office for sale

US PRIVATE equity giant Blackstone Group is planning to buy Lucas Real Estate Singapore’s iconic facility, the Sandcrawler, at an indicative price of nearly S$175.8 million, The Business Times (BT) has learnt.

The sale process is ongoing and will be subject to approval from JTC Corporation. BT understands that CBRE brokered the deal.

The futuristic-looking, horseshoe-shaped building’s design was inspired by the Star Wars franchise’s giant fictional vehicles with the same name.

Located within the Fusionopolis cluster in Buona Vista, the state-of-the-art complex houses Lucasfilm’s visual effects and animation studio, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM).

The eight-storey building’s occupancy rate is said to be in the high-90 per cent range. Market watchers said the indicative price tag of around S$175.8 million reflects a net yield of about 4 per cent based on its existing rental income. Aside from ILM, major tenants included Singapore’s Government Technology Agency (GovTech), DBS’s innovation centre, Lucasfilm’s parent firm The Walt Disney Company, as well as ESPN Asia Pacific.

The 22,500-square-metre campus features a metallic external facade. It has office space, retail areas, lush gardens, and a 100-seat theatre with an exterior resembling Darth Vader’s signature helmet. The building premises are also adorned with movie posters and memorabilia such as stormtrooper helmets and a Yoda fountain.

BT has reached out to Disney and ILM Singapore for comment.

Attendees at the building’s official opening in January 2014 included Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as well as Lucasfilm founder and Star Wars director George Lucas.

ILM Singapore was the company’s first international studio beyond its San Francisco headquarters.

CNBC reported in 2014 that Mr Lucas himself invested in the Singapore facility, although Lucasfilm declined to provide details on the size of its investment then.

By Fiona Lam, The Business Times/ 13-Jan-21

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PROPERTY investment sales in Singapore are likely to rebound as vaccination programmes are rolled out next year, with business sentiment picking up and border restrictions gradually eased, CBRE said in a press statement on Monday.

Michael Tay, head of capital markets for Singapore at CBRE, noted that the Singapore investment market has been resilient and has demonstrated its ability to recover from crisis situations in the past. “This was apparent post global financial crisis when real estate investment sales volume improved by a strong 265.4 per cent in 2010,” he said.

While investors are likely to remain discerning at the start of next year, they will still be in search of investments that provide higher returns, spurred by the low interest rate environment and ample liquidity, Mr Tay said.

As an investment destination, Singapore fits this bill given its “proven ability to handle the pandemic, macroeconomic stability and political-neutral stance”, he added.

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CUSHMAN & Wakefield is projecting rents in Singapore’s central business district (CBD) to land at S$9.54 per square foot (psf) per month by the end of 2020, down 10 per cent from 2019’s peak of S$10.66 psf per month, it said in a report on Thursday.

Emerging vacancy in the market placed a downward pressure on Grade A office rents, CBRE said in a separate report on the same day.

In the fourth quarter of 2020, Grade A office rents corrected for its fourth consecutive quarter, declining at 2.8 per cent quarter on quarter to S$10.40 per square foot per month.

This represented a full year decline of 10 per cent in Grade A office rents, which reversed the rental growth of 6.9 per cent in 2019, CBRE’s report noted.

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Seventh storey offering has been renovated; price is about S$1,800 psf

AN ENTIRE floor of GB Building in Singapore’s central business district has been launched for sale with a guide price of nearly S$9.8 million.

Located on the seventh storey of the 143 Cecil Street tower, the sale offering has been renovated and features a regular floor plate with a column-free layout.

Its price tag works out to about S$1,800 per square foot (psf) based on the strata area of 5,425 square feet.

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SIX shophouses – three on Baghdad Street, and three in the Telok Ayer area – were put up for sale on Wednesday.

With the sites for all six shophouses zoned for commercial use, purchases are open to both local and foreign buyers, with no additional buyer’s stamp duty to be imposed.

Three adjoining prime shophouses at 14, 16 and 18 Baghdad Street are up for sale as an entirety by expression of interest (EOI) at an indicative price of S$7.64 million. This works out to about S$3,000 per square ft (sq ft), sole marketing agent CBRE said in a statement.

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