SINGAPORE (Sept 20): Ascott Residence Trust (Ascott REIT) has acquired a prime greenfield site at one-north for $62.4 million to build its first co-living property.

To be named lyf one-north Singapore, the property will offer 324 units. It is slated to achieve Temporary Occupation Permit by 2020 and open in 2021.

The site is located at Nepal Hill, where there is a thriving research and innovation community comprising 400 companies, 800 startups and 50,000 professionals.

The 200-ha one-north estate has attracted over $7 billion worth of investments in critical growth sectors such as the biomedical, info-communications and media industries. The location is also a talent development hub, home to world-renowned business schools and corporate universities.

The property is to be managed by its sponsor, The Ascott Limited under the coliving brand, lyf, targeted at the rising millennial segment.

The 60-year leasehold site was put up by the JTC Corporation (JTC) for sale in a two-envelope concept and price tender.

Ascott REIT says its concept proposal features the creative use of communal spaces, a holistic design centred on building a vibrant and collaborative community, as well as comprehensive programmes which promote social bonding, wellness, personal development and business networking.

Guests can look forward to fully-digital customer experience and communal amenities such as a lap pool, social kitchen, fitness area, barbeque garden, outdoor seating area, residents’ lounge, laundromat, thematic function rooms, and indoor events hall. Spanning a gross floor area of over 73,447 sf (6,823.5 sqm), lyf one-north Singapore will offer a mix of studio and loft units.

Ascott REIT is managed by Ascott Residence Trust Management Limited (ARTML), an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of CapitaLand Limited

Bob Tan, ARTML’s chairman, says: “This development only accounts for about 3% of Ascott REIT’s total asset value, which is within the 10% regulatory limit on property development for REITs. After the acquisition, Ascott Reit’s gearing will be 37.2%, which is below the 45% gearing threshold, thereby offering adequate debt headroom for the funding of the acquisition.”

Beh Siew Kim, ARTML’s CEO, says: “Set to be the first coliving development in one-north, lyf one-north Singapore will cater to the ready pool of young entrepreneurs, millennials and professionals in the vibrant cluster that hosts prominent research and knowledge-based organisations, startups as well as business schools. We expect strong demand for the property, given the thriving innovation ecosystem and the limited lodging supply in the vicinity.”

Year to date, units of Ascott REIT are down 13.5% to close at $1.09 on Wednesday.