SPH to develop high-end condo on Thomson site - Sep 02, 2006 (BT)

BackSep 02, 2006

The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

SPH to develop high-end condo on Thomson site

43-storey exclusive devt will have gross floor area of over 660,000 sq ft.

By Conrad Raj
Sep 02, 2006
The Business Times

MEDIA group Singapore Press Holdings is planning to build a 43-storey upmarket condominium on its Thomson Road freehold site, just across from the Polo Club.

It has obtained provisional permission for the development of the 20,638 sq metre site, now occupied by Times Industrial Building, from the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

The exclusive development to be launched next year will have a gross floor area in excess of 660,000 sq ft, an SPH statement said, but provided no details of the number of units and apartment sizes.

'The 43-storey condominium will offer unparallelled views of MacRitchie Reservoir and the city. Proximity to MRT stations and premium schools are additional advantages,' SPH said.

'Developing the site is expected to yield higher profits than an outright sale,' said SPH, adding: 'This is more attractive in enhancing shareholders' value. Subject to market conditions, the income stream is expected to be earned over the projected time frame.'

Said SPH chairman Tony Tan: 'This is an opportunistic project in view of the sustained recovery in the property market and our prior experience in redeveloping The Paragon, the prime shopping complex and office building in the heart of Orchard Road. The current market sentiment bodes well for this project and we are confident that there will be a strong demand for the units at this development.

'The development will be in a class of its own, catering to the needs of affluent homebuyers who value the fantastic view, surrounding greenery, lush landscaping and top-notch design.'

According to property observers, condominium units in the area currently fetch between $800 and $1,000 per sq ft.

While SPH owns several bungalows in Yarwood Avenue and Nassim Road, and other properties elsewhere, the Thomson Road site is the only piece of residential property which can be developed into a condominium. SPH said it has no plans currently to acquire new development sites.

The company had previously said that the Thomson Road property was worth some $200 million, carried in the books at $11 million.

SPH had been evaluating options for the site, which was one of its lowest yielding properties.

It said yesterday that board member Sum Soon Lim has been appointed chairman of wholly owned subsidiary Times Development Pte Ltd, which was newly incorporated with an issued capital of $2.

SPH shares ended two cents up at $4 each at the close of trading yesterday on the Singapore Exchange.

Yesterday, SPH Magazines Pte Ltd, the magazine publishing unit of SPH, said three of its major publications - Her World, Shape and Citta Bella - have managed to increase circulation sales despite the stiff competition.

The No 1 status of these publications in their respective lifestyle categories has been further confirmed by ACNielsen's Media Index, an annual readership survey done independently by ACNielsen.

Her World is the clear No 1 women's magazine with a monthly readership of 199,000.