Florence Regency closes collective sale for $629m

Chinese developer agrees to match independent valuation for site

Each owner at the 336-unit Florence Regency, a former HUDC estate in Hougang Avenue 2, will get gross proceeds of between $1.84 million and $1.89 million. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Florence Regency has finally closed a collective sale under private treaty after Chinese developer Logan Property (Singapore) agreed to match the independent valuation of $629 million for the property in Hougang Avenue 2.

Each owner will receive gross proceeds of between $1.84 million and $1.89 million.

Owners of the 336-unit former HUDC estate had earlier received a bid from Chinese developer Kingsford that exceeded the reserve price of $600 million and two that did not, according to Mr Jagir Singh Touwana, chairman of the collective sale committee.

But none of the offers had met the $629 million valuation by independent valuer Colliers International. The tender closed on Sept 27, with the three bidders refusing to match the valuation.

The collective sale agreement required that the sale price be no lower than the valuation.

This prompted sole marketing agent JLL to woo other developers, in an attempt to close the deal under private treaty within 10 weeks of the close of the tender.

Had no buyer been found, the owners would have had to plan another public tender exercise in January.

"We are relieved it is finally over. Given the circumstances and today's market, it is a good price and a fair amount. Everyone hopes for a lot of money, but we have to be realistic," said Mr Touwana, who is also a home owner there.

The 389,236 sq ft site in Hougang is zoned residential with a gross plot ratio of 2.8, and could yield around 1,000 units.

The land price works out to $842 per sq ft (psf) per plot ratio after factoring in the estimated differential premiums of $288.6 million to top up the lease to a fresh 99 years and to develop the site to the gross plot ratio of 2.8.

It is the second site that has been snapped up by Hong Kong-listed Logan Property, which made history in May when, together with Chinese developer Nanshan Group, it put in the top bid of $1.003 billion for the 21,109 sq m site in Stirling Road. That was the first time that a purely residential site in the Government Land Sales programme had crossed the billion-dollar mark.

"Florence Regency is one of the last few privatised HUDC (estates) in the north-east region. The future development will enjoy unblocked views, located next to landed housing estates and across the Hougang Stadium and the sports and swimming complex," said Mr Tan Hong Boon, JLL's regional director.

ZACD Group executive director Nicholas Mak said that the land rate is fairly reasonable, noting: "It is a bit cheaper, compared with Serangoon Ville, which was sold at the land rate of $861 psf ppr, and the Government Land Sales site in Serangoon North Avenue 1 sold at $965 psf ppr in July."

Dr Lee Nai Jia, head of research at Edmund Tie & Company, expects to see more interest in Serangoon, which is part of the upcoming Bidadari housing estate. That should create a lot of excitement in the area, he said.

The site is located near Hougang and Kovan MRT stations along Upper Serangoon Road, the bus interchange and Hougang Mall.

Florence Regency's sale brings the total number of former HUDC estates that have been sold en bloc since 2005 to 12, according to consultants. Ivory Heights is on the market, while Braddell View, Pine Grove, Laguna Park and Chancery Court have started the process.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2017, with the headline Florence Regency closes collective sale for $629m. Subscribe