SINGAPORE: The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has announced that the 99-year leasehold plot in Marina Gardens Crescent will not be awarded after the sole bid of the white site was deemed “too low” by the Government agency.

A “white site” refers to a piece of land the government earmarks for redevelopment or new development. The term is used to distinguish these parcels of land from other types of land designations, such as residential, commercial, or industrial zones, and reflects the open possibilities for development that these sites represent as they are designated for comprehensive and often mixed-use developments.

Typically considered prime locations within urban areas, white sites tend to fetch top prices, given their potential for significant transformation and flexibility in land use.

Despite the traditional demand for these sites, the plots available in the recent Government Land Sales (GLS) tender drew tepid bids, surprising analysts.

The white site in Marina South, designated for residential and commercial development, received only one bid, amounting to nearly S$770.5 million or S$984 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr).

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The bid, made by GuocoLand (Singapore), Intrepid Investments and TID Residential, was almost 30% lower than the S$1,402 psf ppr that Kingsford Group paid for a neighbouring plot in Marina Gardens Lane in June of the previous year.

Revealing that the bid for the Marina South plot was “assessed to be too low,” URA said: “The site will now be made available on the reserve list of the first half 2024 GLS (Government Land Sales) Programme, to allow interested tenderers to submit applications for the sale of the site with a minimum price that is acceptable to the government.”

Despite its prime location and the potential to develop a maximum gross floor area (GFA) of nearly 783,000 sq ft, approximately 6% more than the adjacent plot awarded to Kingsford, the subdued bidding and low offer raised eyebrows in the real estate market.

Despite being located in the prime downtown area, the Marina South white site also fetched a lower bid land rate than the Media Circle site in one-north in the same GLS exercise.

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While the Marina South site has been pushed to the reserve list, the Media Circle plot has been awarded to the highest bidder.

CNQC Realty (Clementi) and Forsea Residence secured the 99-year leasehold plot, zoned for residential with commercial space on the first storey, with a bid price of nearly S$395.3 million, equivalent to S$1,191 psf ppr.

This plot fetched three bids and was ultimately awarded to the tie-up between CNQC Realty and Forsea Residence, with CNQC Realty being controlled by Qingjian Realty.

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