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

During a conference held on February 27 to discuss the FY2022 financial results of UOL Group, Liam Wee Sin, CEO of UOL Group, looked back at the previous year, which was marked by a robust property market. He also emphasized the company’s strategic focus on land replenishment in the future.

Liam Wee Sin’s remarks coincide with UOL’s celebration of an exceptionally successful year in FY2022. This success was driven by strong sales across all of its property development projects and its hotel operations through its subsidiary, Pan Pacific Hotels Group.

Liam stated, “Our residential development segment performed exceptionally well last year, with our new project inventory almost completely sold out.” He was referring to the remarkable launch day sale of AMO Residence, a 372-unit development in Ang Mo Kio, which took place in July the previous year. The project sold 98% of its units in a single day, achieving an average selling price of $2,100 per square foot, setting a new benchmark price in the Outside Central Region (OCR).

AMO Residence scale model

Other projects within UOL’s portfolio that were previously launched have either been completely sold out or are nearing full occupancy. UOL Group has confirmed that their 640-unit development, Clavon, located on Clementi Avenue 1, and their 1,074-unit project, Avenue South Residence, situated on Silat Avenue, are now fully sold.

Clavon was made available for sale in December 2020, while Avenue South Residence was introduced in September 2019. In addition, there are only five remaining unsold units each in AMO Residence and The Watergardens at Canberra, a 448-unit project along Canberra Drive. Meanwhile, Meyerhouse, a luxurious 56-unit development along Meyer Road, has only one unsold unit, according to UOL’s report.

Consequently, the group experienced a remarkable 26% year-on-year increase in revenue from property development, reaching $1.98 billion in FY2022. This accounted for 62% of the group’s total revenue for the same fiscal year.

Upcoming projects in Pine Grove and Watten Estate

Regarding their future residential development strategies, Liam indicates that UOL’s recent emphasis on neighborhoods like Ang Mo Kio, watten estate residences, and Pine Grove reflects the characteristics they aim to incorporate into upcoming projects.

He notes, “We believe there are opportunities for us to expand in the high-end and luxury residential market in Singapore, especially by creating more sophisticated offerings that resonate with potential homeowners.”

In the pipeline for this year, UOL has two projects that are ready for launch. They intend to provide a sneak peek of their upcoming 520-unit residential development at Pine Grove by the end of the first half of 2023. UOL secured the site last June by submitting the highest bid of $671.5 million, which equates to $1,318 per square foot 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)

The upcoming project consists of three 24-story residential towers, offering a range of one- to five-bedroom units. The design of this development will place a strong emphasis on incorporating the natural surroundings, taking inspiration from the nearby Clementi Forest and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

In the meantime, UOL plans to launch the redevelopment of the former Watten Estate Condominium in the second half of 2023. The developer acquired the condominium through a collective sale in October 2021 for $550.8 million, equivalent to $1,786 per square foot per plot ratio.

The Watten House Developer project will be transformed into a low-rise luxury condominium spanning five stories and featuring 180 units. UOL intends to focus on spacious unit layouts for this project, offering a mix of three- to five-bedroom units. According to Liam, the project will adopt a mansion-style design akin to Meyerhouse but will also incorporate a strong Asian design influence and character. He hints that each of the eight residential blocks will include a penthouse.

Seeking efficiencies and optimisation

In addition to its property development activities, UOL Group is actively engaged in asset enhancement and redevelopment for select office and commercial developments.

One prominent project underway is the ongoing Asset Enhancement Initiative (AEI) for Singapore Land Tower, which commenced in January 2021. Situated at 50 Raffles Place in the Central Business District (CBD), this 47-story commercial building is a part of UOL Group’s subsidiary, Singapore Land Group (SingLand). Jonathan Eu, the CEO of the company, represented it in this endeavor.

Jonathan Eu explains, “The ongoing AEI of Singapore Land Tower will be executed in several phases, with a final completion anticipated by 2024. Key components of the AEI encompass a refreshed fa├žade and the integration of new energy-efficient features.” He also highlights that the building achieved the BCA’s Green Mark Platinum certification in December 2022.

UOL GROUP FY2022 RESULTS BRIEFING - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE

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)

UOL Group is introducing tenant-centric amenities as part of its enhancements, including end-of-trip facilities, various communal spaces, and a covered walkway connecting to Raffles Place MRT Interchange. Jonathan Eu further reveals that the company is actively exploring potential management agreements with flexible workspace providers to facilitate co-working or flexible workspaces for tenants.

Additionally, SingLand is undertaking the redevelopment of Clifford Centre, a neighboring commercial development located at 24 Raffles Place. Plans for this redevelopment were unveiled by SingLand last year, and most tenants vacated the premises by the end of 2022. Jonathan Eu states, “We will primarily focus on demolition-related tasks this year, with the aim to commence actual demolition and redevelopment work at the beginning of the next year.”

Separately, UOL Group’s Chief Operating Officer, Neo Soon Hup, provided an update on the company’s expansion plans for Odeon Towers. The project entails the addition of a new seven-story extension facing North Bridge Road, with construction anticipated to be finalized by the second quarter of 2024.

Clifford Centre - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE

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

Liam anticipates that for the remainder of the financial year, the local residential market may experience a moderate price increase, bolstered by a combination of low unsold inventory and a higher influx of new launch units. He also mentions that the recently implemented higher buyer stamp duty is likely to have only a minimal impact on the demand for private homes in the end-sale market.

“In FY2022, the group capitalized on the robust sales performance across all our projects. Given our current project pipeline and efforts to replenish our land bank, we expect FY2023 to be a year where we leverage our freehold, strategically located properties, refine our product offerings, and maintain our leading position in the sector,” Liam remarks.

Nonetheless, the group remains cautious about the impact of increased business and borrowing costs resulting from the relatively higher interest rate environment. They are also monitoring rising construction costs, although Liam notes that in this regard, the escalation in construction expenses has largely stabilized when compared to development and financing costs.

For the latest updates on properties near AMO Residence, Clavon, Avenue South Residence, The Watergardens at Canberra, Meyerhouse, Pine Grove, Watten Estate Condominium, and Raffles Place MRT Interchange, be sure to check out the latest listings.

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