Singapore

Expect a car-lite, sustainable retail-friendly Bidadari estate

More requirements than usual for first private home and retail tender for Bidadari estate

The tender for the first private home and retail site on offer to developers at the upcoming Bidadari housing estate is no ordinary one.

The tender document for the 2.54ha site, set to yield 825 homes as well as shops, comes with a raft of stipulations aimed at shaping the site into a landmark project. It is envisioned as a "community in a garden" which is environmentally sustainable and car-lite.

Developers also have to build a community centre and neighbourhood police branch, and are strongly encouraged to work with tenants of the retail portion on productivity initiatives.

Analysts note the tender includes many more requirements than for typical residential sale sites - more on par with those for major Government Land Sales (GLS) commercial sites.

In a first for a site outside the Central Business District, bidding developers will be required to reduce the number of car-park spaces from the usual level.

The first site to have this requirement was a mixed-use site at Central Boulevard, acquired for $2.57 billion by a subsidiary of IOI Properties last year.

In the tender document for the Upper Serangoon site, the Housing Board - the appointed land sales agent - stipulated the developer "is required to apply to the Land Transport Authority to take up a 20 per cent reduction under the range-based car-parking standards for the residential component".

An LTA spokesman said that "given the excellent connectivity to public transport network and support for walking and cycling, a lower car-parking provision under the prevailing range-based car-parking standard is in line with the move towards a car-lite Singapore".

The project is next to Woodleigh MRT station.

Mr Ong Teck Hui, JLL's national director of research and consultancy, said it was "significant" that the developer's proposal will be subject to design reviews by a panel chaired by HDB.

He said this is a requirement of prominent GLS sites, including recent ones like the Central Boulevard site, Lendlease's Paya Lebar Quarter, as well as older sites such as one adjacent to Raffles Hotel and another site which has become Chijmes.

He singled out the productivity initiatives as being particularly interesting.

The successful bidder is "strongly encouraged to work with" tenants of its coffee shops, restaurants, retail and entertainment outlets to adopt productivity initiatives.

These include digital services that enable automated ordering and payment, as well as investing in self-check out systems.

Despite the numerous conditions, analysts expect bidding for the site to be competitive.

Mr Ong expects seven to 10 bidders, though one deterrent is the "high absolute land price" owing to the large size of the development.

Mr Desmond Sim, CBRE's head of South-east Asia research, expects 10 to 14 bids.

He said: "Even with more stringent tender conditions, developers will still be interested because of the lack of development sites in the market. You can look at the community centre and police post as a downer on margins, but they can also be seen as creating catchment for commercial space."

The tender for the 99-year leasehold site closes on June 13.

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