Nisha Ramchandani | The Business Times | Thursday, May 02, 2013

THE Capitol Investment Holdings consortium, which yesterday brought Patina Hotels & Resorts onboard to run its upcoming hotel, has sold about 30 per cent of the residential units in its $750 million Capitol project.

Slated to open in the fourth quarter of 2014, the mixed-development at the junction of Stamford and North Bridge roads – which spans Capitol Theatre, Capitol Building and Stamford House – also features a four-level retail component and The Patina, Capitol Singapore hotel.

Twelve of the 39 residential units at Eden Residences Capitol have been snapped up at an average of $3,000 per square foot. With units ranging from 2,100 square feet to over 6,500 square feet, this prices units between over $6 million to nearly $20 million.

Capitol Investment Holdings is a joint venture between the Kwee family-backed Pontiac Land Group – which owns a 50 per cent stake in the JV – as well as Perennial Real Estate Holdings (24 per cent) and Osim CEO Ron Sim (26 per cent) in his personal capacity.

Real estate group Top Global – controlled by Sukmawati Widjaja – was initially part of the consortium but has since sold its stake, according to Perennial chief Pua Seck Guan.

“Certainly, activity has slowed down but people look at the quality of the project, they recognise the kind of value that we’ve created. We’re not that eager to quickly sell everything because we think there will be more value for us as the project nears completion, ” said Mr Pua, commenting on how the latest cooling measures have affected property sales. It has sold one unit since the measures were implemented and is in “serious negotiations” to sell another one.

The iconic site was put up for tender by the government in what turned out to be a hotly contested one, attracting 14 proposals for the 99-year leasehold site.

Capitol Investment submitted a bid of $250 million but estimates the total cost of the development to be $750 million.

Hotel operator Patina Hotels & Resorts, a firm set up by members of the Kwee family, will run The Patina, Capitol Singapore under a long-term management contract. Patina will also offer hospitality services to Eden Residences for a fee.

Meanwhile, the 800-seat Capitol Theatre is expected to screen both movies as well as cater to the performing arts.

But while Patina’s first project only opens its doors next year, it is already in talks with other properties overseas.

According to chief executive officer Marc Dardenne, Singapore-based Patina is in advanced talks with hotel properties in Beijing and Shanghai.

“We hope to really develop the brand with a focus on China, South-east Asia, all the way to the Maldives and the Middle East,” he added.

“Most hotel companies have territorial restrictions so you can’t operate two Four Seasons or two Ritz-Carltons typically in one city. That’s what also gives rise to a demand for more hotel companies in large cities,” pointed out Melissa Kwee, director of Pontiac Land. Potiac Land also owns other luxury hotels in Singapore, namely The Ritz-Carlton Millenia, the Capella, Conrad Centennial and The Regent.

Rates for the upcoming 157-room hotel – whose rooms will range from 45 to 65 square metres – will be in line with the luxury sector in Singapore.

Last year, luxury hotels in Singapore chalked up an industry-wide average rate of $428.

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