21-Nov: With the Jcube recently opened this year and Lend Lease’s shopping mall – Jem – to be completed by mid 2013, the Jurong Gateway is set to be a bustling hub in the years to come! And now as surrounding parcels of land along Jurong Town Hall Road and Jurong Gateway zoned commercial, there will be a critical mass of business operating in Jurong East, other than the current International Business Park (IBP).
Jurong hotel site’s top bid of $238m
A record price has been set for hotel land in Singapore – $1,167.35 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr). This is for the first hotel development site, a 99-year lease and maximum permissible gross floor area of 18,957sqm, at Jurong Town Hall Road.
A state tender drew 11 bids from major players in the industry including Ascott Holdings, City Developments and United Engineers Developments but Tamerton Pte Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Resorts World Singapore (RWS) topped them all with its $238.2 million bid.
“The enthusiastic bidding shows developers’ confidence in the development of Jurong East into the next major commercial hub outside the central business district (CBD),” Mr Lee Sze Teck, senior manager of training, research and consultancy at property firm Dennis Wee Group.
Far East Organization unit Boo Han Holdings in partnership with the group’s listed vehicle, Far East Orchard, submitted a bid of $204.8 million or $1,003.56 psf ppr, placing it in second position.
This was 16.3 per cent lower than the top bid by RWS, which is also a wholly owned subsidiary of Genting Singapore.
Foray into Jurong a strategic move
HSR Property Group special adviser Donald Han said RWS’s foray into Jurong is a strategic move aimed at capturing the Malaysian visitors market.
“If they do not cater to some of their clients from Malaysia, who patronise their casinos but who do not have the budget for the $300-$400 rooms in Sentosa, they would lose out significantly on a potential income base,” Mr Han explained.
He added that the hotel development would most likely be a three-star property. The Jurong Country Club is just behind the hotel site and there will be plenty of retail amenities such as JCub, Jem, Westgate, IMM, Big Box in Jurong East.
Other bidders for the site were United Engineers Development ($984.50 psf ppr), Legend Land which is linked to Hotel 81 ($950.74 psf ppr), and City Development’s Redvale Investments and Redvale Developments ($784.12 psf ppr).
Though the record bid by Genting Singapore surprised most analysts BT spoke to, they are confident about demand for the upcoming hotel.
“The estimated breakeven of between $550,000 to $580,000 per room may appear to be slightly on the high side for an untested area like Jurong East, but it could still be acceptable for Genting which, because of synergies arising from its RWS operations, has a captive market to itself. Filling up the bulk of the rooms should therefore be more confidently executed for them than by others,” explained Savills Singapore research head Alan Cheong.
Other than providing accommodation for visitors to RWS, the hotel will also be well placed to cater to the growing business community in Jurong East, explained Mr Han.
“The timing is right and the fact that the hotel will be ready in the next three years or so, it will be right where the action is when the surrounding developments in Jurong Gateway are completed,” Mr Han said.
Promising long-term plans for Jurong Gateway
Said Jones Lang LaSalle national director Ong Teck Hui: “The long-term plans for Jurong Gateway do look very promising with a strong mix of office, retail, residential, hotel, entertainment and food & beverage uses. The site’s close proximity to Jurong East MRT station, upcoming developments like Jem, Westgate and others make it particularly attractive.”
RWS currently owns six hotels with 1,500 rooms. This development is the group’s first hotel away from Sentosa.