71 Robinson Road Singapore, the 15-storey office block is trying to find a buyer stealthily. The building made headlines back in 2008 when it sold for S$3,125 psf which was a record back then.
There have been reports in the media that JLL and CBRE, the appointed marketing agents for the sale had launched an EOI (expression of interest) exercise in the month of April without much publicity and approaching select club of potential buyers.
Interested buyers had submitted their bids to the present owners Commerz Real and it is being suggested that the owners have shortlisted some bids and is in talks with them.
There are unconfirmed reports in the market that the building which has 74 years remaining on its lease tenure is being presented at S$2,850 psf indicative price for its net lettable area.
Going by the NLA of 237,645 sq ft the estimated price for this building translates to S$677.3 million.
The price sounds lucrative and market watchers have pointed out that S$2,850 psf is lower when compared to the S$2,308 psf price at which Robinson 77 a building in the vicinity transacted last year.
In that deal a fund that is managed by CLSA Real Estate had received S$710 million from Gaw Capital for this 35-storey property.
Interestingly the lease tenure for both the properties expires in February 2093. It must be noted that Robinson 77 is an older property compared to 71 Robinson Road as the former was completed in 1997 compared to 2008 for the latter.
Robinson 77 had undergone major refurbishment few years back.
71 Robinson Road has better specifications as compared to Robinson 77 with bigger floor plates being one of the major points of attraction.
Each of the floors in this building spans around 20,000 sq ft compared to the floor plates at 77 which spans between 8,000 and 12,000 sq ft.
The floor-to-ceiling height at 71 Robinson Road is also higher in comparison and the property has full-height windows which were noted by leading office leasing agents.
They say that better specs have helped the property enjoy higher rentals compared to properties in the vicinity.
During its transaction between July and August last year the average rentals at Robinson 77 was around mid S$7 per square foot where the building enjoyed near 90% occupancy.
As for 71 Robinson Road it is said to be enjoying near full occupancy and the rental rates are shade below S$10 per square foot. Among the major tenants in this building are Visa, CommerzBank, WeWork and Ogilvy.
A veteran office leasing agent highlighted the fact that blue-chip companies tend to prefer office buildings that have larger floor plates as this allows them to run their operations smoothly leasing fewer floors.
71 Robinson Road stands on the site that once had the Crosby House. It was sold in 2006 by Singtel to a partnership of Kajima Overseas Asia and Lehman Brothers.
They had redeveloped the site into the current office block and sold the property in 2008 on a turnkey basis to Commerz Real even when it was being built.
At the time of the transaction there was about 85 years left on its lease tenure. This transaction came with a coupon payment to Commerz Real which amounted to 4.5% during the construction phase.
The S$3,125 psf price and remained a benchmark almost for a decade in the office space in Singapore.
It was only in 2016 that Straits Trading Building located on 9 Battery Road surpassed that price with S$3,524 psf on the net lettable area.
The property was bought by MYP Ltd a company controlled by Tahir’s family, business tycoon and philanthropist from Indonesia.
The 999-year leasehold 28-storey property was bought for S$560 million and was renamed MYP Centre.