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The construction of the Linq at Beauty World has reached the 16th floor, according to Andrew Tan, CEO of the Singapore-listed construction and engineering company BBR Holdings. BBR Holdings owns an owner and developer for the towering 20 storey Linq Freehold mixed-use project that includes 120 apartments on the top of a two-storey shopping podium. BBR Holdings is aiming to finish the project by 3Q2024.
The 120 residential units within the project, located near the intersection between Jalan Jurong Kechil as well as Upper Bukit Timah Road -which were purchased at an average cost of $2,165 per square foot. The first date of the development’s opening in November of 2020 the project was sold out in 98% of units sold.
The developer kept these strata-titled units prior to the time of launch, in order to oversee the podium after completion. However, Tan has recently changed his decision. “Over the last year, we’ve had numerous unsolicited requests,” he says.
The rejuvenation process of Bukit Timah’s Beauty World- Bukit Timah is in the process of being completed. One of the major factors was the opening the development of The Reserve Residences mixed-use development that is also a transport hub just to the left of Jalan Jurong Kechil. It is bounded with Jalan Anak Bukit and Upper Bukit Timah Road.
732 units reserve Residences launch weekend of May 27-28 witnessed the sale of 520 apartments (71%) sold at an average of $2,460 per square foot. This makes it the most popular project in 2023 so far. The 4th of July marks the end of the year for the project. the 596 unit (81.4%) have been sold at a more expensive average of $2,474 psf.
The aspect the fact that The Linq is a freehold property is a further draw, according to CBRE the executive director for Capital Markets Clemence Lee. He cites Solitaire on Cecil Freehold, a freehold Grade-A strata office development owned by TE Capital Partners and LaSalle Investments located on Cecil Street in the CBD.
In January of this year The 15 floors of office space and two retail/f&b units on the first floor of Solitaire on Cecil were sold within five months. The strata offices have gotten prices ranging from $4,100 to $4,300 per square foot. There are two retail units within the building, and the first one being sold at $5,400 per sq ft and the second for close to $6,000 psf.
Shophouses with freeholds are also very popular with local and foreign investors, says CBRE’s Lee. He says that recent deals for prime leasehold leaseholds with 999 years of tenure or freehold shophouses within areas like the Amoy Street and Boat Quay region have spanned between $5,000 and $8,000 per square foot.
With the increasing demand for commercial freehold properties, BBR has decided to sell its retail podium in The Linq. “We think this is the best opportunity as any to determine what we can offer,” adds Tan. “During this time frame the buyer is able to ensure tenants are secured, and fitting-out work can be completed before the mall is finished and is set to open next year.”
The selling of The Linq’s podium for retail at The Linq The sale of the podium at The Linq will be managed by the exclusive marketing agent CBRE through an express of interest (EOI) exercise which will end on the 16th of August. CBRE is also appointed as the lease agent of the units.
‘High-end F&B destination’
With an 80% from the 55 strata-titled buildings of The Linq approved for restaurant use BBR’s Tan has positioned The Linq’s stage for retail as “a luxurious F&B location”.
20% of retail spaces will be perfect for services like a gym, convenience stores or medical clinics which will cater to the needs of residents of The Linq, adds CBRE’s Lee.
The strata-titled units in this retail platform will be offered at a estimate of $136 million, or approximately $4,583 per square foot, which is in relation to the total size of the strata, which is 29,676 sq feet.
“We believe there’s a need for a upscale dining enclave within the vicinity that is comparable the likes of Cuppage Terrace, Holland Village and Dempsey Hill. Robertson Quay in terms of appearance and ambience,” says Lee. “This will be a complement to the current retail and F&B choices in the immediate vicinity as well as the planned Bukit V retail mall at The Reserve Residences. It will further enhance Beauty World in its position as a lively and exciting location.”
Lee mentions the numerous eateries that are located in the neighborhood. For example there is the Bukit Timah Marketplace and Food Center (built in the year 1976) includes more than 80 food stalls. The place is known for its Ah Zhen Wanton Mee He Zhong Carrot Cake, and Xie Kee Hokkien Mee.
Just across Upper Bukit Timah Road is Cheong Chin Nam Road. This entire road is lined with eateries including Al-Azhar Restaurant, Boon Tong Kee Singapore, Five Star Kampung Chicken Rice & Kitchen, BBQ Box and Mongkok Dim Sum.
“The presence of these eateries indicates that the population of existing eateries is sufficient to support these establishments,” observes Lee. “BBR Holdings’ majority F&B areas in The Linq will bring a an entirely new look to the segment of the market.”
Accessibility to information has increased
Linq Linq is expected to benefit from greater accessibility once an integrated transportation hub has been complete. The development will feature an underground connection to the Beauty World MRT Station on the Downtown Line, the Bukit V mall and a brand-new Air-conditioned Bus Interchange. It will be connected to the Linq will also feature an underground connection to the upcoming Bukit Timah community Building that will be an integrated facility that includes the creation of a neighborhood clubhouse, renovated market and hawker center and an indoor sports facility with a community library, as well as an older facility.
The bus interchange that is air-conditioned located at The Reserve Residences will be connected to the second floor of three storeys Bukit V mall, while Beauty World MRT Station will be connected underground. If it’s completed by 1Q2028 Bukit V will be home to 215,280 square feet in retail area. The building will include an Cold Storage supermarket, F&B products, educational centres as well as medical services.
The mall is located above The Reserve Residences are eight residential towers, as well as 160 apartment units that have been serviced. The project was jointly developed with Far East Organization and Sino Group The mixed-use complex is expected to be completed by the end of 1Q2028.
One MRT station away from Beauty World will be King Albert Park MRT Station It will serve as an interchange point for the Downtown Line and the upcoming Cross Island Line.
Apart from increasing accessibility via the integrated transport hub in Beauty World, the government is also investing more houses into the Bukit Timah-BeautyWorld area to boost its vibrancy.
The population currently living in Bukit Timah Planning Area Bukit Timah planning area is estimated at 78,000 according to census data for the year 2020. Singapore Census of population. The residents living in condominiums or apartments accounts approximately 47.6% of the population as well as 42.1% living in landed housing. Therefore the nearly 89% of the population lives in condos or landed homes. “The Bukit Timah area is an area of high-end living,” CBRE’s Lee concludes. “So it’s beneficial to establish an F&B establishment that is high-end.”
Based on the new private condo developments that have been launched in District 21 as of the year the year 2018. Lee believes that there will be more than 3,300 new condo units being built within the next couple of years. A majority of the new developments have already sold out.
New residential developments
URA also sold three GLS government-owned (GLS) sites zoned for residential development in Bukit Timah (District 21) and the neighboring Hillview district (District 23) in the past year. The site located at Dairy Farm Walk drew seven bids by the time of the auction on March 20, 2022. Sim Lian Group emerged as the winner, with a price of $347.001 million, or $980 per square foot in plots (ppr) in exchange for the site located in District 23.
The following year Sim Lian announced the brand-new condo located on this site known as Botany at Dairy Farm Walk. Botany located at Dairy Farm Walk in March 2023. Nearly the 54% all units are sold up to date, and the median price of $2,060 for a sf.
Two more GLS sites were offered for sale in the region in the area — Bukit Timah Link as well as Hillview Rise. The next door neighbor from The Linq is the GLS site located at Bukit Timah Link. It was auctioned off to five bidders at the closing of the auction. The listed property developer Bukit Sembawang Estates took the site by submitting an offer that was worth $200 million ($1,343 psf per ppr).
Bukit Sembawang’s site located at Bukit Timah Link is able to be transformed into a private condo of 160 units The developer has said it will likely start the project in the middle of next year.
The other site located at Hillview Rise received four bids which led to an alliance between Far East Organization and Sekisui House taking over the site with an offer in the amount of $320.78 million ($1,024 per sq ft ppr) on November. The co- developers are planning to turn Hillview Rise GLS into a new private condo. Hillview Rise GLS site into an exclusive condo with 334 units. The project is scheduled to be launched in the 4th quarter of 2023.
City Developments Ltd (CDL) will unveil the Myst A private condominium with 408 units off Upper Bukit Timah Road on July 8. Prices start at $1,862 per sq ft. It is the renovation of the old Tan Chong Industrial Park, which CDL acquired for $126.3 million as part of a deal signed by April 2022. The project is located a 5 minute walk to Cashew MRT Station on the Downtown Line and three stops from Beauty World MRT Station and the integrated transportation hub.
Capital upside through the rejuvenation
BBR’s Tan believes that the buyer of The Linq’s retail stage The Linq will be able to benefit from capital appreciation as the process of rejuvenation progresses. Tan recalled his experience when he was able to find the Goh and Goh Building which is an industrial freehold building which was put up for sale collectively in the beginning of 2017.
“At at the time, it was clear that the whole region was a bit outdated and there was not much living,” relates Tan. The malls that were nearby including Beauty World Centre and Beauty World Plaza, Bukit Timah Shopping Centre, and Bukit Timah Plaza were all constructed in the 1980s, and were showing their old age.
“However we were aware of the potential of the land considering the MRT station as well as it’s Bukit Timah Nature Reserve as well as the nature parks that are located in the vicinity, as well as the possibility of the land being an exclusive freehold tenure” Tan recalls Tan. “We were, as a result, extremely aggressive in our price for the bid.”
BBR took its bid for the Goh & Goh Building in the course of a tender, with an offer in the amount of $101.5 million in the year 2017. After purchasing the site did BBR be aware of URA’s plans to revive the Bukit Timah-Beauty World region.
“We also participated in an exercise of swapping land,” says Tan. “We exchanged a part of the En bloc site in exchange for state-owned land the front of the site to get a more consistent plot and an enticing frontage that is visible of the road. We sought advice from URA and they advised us in our plan to integrate into The overall master Plan for the region.”
The 2019 Master Plan was revealed, BBR could be able to see the overall strategy of the government for the region. “Our site is located at the center of the development, and was the very first piece of the puzzle of jigsaws.”
Gross and rental yields
CBRE’s Lee estimates the rents in the commercial and F&B spaces in The Linq to be $25 to $30 per month for units with an enviable streetfrontage on the first level. On the second floor, rent can range from $10 per square foot to $15 per month. Therefore, the expected rent will be around $20 per sq ft. If you take the price of the property as an estimate Lee believes that the buyer will earn an average gross rental yield around 4%.
The retail podium is an open space for events in the front. The double-storey ceiling height allows community-based events like dancing or yoga classes to be conducted without the fear of weather conditions that could be hazardous. The building will also bring more traffic into the area, according to BBR’s Tan.
“Retail podiums are generally very tightly held and are not offered for sale,” says CBRE’s Lee. “They are extremely wanted by buyers.”
Since the Linq commercial podium classified as an asset for commercial use, both foreigners and residents can purchase it in one go without paying additional buyer’s or seller’s stamp duty, says Lee.
“The buyer might look into strata sales of units in isolation as a means of exiting for the near future.” Lee says. The size of the units vary between 183 and 1,087 sq feet. Therefore, the investment value of these units is acceptable for individuals or owners-occupiers, he states.