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Wheelock picks Shimizu of Japan to build Scotts Square
By UMA SHANKARI
Business Times - 03 Feb 2007

WHEELOCK Properties yesterday said that it has awarded a $168 million main contract for the construction of its retail-cum-residential development Scotts Square to Shimizu Corporation of Japan.

Construction work is expected to begin in the third quarter of this year, and to be completed by 2010.

Shimizu, which is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, was chosen because of its track record in constructing high-end condominiums including Ardmore Park and Grange Residences, said Wheelock in a statement.

Shimizu was also behind the construction of Orchard Road mainstay Ngee Ann City and is now involved in the building of Changi Airport's Terminal 3.

Wheelock said: 'The company has established a strong reputation in its field and is renowned for its high quality work.'

Located on Scotts Road between the Grand Hyatt and Marriott hotels, Scotts Square will be a 'super luxury' residential and retail development. It will comprise two residential towers - one with 43 storeys and the other with 34 - and an 80,000 sq ft retail podium. The freehold development will offer 338 luxury one, two and three-bedroom apartments.

Wheelock acquired the site, comprising the freehold Scotts Shopping Centre and the 23-storey The Ascott Singapore Serviced Residences above it, for $345 million in June 2004. David Lawrence, chief executive of Wheelock Properties, said that Scotts Square will be built with the highest construction standards. 'Once completed, it will be one of the most 'sexy' buildings in town with every apartment offering an astounding view of Scotts Road, Orchard Road and beyond,' he said.

In the stock market yesterday, Wheelock shares closed three cents up at $2.76.

Business Times - 03 Feb 2007

ERA to guarantee sellers at least 90% of valuation

By ARTHUR SIM

(SINGAPORE) If anyone needs another excuse to jump into the property market, real estate consultancy ERA Singapore says it will buy your property if it fails to sell it within three months - for 90 per cent of the valuation price.

ERA Singapore president Jack Chua says the firm will soon implement a popular guaranteed sale programme first launched by ERA in the United States 25 years ago called Sellers Security Plan. A seller lists a property with ERA for an exclusive period, then selects a valuer from a panel to do an open-market valuation. ERA then makes an offer based on 90 per cent of the valuation price - and this is the guaranteed price ERA will pay at the end of the exclusive period.

In Singapore, the exclusive period is generally three months. If the seller chooses to sell the property to ERA, ERA will sell the property at auction. If the price fetched is more than the 90 per cent, the difference after deducting costs goes back to the seller. Details on how the scheme will work in Singapore, including terms and conditions, will be announced on Thursday at the ERA Asia Pacific Business Conference. Mr Chua said the scheme would apply to completed and uncompleted properties. 'It applies to sub-sales too,' he added. Sub-sales apply to new properties sold before they are officially completed, which is generally about the time a temporary occupation permit (TOP) is issued. Sub-sales are also an indicator of speculative activity in the market.

Mr Chua said he does not expect ERA's scheme to attract speculators, because speculators tend to be savvy investors who do not intend to lose even 10 per cent on an investment. Whether it attracts others to enter the property market will only be known after the scheme is launched next week. As Mr Chua notes, the guarantee to buy your property back is quite a 'safety net'. Still, he said the current buoyant market is 'not the sole reason' for launching the scheme. 'We like to offer something new every year. Previously we offered schemes like the Home Warranty Plan and the Deposit Guarantee Plan,' he pointed out.

Business Times - 05 Feb 2007

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