ARA Asset to sell Singapore office building leased by Alibaba

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) – Real estate fund manager ARA Asset Management and U.K. property group Chelsfield are listing their jointly owned Singapore office building for about $800 million, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The asking price for the building – located near the famous Orchard Road shopping belt and just 10 minutes drive away from the financial district – translates to $3,319 per square feet, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private.

The 11-story office and retail space, which measures over 241,000 square feet, currently houses Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group Holding and its Southeast Asian online shopping unit, Lazada Group.

Representatives for ARA declined to comment.

Spokespeople for Chelsfield didn’t immediately reply to requests for comment.

ARA and Chelsfield purchased the building in 2019 for $555.5 million under an equal partnership. The tower, previously known as the Manulife Centre, was later renamed to 5One Central following the purchase.

In June this year, the office was rebranded as Lazada One after the e-commerce firm and its parent company became a major tenant when they leased 140,000 square feet of space while waiting for their own building in the financial center to be redeveloped.

Singapore office buildings remain prized assets even after landlords around the world were hit by a drop in demand when workers stayed home during the pandemic. Tech firms such as and ByteDance have expanded their presence as they make the city-state their base for the Southeast Asian market.

Though Singapore’s return to the office has been slow, real estate consultancy firms Savills and Knight Frank have said rents are bottoming out. In the third quarter, top-flight office rents ended six consecutive quarters of decline, Savills said in its November report.

The office market could potentially see rental gains of 25 per cent to 30 per cent by 2025, according to a JLL Singapore report on Sept. 24.

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