Mediacorp puts up 7ha site of former Caldecott Broadcast Centre for sale, redevelopment into bungalows
By Kenneth Cheng
The Urban Redevelopment Authority has granted the go-ahead for a proposal to redevelop the 7ha site that was the Caldecott Broadcast Centre.
SINGAPORE — Nearly five years after its move out of the Caldecott Broadcast Centre on Andrew Road, national media network Mediacorp is putting up the sprawling hilltop site for sale.
The Urban Redevelopment Authority has granted the go-ahead for a proposal to redevelop the 7ha site, which could yield 67 two-storey bungalows with a land area of at least 800 sqm each, real estate consultants CBRE and Showsuite Consultancy said on Wednesday (Oct 14).
Mediacorp — which owns TODAY — has appointed the two firms to market the 752,015-sqf site, which housed the media giant’s operations for more than six decades. In 2015, it started its move to its present premises along Stars Avenue in the One-north business district.
It is the first time in the last decade that a site of this scale has been put on the market for landed housing.
Mediacorp has engaged an architect to work out a subdivision scheme for the site to hold 67 bungalow plots, subject to approval from the authorities.
A public tender to sell the property opens on Thursday and closes on Dec 9.
CBRE and Showsuite Consultancy said that the property’s central location, its proximity to amenities such as Caldecott MRT Station and a longstanding paucity of new good-class bungalows on the market will make the plot a draw for developers.
They added that as the proposed houses will be smaller than typical good-class bungalows, they will also appeal to an under-served segment of mid-tier consumers who occupy the market for homes that sit between entry-level bungalows and good-class ones.
Good-class bungalows are detached houses in one of 39 zones, each with a land area of at least 1,400 sqm. Some houses in the designated areas, however, do not meet this minimum size.
The Caldecott Broadcast Centre is situated at the heart of a good-class bungalow zone.
Right now, the 99-year leasehold site has a remaining term of 73 years. Mediacorp has applied to the Singapore Land Authority for an in-principle approval to top up the lease to 99 years.
The lease upgrading premium for the extension will be borne by the property developer.
The new houses at the proposed development are expected to be priced between S$11 million and S$14 million, depending on their design and configuration.
The gross land value for the proposed redevelopment is expected to be more than S$400 million. This includes the lease upgrading premium and a differential premium to intensify the site’s land use.
TIMING OF SALE
Mr Karamjit Singh, chief executive officer of Showsuite Consultancy, said that the sale opens the path for property developers to supply bungalows at a time when there has been a long dearth of supply, on a large scale, of detached houses.
“The closest proxy would be bungalows at Sentosa Cove, which were launched between 2005 and 2010,” he said.
Mediacorp’s announcement comes in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has sent the economy into a tailspin.
Mr Singh said that while the economic climate may be challenging, there has been a constant rise in overall wealth.
“The wealthy are still getting wealthier. And there is also an importation of wealth through immigration,” he added.
Mr Michael Tay, head of capital markets in Singapore at CBRE, said that his firm has noticed that developers were still looking out for sites, particularly good-quality ones.
“Developers are consistently looking to ‘land bank’, and they will be open to considering good sites even in this climate,” he added.
Mr Tay said that for starters, the Caldecott site is in a “very good” residential area, being in a good-class bungalow zone, on elevated ground and conveniently situated near amenities.
“We believe there are enough positive attributes on this site to make developers sit up and get interested.”
While construction costs remain uncertain during the pandemic, Mr Tay said that developers can have the choice of buying and developing the plot in phases.
As for pricing, Mr Tay said that the houses will appeal to a certain pool of buyers, since freehold good-class bungalows are priced substantially higher.
Mr Singh noted that new freehold typical-size good-class bungalows have been sold for an average of S$35 million to S$37 million. Those in Sentosa, which tend to be smaller and on leasehold tenures, have gone for S$17 million or S$18 million.
Mr Tay said: “So buyers… will look at this lower-entry-level house in this location as a very attractive proposition in the good-class bungalow zone.”