GuocoLand’s project at Martin Place will test the resilience of the high-end condominium segment as confidence returns

 

Singapore-listed property developer GuocoLand is set to preview its latest luxury condominium, the 450-unit Martin Modern on the weekend of July 8 and 9. It will be the first major launch of a condo project in Martin Place in over nine years — since the 302-unit Martin Place Residences next door was first rolled out in 2008. It will also mark the first launch of a luxury condo in 2017.

GuocoLand had upstaged 12 other bidders to win the 99-year leasehold site in a government land tender with a top bid of $595.1 million, or $1,239 psf per plot ratio (ppr) a year ago. At that time, many had considered GuocoLand’s bid aggressive.

“Now, one year on, it doesn’t look so expensive,” says Cheng Hsing Yao, group managing director of GuocoLand Singapore. The developer’s confidence in the site stems from the sales it had continued to garner at two of its luxury condo developments: the 210-unit, freehold Goodwood Residence on Bukit Timah Road; and the 381-unit, freehold Leedon Residence, off Holland and Farrer Roads.

 

Cheng: When it comes to luxury projects in the prime districts, what’s important is the sense of space and greenery

 

These strong sales were achieved against a backdrop of lacklustre sales in the rest of the luxury condo segment last year. “What that showed us was that if you make the best use of a site to create a product that people like, demand will be strong regardless of the state of the overall market,” says Cheng.

 

Rare GLS site

The other reason for GuocoLand’s confidence was that there are very few state land sites in the prime neighbourhood. The last Government Land Sales (GLS) site sold in the Robertson Quay neighbourhood was in March 2011. That was when City Developments (CDL) paid $938 psf ppr for the site that has since been developed into the 70-unit UP@Robertson Quay and the adjacent 293-room M Social Hotel.