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Chinese steel tycoon Du Shuanghua is doubling down on Singapore investments, with his investment vehicle Glory Property Development submitting the top bid of about S$910 million ($666 million) to acquire the Far East Shopping Centre, one of the oldest commercial properties on the Orchard Road shopping belt, according to local media reports.
Brokered by CBRE, the transaction is subject to certain conditions, including approval from the Urban Redevelopment Authority for the increase in the property’s gross floor area by as much as 20%, the Business Times reported late Thursday. The Strata Titles Board also needs to clear the deal as the sale was not unanimously approved by the strata unit owners, according to the report. CBRE declined to comment on the deal.
Built in 1974, the 15-story Far East Shopping Centre sits on a 999-year leasehold site of about 36,000 square feet. With an existing built-up space of about 242,000 square feet, the property is home to some 600 retail shops in the first five floors, as well as offices in the upper 10 floors.
The property can be built up to a maximum gross floor area of 290,000 square feet if the URA approves the extra space under the government’s strategic development initiative for older buildings. The buyer can redevelop the asset into a mixed use office, hotel or retail complex, CBRE has said.
The acquisition comes a year after Ever Glory, another investment vehicle of Du’s Bright Ruby Resources, bought a grade-A office building in the Raffles Place central business district for S$1 billion. Bright Ruby also bought the former Grand Park Orchard hotel and retail space for S$1.15 billion a decade ago and has since transformed it into the 308-room Pullman Orchard, which opened in December 2022.
Du joins several Asian tycoons who are deepening their investments in Singapore particularly in the vicinity of Orchard Road, which the government aims to rejuvenate by encouraging investors to redevelop several aging buildings in the area. Right next to Far East Shopping Centre, tycoon Ong Beng Seng’s Hotel Properties plans to redevelop the voco Orchard hotel, along with two adjoining properties into a massive mixed use hotel, office, retail and residential complex that analysts estimate will cost as much as S$2 billion to construct.
Nearby, Royal Group—controlled by Singapore billionaire Asok Kumar Hiranandani—is redeveloping the Ming Arcade, an aging shopping mall on Cuscaden Road near Orchard Road, into a boutique hotel. Next door, Indonesian tycoon Sukanto Tanoto also plans to redevelop the Tanglin Shopping Center, which his Pacific Eagle Real Estate bought last year for S$868 million.