M-S likely to swap land for prime plots: analysts


The Ophir-Rochor and Marina South land parcels, which may be up for redevelopment by the Singapore-Malaysian joint venture company, M-S Pte Ltd, could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Analysts believe that should M-S decide to open up the land to developers, it could trigger fierce bidding for prime real estate.

Earlier this week, the Singapore Government said the 78-year-old Tanjong Pagar railway station will be moved to Woodlands by July 1 next year.

Three land parcels in Bukit Timah will be vested in M-S for joint development, in addition to three land parcels in Tanjong Pagar, Kranji and Woodlands.

Any of these land parcels may be exchanged for pieces of land of equivalent value in Marina South and Ophir-Rochor.

This spells good news for private developers, as more choice land parcels in the prime districts may be up for grabs.

Last week, the Ministry of National Development (MND) withdrew a white site at Ophir-Rochor that was previously made available for sale via the Reserve List in October 2008.

MND had said in its news release that this Ophir-Rochor land parcel will be removed from the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme as “the development plan for the site is being reviewed”.

Both the Urban Redevelopment Authority and Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs declined to provide MediaCorp with details of the site area and exact locations of the land parcels involved.

Mr Nicholas Mak, real-estate lecturer at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, said that due to the high valuation of the land parcels, which may run into hundreds of million or more, he reckons both Singapore and Malaysia may hire more than one valuer each to conduct respective valuation of the land parcels.

Valuation fees alone may run upwards of a few hundred thousand dollars, due to the sheer size of the land parcels, Mr Mak added.

Mr Colin Tan, head of research and consultancy at Chesterton Suntec International, predicts that it is very likely that M-S will swap its current land parcel in Tanjong Pagar for same-value land parcels in Marina South or Ophir-Rochor.

“Both Marina South and Ophir-Rochor sites are more well-developed in terms of facilities and amenities available, as compared to the current site which holds the Tanjong Pagar railway station,” said Mr Tan.

He added that Marina South has the upcoming Marina Bay Financial Centre, while Ophir-Rochor has a certain buzz and historical heritage because of its location near Arab street and Sultan Mosque, which has attracted several backpackers’ hostels to set up there.

Source : Today – 26 May 2010

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