Over 90 per cent of units sold, most unoccupied

SINGAPORE - More than 90 per cent of units at the 66-storey Marina Bay Suites have been sold - though most remain unoccupied after being snapped up by investors who are not living in them.

Mr Thomas Tan, director of residential and marketing for Raffles Quay Asset Management which manages the luxury condominium, said there are residents living in only about 20 of the 221 units. So far, 203 units have been sold.

Property agents told The Straits Times that around half of the owners are wealthy locals while the rest are mainly international buyers from Malaysia, China and Indonesia. Developed by a consortium controlled by Keppel Land, Cheung Kong Holdings and Hongkong Land Holdings, Marina Bay Suites boasts bayfront views, spa lounges and massage terraces.

Agents say units cost $2,700 to $3,000 per sq ft. A three-bedroom unit can go for about $4 million, while a four-bedder can top $6 million. Apartments range from 1,600 sq ft to 2,700 sq ft. The development has 108 three-bedroom units - all sold - 110 four-bedroom apartments and three penthouses with private pools, one of which fetched $19.3 million.

Each floor typically houses four apartments, each served by a private lift lobby. It is understood that if a fire breaks out, all lifts will be sent to the first floor and residents - alerted by an alarm - must evacuate by one of two stairways.

Some residents were left shaken after Monday's fire. "I am very, very tired," said Mrs Akmam, 40, an Indonesian tourist whose 53rd-floor unit filled with smoke. "I panicked and ran out in just my pyjamas.

The lifts were not working so we had to take the stairs. I bought an apartment in Singapore because it is very safe and clean here. But now I want to sell." But accountant Hugh Von Bergen stays unfazed. The 55-year-old, whose 24th-floor apartment is three floors down from one of Marina Bay Suites' several refuge floors, said: "It's a very well-designed building.

There are staircases that lead to the refuge floor. I don't feel unsafe."

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