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SINGAPORE-Lend Lease has offered what is being called the highest-ever unit land price for a site in Singapore, with a top bid of S$617.2 million ($391 million). The bid works out to a unit land price of $1,455 per sf ($942) of potential gross floor area, which is higher than was expected and 1.1% higher than the next bidder.

Lend Lease officials say in a statement that they are confident of the fundamentals of the Singapore retail market, which is why it was prepared to bid high for the 99-year leasehold site just above Somerset MRT Station. The proposed 78,702-sf Somerset Central project will be all retail and has a current estimated cost of about $900 million, including the land price.

In terms of price per square foot, Lend Lease’s bid is 34% more than what Far East Organization paid for the nearby former Glutton’s Square site in January. Far East had been tipped in local newspapers to be top bidder for Somerset Central. That is until the Lend Lease bid came through.

Analysts estimate that Lend Lease will have to secure a gross average monthly rental of at least $18 per sf to achieve a 6% net property yield–the current level being sought by investors here.

Lend Lease has in recent months focused attention on Asia. The company recently teamed up with Lehman Brothers Real Estate Partners II and Eden Property Mauritius Investments to buy Paradiz Centre in Selegie Road for $138 million. And Lend Lease’s Asia Pacific Investment Co. (II) fund bought Parkway Parade in 2000.

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