AN ICONIC stretch of colonial buildings on Stamford Road will be transformed into a vibrant retail, hotel, residential and arts precinct after the plum site was sold for $250 million on Wednesday.

A new 15-storey building with shops, eateries and apartments, will rise above the conserved heritage buildings Stamford House, Capitol Building, Capitol Theatre and Capitol Centre as part of the $700 million redevelopment. The winner of a closely-watched tender for the 1.43 ha 99-year leasehold site was announced on Wednesday by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). It is a consortium formed by Mr Pua Seck Guan, the founder of Perennial Real Estate Group, Pontiac Land's Mr Kwee Liong Seen and Top Global.

It came out tops with the highest bid of three shortlisted tenderers, whittled down from an original 14 submissions. Capitol Building and Stamford House will be restored and converted into a new luxury 5-star hotel, while Capitol Theatre will be transformed into a unique cinema cum performance theatre with up to 1,000 seats.

Theatre groups will be given in-residence status to use the theatre and stage performances for part of the year. The remaining part of the year will be used by film distributor Golden Village. 'To be transformed into a single-screen cinema with the largest seating capacity in Singapore, it will be a choice venue for red carpet movie premieres and film festivals,' the URA said.
Under the tender, a quarter of the land parcel's gross floor area (GFA) of 50,389 sqm had to be used for hotel related uses. The winning bid - which translates to $461 per sq ft (psf) of GFA was 5 per cent higher than CapitaLand's $238.2 million bid. Private equity firm Gaw Capital Partners was third with a $130.1 million bid.

The new 15-storey building, will house four floors of retail, and food and beverage stores, with some 80 apartments ranging from 99 sqm to 220 sqm above that, Perennial Real Estate said. The URA said that as the new building is curved, the conserved theatre will become the centrepiece of the development. It would also lend an elliptical form to a sheltered civic plaza to be used as a public space for events and performances.

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