Andrew Road site placed for sale via public tender by Mediacorp

Mediacorp Places Andrew Road Site for Sale – Seven-hectare site that formerly housed the Caldecott Broadcast Centre could be transformed into a large estate of approximately 67 exclusive bungalows in keeping with the surroundings

Andrew Road siteThe site that formerly housed the iconic Caldecott Broadcast Centre at Andrew Road has been offered for sale by vendor Mediacorp, Singapore’s national media network. The sprawling hilltop site spans 752,015 square feet and served as the hub for broadcast for more than six decades till 2015 when Mediacorp moved to its current location in Mediapolis.

Real estate consultants – CBRE and Showsuite Consultancy – have been appointed by Mediacorp to advise and market the property.

The Andrew Road site will be sold via a public tender exercise which will close on 9 December 2020.

Surrounded by lush greenery, MacRitchie Reservoir Park is only some 300 metres away from the Andrew Road site. Accessibility is convenient with the Caldecott MRT station located within walking distance. The Caldecott MRT station will be an interchange station between the Circle Line and the Thomson-East Coast Line in 2021. Within 2 kilometres of the Andrew Road site are popular schools such as CHIJ (Toa Payoh), Singapore Chinese Girls’ Primary, Raffles Institution and St Joseph’s Institution International.

The 99-year leasehold island site currently has a balance lease term of 73 years and is zoned as a “Civic & Community Institution” in the 2019 Master Plan. Located at the heart of the prestigious Caldecott Hill Good Class Bungalow (“GCB”) Area, Mediacorp has been granted an Outline Approval by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) for a proposed site redevelopment into two-storey bungalows with a minimum land area of 800 square metres per house.

Mediacorp has appointed an architect who has worked out a subdivision scheme for the Andrew Road site, accommodating 67 bungalow plots, subject to approval from the authorities.

CEO of Showsuite Consultancy, Mr Karamjit Singh, said, “With the buildings vacated, the land is now ripe for redevelopment and harmonisation with the immediate surroundings of posh detached houses. These ‘junior-GCBs’ would perfectly cater to the under-served mid-tier segment of detached houses – the market between GCBs and entry-level bungalows. There has been no large-scale project of brand-new GCBs, junior or conventional, for a very long time. The closest proxy would be bungalows at Sentosa Cove, which were launched between 2005 and 2010.”

“As a result, the number of detached houses in Singapore has remained stagnant over decades. It was 10,000 plus 25 years ago and it remains 10,000 plus today. This represents less than 1% of the country’s total housing stock. During the same period, the average household net wealth has increased by over 300%,” continued Mr Singh.

An application has been made to the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) for an in-principle approval for the lease to be extended to a fresh 99-year lease tenure.

Mr Michael Tay, Head of Capital Markets, Singapore at CBRE added, “The perception of leasehold tenure has been changing over the years. In a market where freehold capital values are high, there is a growing generation of buyers who see the more affordable leasehold properties as an opportunity to tie down less capital for their homes, while achieving their aspirational goals. In so doing, they free up capital to invest in another property for rental income.”

Mr Tay opined, “We are optimistic that developers will be excited about this opportunity, as the proposed ‘junior-GCBs’ project will appeal to buyers and upgraders who are seeking bungalow ownership within a brand-new estate, with the added cache of being part of an established GCB area.”

“In addition to the bungalow redevelopment potential, we understand that URA may also be prepared to consider a proposal for the site to be redeveloped into a retirement village, subject to detailed evaluation,” concluded Mr Tay.

General land area requirements for detached houses
GCBs are detached houses located within one of the 39 designated zones and have a minimum land area requirement of 1,400 square metres. Notwithstanding, there are houses within these designated areas which do not meet the minimum size.

Under the planning guidelines, other detached houses outside of the GCB areas are required to have at least 400 square metres of land.

Land costs to be factored for redevelopment of the property
To redevelop the land into detached houses, the developer would need to factor the cost of Differential Premium (DP), where the quantum is dependent on the developer’s proposed scheme, timing of application, and assessment by SLA and the Chief Valuer’s office.

Separately, the developer would also need to pay a Lease Upgrading Premium (UP) to the SLA for the lease to be extended to a fresh 99-year tenure. An application for an in-principle approval has been submitted.

Estimated sale price of the new detached houses
The gross land value for a proposed bungalow redevelopment on the site is expected to be in excess of $400 million including DP and UP, which would translate to a land rate in the region of $540 psf.

Based on the vendor’s architect’s scheme of 67 bungalows, this would work out to a land cost of some $6 million per land plot. At this price, a developer may break-even at about $9 to $10 million per bungalow.

The new detached houses at the proposed development are expected to be priced between $11 and $14 million, subject to design and configuration. This compares favorably to the average prices of detached houses in Sentosa Cove and GCBs in the central region.

Comparable land sales and average prices of GCBs
The last sizeable leasehold site in the Core Central Region sold for landed homes was in 2013 – a 400,000 sqft site at Coronation Road for $908 psf. Over at Caldecott Hill Estate, prices of freehold GCB plots have ranged from $1,050 to $1,200 psf over the past two years.

As there are no direct comparables of leasehold junior-GCBs, references may also be taken from the transactions of other prime detached houses:
▪ Starting at the top of the league of bungalows are brand-new freehold GCBs of over 1,400 sqm in land. The last two of such houses that were sold at an average price of $37.5 million.
▪ Next comes older freehold GCBs above 1,400 sqm. In 2019 and 2020, 27 of them changed hands at an average of $27 million
▪ During this same period, 12 bungalows at Sentosa Cove, which have leasehold tenures and are open to foreign ownership, had commanded an average of $18.5 million.

Written by Ravi Chandran

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