Singapore’s largest property deal of 2023 falls apart on regulatory snag


SINGAPORE: A blockbuster deal backed by a Chinese commodities billionaire to purchase a mall in Singapore’s prime shopping district for about S$908 million (US$670 million) fell apart after plans for its redevelopment were rejected by authorities, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The deal involved the purchase of Far East Shopping Centre in Singapore’s Orchard Road shopping belt by a firm connected to Chinese tycoon Du Shuanghua, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.

It collapsed after the parties failed to get approval from the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the people added.

The transaction was set to be the city-state’s largest for a commercial property in 2023, according to data compiled by Cushman & Wakefield. It was a rare big-ticket deal in a market that’s been hit by reduced demand from institutional buyers due to high interest rates.

EdgeProp.sg, a property portal in Singapore, and the Business Times earlier reported the breakdown of the deal. CBRE Group Inc., which brokered it, didn’t respond to a request for comment. Bright Ruby Resources Pte, a commodities firm in Singapore controlled by Du, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

A prerequisite for the transaction had been the approval of additional gross floor area under Singapore’s so-called Strategic Development Incentive to rejuvenate areas in the city center, including Orchard Road.

The URA confirmed that it rejected the redevelopment proposal, saying the sole site didn’t fulfill the eligibility criteria.

The SDI scheme requires a proposal to include a minimum of two adjacent sites, such that the "amalgamated redevelopment can have a strong transformational impact that will enhance and rejuvenate the area,” the authority said in an emailed statement. - Bloomberg

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