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13 June 2012

13th June, Wednesday




CDL makes top bid for Buangkok condo plot

Source: Business Times

THE state tender for a 99-year-leasehold private condo plot about 100m from Buangkok MRT Station has fetched a top bid above expectations.

City Developments Ltd (CDL) unit White Haven Properties bid $301 million or $508.22 per sq ft per plot ratio (psf ppr), slightly exceeding the upper range of forecasts - $320-$500 psf ppr - for the site's top bid made by property consultants polled by Business Times (BT) when the plot was released in April. The plot can potentially yield about 600 homes.

CDL's bid was 3.7 per cent higher than the second highest offer of $490.12 psf ppr from a tie-up between Frasers Centrepoint unit Opal Star and Lum Chang's Binjai Holdings - which in turn was followed closely by UOL unit Flamegold's offer of nearly $481 psf ppr.

An analyst said bids at the tender were still firm. "The top three bidders probably see strong demand for this site, being the first new private residential site near Buangkok MRT Station," he added.

The break-even cost for a new project on the Buangkok site is estimated at $900-950 psf. Pricing for the project would be similar to that of The Luxurie, near Sengkang MRT Station, which is selling at $1,040 psf on average.

CDL's spokesman said that it plans to build a project of about 16 storeys on the Buangkok plot, adding that it sees "great potential and demand for this project in this burgeoning estate". It is familiar with the vicinity; it is developing H20 Residences at Sengkang West Avenue/ Fernvale Link.


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Religious bodies get URA breather on space

Source: Business Times

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Tuesday gave religious organisations operating out of industrial premises a three-year breather to comply with new guidelines for the "limited and non-exclusive" use of such space.

Under these new guidelines, religious usage of industrial-zoned Business 1 (B1) land is now restricted to facilities falling within the ancillary quantum, which occupies up to 40 per cent of total gross floor area (GFA) in a given industrial development.

These include venues such as auditoriums and meeting rooms. Time restrictions also apply, with the spaces permitted for religious use only on certain days of the week, or when the factory is not in operation.

Ownership or exclusive leasing of industrial premises by religious organisations still remains out of bounds. Current users will be granted a three-year grace period to comply with the new guidelines, subject to conditions such as minimal disturbance to other users as well as further intensification of existing religious use. Religious organisations seeking to use industrial premises are required to seek prior clearance from URA.

A religious group however noted that the revised guidelines still do not address the fundamental problem that religious groups here face - namely the need for a more permanent and exclusive use of a particular venue.

The guidelines issued by URA also included the upward revision of gross plot ratios for place- of-worship developments, from 1.0 to 1.4 at the fringe of landed and low-density housing areas, and 1.4 to 1.6 for HDB estates and other non-housing areas.

Flexible guidelines or potential long-term solutions notwithstanding, URA reiterated its fundamental stance on the issue. "Locations designated for worship/religious use are zoned 'Place of Worship' in URA's Master Plan. Religious activities should primarily be conducted at those sites," it said in the release announcing the new guidelines.


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