The Four Food Groups – September 2008

Four Food Groups 2008-09-01 Staff Writer <strong>RESIDENTIAL<br /> Living large</strong><br /> Singapore's Orchard Road, known throughout the world for its shopping malls, will soon be home to a new 56-story luxury residential building. The complex, known as The Orchard Residences,

Living large

Singapore’s Orchard Road, known throughout the world for its shopping malls, will soon be home to a new 56-story luxury residential building. The complex, known as The Orchard Residences, will feature 46 floors of apartments, in addition to a multi-level shopping mall.

The developers behind the project, Singapore-based CapitaLand and Hong Kong’s Sun Hung Kai Properties, are no strangers to high-profile projects in Asia. Sun Hung Kai, for example, was responsible for the International Finance Centre in Hong Kong, currently the tallest building on the island.

According to local press reports, 98 of the building’s 175 units have already been snapped up in an invitation-only sale to buyers from Japan, India, Hong Kong and Indonesia. Prices for the remaining units are not publicly listed.

Most of the units in the building will be three- and four-bedroom apartments ranging from 1,800 square feet to 2,900 square feet each, with penthouses ranging from 4,300 square feet to 6,500 square feet.

In addition to amenities like a pool, tennis court and private event space, the building’s 30th floor will house a gym, meditation deck and yoga room. Residents will also have access to a 75,000-square-foot landscaped garden on the ninth floor, while an observation deck on the 55th and 56th floors will be open to the public, developers say.

When completed, the building will be the district’s tallest and apartments will offer unobstructed panoramic views of Singapore, Soon Su Lin, chief executive of Orchard Turn Developments, told local media.

Manufacturing oasis

The empty desert between Dubai and Abu Dhabi could give rise to hundreds of industrial buildings in the next few years, but Dubai is trying to distinguish this stretch of land from other industrial areas. “It is definitely beyond real estate,” Rashid Al Ansari, chief executive officer of Dubai Industrial City, recently told Gulf News. The 560-million-square-foot project, which was launched in late 2004, is being developed near the Dubai World Central, a logistics and aviation township in Jebel Ali, which is slated to be home to the world’s largest airport. Dubai Industrial City is planning to have a population of 500,000 people, including 87,000 workers. The project will include a mix of office towers, residential blocks, hotels and mixed-use buildings in the commercial zone, which is divided in the middle by the planned 80-kilometer, man-made canal. About 400 potential investors have booked land for their factories.

Divide and conquer

Just five months after it purchased Sam Zell’s Equity Office Properties Trust, The Blackstone Group has sold many of the acquired properties, earning back more than 70 percent of its initial investment. Approximately 62 million square feet of the 102 million square feet of office space Blackstone acquired from EOP have been snapped up, including many of the most expensive properties, according to The Wall Street Journal. Rather than sell off lesser-quality properties, the firm immediately flipped the best properties in a series of record-breaking deals in San Francisco, Austin and Stamford, Connecticut. Blackstone sold its seven New York City office buildings to Macklowe Properties for a total of $6.6 billion. Some buyers have, in turn, resold the properties at still higher prices. Blackstone completed the $39 billion acquisition of Chicago-based EOP in February.

Shopping around

Abercrombie & Fitch, a staple of teenage wardrobes throughout the US, is expanding to Asia and Europe. Last month, the retail chain revealed its plans to open a store in Tokyo’s famous Ginza shopping district in late 2009. Earlier this summer, the retailer announced that it was also planning to expand into the European market and was in the process of securing locations in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Denmark and Sweden as well as the UK. In March of this year, the chain opened its first international flagship store in London. “We have been evaluating the European markets for some time and it is clear that the demand for the Abercrombie & Fitch brand is very strong,” Mike Jefferies, chief executive officer and chairman, said at the time. “We believe that now is the ideal time for us to execute our international growth strategy with expansion throughout Europe.”