Some big-name developers are in the hunt for a commercial and residential site in Sengkang Central, with seven bids lodged at the tender closing yesterday.

Most of them joined forces in joint ventures for the government land sale site, which was put on sale via what is called a dual-envelope system. There was a joint bid from CapitaLand and City Developments (CDL), and one from Wing Tai Holdings and Keppel Land. Perennial Real Estate Holdings and Qingjian Realty also tabled a bid together.

Singapore Press Holdings again tied up with Japanese developer Kajima Development, while Chinese developers MCC Land and Grantral Land, which owns Grantral Mall here, joined forces.

Far East Organization, which recently won the Holland Road site tender that was also launched under the dual-envelope system, is again contesting for the Sengkang Central site. It submitted two separate tenders with different concept proposals.

The dual-envelope system requires bidders to describe their concept for the site and, in a separate envelope, to state the price they would pay.

The 37,284.8 sq m Sengkang site next to Buangkok MRT station was launched for sale last December by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. It is on a 99-year lease and expected to generate about 700 units.

Market watchers note that interest has not been as keen as that seen for the Holland Road site, which attracted 15 bids.

CapitaLand, CDL, Perennial and Qingjian Realty were unsuccessful then, but are now vying for the Sengkang site.

The concept proposals will be first evaluated by a committee based on a set of criteria specified in the tender. Only tenders that meet these criteria will be considered.

At the second stage, the price envelopes of those left in the running will be opened, and the site awarded to the highest bidder.

The size of the site and relatively complicated technical conditions related to the tender mean most of the bidders are consortiums or big players in the property market.

Four out of the six groups of bidders in the tender are sponsors for Singapore-listed real estate investment trusts.

This is not surprising as it is increasingly difficult to acquire well-located shopping malls in Singapore at attractive prices. Hence, these developers would have to acquire land for retail malls.

This site is envisioned to be an integrated community hub with amenities such as a hawker centre, community club, childcare centre and shops, as well as public rail and bus transport facilities, all in a one-stop location.

While there is already a large public housing estate surrounding this site, there is potential for further developments that may reinforce the significance of this commercial/transport node.

Adapted from: The Straits Times, 22 June 2018