The Urban Redevelopment Authority on Thursday rejected the lone bid submitted by a consortium led by Malaysian billionaire Quek Leng Chan’s Guocoland for a prime residential site in the Marina South precinct across the iconic Marina Bay Sands integrated casino resort.
The S$770 million ($573 million) bid made Guocoland and its partners Intrepid Investments of Hong Leong Holdings—controlled by Quek’s Singapore billionaire cousin Kwek Leng Beng—and a joint venture between Hong Leong and Japan’s Mitsui Fudosan, was “assessed to be too low,” URA said in a statement on Thursday. This is the first time in more than a decade that the government has rejected an offer in a state land auction.
The underwhelming response from developers comes amid signs the government’s housing curbs—which include raising the additional buyers stamp duty rates for foreigners and softening economic conditions are beginning to weigh on the once resilient Singapore property market. Developers sold just 6,671 residential units last year, the lowest in the last 15 years, government data released last month showed.
The 17,319 square meter site, which can be developed into a mixed use property with 775 residential units alongside 6,000 square meters of commercial space, is among the few plots of land the government is selling to private developers in the Marina South precinct, just across the Marina Bay financial district. The government plans to hold another auction for the Marina Gardens Cescent parcel.
GuocoLand’s bid, equivalent to S$984 per square foot per plot ratio was also conservative compared to S$1,402 rate paid by a consortium led by Kingsford Huray Development—which is helmed by Chinese businessman Cui Zhengfeng, a naturalized Singapore citizen—in July for a nearby site.