GIC to sell Florida golf property as prices surge

Singaporean sovereign wealth fund could get up to US$200 million for Great White Course

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2014, 5:13am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2014, 5:13am

Singapore's GIC is planning to sell the Great White Course, a 52 hectare golf property adjacent to Trump National Doral Miami that may fetch US$200 million as property prices surge in southern Florida.

The sovereign-wealth fund hired CBRE to market the course, which it bought in February last year as part of its US$1.5 billion acquisition of bankrupt resorts owned by a group led by hedge fund Paulson & Co. The land has permits for residential, office and retail development, according to CBRE vice-chairman Robert Given and senior vice-president Gerard Yetming.

Demand for real estate is climbing in Doral, 19km west of downtown Miami, driven by property investors from the US and Latin America along with employees from companies including Miami-based Carnival. Doral's population is projected to increase by about 15 per cent over the next five years, almost double the 6.9 per cent growth rate projected for Miami-Dade County, according to CBRE.

"The Doral market currently is the second-largest office market in South Florida," Given said. "It's already an international destination for in-migrating families. It has a huge consumer base. At the same time we have hit all the urban boundaries. We can't build into the Everglades. It's making this a high-barrier-to-entry market."

Lay Choon Mah, a GIC spokeswoman, declined to comment on the planned sale.

The office-vacancy rate in Doral in the first quarter was 15.4 per cent, compared with 17.4 per cent statewide, according to data provided by CBRE.

Doral has benefited from the property resurgence in neighbouring Miami. About 21,430 condominiums have been proposed or are being built in Miami-Dade County, according to CraneSpotters.com, which tracks development in South Florida.

Great White, operated by Trump National Doral Resort, has entitlements for the development of about 27 hectares including as many as 2,709 condominiums, apartments and single-family homes; more than 800,000 sq ft of office space; and as much as 300,000 sq ft of retail. The property is likely to sell for between US$150 million to US$200 million, according to Given and Yetming.

GIC has been on a shopping spree for office properties in the United States. In January, Time Warner said it was selling its headquarters space at New York's Time Warner Centre to GIC, Related Cos and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority for US$1.3 billion.

"Now is the right time for GIC to market and monetise on their large investment that was made some time ago," Yetming said. "This is an extremely exciting area. It's a very fast-growing community within the Miami metropolitan area."