PETALING JAYA: IOI Group’s Lee Yeow Chor and Lee Yeow Seng are among at least 10 Asian billionaires investing more than S$6 billion (RM20.6 billion) to build new hotels and expand their operations across the island state following Singapore’s robust travel rebound, says Forbes magazine.
In a recent report, Forbes Asia said Singapore’s main shopping strip on Orchard Road will be the home of several of the city-state’s newest hotels as part of its rejuvenation plan for the surrounding area.
The Marina Bay financial district is also another hotspot for property and hotel development. That’s where brothers Yeow Chor and Yeow Seng, who control both IOI Group and IOI Properties Group Bhd, are developing a mixed-use hotel for commercial and residential purposes.
The Marina View Residences, which has a hotel component, comprises 683 condominium units with a gross development value of RM8.5 billion (US$1.8 billion) and is set to be launched for sale during IOI Properties’s current financial year ending June 30, 2024.
The development will be on a 7,817 square-metre site bought from a Singapore government auction in 2021 after a successful RM4.65 billion (S$1.51 billion) bid through wholly-owned Boulevard View.
Yeow Chor is non-independent non-executive director while Yeow Seng is CEO of IOI Properties.
Besides the Marina View Residences project, IOI Properties is set to complete the construction of the IOI Central Boulevard office towers by end-2023. It has already secured leases from major tenants including Amazon and Morgan Stanley, according to the magazine.
Separately, IOI Properties also has interests in other assets in the city-state. This includes the South Beach Development project, a mixed-use office and hotel complex across Marina Bay that is jointly developed with billionaire Kwek Leng Beng’s City Developments (CDL), and Cape Royale, a luxury condominium project built on Sentosa Island in partnership with Singaporean tycoon Chua Thian Poh’s Ho Bee Land.
Billionaires driving hotel development
Meanwhile, Kwek, chairman of CDL and Hong Leong Group in Singapore, is among the billionaires building new hotels in Singapore.
A cousin to Malaysian tycoon Quek Leng Chan, founder and executive chairman of Hong Leong Group in Malaysia, Kwek’s CDL will open Singapore’s first Edition Hotel, a 204-room boutique hotel that’s part of the upscale mixed-use development that includes the Boulevard 88 residential condominium beside the Four Seasons Hotel.
The Kwek/Quek family dynasty is behind the Hong Leong Group conglomerate, which spans both Singapore and Malaysia, and is ranked among the top 10 richest families in Asia by Forbes Asia.
Forbes said Singapore’s real estate group UOL is already undertaking development activities at the site of the Faber House building on Orchard Road to turn it into a 19-storey hotel with 200 rooms.
Prior to the current project, it said the Wee Cho Yaw-controlled group had opened a 23-storey and 347-room luxury hotel, the Pan Pacific Orchard which has since become one of UOL’s flagship properties.
Singaporean billionaire and owner of Hotel 81 budget hotel chain Choo Chong Ngen is expanding to mid-tier markets with Choo Worldwide Hotels led by his daughter, Carolyn. They are buying Parkroyal, which has 542 rooms for S$525 million (RM1.8 billion) from UOL Group and rebranding it as Novotel Singapore.
Indonesian developers are also making their presence felt in the city-state. Billionaire Sukanto Tanoto’s real estate company Pacific Eagle Real Estate opened its maiden hotel in Singapore, Mondrian Singapore Duxton, costing S$400 million (RM1.37 billion) with 304 rooms in July.
Invictus Developments, owned by Indonesian billionaire Bachtiar Karim, is building a 143-room boutique hotel under The Standard brand near Orange Grove Road. The boutique hotel is expected to open next year right next to the Shangri-La.
In February 2023, Indonesian tycoon Mochtar Riady-owned property firm OUE reopened the 1,080 room Hilton Orchard, formerly known as Mandarin Orchard, after extensive refurbishment to reflect Singapore’s agricultural heritage.
Elsewhere, off Orchard Road, the Como Metropolitan Singapore, a 156-room luxury wellness hotel developed by Singapore-based Como Hotels and Resorts is set to open this month.
Como Hotels and Resorts was founded by Christina Ong, the wife of Hotel Properties managing director Ong Beng Seng.
Meanwhile, Singapore’s expanding lineup of new lodgings stands to benefit from the country’s robust post-pandemic comeback with visitor arrivals rebounding from last year due to the return of Chinese travellers, according to the Singapore Tourism Board.
The government expects as many as 14 million tourists to visit the country this year, spending up to S$21 billion (RM72.1 billion), Forbes Asia said.