Shun Tak’s Pansy Ho to scale up in Singapore

By
/ EdgeProp Singapore
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May 7, 2021 6:00 AM SGT
SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Over the weekend of May 1–2, the car park of Park Nova’s sales gallery became a showcase of supercars. “I’ve never seen so many Bentleys, Rolls-Royces, Lamborghinis, Aston Martins and Ferraris in one place,” said Dominic Lee, head of luxury team at PropNex Realty.
The owners of these cars, Singapore’s ultra-rich, were guests at the preview of Park Nova by Hong Kong-listed Shun Tak Holdings. “Many of the attendees are familiar with Shun Tak and its projects in Macau and Hong Kong,” says Bruce Lye, managing partner of SRI.
Having established a track record in Macau and Hong Kong property markets, Shun Tak had set its sights on Singapore five years ago. “Although Shun Tak is well-established in Hong Kong and Macau, we are a new entrant to Singapore,” says Pansy Ho, executive chairman and managing director of Shun Tak, in an email interview with The Edge Singapore.
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Shun Tak was founded in 1972 by her father, Macau casino mogul Stanley Ho, who passed away May last year at the age of 98. However, in 2017, he had already handed over the reins at Shun Tak to Pansy, who assumed the role of executive chairman. She has been the group’s managing director since 1999.
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Ho: Currently, we have a well-balanced portfolio in Singapore, comprising hotel, offices, retail and residential. We are always open to good investment opportunities that can create long term value for our shareholders and therefore, will continue to keep a close eye on the Singapore market (Photo: Shun Tak)
In FY2020 ended Dec 31, 2020, Shun Tak reported revenue of HK$4.19 billion ($720.3 million), down 71.4% from the previous year. Earnings shrank 92.4% to HK$262.4 million from HK$3.46 billion a year ago. The biggest revenue contributor was property, which accounted for HK$3.67 billion of the consolidated figure. This was despite a 70.4% contraction from the previous year. The group’s transport and hospitality businesses bore the brunt of the pandemic due to government-imposed travel restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Meanwhile, commercial properties “faced recessionary pressure” in terms of both sales and rental yield as a result of Covid, according to Shun Tak in its full-year result announcement at the end of March. “Yet residential properties have regained momentum in the last two quarters of the year [with] marginal growth year on year,” says the company in its report. Shun Tak’s shares closed at HK$2.48 on May 4 — a significant discount off its net asset value of HK$12.50 per share — giving the company a market capitalisation of HK$7.49 billion.
Still, Ho now ranks among the 50 wealthiest people in Hong Kong with a net worth of US$4.3 billion, according to Forbes. She founded Macau casino operator MGM China in 2007 and continues to serve as its co-chairperson and executive director. As at end February, she still held a 22.49% stake in the Hong Kong-listed MGM China which traded at HK$12.66 per share and with a market capitalisation of HK$48 billion at the close of May 4. US company MGM Resorts holds a 55.9% stake in MGM China.
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Shun Tak purchased a 70% stake in 111 Somerset Road from Perennial Holdings in 2017 for $1.26 billion, and the remaining 30% last year for $155.1 million (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

‘Well-balanced portfolio’

Over the past five years, Shun Tak has snapped up assets worth over $2.15 billion in Singapore, exclusively in the prime districts of 9 and 10, and in the neighbourhood of the Orchard shopping belt. Its portfolio includes the 17-storey commercial complex 111 Somerset Road (formerly known as TripleOne Somerset); the upcoming Artyzen Cuscaden Singapore luxury hotel; as well as two residential projects, namely the 14-unit Les Maison Nassim and 54-unit Park Nova.
“Since our first foray in 2016, the [Singapore] residential property price index has risen more than 20 percentage points,” says Ho. “In 2020, despite the impact of Covid-19, property transactions still rose strongly by 9.2% y-o-y. It is evident that our confidence is well-founded.”
Shun Tak’s maiden purchase in 2016 was a bungalow on Cuscaden Road for $145 million. The property has since been torn down to make way for the new 20-storey luxury hotel, the 142-room Artyzen Cuscaden Singapore, which is scheduled to open in 2022. The Artyzen Hospitality Group has a portfolio of seven operating hotels in Macau, Hong Kong and key cities in China. Another 12 are under development in Lingang Shanghai, Taopu, Yuelai Chongqing and Suzhou in China.
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Next came the acquisition of a 70% stake in TripleOne Somerset commercial building from Perennial Holdings for $1.26 billion in 2017, followed by the remaining 30% stake for $155.1 million in April last year. The 17-storey commercial complex since renamed 111 Somerset Road was refurbished in 2019. It has a gross floor area of 766,550 sq ft, with a mix of office units, medical suites and a two-level retail podium. The office units and medical suites are available for sale on a strata-titled basis.
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Artist's impression of the 21-storey Park Nova designed by PLP Architecture (Photo: Shun Tak)
In June 2018, Shun Tak purchased the former Park House, a 15-storey apartment block with strata commercial units on the first level, for $375.5 million or a record-smashing $2,910 psf per plot ratio (psf ppr) that remains unbroken in the collective sale market till this day. The 46,085 sq ft freehold site is situated at the corner of Orchard Boulevard and Tomlinson Road. The new 54-unit luxury project, Park Nova, will bear the auspicious address of 18 Tomlinson Road.
Around the same time in mid-2018, Shun Tak purchased a bungalow site at 14 and 14A Nassim Road for $218 million. The 66,452 sq ft freehold site with a plot ratio of 1.4 will be redeveloped into a 14-unit ultra-luxury residential project named Les Maison Nassim.
“Currently, we have a well-balanced portfolio in Singapore, comprising hotel, offices, retail and residential,” says Ho. “We are always open to good investment opportunities that can create long term value for our shareholders and therefore, will continue to keep a close eye on the Singapore market. In particular, projects with the potentials of generating cross synergy with our core strengths in other sectors, such as tourism and high-end hospitality, will be priorities for our group.”
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One Central Macao residential units were launched in 2009, and they were instantly “sold out” (Photo: Shun Tak)

Track record in Macau, Hong Kong

Shun Tak is no stranger to the luxury property market in Macau and Hong Kong. “Our track record demonstrates our foresight at entering markets at timely junctures, backed by thorough market studies,” adds Ho. “We enter markets to be creators of vision; not to be followers.”
In 2009, Macau was among the first Asian markets to recover from the global financial crisis. “When Macau was at the cusp of explosive growth, we launched One Central Residences,” says Ho. And it was “instantly sold out”, she adds.
One Central Residences is part of the One Central Macau mixed-use complex located on a prime waterfront site in Macau Peninsula and developed jointly with Hongkong Land. Completed in 2009, the 796-unit One Central Residences is linked to the 600-room MGM Macau casino resort and the 213-room five-star Mandarin Oriental with serviced apartments, the 92 Residences & Apartments at Mandarin Oriental. One Central Residences sits on top of a 200,000 sq ft, high-end retail mall.
The units at One Central Residences were particularly popular among Southern China-based homebuyers who travelled frequently between Macau, Hong Kong and China. Being fully integrated, it answered homebuyers’ lifestyle needs: to be within easy access of leisure facilities from gastronomy to spas, gym, shops and entertainment, according to Ho. “Our ability to anticipate trends and demand growth underpins our development philosophy,” she adds.
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The exterior of Radcliffe, a luxury project in Hong Kong, with just 10 exclusive duplex apartments, that were launched in early 2007 (Photo: Shun Tak)
Meanwhile, Nova City in Taipa is one of the largest luxury developments in Macau. The project comprises 13 blocks with 1,932 upscale residential units, landscaped gardens and clubhouse facilities. Sales of the first four phases had generated a strong public response, notes Shun Tak.
The final phase of Nova City is Nova Grand, which will sit on top of a large-scale lifestyle shopping centre. Last year, 164 units were sold, hence, 80% of the 1,775-unit project has been sold as at end 2020. With more than 655,000 sq ft of GFA, the Nova Mall will be a new activity hub for the Taipa community. The mall is developed in partnership with HIP Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.
In Hong Kong, Shun Tak’s real estate footprint extends across all sectors — commercial, residential and retail. Signature residential projects in Hong Kong include The Belcher’s, which has six high-rise blocks with 2,213 units and is expected to be completed sometime later this year; the 2,400-unit Liberté which was completed in 2003; and Chatham Gate, a twin-tower development with 334 unit, completed in October 2012.
Besides large-scale developments, Shun Tak is equally adept at boutique luxury projects. In Hong Kong, the group launched the Radcliffe in early 2007. The luxury project contained just 10 exclusive duplex apartments. A departure from small units which was the norm at that time, Radcliffe featured spacious units that were “private and unique”, notes Ho.
Today, a four-bedroom, three-bathroom unit of 2,563 sq ft/3,620 sq ft at Radcliffe was recently listed at a price tag of HK$85 million in the resale market.
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One of five detached houses at Chung Hom Kok Road, which were developed and completed by Shun Tak in 2015 (Photo: Shun Tak)
Another boutique luxury development is at Chung Hom Kok Road in the idyllic coastal area of Stanley in Hong Kong. The boutique development comprises just five detached houses completed in 2015.

Catering for ‘the global elite’

“Luxury involves creating what people value most,” says Ho. “This is what Shun Tak holds paramount when designing homes.”
For example, at Les Maison Nassim, acclaimed Singapore-based architect WOHA designed apartments with floor plates ranging from 6,300 to 12,000 sq ft and 21m frontage. The units are designed as “collectible properties in one of Singapore’s most prestigious addresses”, says Ho. It is set to “redefine luxury living”, she adds.
Instead of the traditional mode of marketing via showflats, Les Maison Nassim will be showcased via “tech-enabled virtual tours”. Ho reckons the majority of the buyers are likely to be “the global elite” who will be guided virtually on their home purchase. They will have the privilege of tailoring their apartments to suit their specific needs, she adds.
Prices at Les Maison Nassim start from $40 million or well above $6,000 psf. And several units have already been spoken for, according to sources.
Park Nova at Tomlinson Road, designed by London-based PLP Architecture, will feature interlocking floor plates that will optimise the 270-degree views, natural light and cross ventilation for all units. “Leveraging our experience in hotel and hospitality services catered to the affluent market, we can well anticipate our home buyers’ needs and preferences,” says Ho. “We can curate spaces and amenities that match their expectations.”
Asking prices at Park Nova start from above $5 million for a 1,432 sq ft two-bedroom-plus-study, upward of $9 million for a 2,207 sq ft three-bedder and from $13 million for a 2,906 sq ft four-bedder. Instead of a fortnight-long preview followed by weekend sales by virtual balloting — the typical route of most project launches launches this Covid era — Park Nova will begin sales bookings from May 7.
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Asking prices at Park Nova start from above $5 million for a 1,432 sq ft two-bedroom-plus-study, upward of $9 million for a 2,207 sq ft three-bedder and from $13 million for a 2,906 sq ft four-bedder (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

The neighbourhood

Prices at Park Nova are said to start from $4,200 psf, but are likely to average about $4,900 psf across the entire development, reckons PropNex’s Lee. This puts it in line with recent luxury condo transactions, he adds.
Lee points to Eden at Draycott Park by Hong Kong’s Swire Properties, where all 20 units were sold in a bulk deal for $293 million in March, or an average of $4,827 psf. When broken down, the lowest floor unit was sold for $13.07 million ($4,305 psf) while the penthouse fetched $18.29 million ($6,024 psf).
Recent launches of luxury developments in the area include Boulevard 88 nearby on Orchard Boulevard which previewed in March 2019. Designed by acclaimed architect Moshe Safdie, the 154-unit freehold Boulevard 88 is a redevelopment of the former Boulevard Hotel by City Developments and its joint venture partners, Hong Leong Holdings and LEA Investments.
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The four penthouses at Boulevard 88 of 5,673 to 6,049 sq ft, were snapped up at prices ranging from $28 million ($4,936 psf) to $31 million ($5,125 psf). Meanwhile, the average price of units sold to date is $3,776 psf, based on caveats lodged. The development is about 72% sold to date.
Likewise at 3 Orchard By-the-Park by Malaysian group, YTL Land, the two penthouses commanded the highest prices within the development: the larger of the two at 6,900 sq ft, fetched $32 million ($4,638 psf), while the 6,555 sq ft penthouse was sold for $31.5 million ($4,805 psf) in 2019. These were the highest price in both absolute and psf terms at the 77-unit luxury development designed by Italian architect Antonio Citterio.
Next door to Park Nova is the upcoming Cuscaden Reserve, a 192-unit luxury development by a consortium made up of SC Global and Hong Kong developers New World Development and Far East Consortium International. The land parcel was purchased in April 2018 for $410 million or a record $2,377 psf ppr for a 99-year leasehold site.
Cuscaden Reserve targets the affluent young and has a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments with sizes ranging from 700 to 1,163 sq ft. So far, seven units at Cuscaden Reserve have been sold at prices ranging from $2.33 million ($3,327 psf) for a 700 sq ft, one-bedroom unit to $4.24 million ($3,644 psf) for a 1,163 sq ft three-bedroom-plus-study, based on caveats lodged from Sept 2019 to July 2020.
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Park Nova features 54 units, described as “heirloom-worthy assets”, cater to the “discerning and sophisticated homebuyers” (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

‘Heirloom-worthy assets’

Park Nova, on the other hand, features 54 units that Ho describes as “heirloom-worthy assets” that cater to the “discerning and sophisticated homebuyers”.
Shun Tak’s Ho certainly understands the desire for “heirloom-worthy assets” and is no stranger to setting record prices herself. In 2018, she reportedly paid HK$900 million or a record HK$161,000 psf ($27,610 psf) for a luxury house at 28 Gough Hill Road on Hong Kong’s Victoria Peak. It is still the highest psf price for a house in Asia today.
Ho wants to “scale up the Nova residential brand”. She adds: “We hope to bring new energy and ideas to Singapore and we are very excited about the new possibilities we are creating in this amazing city.”