Sora Showflat

The Jurong Lake District (JLD) Sora along Yuan Ching Road will be unveiled on June 22 and launched a week later on July 6. It will be the first big suburban property to be launched since the 81% sold 533-unit Lentor Mansion in mid-March.

The developer of Sora, a group headed by SingHaiyi, plans to launch the project for $1,850 per square foot, or just less than $1 million for a 538 square foot, one-bedroom with study apartment.

“We have done a lot of research on the other projects in the area, and we believe that the prices we’re going to launch at will be quite competitive relative to our neighbours,” says SingHaiyi executive director Gallant Tang. Tang is also the son of the leading SingHaiyi shareholders, Gordon and Celine Tang.

Sora

Since Wing Tai Holdings debuted the nearby 306-unit The Lake Garden Residences last August and CapitaLand Singapore’s 368-unit J’den in November, Sora is the third 99-year leasehold residential project introduced in the JLD.

At an average price of $2,134 per square foot, the LakeGarden Residences along Yuan Ching Road are 39% sold, according to caveats filed with URA Realis as of June 17. At $2,459 psf on average, J’den at Jurong East Central has sold more than 90%.

“We are fortunate that some projects were launched recently to give us a feel for the prices in the area,” says SingHaiyi group CEO Raymond Chia.

“Sora will also be the largest of the three projects launched in JLD,” claims PropNex CEO Ismail Gafoor.

Sora Living Room

 

Redeveloped from Former Park View Mansions

Park View Mansions

Redeveloped from the former Park View Mansion, Sora has a 191,974 square foot 99-year leasehold property. July 2022 saw SingHaiyi pay $260 million for the site with its joint venture partners, Ho Lee Group and KSH Holdings. KSH and Ho Lee own 30% of the joint business, leaving SingHaiyi with 70%.

According to Eugene Lim, chief executive officer of ERA Realty, the land fee for Park View Mansion came out to $1,023 psf per plot ratio, which is 18.2% less than that of the neighbouring The LakeGarden Residences (the old Lakeside Apartments). “This allows the developer of Sora some pricing flexibility.”

Still, Chia of SingHaiyi estimates that Sora will sell for an average of $2,180 per square foot.
Front and views of Jurong Lake Gardens

The first national gardens in the suburbs, Jurong Lake Gardens, are fronted by the property for 300 metres. About eighty percent of the apartments will face the public park because of the way the buildings are oriented.

“Not many condominiums in Singapore has an unblock park frontage,” says Tang Kok Thye, the project’s architect and associate partner of ADDP Architects. But Sora has the advantage of Jurong Lake Gardens being directly in front of it.

Second in size to the Singapore Botanic Gardens (101ha), Jurong Lake Gardens is 90ha, with Gardens by the Bay (82ha) ranking third.

Sora Living Room 2

Just three property parcels border Jurong Lake Gardens, claims Mark Yip, CEO of Huttons Asia. There are so few of these kinds of houses available. “To own a house with a national park right outside your door is a rare opportunity.”

There are two 12-story residential buildings and two 20-story skyscrapers in Sora. Tang of ADDP claims that each pair is connected at the rooftop to form a “tiered sky garden.” 77,500 square feet is the size of the sky gardens. He says, “The idea was inspired by the sunset view of a tiered rooftop garden of a hotel in Bangkok.”

Just thirty percent of the property is used by the blocks; the other seventy percent is left aside for landscaping and more than sixty resident amenities.

The primary contractor is Japanese contractor Nakano Singapore; the landscaping consultant is Ecoplan Asia. Super Fat designs created the showflats and sales gallery.

Yuan Ching Road is the primary entry of Sora, however homeowners may also easily reach the complex via four side gates. To Jurong Lake Gardens, two of these side gates open immediately.

 

Jurong Lake Gardens Panoramic View

Jurong Lake Gardens

Jurong Lake Gardens, which include three gardens—Lakeside Garden (Jurong Lake Gardens West and old Jurong Lake Park); Garden Promenade (Jurong Lake Gardens East) and Chinese and Japanese Gardens (Jurong Lake Gardens Central); are regarded as Singapore’s first suburban national garden.

While the Chinese and Japanese Gardens are being renovated, they are scheduled to open later this year. Lakeside Garden was finished redeveloping last year. Opening in 2027 will be the new Singapore Science Centre located in Jurong Lake Gardens.

When Sora receives its temporary occupancy permit (TOP) in 2028, it will be connected to the Japanese Garden, which has a bike path that leads to the Jurong East MRT Interchange Station for the East-West, North-South, and future Jurong Regional Lines. Lim of ERA adds that a picturesque bike ride through the gardens may also get you to the Lakeside MRT and Chinese Gardens MRT Stations in less than ten minutes.

“A lot of enhancement works are still under progress to improve the entire JLD,” Lim continues. Residents may witness additional bus services that take them straight from their door to their employment as the Jurong Innovation District develops in the future.

The unit options at Sora are extensive and include anything from 538 square feet for a one-bedroom with study to 1,938 square feet for a five-bedroom. Eighty-four percent are different kinds and sizes of two- and three-bedders. Two-bedders come in around 646–915 square feet, and three-bedders at 936–1,410 square feet.

According to Lim of ERA, over half of the apartments sold at J’den and The LakeGarden Residences were between $1.5 million and $2.5 million, with purchasers preferring the one-, two-, and three-bedroom options.

“With the impending launch of Sora, buyers who were unable to find a suitable unit at the other two projects may potentially secure a unit of choice at Sora – particularly if they are eyeing the smaller unit types,” says PropNex’s Gafoor.

Gafoor says that some potential purchasers in the Jurong East region could be holding off on making a decision on a house until Sora becomes available.

Chia of SingHaiyi feels that with the opening of the 6.5 hectare master developer white site in Jurong East, interest in JLD has returned. The same consortium of five well-known developers—Singapore’s CapitaLand Development, City Developments and Frasers Property, Japan’s Mitsubishi Estate Co. and Mitsui Fudosan (Asia)—submitted the two proposals at the tender’s closure in March.

 

Stakes in large mixed-use projects

SingHaiyi has a number of important initiatives ready to go this year. The Collective at One Sophia is scheduled for a preview sometime in the fourth quarter of 2019. Part of the One Sophia mixed-use complex, which also features 249 commercial spaces, it has 367 apartments.

One Sophia frontages 70 metres along Selegie Road and 100 metres along Sophia Road. Within the Core Central Region (CCR), in the prestigious District 9, is the 99-year leasehold development. The former Peace Mansion and Peace Centre were redeveloped on a single commercial property at 1 Sophia Road as One Sophia and The Collective at One Sophia.

December 2021 saw SingHaiyi pay $650 million for the site with its joint venture partners, KSH Holdings, SLB Development, and Ho Lee Group. The joint venture is owned by SingHaiyi to the extent of 70%, and KSH, SLB, and Ho Lee to the remaining 30%.

Alibaba is a member of the consortium that is leading the mixed-use development The Skywaters, in which SingHaiyi also has a 21% share. The Skywaters is a 63-story mixed-use complex featuring offices, shops, a hotel and apartments that was developed from the old AXA Tower at 8 Shenton Way. The project is in CCR’s prestigious District 1.

Situated on the highest levels of The Skywaters complex are 190 apartments known as Skywaters Residence. When finished in 2028, at 305 metres tall, it will be Singapore’s tallest building. A May 31 caveat allowed for the sale of a 7,761 square foot penthouse at Skywaters Residences for $47.34 million, or $6,100 per square foot. At $6,100 psf, it is a new Singapore record for opulent 99-year leasehold apartments.

Another mixed-use project in which SingHaiyi has a part is Aurea located at former Golden Mile Complex. May 2022 saw the selling of it in a group auction with a conservation component. A joint venture of Sino Land Group, Far East Organisation, and Perennial Holdings paid $700 million for the 99-year leasehold land. SingHaiyi now holds 22.5% of the joint venture. Later this year is when the 186-unit Aurea residential tower is scheduled to debut.

 

OCR projects to increase revenue for 2H 2024

Other Outside Central Region (OCR) project debuts are scheduled after Sora, including the freehold Kassia in Flora Drive, The Chuan Park in Lorong Chuan, and Norwood Grand in Champions Way, Woodlands. “These projects will provide a larger choice of units for buyers, and we could see a rise in OCR’s new home sales in the next months,” adds Gafoor.

Due to the dearth of larger projects being up for sale over the last three months, Gafoor notes, new house sales have been somewhat subdued. “A lot of the new launches this year are smaller boutique developments with less options for buyers in terms of unit variety.”

Owner-occupiers and HDB upgraders would find new OCR launches appealing because of the more reasonable prices when compared to the CCR and Rest of Central Region (RCR), says Gafoor. For this reason, he is still upbeat about the outcome.

According to Yip of Huttons, property purchasers are increasingly price conscious and cautious because of the unclear economic future. Quite a few have an OCR house budget of around $2 million. If they come across something they want within their means, they will still commit.

Chia of SingHaiyi concurs, saying, “People are still willing to commit to a purchase when they see an opportunity even in uncertain times.”