60% of Hong Leong’s Penrose Condo Sold Over Launch Weekend

SINGAPORE – The Hong Leong group sold 60.3 per cent of its Penrose condominium over its launch weekend, with the reception among buyers in line with recent data showing bullish new home sales defying the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

As at 5pm on Sunday (Sept 27), 341 units out of 566 in the 99-year leasehold development in Sims Drive had been taken up, said Hong Leong in a media release.

The units were sold at prices starting from $788,000 for a one-bedroom apartment, $943,000 for a two-bedder, $1.33 million for a three-bedder and $2.11 million for a four-bedder, said Hong Leong in a media release on Sunday.

The condo’s apartments sizes range from 474 sq ft for a one-bedroom unit to 1,389 sq ft for a four-bedroom unit.

Take-up was good across all unit types, with the selling price working out to $1,500 to $1,700 per sq ft, said Hong Leong.

It added that nearly 85 per cent of the weekend’s buyers were Singaporeans, with permanent residents and foreigners making up the rest. “Keen interest was also seen from HDB upgraders across areas islandwide,” the company added.

Sales of new homes – mostly newly-launched condominiums – hit an 11-month high last month, defying the Hungry Ghost Month, and more importantly, the pandemic, the resultant recession and a surge in job losses.

Market observers have ascribed this to pent-up demand after Singapore’s two-month circuit breaker upended sales and planned launches. But other reasons given for the surge in new home sales were more buyers parking their money in property, which they see as a safe-haven asset amid an uncertain economy and volatile markets, and record-low interest rates making it seem a “good time” to get a home loan.

Ms Betsy Chng, head of sales and marketing at Hong Leong Holdings, said “timing and sensitive pricing” were the main factors behind the good response to the Penrose’s sales launch.

“Given the current climate, it is crucial to identify the right timing and price our projects thoughtfully according to market sentiments and each project’s value that includes location, design, and quality interiors,” she added.

The project is jointly developed by Hong Leong Holdings and City Developments, another member of the group. The District 14 development, which comprises five 18-storey towers, is a short walk to Aljunied MRT station and near the Pan-Island Expressway and Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway. The Central Business District and Orchard Road are about 15 minutes’ drive away.

Property experts said new home sales may start to moderate in the coming months as pent-up demand from local buyers is absorbed into the market. But the gradual reopening of the economy and the setting up of fast lanes for essential travel could also result in more foreign demand for private homes here.

In line with Covid-19 preventive measures, balloting and booking of Penrose units were done virtually via Zoom. Online balloting began on Friday to determine the queue sequence of buyers for booking day, which started on Saturday.


Penrose Condo Early-Bird Prices Start From S$788,000 at the Preview this Weekend

A 99-YEAR leasehold condominium jointly developed by Hong Leong Holdings and City Developments Limited will begin previews by appointment from Sept 12, Hong Leong Group said in a statement on Wednesday.

Early-bird prices for Penrose condominium, which is located at Sims Drive in District 14, start from S$788,000 for units with one bedroom, S$943,000 for those with two bedrooms, S$1.33 million for three bedrooms and S$2.11 million for four bedrooms.

The development comprises five 18-storey towers housing 566 units. Sizes of one-bedroom units start from 474 square feet (sq ft), 646 sq ft for two-bedroom units, 936 sq ft for three-bedroom units, and 1,389 sq ft for four-bedroom units.

The temporary occupation permit is expected to be obtained in July 2024, Hong Leong Group said.

Facilities at Penrose condominium include a childcare centre, 50-metre swimming pool, wellness gardens, a rooftop sky garden with unblocked views, as well as a pavilion for social gatherings and a treehouse pavilion.

The development is a 15-minute drive from the central business district and Orchard Road, and a six-minute walk to Aljunied MRT station. The neighbourhood is also linked to other parts of Singapore by the Pan Island Expressway and the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway.

Geylang Methodist School and Canossa Catholic Primary School are a five-minute and 15-minute walk away respectively.

Nearby hawker centres include Sims Vista Market & Food Centre, Haig Road Market & Cooked Food Centre and Old Airport Road Food Centre. There are cafes and restaurants in the neighbouring Katong and Joo Chiat districts, as well as shopping malls nearby, including Paya Lebar Quarter and Kallang Wave Mall.

Penrose condominium is also “well-positioned” to tap new growth areas, Hong Leong Group said. These include Kampong Bugis and the Kallang River precinct. The latter will see a rejuvenation of the waterfront with new walkways and cycling routes.

Hong Leong Holdings’ head of sales and marketing Betsy Chng said the project is “well-priced and within the reach of most Singaporeans looking to invest or simply to buy a beautiful and functional home to stay”.

The Penrose condominium sales gallery is located along Geylang Road, with vehicle access via Kallang Airport Drive.


GuocoLand’s Mega Project Gets Bigger with Addition of $800m Site

Singapore property developer GuocoLand’s Guoco Midtown integrated mixed-use project has grown its footprint by acquiring a Government Land Sales site in Tan Quee Lan Street for $800.19 million.

Sitting directly above Bugis MRT station, the site will enable the developer to enlarge the $2.4 billion project’s retail and residential offerings. GuocoLand hopes to play its part in the transformation of the Beach Road/ Ophir-Rochor Corridor.

The combined site area will be 50 per cent larger than the existing project, adding up to 3.2ha and almost 1.5 million sq ft of total gross floor area. When completed in the first half of 2022, the entire project is expected to bring an additional 10,000 office workers, residents and visitors into the area daily.

Midtown Bay, a 33-storey tower comprising 219 one-to three-bedroom units spanning 409 sq ft to 1,324 sq ft, will be the only residential launch in an integrated development in the Central Business District (CBD) in the coming year.

To be launched for sale on Saturday, prices for a one-bedroom unit start at $1.38 million, while prices for a two-bedroom unit start at $2.08 million – an estimated starting price of about $3,000 per sq ft (psf) and $2,800 psf respectively, analysts say.

Mr Cheng Hsing Yao, group managing director of GuocoLand Singapore, said: “Midtown Bay is created for an urban lifestyle that integrates living, working and entertaining… It blurs the lines between home and office.”

He added that the Tan Quee Lan Street site will focus on family-sized and larger units.

“Guoco Midtown already has a basement connection to Bugis MRT station via Duo’s basement 2 shopping street. With the Tan Quee Lan site, we will be adding another connection that is much more direct between the MRT station and Guoco Midtown.”

The developer said it is looking at introducing public spaces on the Tan Quee Lan Street level, surrounded by food and beverage and retail options.

“But can the market take $3,000 psf in the Beach Road area for a 99-year leasehold? That would redefine the pricing of the Beach Road area as being equivalent to that of District 9,” said a real estate analyst.

Guoco Midtown will anchor the expansion of the CBD, said GuocoLand group president and chief executive Raymond Choong. While Guoco Midtown is located within the City Hall business district, the project will help anchor and consolidate three business districts including in Marina Centre and Bugis.

Mr Choong envisions Guoco Midtown to change the profile of the Beach Road area. To that end, the developer is building Midtown Hub, an 80,000 sq ft members-only business and social club that consists of private office suites, networking lounges and meeting and conference facilities. There will be collaborative work spaces, rooms for private gatherings and large rooms for events of up to 200 people.

The hub is an important part of the development’s leasing strategy.

“The hub will include two floors for the main office tenants to set up business laboratories or smaller office suites for shorter-term leasing… We are opening this hub to residents of Midtown Bay. The idea is open access to the meeting, entertaining and networking facilities of the hub for the residents,” said Mr Choong.

Mr Dominic Lee, head of PropNex’s luxury team, said: “It’s like having a WeWork space within the development.”


Guoco Midtown to Jazz Up Beach Road and Feature New Flexible Leasing Concept

SINGAPORE – The Beach Road area is set for a fillip with the addition of a $2.4 billion mega mixed-use development, further cementing the Ophir-Rochor corridor as a work-live-play hot spot near the Central Business District.

Guoco Midtown by GuocoLand will feature a 30-storey office block, a residential tower with more than 200 units and an array of public spaces across a gross floor area of almost 1 million sq ft.

Set to be completed in the first half of 2022, it also comprises the conserved three-storey former Beach Road Police Station, which will house food and beverage outlets and boutique offices.

Explaining the project’s name, Mr Cheng Hsing Yao, group managing director of GuocoLand Singapore, said the developer’s vision for Midtown is for it to be like the midtown areas in many capital cities.

He cited locations in London and New York where exciting and eclectic mixes of shopping, culture, entertainment and prime corporate offices can be found.

“More corporate offices find it attractive to locate in midtown because talent attraction is important.

“It is more attractive (to workers) to be in a location where it’s very mixed with a lot of amenities and shops nearby rather than being in a pure office district,” he said at the unveiling of Midtown’s concept to the media on Monday (April 22) at Guoco Tower in Tanjong Pagar.

Guoco Midtown will have a pedestrian network that connects to Bugis MRT as well as the City Hall, Bugis and Marina Centre districts.

Mr Cheng said the development was planned with key work and lifestyle trends in mind.

This has resulted, for instance, in a new leasing concept for Midtown tenants as they ride the vagaries of business cycles.


For example, a multi-national corporation may want a separate office for innovation teams, or a start-up may scale up.

To that end, flexible and adaptable spaces that make up 15 per cent of office net lettable area will be set aside to give tenants the flexibility to expand or contract their teams without moving or renovating their main offices.

Mr Cheng said rental volatility may well result from the more flexible lease.

“That’s the primary reason why existing grade A offices are managed in a very rigid way, so that they can secure the stability of the rental,” he said.

“But we also realise that if we stay stuck in that sort of mindset, then we are not moving with the needs of our customers.”

He added that a diverse base of tenants will help mitigate the volatility and that in fact, flexibility can be a boon for developers too, leading to better retention rates as tenants do not have to move out when they expand.

Savills Singapore executive director Alan Cheong sees the move as a game-changing real estate solution.

“It is a win-win for both landlord and tenant as industries are being buffeted by disrupters and this makes business planning difficult in an uncertain world. These days, tenants need flexibility in terms of their spatial requirements,” he said.

He added that this would be good when marketing spaces to MNCs, which are often trapped in long-term leases.

He foresees that flexible space offered by developers in future buildings could even go up to 20 per cent or 30 per cent of lettable area.

Mr Raymond Choong, GuocoLand group president and chief executive officer, hopes the Guoco Midtown project will have a similar precinct-wide impact as Guoco Tower, also a mixed-use development, which “injected a fresh vibrancy” into Tanjong Pagar.