Chinese steel magnate Du Shuanghua has purchased Far East Shopping Centre as a bloc through the investment company Glory Property Development, an entity that is part of Bright Ruby Resources, his registered mining and resource company in Singapore.
The price of purchase to purchase Far East Shopping Centre is about $908 million. That is equivalent to approximately $3,350 per plot percentage (psf ppr) which is based on the possible total floor space of 290,574 sq feet in the Strategic Development Incentive (SDI) scheme. Michael Tay, head of Singapore capital markets at CBRE the marketing agent of Far East Shopping Centre, was the broker for the sale.
Far East Shopping Centre is not the first property purchase in Singapore. In June of last year, Ever Glory, another investment vehicle owned by Bright Ruby Resources, acquired the 37-storey, 999 year Grade-A office building, the Income@Raffles building by NTUC Income Insurance Co-operative for less than $1 billion.
In the past ten years, Bright Ruby Resources paid $1.15 billion for the former Grand Park Orchard and its retail platform, Knightsbridge. It bought its first hotel, the Marriot Champs-Elysees in Paris for $464 million in 2014. The following year, it purchased it the Hilton Hotel in Sydney for USD$364 million. In the year 2019’s end, Bright Ruby paid US$870 million for the hotel with 438 rooms Westin Hotel Tokyo.
“We are thrilled to have the perfect purchaser for Far East Shopping Centre,” CBRE’s Tay. “This is a person who has made investments in foreign properties across major metropolitan areas across the globe, like Paris, Sydney and Tokyo and is capable of bringing that experience to Singapore to help in the redevelopment of Orchard Road.”
Tay refers towards an earlier Grand Park Orchard at 270 Orchard Road, which sits at the intersection of Orchard Road and Bideford Road. The property was the subject of a massive improvement of its assets and was reopened in 2022, becoming the 308-room Pullman Singapore Orchard, managed by Accor Group.
The most prominent retail space was occupied by the lifestyle retail store Abercrombie & Fitch at the former Knightsbridge opened in 2013 as Singapore’s biggest Adidas store. Other tenants in the retail space include the Apple Store, Rolex, The Hour Glass and Ritual Gym.
“As investors, Bright Ruby has been proactive and focuses on the most valuable assets in the major urban areas,” comments CBRE’s Tay. “And they’ve finished the enhancement and repositioning a prominent Orchard Road asset into the new Pullman Singapore Orchard.”
Far East Shopping Centre at 545 Orchard Road has a 75m frontage along Orchard Road and a 55m frontage on Angullia Park in prime District 9. The property is located on a land of 36,014 square feet site with a lease of 999 years starting in 1871. The property is designated for commercial use.
With Glory Property, Du will likely transform the property as a commercial venture with a variety of functions that range from retail to hospitality, office to residences.
At the same time, Far East Shopping Centre was recognized in the report by URA in the list of six structures along this stretch Orchard Road – between Cuscaden Road and Orchard Boulevard – to be developed to become “a exciting new location”.
The remaining five buildings include Hotels Properties Ltd’s (HPL) Voco Orchard Singapore, Forum the Shopping Mall and HPL House, Wharf Estates Singapore’s Wheelock Place, and Bonvests Holdings’ Liat Towers.
HPL was granted permission by URA to develop the three properties along Orchard Road at the end of August. The mixed-use development will consist of a retail, hotel offices, residential, and office components, a rooftop gardens and a theatre for performances.
URA introduced its SDI Scheme in April 2021 to motivate owners to improve their property. In the SDI Scheme, owners who renovate their properties in conjunction with at least one of their neighbors in order for the purpose of creating “a new location” will receive the benefit of a twenty% increase in gross floor area (GFA).
In addition to an rise in GFA The new owners will also have more flexibility regarding land use and the building’s height. Additionally, there will be a direct pedestrian route to Orchard MRT Station, significantly increasing the footfall on this stretch along Orchard Road, says Tay.
Far East’s value of around $3,350 psf per person is higher than previously set records by Ming Arcade, which was purchased in the month of December, for $172million, or $3,125 per sq ft per person. Savills Singapore brokered the deal.
The owner for the previous Ming Arcade is the Royal Group of Companies which is which is a family-owned company controlled by Singapore billionaire Asok Kumar Hiranandani. The new project will include a luxurious hotel.
Close by, Tanglin Shopping Centre was acquired as a bloc through Pacific Eagle Real Estate in February 2022 for $868 million ($2,769 per sq ft psf). Pacific Eagle is the Singapore-based real estate development and investment company that is owned by Indonesian billionaire Sukanto Tanato, who is the owner of the Royal Eagle Group, which is involved in paper, pulp palm oil, pulp as well as energy. Pacific Eagle will also be transformed to become a commercial mixed-use development.
The resurgence of Orchard Road is well underway.