GuocoLand’s ‘master developer’ aspirations in Lentor Hills estate

/ EdgeProp Singapore |
Condominium development sites at the new Lentor Hills estate (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
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When the first phase of the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) opened in January 2020, Cheng Hsing Yao, the Singapore-listed GuocoLand group CEO, was among the first to hop on board. “It’s very fast and convenient,” he pronounces.
TEL also increased the accessibility of new estates that previously existed as spots on the map of the URA Master Plan 2014 a decade ago. A case in point is Lentor Hills, formerly the 30ha Lentor Forest, before land clearing began sometime in 2016.
A master-planned 99-year leasehold private residential estate, Lentor Hills has 11 plots with the potential to build an estimated 5,000 residential units when fully developed. “The government envisioned a private residential enclave with a built environment integrated with nature,” says Cheng. “Not many private neighbourhoods in Singapore are planned from an entirely greenfield land and have a clear urban design concept.”
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Cheng: We are setting the tone for the area and will subsequently enhance the government’s overall vision for the location (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
When URA launched the first residential site in Lentor Hills for sale on the government land sales (GLS) programme in April 2021, developers like GuocoLand took notice. The site at Lentor Central is zoned residential with commercial on the first storey and will be linked directly to Lentor MRT Station, which opened in August 2021 as part of TEL Phase 2.
GuocoLand was at the top of nine bids when the tender closed in July 2021 for the 186,000 sq ft site. Its winning bid was $784.1 million or $1,204 psf per plot ratio (ppr). The new development, Lentor Modern, will have a 96,000 sq ft mall, which includes a 12,000 sq ft supermarket and a 10,000 sq ft childcare centre. On top of the mall are 605 residential units across three 25-storey towers.
“In some ways, we have become almost a ‘master developer’ for Lentor Hills because we came in for the only mixed-use development site linked to the MRT station,” says Cheng. “It will essentially become the town centre for Lentor.”
The public plaza and shopping mall at the upcoming Lentor Modern will be the "town centre" of the Lentor area in the future (Picture: GuocoLand)
Including the Lentor Modern site, the government has launched six residential development sites for sale over the past two years. GuocoLand and its joint-venture partners have purchased four of the six sites, which could yield 2,211 residential units or 75% of the 2,952 total units at Lentor Hills to date.
A seventh site is available on the Reserve List, to be triggered for sale only if a developer submits a minimum indicative price acceptable by the government.

Dominant player

GuocoLand is now the dominant player in Lentor Hills, with stakes in multiple projects. “Our participation is certainly very significant,” Cheng concedes. “We are setting the tone for the area and will subsequently enhance the government’s overall vision for the location.”
Cheng says: “We are keen to have more inventory in this area because the estate appeals to a broad base of buyers island-wide.”
He adds: “Furthermore, when we have multiple sites in the same location, we can differentiate the project positioning, unit mix and design to target slightly different segments of home buyers. Having more sites in the same location can be an advantage.”
The 605-unit Lentor Modern is 98% sold to date (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
When Lentor Modern was launched in September 2022, 84% of the units were sold in the first weekend. To date, 590 units (98%) have been sold, based on caveats lodged as at Jan 30. With an average price of $2,102 psf, it has set the benchmark for the neighbourhood.
The next project launch in Lentor Hills was the 598-unit Lentor Hills Residences at Lentor Hills Road (Parcel A). About 50% of the units were sold at an average price of $2,080 psf on its launch weekend in July 2023. As at Jan 30, the project is 75% sold at an average price of $2,084 psf. Hong Leong Holdings developed Lentor Hills Residences in a joint venture with GuocoLand and TID, which is, in turn, a joint venture between Hong Leong Holdings and Mitsui Fudosan.

Shorter intervals between new launches

As more sites were sold, the interval between the developers’ project launches became increasingly shorter. Lentor Hills Residences’ launch was followed by that of the 474-unit Hillock Green four months later, in November 2023.
Hillock Green is jointly developed by a joint venture comprising China Communications Construction Co’s wholly owned subsidiary Sea Holdings, with a 50% stake, and United Engineers and Soilbuild Group, with 25% each. They are the first consortium unrelated to GuocoLand or Hong Leong to win a site in Lentor Hills.
Since its launch last November, Hillock Green has sold 126 units (27%) at an average price of $2,114 psf, according to caveats lodged as at Jan 30.
The 474-unit Hillock Green, a joint venture made up of Forsea Holdings, United Engineers and Soilbuild Group, has sold 126 units to date at an average price of $2,114 psf (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The 267-unit Lentoria at Lentor Hills Road (Parcel B) by TID is scheduled for preview sometime in mid-February.
Another launch in the pipeline is the 533-unit Lentor Mansion, which is targeted to be previewed sometime before the end of 1Q2024. Lentor Mansion sits on a 235,373 sq ft plot on Lentor Gardens. GuocoLand and Hong Leong were the sole bidders for the site and purchased it jointly for $486.8 million ($985 psf ppr) last April.
Last September, the tender for the third land parcel at Lentor Central closed with just two bids. The top bid of $435.17 million ($982 psf ppr) came from a joint venture comprising GuocoLand, Hong Leong Holdings and CSC Land Group. The new residential development on the site is expected to yield about 475 units.
Artist's impression of the future clubhouse at Lentor Mansion inspired by the colonial black and white bungalows (Picture: GuocoLand)

Inspired by black-and-white bungalows

Lentor Mansion is the second project in GuocoLand’s Mansion series, which Cheng defines as “residential projects integrated with nature and reflecting a tranquil lifestyle”.
The maiden project in the Mansion series was the 200-unit Meyer Mansion on Meyer Road in prime District 15 in the east. The freehold project is a redevelopment of the former Casa Meyfort, which Guoco- Land acquired en bloc in July 2018 for $319.88 million.
Meyer Mansion was the first new condo in the Meyer Road enclave to see prices cross $3,000 psf. It hit a high of $3,293 psf when a 484 sq ft, one-bedroom unit on the 24th floor of the 25-storey luxury tower fetched $1.595 million in September 2021. The project is fully sold to date.
Artist's impression the 200-unit Meyer Mansion, the first in the Mansion series by GuocoLand (Picture: GuocoLand)
“While the bungalows on the East Coast were the inspiration for Meyer Mansion, Lentor Mansion is inspired by the black-and-white bungalows,” notes Cheng.
The clubhouse of Lentor Mansion will be in the style of a grand black-and-white bungalow with a wide veranda and high ceilings. It will have a residents’ lounge with indoor and outdoor spaces, a formal entertainment room, a gym and other facilities.
The black-and-white bungalow theme is also carried through to the apartments with high ceilings and timber-like flooring, characteristic of most black-and-white bungalows.
Artist's impression of the interior of the clubhouse at the upcoming Lentor Mansion (Picture: GuocoLand)
Lentor Mansion will be the first project sold post-harmonisation of the strata and gross floor area by URA and other government agencies. The harmonisation of the floor area was introduced for GLS sites sold from Sept 1, 2022.
Cheng says harmonising the floor areas will translate to more efficient residential units. “We will be selling units based on liveable space,” he adds.

‘Modern’ series

Besides the Mansion series, GuocoLand has also created the Modern series for its mixed-use developments with “strong live-work-play integration”, says Cheng. Lentor Modern is the third project in the series. The first was the 450-unit Martin Modern in prime District 9, launched in July 2017 and fully sold.
The second project in the Modern series is the 558-unit Midtown Modern on Tan Quee Lan Street, which will be linked underground to the Bugis MRT Interchange Station for the East-West and Downtown Lines.
The 50,000 sq ft retail podium at Midtown Modern opened in January and is fully leased (Photo: GuocoLand)
Midtown Modern will be connected to Guoco Midtown on Beach Road, which has a 30-storey, 770,000 sq ft, Grade-A office tower; a six-storey Network Hub; a 50,000 sq ft retail and F&B podium; and the 219-unit Midtown Bay.
GuocoLand has also set its sights on the white site at Marina Gardens Crescent. When the tender closed on Jan 18, GuocoLand and joint-venture partners Hong Leong and TID were the sole bidders for the 1.73-ha white site. They had submitted a bid of $770.46 million or $984 psf ppr.
The white site can be developed into a mixed-use project with commercial, hotel, residential, sports and recreational uses. With a maximum gross floor area of 782,978 sq ft, it can yield 775 residential units.
“When we buy land and conceptualise our projects, we always focus on owner-occupiers,” says Cheng. “This group of buyers are purchasing for their lifestyle needs and aspirations. When purchasing a home for owner-occupation, the decision is less driven by market sentiments.”
Check out the latest listings for Lentor Modern, Lentor Hills Residences, Hillock Green properties

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