ARA Asset Management fund buys Robinson Centre

Robinson Centre office building

SINGAPORE – The Robinson Centre building has been sold to a private fund managed by ARA Asset Management Limited, according to Sakal Real Estate Partners, which managed the transaction.

The 20-storey office building at 61 Robinson Road is located in the Central Business District and has a net leasable area of over 130,000 sq ft.

When contacted, Sakal said both buyer and seller agreed not to disclose the price.

Previous reports had market watches put the sale in the ballpark of $340 million.

Sakal managing director Steven Ming said on Monday (Dec 30): “The office market remains a favourite sector among institutional investors. Robust rental growth is expected in the near to midterm, supported by strong demand and limited new supply.

“Tenants’ displacement from the potential withdrawal of 15-year leasehold transitional office space that had been tendered out across 2007 to 2011 could fuel rental rises too,” he added, referring to seven office building sites the Government sold to quickly reduce an office space crunch then. These sites are expected to be taken off the market between 2022 and 2026.

Sakal said the Robinson Centre sale is the final en bloc office asset transacted in Singapore in 2019 following an active commercial investment sales market that saw in excess of $7 billion of commercial investments change hands.

Mr Ming attributed this to the political, socio-economic stability, market transparency and clear rule of law which investors can look forward to in Singapore.

The real estate firm also said it expects increasing investor interest from private wealth “especially given the growing uncertainty in the region in particular Hong Kong”.

Mr Ming said: “If uncertainties in Hong Kong persist, we believe that these preliminary interests will materialise into transactions over the course of the new year.

“Beneficiary sectors could be luxury residential, conservation commercial shophouses, strata offices and smaller to mid-sized en bloc office buildings,” he added.

The Straits Times, 30 Dec 2019

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