentosa Cove would be branded as Armani Casa. He also did not rule out another Ritz Carlton Residences here. 'There can be two in Singapore,' he said.
The 30-year-old Westwood Apartments sits on a 62,179 sq ft site. It has a permissible plot ratio of 2.8 and has the potential to yield about 43 units of 4,000 sq ft apartments.