ARA fund buys Robinson Centre for $340 mil

/ EdgeProp Singapore
December 31, 2019 2:41 AM SGT
SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - A fund managed by Singapore-listed ARA Asset Management has acquired Robinson Centre, a 20-storey office building along Robinson Road. The property has a net lettable area (NLA) of over 130,000 sq ft. Although no price was disclosed, it was reportedly sold for about $340 million, or about $2,600 psf based on NLA. The deal was brokered by real estate investment advisory and brokerage firm, Sakal Real Estate Partners.
Robinson Centre marks the last major commercial investment sale of 2019 (Photo: Sakal Real Estate Partners) - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Robinson Centre marks the last major commercial investment sale of 2019 (Photo: Sakal Real Estate Partners)
The seller of Robinson Centre at 61 Robinson Road, is said to be Taiwanese billionaire Tsai Tseng-yu or T.Y. Tsai. The billionaire makes real estate investments through his firm Homax Equity, which has a registered office at Robinson Centre. The firm had acquired Robinson Centre in 2011 for a reported $293 million.
The sale of Robinson Centre bookends a year that saw more than $7 billion worth of commercial investment sales (of at least $5 million each).
“The office market remains a favourite sector among institutional investors,” says Steven Ming, managing director of Sakal Real Estate Partners. “Robust rental growth is expected in the near to midterm, supported by strong demand and limited new supply.”
Another factor that could contribute to increase in demand is the potential withdrawal of office space in buildings on sites with 15-year transitional leases or Temporary Occupation License (TOL), that were purchased from 2007 to 2011. Ming estimates the amount of displaced office space from these sites to be close to a million sq ft, which in turn, “could fuel rental rises too”, he notes.
Apart from institutional investors, interest is expected to come from private high net worth individuals too, especially in light of growing uncertainty in the region, and in particular, Hong Kong. "Anecdotally, we are receiving heightened level of enquiries from Hong Kong domiciled investors,” says Ming. “If uncertainties in Hong Kong persist, we believe that these preliminary interests will materialise into transactions over the course of the new year.”
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