Indonesian tycoon Sukanto Tanoto’s Pacific Eagle buys Singapore’s first mall for $645m

Pacific Eagle Real Estate has agreed to buy Tanglin Mall in Singapore’s Orchard Road shopping belt for 868 million Singapore dollars ($645 million) as the developer controlled by Indonesian billionaire Sukanto Tanoto steps up its property investments in the Asian financial center.

“Tanglin Mall is one of Singapore’s premier landmarks and occupies a prime location right next to the St. Regis Hotel in the enclave of Orchard Road,” said Sun You Ning, Director of Singapore-based Pacific Eagle in a statement. “Pacific Eagle is honored to have the opportunity to create an iconic development worthy of the property’s heritage and its frontage along one of (Singapore’s) most important streets.”

Built in the 1970s, the 12-story Tanglin Mall sits on 68,512 square feet of freehold land along Tanglin Road and Cuscaden Road, close to renowned medical facilities such as Camden Medical Center and Gleneagles Hospital. as well as exclusive private clubs such as the Tanglin Club and the American Club. The property can be redeveloped into a commercial development, with a maximum height of 20 stories and an allowable gross land ratio of 4.2 times, according to Savills Singapore, which brokered the deal.

“The Tanglin Mall tender was hotly contested,” Jeremy Lake, managing director of investment sales and capital markets at Savills Singapore, said in a statement. “The main appeal of the site is that it is a commercial, freehold site, which allows for the flexibility of various development options.”

Billionaire Kwek Leng Beng’s City Developments, which owns about 34.6% of the shopping complex’s titled units through its indirect wholly-owned subsidiary King’s Tanglin Shopping, is among the parties selling its stake in the mall. The divestiture “is consistent with our capital recycling initiatives to unlock the potential of our asset portfolio and maximize shareholder value,” City Developments Group CEO Sherman Kwek said in a separate statement.

Pacific Eagle, part of the Tanoto family’s RGE group of companies, has made inroads into the Singapore property market in recent years. In 2018, the group bought Chinatown Plaza in the Tanjong Pagar area near the Raffles Place business district for S$230 million. The property is being redeveloped into the Mondrian Singapore Duxton, a luxury hotel that will combine Singapore’s centuries-old boutique architecture with contemporary influences. Pacific Eagle recently acquired a building near the Botanic Gardens, which it also plans to redevelop.

Tanoto, 72, founded RGE more than 50 years ago when he opened a modest spare parts store known as Toko Motor in Medan, Indonesia. The company has since grown into a global enterprise with over 60,000 employees and operations spanning pulp and paper, palm oil and energy. Its Bracell is one of the largest producers of specialty cellulose, used in everything from baby wipes to ice cream. With a net worth of $2.1 billion, Tanoto was ranked No. 21 on Indonesia’s 50 richest list when the rankings were released in December.

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Peggy P. Gilmore