UOL pays $313m for Lion City Hotel, former Hollywood Theatre

Published January 19, 2011
The Business Times
By Kalpana Rashiwala

UOL Group has trumped five other contenders to bag the Lion City Hotel and adjoining former Hollywood Theatre site for $313 million.

The unit land price for the Tanjong Katong-Geylang Road area properties, with a total freehold land area of 147,909 square feet, works out to $779 per square foot (psf) of potential gross floor area inclusive of estimated development charges of $77.8 million, assuming UOL embarks on a mixed commercial and residential project with an average plot ratio of 3.39.

Based on an alternative scheme for a residential project with commercial space on the first storey with a 3.0 plot ratio, the unit land price would work out to about $871 psf per plot ratio.

The property was sold through a tender exercise which closed yesterday, attracting strong interest from six major developers, said Landmark Property Advisers and Knight Frank, which handled the sale.

UOL noted that the property is near the existing Paya Lebar MRT interchange station for the East-West and Circle lines. ‘Based on the current allowable development options, the property may be redeveloped as a commercial-cum-residential development. The company will continue to assess the current allowable development options and other factors to determine the final development scheme for the property.’

Given its location, the future redevelopment of the property is expected to benefit from the nearby Paya Lebar Central commercial hub planned by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, UOL said. Lion City Hotel and the former Hollywood Theatre are being sold by the family of the late property magnate Wee Thiam Siew. The hotel was built in 1968 and the Wee family has been operating it.

The theatre stopped screening films in the 1990s and is today home to a food centre and a Sheng Siong supermarket.

In November, Shaw Brothers sold the former Singapura Theatre site at No 55 Changi Road to a consortium that includes Roxy-Pacific and Macly Capital for $44.9 million.

In the same month, Far East Organization bought Paramount Hotel and Shopping Centre along East Coast Road for $214 million. Far East is expected to keep the freehold asset as an investment property for recurring income although refurbishment is likely to be on the cards.

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