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CDL Group General Manager Mr Chia Ngiang Hong and Head of Property Development Ms Lee Mei Ling at the media briefing held at the Irwell Hill Residences Sales Gallery.

CDL Gears Up
For New Phase
Of Growth
In Singapore

At a media briefing on 25 March, ahead of the start of the previews for its newest development Irwell Hill Residences, CDL shared an update on its Singapore residential strategy and upcoming asset enhancements. This story is adapted from news articles originally published in The Business Times and EdgeProp.

City Developments Limited (CDL) is firmly focused on driving value in its core property development business in Singapore. CDL shared at a media briefing that it would be replenishing its land bank through an active land banking strategy to ensure a stable launch pipeline.

CDL Group General Manager Mr Chia Ngiang Hong said, “Our projects have sold well over the last few years, so we need to maintain an optimum level of land supply.”

CDL will focus on land tenders, in particular government land sites (GLS) and collective sale sites, as well as explore opportunities for larger-scale developments such as entire precincts or districts. Mr Chia expressed confidence in the Group’s chances of clinching master-development projects, given CDL’s solid track record of winning tenders under the two-envelope system. This would provide CDL with a good land bank over the longer term.

Upcoming launches In the pipeline

The stunning three-metre tall architectural model of Irwell Hill Residences.

This year, CDL has lined up over 1,200 units. The 540-unit Irwell Hill Residences launches for sale on 10 April 2021, and the 696-unit CanningHill Piers is slated for launch in the second half of 2021. Irwell Hill Residences is a luxury District 9 development comprising one- to four-bedroom units and three penthouses, while CanningHill Piers is the residential component within the Liang Court redevelopment and is a joint venture project with CapitaLand Limited.

Given that developers sold slightly more units in 2020 than 2019, Mr Chia, who is also President of the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (Redas), commented that inventory has declined from over 30,000 units to about 24,000 units as at the end of Q4 2020.

He said, “With the government’s action to moderate the land supply, the demand and supply situation is getting more stable now.”

Singapore maintains its status as an attractive place for investments as the government has handled the pandemic well, Mr Chia notes. Physical assets have also become more attractive as it meets the primary need of households, especially given the new normal of work from home (WFH) arrangements.

“In fact, buyers are looking for bigger spaces to upgrade to. Upgraders form the core of buyer demand,” Mr Chia said.

Sustainability and smart-home features

While “live, work, play” was previously associated with mixed developments, CDL Head of Property Development Ms Lee Mei Ling said that it is now the norm.

She added, “COVID-19 has brought about many changes with a new focus on wellness, nature and WFH. Related thoughtful provisions are no longer luxuries, but must-haves for our ‘new-norm’ homes.”

For example, Irwell Hill Residences was conceptualised during the pandemic. The project’s site coverage stands at 26% and the rest of the 138,000 square feet (sq ft) land plot is dedicated to greenery and facilities.

Ms Lee said, “In terms of sustainability, we ensure Green Mark GoldPLUS certification for all our developments. We have taken about 2% to 5% construction costs to secure innovation and green features for all our new projects.”

The Building and Construction Authority’s Green Mark certification evaluates a building’s environmental impact and performance.

Over 70% of the space at Irwell Hill Residences is dedicated to greenery and facilities. For example, residents can make use of Vista Co-Work (left), an exclusive workspace equipped with WiFi and charging points while offering a spectacular view from the development’s 24th floor. Heritage raintrees (right) have also been added to the development, which help support the site’s biodiversity. The conserved raintrees are not only seamlessly integrated within the development, they are also a source of inspiration, with the project’s infinity edge raintree pool designed around them.

Additionally, Ms Lee said that newly launched projects by CDL will be equipped with digital locksets, smart lighting, air conditioning and home fire alarm devices. Common areas will also be equipped with contactless entry systems, including infra-red lift buttons, licence plate readers and facilitation of contactless delivery.

“Aside from the hardware, we also focus on the software, which is the concierge service our residents enjoy,” shared Ms Lee. The concierge service at CDL developments can offer assistance with facility booking, delivery acceptance and service requests including restaurant reservations and housekeeping services.

Asset enhancement

CDL developments Fuji Xerox Towers (left) and Central Mall will be rejuvenated into mixed-use developments.

CDL will also be rejuvenating assets to unlock value, said Mr Chia. For instance, Fuji Xerox Towers at Anson Road, currently a 38-storey office building, will be redeveloped into a 47-storey freehold mixed-use integrated development. The new building will comprise office, retail, residential and serviced apartments. The potential uplift in Gross Floor Area (GFA) is 25% to approximately 655,000 sq ft, under the Central Business District Incentive Scheme.

Another redevelopment in the works is the seven-storey Central Mall along Havelock Road. CDL plans to redevelop it into a mixed-use development comprising office, retail, serviced apartments and hotel, under the Strategic Development Incentive Scheme. “We will get a substantial uplift in GFA and we are thinking of doing commercial-use and hotel and serviced apartments,” said Mr Chia.

The strategy is not new, but one that CDL has been implementing, he added. For example, CDL had redeveloped the former Boulevard Hotel at Orchard Boulevard into a mixed-use development comprising Boulevard 88, a freehold 154-unit luxury condominium, and The Singapore EDITION Hotel. The former Robina House office building along Shenton Way was redeveloped into One Shenton, a 352-unit mixed development.

CDL contributes about 8% to 12% of new home sales sold each year, or 1,000 units, according to Mr Chia. In 2020, CDL sold 1,318 units across its portfolio of executive condominiums to high-end luxury projects.

The 566-unit Penrose is a joint venture between CDL and Hong Leong Holdings Limited and was the Group’s only residential launch in 2020. It sold over 60% during its launch weekend in September, making it one of Singapore’s best-selling property launches for the year.

The 820-unit Piermont Grand executive condominium was among the best-selling projects in 2020. Located along My Waterway@Punggol, the project offers a range of apartment types from three- to five-bedroom premium units. It is slated for completion in 2023.
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