Malaysian Billionaire Brothers’ IOI Properties Submits Only Bid For Marina Bay Hotel, Residential Site


IOI Properties Group—controlled by billionaire brothers Lee Yeow Chor and Lee Yeow Seng—submitted the only bid for a mixed use hotel and residential site as the Malaysian developer doubles down on its investment in Marina Bay, Singapore’s downtown financial district.

Boulevard View—a wholly owned subsidiary of Malaysia-listed IOI Properties—offered S$1.51 billion ($1.1 billion) for the 99-year leasehold site, the Urban Redevelopment Authority said late Tuesday. The site, which was on the reserve list of the government land sales program, was launched for auction in June after an unnamed bidder—reportedly IOI—offered the minimum bid for the property.

“This is not an announcement of tender award,” the URA said in a statement.  “A decision on the award of the tender will be made after the bid has been evaluated. This will be publicised at a later date.”

The 7,817-square meter site can be built up to 101,629 square meters of gross floor area, of which 51,000 square meters will be allocated for residential use and 26,000 square meters will be used for a hotel, while the rest can be used for office space as well as retail and F&B outlets. The site is strategically located behind the Asia Square office tower and near the upcoming Shenton Way MRT station.

URA had estimated that the project could yield about 905 apartment units and 540 hotel rooms. While residential sales in the city-state have rebounded strongly this year, the outlook for the hotel industry remains challenging with the recent spike in Covid-19 cases.

“Since the residential market is upbeat, the tender for the site is likely to have been affected by the very high total development cost which could pose significant risks to the developer,” Ong Teck Hui, senior director of research and consultancy at JLL Singapore, said by email. “While the economy is recovering, the Covid-19 pandemic still poses uncertainties which may cause tenderers to be cautious.”

Should the URA decide to award the site to IOI, this will be the second Marina Bay project to be undertaken by the company, which is developing another mixed use commercial property on Central Boulevard. It acquired the site for about S$2.6 billion in a state land auction in 2016.

Expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2023, IOI Central Boulevard Towers will have a 1.26 million square feet of office space and 30,000 square feet of retail and F&B outlets across two towers and a podium block, IOI said on its website. The grade A office building is easily accessible via link bridges to the Raffles Place and Shenton Way MRT stations.

Across Marina Bay, IOI teamed up with billionaire Kwek Leng Beng’s City Developments to develop the mixed use South Beach Development, which the partners completed in 2018. The project’s residential component is more than 70% sold at prices above S$3,000 per square foot,  Lee Yeow Seng, executive vice chairman of IOI, said in the company’s latest annual report.

Yeow Seng and his brother Yeow Chor inherited the palm oil and property empire of their father, Lee Shin Cheng, who died in June 2019. With a net worth of $4.9 billion, the brothers ranked No. 6 on the list of Malaysia’s 50 Richest that was published in June this year. Their father—who grew up poor on a rubber plantation—built palm oil giant IOI Corporation and developer IOI Properties. The two companies are commonly referred to together as the IOI group.



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