Chinese tycoon Du Shuanghua’s Glory Property buys Far East Shopping Centre en bloc for about $908 mil

Du Shuanghua’s Singapore-registered mining and resources company, Bright Ruby Resources, has purchased Far East Shopping Centre en bloc via its investment vehicle Glory Property Development. In the deal, Bright Ruby acquired the 36,014 sq ft prime real estate asset in District 9 for around $908 million, which works out to about $3,350 psf per plot ratio (psf ppr).Michael Tay, head of Singapore capital markets at CBRE, the marketing agent for Far East Shopping Centre, brokered the sale and noted the investor’s tendency to focus on prime assets in major cities. The acquisition follows Bright Ruby’s purchase of the Marriot Champs-Elysees in Paris for US$464 million and the Hilton Hotel in Sydney for US$364 million, both in 2015. The company also paid $1.15 billion a decade ago for the former Grand Park Orchard and its retail podium, Knightsbridge, as well as US$870 million in 2019 for the Westin Hotel Tokyo.

Du Shuanghua’s purchase of Far East Shopping Centre at 545 Orchard Road is not the steel tycoon’s first prime real estate acquisition in Singapore. In June last year, Ever Glory, another Bright Ruby Resources investment vehicle, bought the 37-storey, 999-year, Grade-A office building Income@Raffles for more than $1 billion.

With its 75m frontage along Orchard Road and a 55m frontage in Angullia Park, the 999-year leasehold property obtained from 1871 occupies a land area of 36,014 sq ft and is zoned for commercial use. Prospective buyers, such as Bright Ruby and its Glory Property Development, have the potential to benefit from the redevelopment, with the Strategic Development Incentive (SDI) scheme offering a 20% bonus gross floor area.

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CBRE’s Tay believes the repositioning of Far East Shopping Centre into a commercial offering with a mix of uses such as retail, hospitality and residences has the potential to revitalise Orchard Road. This is in line with URA’s stipulation that six buildings between Cuscaden Road and Orchard Boulevard be redeveloped into “a new exciting destination.”

The new mixed-use developments, such as the one envisioned for Far East Shopping Centre, will include amenities such as a hotel, retail, office and residential components, a rooftop garden and a performance theatre, with a direct underground pedestrian link from Orchard MRT Station.

Highlighting Bright Ruby’s forward-thinking and its prior success in repositioning a prime Orchard Road asset into Pullman Singapore, Tay was delighted to find the right buyer.

Price-wise, Far East Shopping Centre’s acquisition of roughly $3,350 psf ppr has surpassed the previous record set by Ming Arcade, which was sold last December for $172 million ($3,125 psf ppr). It has also exceeded the $868 million ($2,769 psf ppr) paid by Pacific Eagle Real Estate for Tanglin Shopping Centre in February 2022.

The Royal Group of Companies, a family office controlled by Asok Kumar Hiranandani, is developing the Ming Arcade site into a luxury hotel. Pacific Eagle, the Singapore-based investment and development firm of Indonesian billionaire Sukanto Tanato, as well as HPL, who received the go-ahead from URA in August, are transforming their Orchard Road investments into new mixed-use commercial developments.

A Singapore Condo is without a doubt a huge investment. Besides being able to enjoy the amenities, condo owners can also benefit from investment opportunities that come with owning such a prestigious piece of property. From long-term rental income, to capital appreciation, Singapore Condo offer investors a steady stream of returns. Other benefits of owning a condo include tax breaks from rental income, increased liquidity from resale markets, and gaining access to reputable schools and access to transportation.

Through Glory Property, Du Shuanghua may now do the same with Far East Shopping Centre, bringing the investor’s expertise from Paris, Sydney and Tokyo to the rejuvenation of Singapore’s Orchard Road.

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