Taiwan investor may buy Robinson Centre

Business Times: Mon, Nov 21
(SINGAPORE) Robinson Centre is close to being sold to a Taiwanese investor for nearly $300 million or about $2,240 per square foot of net lettable area, The Business Times understands. Sources say the buyer is a unit of Homax Real Estate Corporatio…

(SINGAPORE) Robinson Centre is close to being sold to a Taiwanese investor for nearly $300 million or about $2,240 per square foot of net lettable area, The Business Times understands.

Sources say the buyer is a unit of Homax Real Estate Corporation, a privately held property investment vehicle believed to be linked to a Liu family in Taiwan.

The 20-storey office block is being sold by Alpha Core Real Estate Fund, managed by Keppel Land unit Alpha Investment Partners. It is being sold through an expressions of interest (EOI) exercise which closed on Sept 8. CBRE handled the EOI exercise.

Alpha bought Robinson Centre for $145 million in 2006 from GuocoLand.

The building is on a site with a remaining lease of about 85 years. It has an impressive entrance lobby and 71 car park lots. Currently, about 97 per cent of the nettable area of about 132,200 sq ft is occupied. Major tenants include Mediterranean Shipping Company, Mercer and GuocoLand.

The price being paid by the Taiwanese party set to buy Robinson Centre is thought to reflect a net yield in the region of 3.5 per cent, based on the building’s current rental income stream. The prospective buyer is looking at Robinson Centre as an investment – that is, with a view to collecting rental income from it – rather than for redevelopment, BT understands.

Robinson Centre was completed about 11 years ago. Investment sales of office blocks have gathered momentum since last month, say market watchers.

K-Reit Asia is buying parent Keppel Land’s 87.5 per cent interest in Ocean Financial Centre on a 99-year leasehold basis for $2,600 psf, including income support. Excluding income support, the price is $2,380 psf.

Also, last month, Royal Group Pte Ltd, controlled by Asok Kumar Hiranandani and his son Bobby, acquired two adjacent 999-year leasehold office blocks at Phillip Street in the Raffles Place area for a total of about $283 million, or an average price of $2,350 psf. One Phillip Street was sold for $2,050 psf and Commerce Point (at 3 Phillip Street) at $2,490 psf.

Another deal last month involved the sale of a 50 per cent stake in a company whose sole asset is the 12-storey freehold Finexis Building, a smallish office block at 108 Robinson Road.

The transaction was based on the office block’s latest valuation – in July – of $110 million or about $2,043 per square foot on its total strata area of 53,830 sq ft, which is understood to be close to the building’s net lettable area.
Source: Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.

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