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July 22, 2017

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Bid for Xinyi lot snatched by new contender

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The D1 lot, one of the few remaining and most sought-after undeveloped plots in Xinyi District (信義區), was yesterday snatched by Huaku (華固建設) in an auction for NT$2.294 billion, to the surprise of observers.

The transaction yesterday exceeded the base bid of NT$22.1058 by 3.6 percent, representing a per ping price of NT$4.65 million. One ping is 3.3 square meters.

The lot had gone through a previous failed bid on Feb. 4, with the base bid set at NT$2.76 billion. The court consequently awarded the preferential right to repurchase to Fubon Land (富邦建設).

Fubon Land was not pressed to make a move at the auction yesterday, due to its status as the majority stakeholder of the lot, and declined to comment on the latest development.

Following its winning bid yesterday, Hauku indicated that they will respect Fubon's decision if they choose to exercise their right to repurchase the plot, adding that they are open to the option of collaborating with Fubon in the lot's development.

The D1 lot is one of the most prized and storied properties in Taipei, and was jointly held by as many as 50 owners in the past, which has consequently halted its development for the past two decades due to regulations that stipulate that only one building permit will be awarded to the plot. In addition, the lot is subject to a minimum development requirement, which implied that development could not take place in a piecemeal fashion.

Fubon Land had risen to the forerunning position as the majority stakeholder in 2011, after a developer had its holdings of the lot put up for auction following financial difficulties. Currently, Fubon Land holds over 47 percent of the lot outright.

The previous developer had been close to consolidating the lot's ownership and initiating development before succumbing to financial difficulties, according to industry observers.

In total, Fubon Land effectively commands over 50 percent of the prized lot if the holdings of its various subsidiaries and affiliates are included, according to sources close to the industry.

The prized D1 lot is located near Taipei 101, and features street-side access to Xinyi Road (信義路).

Dubbed "the most expensive vegetable garden in Taipei City," the D1 lot had long been commandeered by local residents to farm vegetables while the lot stood idle due to difficulties in its development over the past two decades.

Currently, the lot's owners number 18 entities including Fubon Land.

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