UOL Group targets launches in Pine Grove and Watten Estate in 2023

/ EdgeProp Singapore |
UOL Group Chief Executive Liam Wee Sin (right) and Pan Pacific Hotel Group Chief Executive Officer Choe Peng Sum (left) with UOL Group Chief Financial Officer Kwa Bing Seng (centre). (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
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SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - At a conference held on Feb 27 to share the FY2022 financial results of UOL Group, Liam Wee Sin, UOL group chief executive, reflected on the past year which was characterised by a robust property market. At the same time, he points out that a strategic thrust for the company going forward is a focus on land replenishment.
His comments come as UOL celebrates an exceptionally successful year in FY2022, underpinned by strong sales among all its property development projects and hotel operations, via its subsidiary Pan Pacific Hotels Group.
“Our residential development segment did very well last year, in fact the inventory (of our new projects) was nearly completely wiped out,” says Liam.
He is referring to the strong launch day sale at the 372-unit AMO Residence in Ang Mo Kio, which launched in July last year. The project saw 98% of its units snapped up in a day and achieved an average selling price of $2,100 psf, a new benchmark price in the Outside Central Region (OCR).
AMO Residence scale model - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Other already-launched projects in UOL’s portfolio were either fully sold last year or close to selling out. The company says its 640-unit Clavon on Clementi Avenue 1 and its 1,074-unit Avenue South Residence on Silat Avenue are fully sold.
Clavon was launched for sale in December 2020 while Avenue South Residence was launched in September 2019.
AMO Residence and The Watergardens at Canberra, a 448-unit project along Canberra Drive, each have five unsold units. Meanwhile, Meyerhouse, a luxury 56-unit project along Meyer Road, has just one unsold unit, UOL says.
As a result, the group saw revenue from property development increase 26% y-o-y to $1.98 billion in FY2022. This contributed to 62% of the group’s overall revenue in FY2022.

Upcoming projects in Pine Grove and Watten Estate

In terms of future residential development plans, Liam says that the developer’s recent focus on neighbourhoods such as Ang Mo Kio, Watten Estate, and Pine Grove are an indication of the characteristics of future projects.
“We believe that the high-end and luxury residential market (in Singapore) has opportunities for us to grow, especially in terms of creating more refined products that resonate with homebuyers,” he says.
UOL has two launch-ready projects in the pipeline this year. It plans to preview its upcoming 520-unit residential development at Pine Grove by the end of 1H2023. The developer was awarded the site last June when it submitted the highest bid of $671.5 million ($1,318 psf per plot ratio) in a government land tender.
Pine Grove landlens - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
An 80:20 joint venture between UOL Group and Singapore Land Group won the Pine Grove site in a government land tender in June last year. Based on estimates by EdgeProp's Landlens tool, the new development could have an approximate selling price of $2,495 psf. (Map: EdgeProp Singapore)
This upcoming project comprises three 24-storey residential towers with a mix of one- to five-bedroom units. The design will also emphasize the nearby greenery of Clementi Forest and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.
Meanwhile, the developer says it will launch the redevelopment of the former Watten Estate Condominium in 2H2023. The developer acquired the condo in a $550.8 million ($1,786 psf ppr) collective sale in October 2021.
The Watten Estate project will be turned into a low-rise five-storey luxury condo with 180 units. UOL says that it will concentrate on large-format unit layouts in this project, with a unit mix consisting of three- to five-bedroom units.
According to Liam, the project will also be designed in a mansion-style similar to Meyerhouse but with a strong Asian design influence and flavour. He also teases that each of the eight residential blocks will feature a penthouse.

Seeking efficiencies and optimisation

In addition to property development, UOL Group is also working on asset enhancement and redevelopment for some of its office and commercial developments.
Foremost is an ongoing asset enhancement initiative (AEI) of Singapore Land Tower that started in January 2021. The 47-storey commercial building occupies a prime location at 50 Raffles Place in the CBD. The asset is under UOL Group’s subsidiary Singapore Land Group (SingLand), and the company was represented by its CEO, Jonathan Eu. (Find Singapore commercial properties with our commercial directory)
“The ongoing AEI of Singapore Land Tower will undergo a few phases with a final completion expected by 2024. Components of the AEI include a fresh new façade as well as new energy efficient features,” says Eu. He adds that the building attained BCA’s Green Mark Platinum certification in December 2022.
Singapore Land Group Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Eu (right) with UOL Group Chief Executive Liam Wee Sin (left). (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
New tenant-focused amenities that will be added include end-of-trip facilities, a variety of new communal spaces, and a covered walkway to Raffles Place MRT Interchange. Eu adds that the company is exploring potential management agreement contracts with flexible workspace providers to facilitate co-working or flexible work spaces for tenants.
SingLand is also working on a redevelopment of Clifford Centre, a nearby commercial development at 24 Raffles Place. Plans for the redevelopment were announced by SingLand last year and most tenants vacated the building by the end of 2022. “We will spend most of this year on demolition related works with a view to start demolition and redevelopment works by the start of next year,” says Eu.
Separately, UOL Group COO Neo Soon Hup also updated on the company’s enhancement plan for Odeon Towers which it plans to enlarge with a new seven-storey extension that will face North Bridge Road. Construction is expected to be completed by 2Q2024.
The last tenants of Clifford Centre vacated the building last month. It will undergo demolition and redevelopment works from this year. (Picture: Albert Chua/The Edge Singapore)

2023: year of higher business costs

For the rest of the financial year, Liam expects the local residential market could ride on a moderate price increase buoyed by a combination of low unsold inventory and a higher incoming supply of new launch units. He adds that the recently introduced higher buyer stamp duty is expected to have a marginal impact on end-sale private home demand.
Don't miss out to check out the hottest new launch condo and new landed property in Singapore
“In FY2022 the group capitalised on the strong sales momentum across all our projects. Given our current pipeline of projects and land bank replenishment, we expect FY2023 will see us capitalise on our freehold and well-located sites, refining our product positioning, and maintaining our market leadership this is sector,” says Liam.
However, the group continues to be mindful of higher business and borrowing costs due to the relatively higher interest rate environment. It is also keeping a close on rising construction cost, although Liam says that in this regard, the rise in construction costs have largely stabilised relative to development and financing costs.

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