The former site of popular nightspot Zouk in Jiak Kim Street has been put up for sale.
The prime plot along the Singapore River was made available on the reserve list in June and triggered for sale after a developer committed to bid at least $689.4 million for it.
The 13,482 sq m site is being launched for tender at a minimum price of $1,250 per sq ft per plot ratio (psf ppr), based on that indicative bid. It could accommodate 525 apartments in a project of up to 36 storeys, with ground-floor commercial use, albeit in only three conserved warehouses that used to house Zouk.
The tender for the 99-year leasehold site will be opened in about two to three weeks, said the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) yesterday. The bidding period will be around six weeks.
Industry sources noted that the high indicative bid and the short three-month period to trigger the sale highlighted the site's strong selling points. These include its riverfront view, location in the prime District 9, proximity to the upcoming Great World and Havelock MRT stations on the Thomson-East Coast Line, and dining offerings in the Robertson Quay area and Great World City mall.
It is "another sign the market has turned", said Dr Lee Nai Jia, head of Research at Edmund Tie & Company. "It was triggered in just three months. Previously, sites on the reserve list can remained untriggered for one year or longer."
ZACD Group executive director Nicholas Mak said potential bidders will likely use nearby luxury condominium Martin Modern, which was sold in June last year at $1,239.03 psf ppr, as a reference.
"Just as the tender for Martin Modern resulted in a record GLS (Government Land Sales) residential land price, the tender for the Jiak Kim site could produce a new record," Mr Mak said.
He estimated that the land price could range from $728 million to $800 million ($1,320 psf ppr to $1,450 psf ppr).
Ms Christine Li, who heads research at Cushman & Wakefield, said: "When the site for Martin Modern was sold last year, the residential market was still on the decline. But sentiment has improved significantly. We expect GuocoLand to place a defensive bid for Jiak Kim since it won Martin Modern a year ago."
Mr Desmond Sim, CBRE's head of research for Singapore and South-east Asia, said sites on the GLS programme have "always been a more favoured route for developers as they are offered unencumbered and the process is more straightforward". He added that "with the optimism around the residential market, we expect 10 to 15 bids at possibly 30 per cent above the minimum bid".
Separately, the URA released detailed sales conditions for a reserve list site in West Coast Vale. The 19,591.5 sq m plot could yield up to 730 residential units.
Ms Li believes some developers will be cautious about this site as China Construction (South Pacific) Development won a land parcel in the vicinity this year. But Parc Riviera condo, also in the area, was fully sold within a year, so there is strong demand there, she noted.
Dr Lee called the West Coast Vale site an interesting proposition. "Buyers are likely to come from those who work in NUS (National University of Singapore), NUH (National University Hospital), Jurong East and the business parks in Buona Vista."