Published 9 March 2011
The Business Times
By Emilyn Yap
Ho Bee Investment is committing around $820 million in a new office project at one-north, Buona Vista. The Grade A development, when fully occupied, could contribute to a four-fold increase in the firm’s recurring income.
Ho Bee chairman and CEO Chua Thian Poh gave these updates at a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday to mark the start of the project’s construction.
The firm – known for its high-end residential developments at Sentosa Cove – won the tender for the 99-year leasehold site last year. The plot is near Buona Vista MRT Station and lies within a growing cluster of biomedical, infocommunication and media industries.
‘Just like when the government started selling untested residential land in Sentosa Cove, we see that there is immense potential in this site,’ Mr Chua said.
‘There are already many MNCs setting up their R&D facilities but do not have the administration and sales components to support their operations here.’
The Green Mark Platinum certified project will have a net lettable area of around 1.04 million square feet across two towers. There will also be a retail component. Lum Chang Building Contractors is the main contractor.
Ho Bee expects the project to raise its recurring income by four folds when it is fully occupied. According to the firm’s unaudited financial statements, revenue from property investment for the year ended Dec 31, 2010, was $25.3 million.
CB Richard Ellis and Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) are the project’s joint leasing agents. JLL head of markets Chris Archibold believes that take-up will be strong, as companies looking for non-CBD locations have been keen on the one-north area, but no pure office space has been available so far.
Ho Bee’s Mr Chua told reporters that marketing activities should start by the second quarter, and the group is looking at rents of up to $8 per square foot per month.
Even with this commercial project, Ho Bee’s main focus will remain on the residential property market, and it is mainly interested in the mid to high-end sectors, Mr Chua said.
The developer has a stake in the Pinnacle Collection at Sentosa Cove, and hopes to launch it by the fourth quarter.
Mr Chua welcomed the recent measures introduced by the government to cool the home market, but noted that prices could remain steady or dip slightly as a result.
Ho Bee gained one cent on the stock market yesterday to close at $1.36.