Listed property company UOL Group is targeting to launch a new residential development at Canberra Drive in 2Q2021. It announced this on Feb 26 during the release of its 2020 financial results. The site will be developed by a joint venture between UOl, UIC and Kheng Leong. The total gross floor area (GFA) of the development is 415,412 sq ft, which will yield an estimated 448 residential units.
The property will be within walking distance to Canberra MRT Station (which is also walking distance to Provence Residence). Nearby amenities include Bukit Canberra, an integrated sports and community hub that will be fully opened in 2021. UOL, together with its subsidiary UIC, sold a total of 794 residential units in FY2020 worth a total of $1.24 billion in sales. Sales were recorded across five projects: Clavon, Avenue South Residence, Meyer House, The Tre Ver and Amber45. The latest launch, Clavon, sold 473 out of 640 units at an average price of $1,640 psf in December 2020. “Covid-19 has severely disrupted our hotel operations. Our diversified portfolio and our sustained contribution from property development helped us mitigate the losses,” says Liam Wee Sin, UOL’s group CEO.
The group expects new private home sales to remain resilient but uneven, with stronger demand for smaller units and in the upgrader market. Additionally, it expects rising construction costs due to manpower shortage and safe-distancing measures on-site.
UOL reported a 97% drop in net attributable profit for FY2020 ended Dec 31 to $13.1 million. Group revenue fell 13% to $2 billion with lower contributions from most segments except property development and technology operations, which rose 11% and 41% to $943.1 million and $225.7 million, respectively.
“Our strong balance sheet enables us to see growth opportunities and explore potential enhancement of the group’s commercial and hospitality assets,” says Liam.
The first of such enhancements is the redevelopment of Faber House into a 250-key hotel under URA’s Strategic Development Initiative. The initiative encourages developers to redevelop older buildings in strategic areas into new, bold and innovative developments that rejuvenate the surrounding urban environment.
Faber House is currently a 12-storey commercial building with offices along Orchard Road. The site will be rezoned to hotel use and the building will be redeveloped into an 18-storey development. There will also be a bank, F&B outlets and an urban verandah. The total GFA after plot ratio intensification is 118,672 sq ft. Construction works are planned to begin in 1H2022.
UOL also owns and manages over 30 hotels under the Pan Pacific, Parkroyal Collection and Parkroyal brands. Pan Pacific Hotel Group has used the downtime during the pandemic to refurbish Parkroyal Collection Marina Bay, Parkroyal on Beach Road, Parkroyal on Kitchener Road, and Pan Pacific Serviced Suites Orchard.
This year, UOL will launch Pan Pacific London, a hotel with 237 rooms in a mixed-use development near Liverpool Street Station, and Parkroyal Monash Melbourne, a 237-room hotel that will be part of the mixed-use development M-City Monash.
The group will also develop KH KEA Building at 333 North Bridge Road, which it acquired for $79.3 million in December 2019. It has received in-principle approval to develop it into a new standalone seven-storey building as an extension of its adjacent Odeon Towers, which will command a 50m frontage along North Bridge Road, opposite Raffles Hotel.
The building will comprise five floors of office space, with retail and F&B spaces located in the first four floors. Part of basements one and two will be converted to commercial space. The GFA of the annex building is around 77,898 sq ft. The property will feature biophilic design elements such as garden terraces and vertical greenery, as well as end-of-trip facilities for bicycle users. Construction will begin in 4Q2021 and is targeted to be completed in two years.