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CDL dominates South East Asia Property Awards (Singapore) 2016

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 27th November 2016 in Blog
Best Developer - CDL

CDL took home the year’s highest honour for Best Developer in Singapore.

Property giant City Developments Limited (CDL) emerged as the big winner at the annual South East Asia Property Awards (Singapore) 2016.

A total of 20 awards were handed out last night (24 November) at a glitzy gala dinner at the Shangri-La Hotel.

Now in its sixth year, the prestigious event, which is organised by PropertyGuru Group, aims to honour the country’s top developers and real estate projects.

CDL and its subsidiary Novel Developments swept nine categories at the awards, including the year’s highest honour for Best Developer (Singapore). Qingjian Realty and M+S also took home multiple awards.

CDL dedicated their victory to their late Deputy Chairman Kwek Leng Joo, who pushed for the development of quality, green and sustainable projects for consumers.

Mink Tan, Chief Designer and Architect of MINKKE Architects, who also chaired the judging panel, said: “Time and again CDL delivers. Their experience and consistency in upscale, residential property development is probably unmatched in the real estate scene in Singapore. And the company’s pioneering and continuing initiatives in its sustainability drive is a testament to its genuine concern for the larger world.”

Despite a slow year for new launches, Singapore is still considered a model for many emerging markets in the region, with quality, sustainability and green building as the top priorities for many local developers.

Meanwhile, Francis Koh, Managing Director and Group CEO of Koh Brothers Group, was presented the Real Estate Personality of the Year award by the editors of Property Reportmagazine.

Koh was chosen for his significant contributions to Singapore’s property sector, including his company’s recent infrastructure, civil engineering and eco developments.

Around 400 senior industry executives from the region attended the awards, which was supported by Hansgrohe, Mitsubishi Electric and CNN International.

Full list of Winners and Highly Commended at the South East Asia Property Awards (Singapore):

DEVELOPER

Best Developer
Winner: City Developments Limited (CDL)

Best Boutique Developer
Winner: Chiu Teng Group
Highly Commended: Aurum Land (Private) Limited

 

BEST OF THE BEST

Best Condo Development (Singapore)
Winner: Gramercy Park by City Developments Limited (CDL)

Best Commercial Development (Singapore)
Winner: Marina One by M+S Pte Ltd

Best Housing Development (Singapore)
Winner: Goodwood Grand by Feature (Balmoral) Pte Ltd (Tong Eng Group)

 

SPECIAL AWARDS

Special Recognition in CSR
Winner: City Developments Limited (CDL)
Winner: MCC Land
Winner: MCL Land Limited

Special Recognition in Sustainable Development
Winner: City Developments Limited (CDL)
Winner: M+S Pte Ltd

Best Green Development
Winner: M Social Singapore by Novel Developments Pte Ltd
Highly Commended: Marina One Residences by M+S Pte Ltd

 

DEVELOPMENT

Best Luxury Condo Development
Winner: Gramercy Park by City Developments Limited (CDL)
Highly Commended:Marina One Residences by M+S Pte Ltd

Best High-End Condo Development
Winner:Thomson Impressions by NS Property (Thomson) Pte Ltd
Highly Commended: The Creek @ Bukit by Chiu Teng Group

Best Landed Development
Winner: Goodwood Grand by Feature (Balmoral) Pte Ltd (Tong Eng Group)
Highly Commended: Morris Residences by Goodland Group Ltd

Best Executive Condo Development
Winner: Ecopolitan by Qingjian Realty (Punggol Way) Pte Ltd
Highly Commended:Bellewaters by Qingjian Realty (Anchorvale) Pte Ltd
Highly Commended:Bellewoods by Qingjian Realty (Woodlands) Pte Ltd
Highly Commended:Sol Acres by MCL Land Limited

Best Hotel Development
Winner: M Social Singapore by Novel Developments Pte Ltd
Highly Commended: Louis Kienne Serviced Residences by Peninsula Park Residences Pte Ltd (Pollux Properties Ltd)

Best Mixed-Use Development
Winner: Marina One by M+S Pte Ltd
Highly Commended: Centrium Square by Feature Development Pte Ltd (Tong Eng Group)

Best Office Development
Winner: Marina One Offices by M+S Pte Ltd
Highly Commended: Centrium Square by Feature Development Pte Ltd (Tong Eng Group)

 

DESIGN

Best Residential Interior Design
Winner: Bellewoods by Qingjian Realty (Woodlands) Pte Ltd
Highly Commended:Sol Acres by MCL Land Limited

Best Hotel Architectural Design
Winner: M Social Singapore by Novel Developments Pte Ltd

Best Hotel Interior Design
Winner: M Social Singapore by Novel Developments Pte Ltd

Best Landscape Architectural Design
Winner: Sol Acres by MCL Land Limited
Highly Commended: Bellewoods by Qingjian Realty (Woodlands) Pte Ltd
Highly Commended: Ecopolitan by Qingjian Realty (Punggol Way) Pte Ltd
Highly Commended: Thomson Impressions by NS Property (Thomson) Pte Ltd

 

PUBLISHER’S CHOICE

Real Estate Personality of the Year
Francis Koh
Managing Director and Group CEO
Koh Brothers Group Limited

credits: propertyguru

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Eye on Queenstown: Queen of the towns

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 25th November 2016 in Blog
Eye on Queenstown: Queen of the towns

The old HDB flats on Stirling Road are still there today, a tell-tale sign of Queenstown’s long history. (Photos: Cheryl Marie Tay)

Singapore’s oldest satellite town has kept up with the times and seen many modern developments spring up across it. But even it progresses, pockets of history are still visible throughout the estate, and it is this mix of old and new that attracts many to Queenstown.

by Cheryl Marie Tay

Singapore may be only 51 years old, but its history began much earlier than 1965. And as the country’s oldest satellite town, Queenstown has certainly seen plenty of changes over the years.

Located on the south-westernmost edge of central Singapore, its very name is a rather transparent reference to Singapore’s heritage as a former British colony. Indeed, Queenstown was so christened after the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II, to mark her coronation in 1952.

Thanks to the estate’s obvious association with British royalty, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made a stop in Queenstown during their visit to Singapore in September 2012.

The estate is surrounded by Bukit Merah on its eastern and south-eastern sides, Bukit Timah on its northern side, Clementi on its western and north-western sides, Selat Pandan on its southern and south-western sides, and Tanglin on its north-eastern side.

Its 16 subzones include Buona Vista, Commonwealth, Dover, Ghim Moh, Holland Drive, Kent Ridge, Margaret Drive, Mei Chin, Pasir Panjang, Portsdown, Queensway and Tanglin Halt, while its main housing estates include Duchess Estate, Princess Estate and Queen’s Close.

A village in a valley

Before the 1950s, Queenstown was merely a swampy valley flanked by hills, with a rubber plantation on one side and a cemetery on the other. There was also a village in the area, called Bo Beh Kang, which was populated mainly by Hokkien- and Teochew-speaking inhabitants in attap huts.

Until 1942, these residents grew vegetables and fruits and reared chickens and pigs for a living. In 1947, however, the Housing Committee of Singapore published a report highlighting the problem of inadequate housing in the country.

As a solution, the report proposed having Singapore’s population decentralised away from city areas by establishing self-contained suburban residential estates. This was supposedly influenced by post-war Britain’s New Town initiative.

A successful start

The Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) eventually chose Queenstown for housing development, thanks to its proximity to Singapore’s first public housing project, Tiong Bahru, which had proven to be a success.

The construction of Queenstown’s first public housing neighbourhood, Princess Margaret Estate (named after Queen Elizabeth II’s younger sister), commenced in July 1952, with a preliminary batch of three-room flats ready for occupation by late 1953.

This grew to over 1,000 one-, two- and three-room flats and 68 terrace houses by 1956, and included the 14-storey Forfar House, which was the tallest HDB block in Singapore then. It was considered such a prominent landmark at the time, there was even a ceremony held in October 1956 in its honour.

Simply known as Block 39, it contained 106 three-room flats, four stores and a kopitiam. However, 40 years after it was first built, it was demolished under the Selective En-bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS).

Queenstown was fully developed as a public housing estate by 1970, and its success led to Buona Vista and Holland Village following the same route.

Into the 21st century

Today, Queenstown is still a thriving, self-sustaining residential estate. Its demographics have shifted somewhat since it was built, with more senior citizens residing in the area now than in most other estates in Singapore. They live mostly in the older two- and three-room HDB flats in the area.

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Thanks to urban renewal efforts in the 2000s, residential developments such as SkyTerrace and SkyVille at Dawson (in Princess Estate) have drawn younger homebuyers to Queenstown. In fact, the SCDA Architects-designed SkyTerrace recently won an award from the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) for International Excellence. Margaret Drive has also been redeveloped, such that it is now a modern neighbourhood that affords residents a high level of convenience.

Of course, the older residents are still catered to; a new nursing home at Margaret Drive will open in 2017, and will provide care and rehabilitation to the elderly who have been discharged from the hospital but still require some medical care while recovering. It will also have a senior care centre to help families look after their elderly member in the day, while the former are at work.

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Amenities galore

There are many schools — including renowned educational institutions — in Queenstown, a plus point for parents of school-going children of any age. From primary (Fairfield, New Town and Queenstown) and secondary schools (Anglo-Chinese Independent, Fairfield Methodist, Queensway) to tertiary (Anglo-Chinese Junior College, the National University of Singapore, Singapore Polytechnic) and even international institutions (Anglo-Chinese International, Global Indian International School, United World College of Southeast Asia), the Queenstown Planning Area has no shortage of schools.

Other amenities include Alexandra Hospital, National University Hospital (NUH), Anchorpoint Shopping Centre, Queensway Shopping Centre, The Star Vista and of course, Queenstown MRT station.

Those who prefer to be away from large crowds can eschew the shopping malls for Kent Ridge Park and HortPark. If you’re in the mood for something a little different, go to Haw Par Villa, a theme park brimming with Chinese mythology and folklore; it features more than 1,000 statues and 150 giant dioramas depicting scenes from Chinese legend and history.

There is also plenty of food to be had here. The estates numerous hawker centres include ABC Brickworks Market, Alexandra Village Food Centre and Tanglin Halt Hawker Centre. Of course, there is also Singapore’s first IKEA outlet on Alexandra Road, where you can have the Swedish furniture giant’s famous meatballs after a day of furniture shopping.

Hankering for the past

Though Queenstown has kept up with the times and continued to attract both residents and visitors, some still miss the Queenstown of old.

For 32-year-old Singaporean filmmaker Sivaraj Pragasm, it was his first home. Born in 1984, he grew up in Queenstown. After spending the first 15 years of his life living there, his family moved in July 1999 to Sengkang, where he still lives today.

He reminisces about the reputed “kampong spirit” we’ve all heard about, but may not have experienced: “Queenstown was a world of its own. It had a lot of charm because the buildings were pretty old and the people there had been living there since the 1950s and 1960s, so neighbours knew one another.

“You could leave the front door open without any issues. Food there was great because you could either go to Tanglin Halt, Margaret Drive or Stirling Road, all within walking distance of each one another. I also remember spending a lot of time at Queenstown Shopping Centre when I was younger.”

Comparing life in Queenstown with that in Sengkang, he says: “(Life in Queenstown) has never been — and can ever be — replicated by living here in Sengkang, simply because the demographics are different and it’s very sterile, considering it’s an entirely new town.”

Pragasm still visits Queenstown these days, “for old time’s sake”, and is — perhaps unsurprisingly — rather saddened by the rapidly disappearing landmarks and symbols of his childhood.

He says, “Most of the Queenstown that I grew up with has disappeared. Entire blocks of flats are being torn down, and the stalls at the hawker centre that I used to go to are no longer around, except maybe that famous Western food stall at Tanglin Halt, which I think is called A1 Western.”

Pragasm’s mood does lighten considerably when asked to recommend what one should eat and do in Queenstown: “I would highly recommend A1 Western. There are some heritage trails and tours that are run by non-profit organisations in Queenstown, so I would recommend checking that out.

“There’s also a Facebook group called My Queenstown that brings Queenstown residents, past and present, together. There are a lot of old photos of Queenstown you can find on the site that really show the rich history of the place.”

Continuing progress

Still, as it has been for a long time in Singapore, progress will continue, nostalgia notwithstanding. New developments continue to spring up all over the island, and Queenstown is no exception.

One of the upcoming residential projects in the estate is Queens Peak by MCC Land. Located on Dundee Road, the condominium development will contain 736 units across two towers. The unit types will range from one- to five-bedroom apartments and will also include penthouse units with private pools.

The development will also feature communal sky gardens within its curvilinear façade, and is situated just opposite Queenstown MRT station, as well as close to Alexandra Village Food Centre and ABC Brickworks Market, both of which offer a wide range of delectable local cuisines.

History amid modernity

Still, if you’re looking for some nostalgic indulgence, you can take a stroll along some of the older neighbourhoods in Queenstown, like those at Tanglin Halt and Stirling Road.

Also on Stirling is Tiong Ghee Temple, which was built in 1912 as a shrine to Guan Gong, the god of protection. Originally called Bo Beh Kang End Village Ghee Tiong Temple (after the aforementioned village where it was located), it was expanded in 1931, both physically and in terms of its roster of gods, with Tua Pek Kong joining the fold.

EO10703

Tiong Ghee Temple’s history dates back to 1912, when it was located in Bo Beh Kang village.

Interestingly, Bo Beh Kang village remained mostly unharmed during World War II, and residents attributed this to the protection of the gods. As a result, every 12 May and 23 August on the lunar calendar, events are held at the temple so devotees can express gratitude to the gods through a series of rituals.

The temple was renamed Tiong Ghee temple in 1968, after a temple committee was formed and had it registered as a religious institution; it was then moved to its current location on Stirling Road.

You can see the temple and other such historical sites in Queenstown by signing up for heritage tours conducted by My Queenstown Heritage Trail (bit.ly/2gaEDMu).

credits: propertyguru

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HDB launches 10,118 flats in November sales exercise

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 24th November 2016 in Blog
HDB image-crop

New HDB flats accounted for more than half of the units launched for sale. 

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) launched 10,118 flats for sale on Tuesday (22 November) in its largest sales exercise in 2016.

Build-To-Order (BTO) flats accounted for more than half of the units launched for sale, with 5,110 units spread across nine projects. Of these, three projects are located in the non-mature estate of Punggol, while the other six are within the mature estates of Bedok, Bidadari and Kallang Whampoa.

Excluding grants, prices for the flats range from $80,000 for a 2-room Flexi flat in Punggol to $503,000 for a 5-roomer in Bedok.

Meanwhile, the remaining 5,008 balance flats are spread across 11 non-mature and 14 mature estates.

“They comprise 635 units of 2-room Flexi, 1,266 units of 3-room, 2,233 units of 4-room, 837 units of 5-room, 23 units of 3Gen, 13 units of executive flats, and one unit of Multi-Generation flat,” said the HDB.

Prices start from $75,000, excluding grants, for a 2-room Flexi unit in a non-mature town to $525,000 for an executive flat in a mature town.

The Housing Board noted that the launch brings the total BTO and balance flats supply this year to 17,891 and 10,178 units, respectively. This works out to a total flat supply of 28,069 units.

Lim Yong Hock, Key Executive Officer at PropNex Realty, expects flats in mature estates to receive a higher subscription rate of between four to eight times, while those non-mature estates will see a subscription rate of one to three times.

“HDB BTO overall subscription rates for this year have dropped from 4.7 in February to 3.7 in May and 2.3 in August,” he noted.

“We predict that this last BTO launch for the year will see an average rate of three to five times due to more matured estates released this time round.”

The latest exercise will close on 28 November.

The next BTO launch will be held in February 2017, with about 4,100 flats offered in Clementi, Punggol, Tampines and Woodlands.

credits: propertyguru

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HK billionaire buys Asia’s priciest apartments

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 23rd November 2016 in Blog
HK billionaire buys Asia’s priciest apartments

A HK billionaire has bought not just one, but two luxury apartments at Mount Nicholson. Source: Getty Images

Hong Kong billionaire Edwin Leong Siu-hung has acquired the most expensive apartments in Asia, reported the South China Morning Post.

Apparently, Leong bought two adjoining luxury apartments on 8 November at Wheelock Properties’ Mount Nicholson development at The Peak for an average price of HK$104,803 psf (S$19,224 psf), breaking the record price for Asian homes on a psf basis.

The 64-year old property investor paid a total of HK$912 million (S$167 million) for the two apartments, which have a combined area of 8,702 sq ft.

With a net worth of US$3.9 billion (S$5.5 billion), the founder and chairman of property developer Tai Hung Fai Enterprise was ranked the 17th richest person in Hong Kong by Forbes this year.

The purchase was made just three days after the Hong Kong government increased the country’s residential property stamp duty to 15 percent for those buying their second and subsequent houses, but Leong told local newspaper Oriental Daily that he does not have any other properties under his name.

credits: propertyguru

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UOL to launch new projects in Clementi, Potong Pasir in next two years

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 22nd November 2016 in Blog
The Clement Canopy land site

The Clement Canopy in Clementi is set to be launched in early 2017. (Photo: URA)

Property developer UOL Group is planning to launch two new residential projects in Clementi and Potong Pasir over the next two years, reported Singapore Business Review, citing a report from OCBC Investment Research.

The Clement Canopy, a 505-unit condominium in Clementi in which UOL owns a 50 percent stake, is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2017.

Raintree Gardens in Potong Pasir, which was acquired by the group via an en bloc sale with UIC Ltd, will be redeveloped into a 750-unit project that will hit the market in 2018.

UOL has seen healthy sales at its previously launched Singapore projects. The 797-unit Botanique at Bartley recorded a take-up rate of 96 percent, while Principal Garden and Riverbank @ Fernvale are 43 percent and 78 percent sold, respectively.

The three projects obtained their Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) in September 2015 and May 2016, respectively.

With this, the group’s revenue for the quarter climbed 11 percent year-on-year to $393 million, on the back of higher topline contributions across its hotel, property development and property investment segments.

Property development revenue, for instance, jumped 19 percent year-on-year to $207 million due to higher progressive recognition from Botanique at Bartley, Riverbank @ Fernvale and Principal Garden, said OCBC.

credits: propertyguru

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Private sector to be more involved in govt development plans

Posted by Singapore Property Launch on 21st November 2016 in Blog
Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore

Selling larger land parcels, such as the government did at Marina Bay, will be one of the methods used in future development plans.

The government aims to increase the involvement of the private sector in its development plans, as part of its strategies to boost the economy, reported Today.

During the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore’s (Redas) 57th anniversary dinner, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong — who used the development plans at Marina Bay as an example — said one of the possible partnership models is the “master developer approach”.

At Marina Bay, the government had put out significantly larger land parcels instead of following the previous practice of tendering smaller plots of land for sale.

“Prior to Marina Bay, the way in which we sold land in Singapore was to sell land on a plot-by-plot basis. For Marina Bay, we did something different. We put out much larger land plots for the first time. It allowed the developer to optimise different uses and build in a more integrated manner,” said Wong.

“Because it was a much larger plot of land, we also helped to mitigate the risk by giving the developer options to phase out the project. So you don’t have to pay everything upfront in one cash outlay.”

Notably, London has used a similar approach in areas such as King’s Cross Central and Canary Wharf.

Another partnership model being considered by the government is the setting up of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), where businesses spearhead improvements in a defined commercial area.

“Under a BID, the property owners and retailers will be represented and they will have a say in what they want for the BID area,” Wong explained.

“Together, the members of the BID will contribute funds, which would then be ring-fenced for use in the BID area, and they will come up with their own solutions to make the BID area more attractive and (to) increase footfall. It allows stakeholders to have direct ownership and responsibility in implementing plans for the area.”

Other ideas being considered by the Committee on the Future Economy are the expansion of space options and the development of infrastructure to support a digital economy.

Currently, Singapore is looking at ways to create more underground space and embarking on new reclamation methods to reduce its reliance on imported sand.

With the growth of the digital economy, the country is also exploring ways to strengthen its digital network infrastructure, including creating a “plug-and-play” environment for Internet of Things applications and connected devices, said Wong.

credits: propertyguru

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