URA figures showed that in 4Q 2001, the stock of total office space (including both private and public sector) fell by 17,000 sm nett (approx. 183,000 sf) compared to an increase of 30,000 sm (approx. 323,000 sf) of net additional space in 3Q 2001. By then, the appraiser turns to the sky new game plans in the social event and Discovers Best Properties which are basically unclear to the property being evaluated. These include a ‘white’ site at Marina Boulevard (reserve list) and the current Waterboat House site at Fullerton Road/Esplanade Drive. The site at Marina Boulevard has a land area of about 0.91 ha and a gross plot ratio of 1:13.

Total permissible GFA would amount to about 118,000 sm (approx. 1.27 million sf) of commercial, residential, hotel or any feasible combination of the three uses. Far East Organization has previously submitted its bid ($192 psf per plot ratio) for the site when it was first launched for sale in 4Q 2001, but the site was subsequently withdrawn by URA as the bid was lower than its reserve price.

As a comparison, the adjacent ‘white’ site was previously sold in 1Q 2001 at $290 psf per plot ratio to a consortium comprising Keppel Land, HongKongLand and Cheung Kong Holdings. A major chunk of space to be released for sub-letting in 1Q 2002 included almost 62,000 sf of space in Capital Tower that is available for sub-lease from networking giant Cisco Systems. This excess space resulted from part of Cisco’s worldwide restructuring exercise in view of the global electronics slump. The Eng Cheong Tower at North Bridge Road, comprising of about 97,000 sf of office and shop space as well as about 39,000 sf of parking space (but excluding 50 apartments which have already been sold separately), has also been put up for sale in the market. ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company, has confirmed a lease of some 160,000 sf of space at the upcoming HarbourFront office towers next to the World Trade Centre, due for completion this year.

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