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Many of the shophouses along South Bridge Road have been refurbished, it’s no longer the tired old Chinatown

South Bridge Road shophouses for sale at $50 million

A pair of shophouses at 273 and 275 South Bridge Road is for sale at $50 million. 
 
The 999-year leasehold, four-storey shophouses have a footprint of 3,089 sq ft and a floor area of 11,008 sq ft. The $50 million price tag works out to $4,542 psf based on floor area. 
 
Co-living hotel on upper floors
 
The shophouses were leased to co-living hotel operator ST Signature, a hospitality brand of Catalist-listed F&B operator Katrina Group. It is currently operating as ST Signature Chinatown, a 38-room budget co-living hotel with shared amenities, from pocket sitting rooms and kitchens to communal bathrooms on each level.
 
ST Signature Chinatown’s five-year lease ends in June this year but can be renewed for another three years. “The new owner will have immediate rental income with the potential for rental upside upon lease renewal,”.
 
Daily rates at ST Signature Chinatown start from around $100 a night for a single room to $138 a night for a double room, according to Booking.com. The property has an average occupancy rate between 80% and 85%. Its appeal lies in its proximity to Chinatown, with Smith Street and Temple Street just across the road.
 
The South Bridge Road shophouses are within walking distance of Maxwell MRT Station on the Thomson-East Coast Line and Chinatown MRT Station on the Northeast Line. The Chinatown Food Centre on Smith Street is just across the road.
 
Additionally, they fall within the Telok Ayer Conservation Area of District 1. Next door to the shophouses at 273 and 275 South Bridge Road is the Eu Yan Sang Building. The four shophouses at 265 to 271 South Bridge Road have been given a new lease of life following the opening of the Great Room with 22,000 sq ft premium co-working space in April last year.
 
The building used to be the headquarters of Eu Yan Sang, a traditional Chinese medicine brand that opened its first medical hall there. The heritage building dates back to 1910.
 
Changing hands and renewal
 
8M Real Estate purchased the Eu Yan Sang Building at 265 to 271 South Bridge Road for $54 million in December 2019 and refurbished it. The property was purchased on a 199-year lease, with Eu Realty holding the underlying 999-year lease.
 
The neighbouring shophouses along the same row have the Art Deco architectural style and are believed to have been built in the pre-war years, sometime in the 1930s.
A ground-floor unit is still vacant at 273-275 South Bridge Road and it was temporarily leased to Kele, a purveyor of pineapple tarts and other traditional Chinese New Year cookies. The landlord is currently seeking a new tenant.
 
The unit is ideal for F&B as the ground floor of many of the shophouses along the row has been converted to F&B outlets, for instance, Yakun Kaya Toast, which opened its latest outlet at a corner unit at 297 South Bridge Road.
 
Sources indicate that two adjacent shophouses at 277 and 279 South Bridge Road changed hands for $23 million last year.
 
Based on a property title search, the deal was completed in November 2023. However, a caveat was not lodged. The shophouses have a combined land area of 2,847 sq ft and a floor area of 8,259 sq ft. The purchase price translates to $2,785 psf. The property has a 99-year lease from 1992, with a remaining lease of 67 years.
 
The shophouses at 277 and 279 South Bridge Road were purchased by Clifton Partners, a property investment management firm headed by Zain Fancy. Six years ago, in January 2018, the pair of shophouses had traded for $19 million, based on a caveat lodged then.
 
‘No longer the old Chinatown’
 
Another shophouse that is up for sale is a corner two-storey shophouse at 201 South Bridge Road. It sits at the junction of South Bridge Road and Cross Street.
 
It is also for sale with a guide price of $8.8 million or $3,408 psf based on the floor area of 2,582 sq ft. The shophouse has a land area of 1,049 sq ft and is zoned for commercial use. It underwent extensive refurbishment in 2022. 
 
“Many of the shophouses along South Bridge Road have been refurbished,” observes Krystal Khor, associate director of Mondania, who focuses on marketing conservation shophouses.
 
New F&B tenants have moved in due to the proximity to the Maxwell MRT Station on the Thomson-East Coast Line, which opened in November 2022, she adds.
The area has become livelier with the introduction of Great Room and new dining spots like Taiwanese café Breakfast Hola at 280 South Bridge Road and Korean-Japanese Gui Café at 278 South Bridge Road, says Khor. “It’s no longer the tired old Chinatown,” she adds.
 
Adapted from EdgeProp Singapore
 

Tanjong Pagar shophouse for sale at $20.8 mil, exclusively marketed by Mondania

Tanjong Pagar shophouse for sale at $20.8 mil

An intermediate shophouse at 120 Tanjong Pagar Road, in the Tanjong Pagar conservation area, is on the market for $20.8 million. The shophouse is newly refurbished and spans four floors. It has a built-up area of 6,460 sq ft, which means the asking price of $20.8 million works out to about $3,220 psf. The property is available for sale by private treaty.

The modern, four-storey shophouse stands out along the stretch of shophouses typically 2 & 1⁄2 storeys in height, says Krystal Khor, director of Mondania, the exclusive agent for the property. “The property has an 8.8m frontage, which is almost double the width of a typical shophouse,” she adds.

The property underwent extensive additions and alterations three years ago, including updating the mechanical and electrical systems. A temporary occupation permit was obtained in November 2022. While reimagining the interiors, the architect Carl Lim, principal of Czarl Architects, restored and conserved the exterior.

The owner has installed a new lift that serves every floor. An outdoor terrace on the second level of the shophouse overlooks the back lanes of the gentrified Duxton Road and Craig Road. The property sits on a 1,684 sq ft site, with a 99-year lease from 1988. Hence, it has 64 years left on its lease.

The property falls under the Outram Planning Area and was initially approved for restaurant use on the first floor and hotel use on the second to fourth floors. However, during Covid, the owner changed the use of the upper floors from hotel to office use.

All four levels are leased today, according to Khor. The ground-floor tenant is a Chinese hotpot restaurant; the second-floor tenant will be “a Singaporean celebrity couple with an avant-garde F&B concept”; the third-floor tenant is Club Pilates; and the fourth-floor tenant, Charge Gym.

“Based on the current rental income of the property, the potential buyer can expect a desirable gross yield of almost 3%,” says Khor.

The property at 120 Tanjong Pagar Road is near two MRT stations: a three-minute walk to the Tanjong Pagar MRT Station on the East-West Line and a five-minute walk to the Maxwell MRT Station on the Thomson-East Coast Line.

Nearby are towers such as Guoco Tower, an integrated development and tallest skyscraper in Singapore; Oasia Downtown; and Amara Hotel with the adjoining 100AM mall.

Upcoming developments in the CBD area of District 2 include Mondrian Singapore Duxton, a luxury hotel by Accor Group; new mixed-use developments such as TMW Maxwell Residences (redevelopment of the former Maxwell House) by Chip Eng Seng, SingHaiyi and Chuan Investment); Newport Residences (redevelopment of the former FujiXerox Towers) by City Developments; and Skywaters Residences at 8 Shenton Way (redevelopment of the former AXA Tower) by Alibaba and a consortium led by Perennial Holdings. At 305m, the 63-storey Skywaters Residences will be the tallest skyscraper in Singapore when completed.

In addition to these new commercial and residential mixed-use developments, the area will enjoy connectivity to the Rail Corridor, Tras Link Park and Central area cycling path network by the Urban Redevelopment Authority and Land Transport Authority. The neighbourhood will benefit from its proximity to the future Greater Southern Waterfront.

Adapted from EdgeProp Singapore

Shophouse on Hongkong Street on the market for S$10.1 million, exclusively marketed by Mondania

Shophouse on Hongkong Street on the market for $10.1 mil

 
A shophouse at 18 Hongkong Street, located off Boat Quay in prime District 1, is up for sale with an asking price of $10.1 million. The four-storey walk-up property has an existing gross floor area (GFA) of 5,074 q ft, inclusive of outdoor balconies on the second, third and fourth floors. Hence, the asking price works out to $1,991 psf based on the existing GFA.
 
The property sits on a land area of 1,884 sq ft which is zoned for commercial use, with an approved gross plot ratio of 4.2 under the 2019 URA Master Plan. The land has a 99-year leasehold tenure starting from Jan 1, 1951, which means there is a balance of about 27 years remaining on the lease. Krystal Khor, director at Mondania, who is marketing the property, notes that the owner of 18 Hongkong Street had previously obtained planning permission for all four of its floors to be used as a backpackers’ hostel. For the last seven years, the property has been leased to the hostel operator of City Backpackers @ Clarke Quay. However, the planning permission is slated to expire by 2024 and the property can be sold with vacant possession should the buyer prefer, Khor adds.
 
Redevelopment potential
 
The property at 18 Hongkong Street lies within the Upper Circular Conservation Area, which is bounded by Upper Circular Road, South Bridge Road, North Canal Road and New Bridge Road. Buildings within the area comprise mainly three- to five-storey shophouses that were built from the 1930s to the late 1960s.
 
Under URA’s conservation guidelines, the area is classified as one of Singapore’s secondary settlements — post-World War 1 urban developments outside the central city district. Other secondary settlements include areas like Balestier, Beach Road, Jalan Besar, Joo Chiat and Tiong Bahru.
 
Under this categorisation, the property benefits from having more leeway in terms of redevelopment potential, observes Khor. Unlike conserved shophouses that fall under areas gazetted as historic districts by URA — which includes places like Boat Quay, Chinatown, Kampong Glam, and Little India — that face stricter conservation requirements, those in secondary settlements are allowed a level of flexibility, including the addition of a rear extension subject to the maximum allowable height.
 
Taking into account 18 Hongkong Street’s approved gross plot ratio of 4.2 and its maximum allowable height of six-storeys, a redevelopment of the property with the rear extension could yield an enlarged GFA of 7,912 sq ft. According to Khor, the owner has submitted an application to obtain planning permission to increase the property’s GFA to 7,912 sq ft via the addition of a fifth-storey extension that comes with a rooftop terrace. “A $250,000 fee for the proposed increment in GFA has already been paid for by the owner,” she notes. At the same time, the owner is also seeking approvals for F&B usage for the first and second floors and office usage for the third to fifth floors.
 
Khor estimates that construction costs to redevelop and add the extension could be roughly around $4.5 million, barring any changes in requirements. In addition, she gauges the land betterment charge applicable to the redevelopment, including the differential premium to top up the lease to a fresh 99 years, could clock in at around $4.9 million, subject to no changes from the relevant authorities.
 
In total, she believes the buyer would have to fork out about $19.475 million to purchase and redevelop 18 Hongkong Street, which translates to $2,462 psf based on the potential GFA. This amount excludes the $250,000 already paid by the seller to URA.
 
‘Good value’
 
For Khor, the property is an attractive opportunity with good value for investors, even after taking into account the redevelopment fees and costs. “At $2,462 psf, this is a lower entry psf-price when compared to similar leasehold properties in prime CBD areas which are now transacting at prices above $3,000 psf,” she opines.
 
This includes the sale of a six-storey shophouse at 5 Hongkong Street for $49.8 million last year, she says. The property, which has a 99-year lease from Nov 16, 2011, was sold for $49.8 million. It was previously operated as Hotel Clover 5 Hongkong Street. Based on its built-up area of 14,384 sq ft, this works out to $3,471 psf. The transaction is also the most recent one to occur on Hongkong Street, based on a caveat search through SISVREALink which pulls data from Singapore Land Authority’s transactional records.
 
Prior to this, a five-storey property at 42 Hongkong Street was sold for $7.2 million in June 2021. The property, which has a land area of 1,661 psf and a balance tenure of 26 years left on the 99-year lease at the time of the transaction, was sold for $7.2 million.
 
Changing face of Hongkong Street
 
In the last decade, Hongkong Street, a small, quiet alley originally tenanted by merchants that would ply their trade at Boat Quay, has seen steady change — a ripple effect from the transformation of the waterfront areas along Singapore River into lifestyle destinations. Given its proximity to tourist hotspots such as Clarke Quay and Marina Bay, the street has seen a proliferation of budget and boutique hotels. In addition, it has become home to gourmet F&B establishments, including famous cocktail bar 28 HongKong Street and Spanish eatery FOC Restaurant, as well as specialty fitness centres. “With Clarke Quay MRT Station just a short walk away, the location is ideal,” adds Mondania’s Khor.
 
She observes that in recent years, the shophouses on Hongkong Street have also started garnering interest among office occupiers, given the area’s proximity to the CBD and the surrounding amenities. In 2018, WOHA Architects, which already occupied 29 Hongkong street, purchased the shophouse next door for $9 million to expand its offices. The same year, a six-storey shophouse at 39 Hongkong Street was sold for $17.2 million and subsequently refurbished into offices that are currently tenanted by IT and creative media firms.
 
Today, Hongkong Street continues to see ongoing rejuvenation. At the northwest end of the street, along New Bridge Road, a new hotel by property group 8M Real Estate is in the works. The group had purchased a five-storey freehold commercial building at 23 New Bridge Road and four 99-year leasehold adjoining shophouses at 27 to 33 New Bridge Road for a total of $37 million in 2018.
 
Mondania’s Khor believes 18 Hongkong Street will attract keen interest from a diverse pool of buyers, due to its strategic location and its wide redevelopment potential spanning F&B, hotel, offices and retail. In addition, its commercial zoning allows foreigners and companies to purchase the properties without additional buyer’s stamp duty or seller’s stamp duty. The property has another factor going for it: its address number. “The number ‘18’ is considered lucky and auspicious — we expect the building number alone will pique the interest of a number of buyers,” Khor says.
 
Adapted from EdgeProp Singapore
 

34, 36 Tras Street, Two Amalgamated 2.5 Storey Corner Villa Shophouse with Alfresco Dining Areas were brokered by Mondania @ S$12 million in 2021.

Brisk sales in shophouse market this year

Amid the urry of transactions, record prices and declining rental yields, an industry veteran cautions that market is overheated

TRANSACTION activity in the Singapore shophouse market has been brisk this year, with strong demand amid the low interest rate environment – from both local and foreign buyers who see it as a property segment that generally holds its value, as it did last year despite the Covid-19 crisis.

Since the start of this year, shophouses worth some S$600.9 million have been transacted, based on CBRE’s analysis of URA Realis caveats data downloaded on May 18. This is two-thirds of the S$908.7 million for the whole of last year.

An institutional owner of commercial shophouses who declined to be named estimates that recently transacted prices of freehold/999-year shophouses that are in good condition in highly-sought-after parts of Districts 1 and 2 are at least 10-15 per cent higher than pre-Covid levels in second-half 2019.

Amid the flurry of transactions, rising prices and declining rental yields, a seasoned shophouse investor sounds a note of caution.

Arcc Holdings chief executive Tony Chen said: “The shophouse market is already quite heated. I’ve noticed a few transactions at abnormally high prices, by foreign buyers who are new to the market. Is this good for the market?”

Market observers say that when banks assess loan applications for a shophouse purchase, they scrutinise the cash flow/rental income from the property. Given the ongoing resurgence of Covid-19 infections here and the expected disruption and uncertainty for businesses, it would be challenging for landlords to raise rents; in fact, most tenants will seek rental reductions.

In similar vein, Mr Chen said: “The leasing market is not looking good. The restrictions that began on Sunday – including the ban on dining-in at eateries – will last about a month and possibly longer. They will have an impact on most tenants, be they for F&B, retail or office space; they will hold back their plans.

“Businesses will become more cautious, and borrowing costs are also likely to go up. We cannot just raise rents when tenants are suffering. The outlook is not the same as before.”

Market watchers say that among the notable shophouse sales this year, though not caveated and hence not reflected in the URA data, are three adjoining freehold properties at 4, 5 and 6 Stanley Street sold by entities of the Calamander Group.

The transaction, which was through the sale of shares in entities owning the shophouses, priced the three shophouses at around S$45 million, The Business Times understands. The buyer, who hails from China, is a citizen of Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Calamander Group has also sold 42 Tras Street, on a site with 99-year tenure from March 1995, for S$10.6 million to Singapore-incorporated Galatea Services, which is fully owned by Swiss national Philippe Melliard. Galatea, set up two years ago, is a venture capital group with an issued capital of 100 million euros (S$162.39 million), according to the Handshakes portal.

The Tras Street deal has been caveated, as also is Duck & Hippo group founder James Heng’s S$17.75 million purchase of the freehold 9 Stanley Street from a Singapore-incorporated entity ultimately controlled by a Japanese. 

Meanwhile, Wah Loon Engineering founder Alan Chong is selling 198 Telok Ayer Street for S$17.38 million to a Chinese citizen. Mr Chong will be making a gain of nearly 17 per cent in under two years.

He paid S$14.88 million for the property in September 2019 – prior to the Covid outbreak. Mr Chong has bought several properties after selling most of his stake in Wah Loon Engineering to Vinci Energies Asia Pacific in 2018.

In the Keong Saik locale, an entity owned by Chan Soo Khian, the founding principal and design director of SCDA, is selling 10 Teck Lim Road at S$15.38 million to a South Korean buyer.

An entity connected to veteran property investor Stanley Quek sold 34 and 36 Tras Street for S$12 million to a local UHNWI. The deal was brokered by Krystal Khor of boutique property agency Mondania.

Foreigners and locals alike can buy commercial shophouses here. There is no additional buyer’s stamp duty; neither is any stamp duty payable on exiting the investment.

The added attraction of this property segment to foreigners is that they are allowed to buy shophouses on sites that are fully zoned commercial, giving them ownership of the land title. In contrast, they face restrictions in buying landed homes.

Adapted from The Business Times 

“The market is starting to stir on the back of improving sentiment. Office leasing activity in conservation shophouses in the CBD area has also been brisk in the past few months.” -Mondania, 2021.

THE buzz in the Singapore shophouse market continues this year, and among the latest deals is a freehold conservation shophouse at the corner of Neil and Bukit Pasoh roads being bought by some members of the family that owns Spring Court Restaurant.

The vacant unit, which is changing hands for S$12.93 million, is approved for restaurant use on both levels, said Mike Ho, director of Spring Court Restaurant when approached by The Business Times.

Standing on a 1,985 square foot (sq ft) site opposite the Pinnacle@Duxton, the property has a built-up area of about 3,700 sq ft.

“We are considering adding an attic, which would take the total built-up area to slightly above 4,000 sq ft.

“At the moment, we are inclined to rent out the entire property. But we do not discount the possibility of opening an F&B outlet, including under the Spring Court brand, in this shophouse,” said Mr Ho.

Currently, Spring Court operates at just one location: Upper Cross Street.

The purchase of the Bukit Pasoh shophouse is being made via a Singapore-incorporated company owned by Mr Ho and his two sisters.

Their mother, Soon Puay Keow, is the managing director of Spring Court Restaurant.

Mr Ho is a seasoned shophouse investor, with properties in the Chinatown and city areas.

The family is picking up the Bukit Pasoh property from a veteran property investor.

Nearby, 6 Bukit Pasoh Road is also changing hands for S$9.2 million.

Another recent deal is 1 Teck Lim Road, which went for S$22.28 million. The freehold property, on a land area of 1,976 sq ft, is being bought by a company that is fully owned by Jenny Lee, who also controls Breezeway Development.

Over at Tank Road near the Mohamed Sultan area, Oxley Holdings’ deputy chief executive, Eric Low See Ching, is understood to be paying nearly S$11.2 million for a shophouse with a freehold land area of 2,323 sq ft.

Suburban shophouses are typically more defensive as they cater predominantly to the surrounding neighbourhood. With work from home arrangements, more people are congregating near their residence, driving higher footfall to businesses in these shophouses.

Moreover, city-fringe shophouses tend to have a smaller investment quantum than those in the CBD – and slightly higher yields.

Krystal Khor, director of boutique property agency Mondania, said some of those who are selling shophouses are looking to reinvest in other locales still within the prime shophouse districts 1 and 2, but which had previously seen low transaction volumes as the units have been tightly held. However, the market is starting to stir on the back of improving sentiment.

“Another profile of sellers comprises the likes of merchants, businessmen, lawyers and architects who have held shophouses for a long time for their office premises – but they are now approaching retirement.”

Ms Khor said office leasing activity in conservation shophouses in the CBD area has also been brisk in the past few months.

“Prior to last year’s circuit-breaker partial lockdown to stem Covid-19 transmission, some office tenants in shophouses had been relocating to office buildings. But post-circuit breaker, with the Phase 2 reopening of the economy in June, we have been seeing the reverse trend. Some businesses are shrinking their office space and find it makes more sense to lease space in a shophouse where per square foot rents are also more affordable,” she said.

“Especially for the smaller tenants, they feel safer, having their own pantry and washroom facilities instead of being in an office building where they would have to share such amenities with multiple tenants on the same level.” 

Adapted from The Business Times

 

The Standalone Amalgamated Shophouses, 28 Duxton Hill was transacted at S$15.75m & 53 Craig Road at S$10.65m, exclusively by Mondania

8MRE pays S$26.4m for latest shophouse buys

The group is acquiring 28 Duxton Hill and 53 Craig Road from entities linked to Stanley Quek

SINGAPORE-BASED property investment company 8M Real Estate (8MRE) has picked up two conservation shophouse properties in the Duxton Hill/Craig Road area for a total of S$26.4 million.

The District 2 properties on sites with balance leasehold tenures of close to 68 years each are being sold by entities linked to veteran property investor Stanley Quek.

8MRE is paying S$15.75 million for 28 Duxton Hill, a two-storey shophouse on land area of 3,557 square feet (sq ft). The ground floor is leased to Greek restaurant Fotia, while the office tenant that used to occupy the second level recently left when its lease expired. 8MRE is on the lookout for a replacement tenant for the second level. Dr Quek bought the property in 2011 for S$10.6 million.

The standalone property (it does not abut another shophouse) has an outdoor refreshment area and is next to a carpark.

The second shophouse that 8MRE is acquiring is just a stone’s throw away, at 53 Craig Road. It is paying S$10.65 million for the corner property with a land area of 1,496 sq ft.

The entire property – comprising three levels and an attic – is leased to Coda Payments. The rental income reflects 3.5 per cent gross yield on the price paid by 8MRE. Dr Quek bought this shophouse for S$10 million in 2014.

The sales of both properties were brokered by Krystal Khor of boutique property agency Mondania.

8MRE’s two latest acquisitions will take its portfolio to nearly 60 properties – all in Singapore and comprising predominantly conservation shophouses. The company’s founder and CEO is Ashish Manchharam.

Entities connected to Dr Quek are understood to have acquired a total of 21 shophouses between 2010 and 2016; nearly all of them are on sites with 99-year leasehold tenures. He has divested most of the shophouses, with all the sales done at above the respective acquisition prices.

Following the latest sales, Dr Quek, will be left with just two shophouses in Singapore, at 34 and 36 Tras Street, which he plans to keep as this asset is currently occupied by his Italian restaurant, Gattopardo. When contacted about his latest divestments, Dr Quek said: “Having invested in these shophouses for a while and with their balance land tenures below 70 years, it is time for me to sell them and look for other opportunities coming up, whether in Singapore or elsewhere.”

The doctor-turned-property developer and investor added: “It is time for a new group of investors to enjoy and nurture these properties for the future.

“The conservation shophouse market is drawing new investors, both Singaporeans and foreigners, who appreciate heritage properties that cannot be replaced. Moreover, the pricing in terms of per square foot of usable space for shophouses is still below that of commercial spaces in modern buildings.”

Besides 28 Duxton Hill and 53 Craig Road, Dr Quek has also previously sold to 8MRE five adjoining shophouses at 15, 17, 19, 21 and 23 Tanjong Pagar Road; 18 Gemmill Lane; 71 Neil Road; and 10 Stanley Street

The properties divested by Dr Quek to other parties in the past few years include three adjoining shophouses at 33, 35 and 37 Tras Street; 50 and 74 Tras Street; and 40 and 41 Duxton Hill.

Adapted from The Business Times

“Freehold or 999-year leasehold conservation shophouses in District 1 (for example, Amoy, Telok Ayer and Hongkong streets) and District 2 (including places like Tanjong Pagar, Duxton Road and Craig Road) are more highly sought after than units with, say, 70 or 80-plus years left on their leases.” – Boutique Property Agency Mondania.

Market for shophouses wakes up in the third quarter

AFTER a slow first half, the Singapore shophouse market started to stir in the third quarter on the back of pent-up demand following the 21/2-month period when property viewings were not allowed.

The value of shophouse transactions had slumped in the second quarter, with the ban on property viewings from April 7 to June 18 during Singapore’s partial lockdown to stem the transmission of Covid-19.

A veteran shophouse agent said: “Buying a shophouse is quite different from shopping for a condo. You need to see the actual site, the orientation of the property, its layout, how the tenant’s business is faring. On the same street of shophouses, you can have Grade A and Grade B. It wasn’t easy to broker deals during the circuit breaker.”

With the second phase of reopening on June 19, activity is picking up. The value of shophouse deals in the third quarter of this year rose to S$173.2 million – from S$117 million in Q2 2020 and S$152 million in Q1, based on Savills Singapore’s analysis of caveats data in URA Realis.

While the Q1 and Q2 tallies were down 31 per cent and 46 per cent from their respective year-ago periods, the value of shophouses transacted in Q3 this year was almost the same as Q3 last year.

The shophouse transaction value for the first nine months stands at S$442.2 million, down 28 per cent from S$611.6 million in the year-ago period.

Analysts say some investors prefer commercial shophouses to residential properties as yields are higher. Moreover, there is no additional buyer’s stamp duty; neither is any stamp duty payable on exiting the investment.

The investors’ pool includes foreign buyers, who face restrictions in buying landed homes; they are allowed to buy shophouses on sites that are fully zoned commercial, giving them ownership of the land title.

An industry observer said that sometimes, those who wish to exit may not necessarily be in financial stress, but have other plans; they are nonetheless willing to let their properties go at below their initial asking price.

An active shophouse investor said: “Asking prices are a bit more realistic than before, but at the same time, supported by lower interest cost.”

Krystal Khor, director of boutique property agency Mondania, said freehold or 999-year leasehold conservation shophouses in District 1 (for example, Amoy, Telok Ayer and Hongkong streets) and District 2 (including places like Tanjong Pagar, Duxton Road and Craig Road) are more highly sought after than units with, say, 70 or 80-plus years left on their leases.

Ms Khor, whose agency specialises in both the sale and leasing of conservation shophouses, said: “It’s been a hard time; both tenants and landlords have been affected by cash flow problems during the pandemic. Everyone’s doing their best.”

Ashish Manchharam, chief executive of 8M Real Estate, which owns more than 50 shophouses, said: “We try to work closely with our tenants in this very difficult time to ensure we support them as much as we can in their business.

“For me, it is more important to have tenants in place than to let them leave. I’d rather try to work out a win-win solution that works for both of us.”

Ms Khor said that since the Phase 2 reopening, when restaurants have been allowed to have dine-in patrons, cafes, hotpot and Korean BBQ outlets as well as restaurants run by artisanal chefs with a regular, local following, have enjoyed a revival in their business.

Industry observers say that restaurants in places that do not rely heavily on tourists, such as those along Telok Ayer, Stanley and Amoy streets, have been enjoying a stronger recovery in business.

Ms Khor said boutique hotels in shophouses may also enjoy a fillip in business from staycationers during the year-end school holidays.

The active shophouse investor said that signing rents for shophouses are now 5 to 10 per cent lower than 12 months ago – though rates are very location specific.

“If current rental rates hold, then we are going to see a lot more shophouse sales activity because, one, we are seeing more people who are keen to park money in this segment, and two, there are a lot of assets that were previously unavailable coming into the market as their owners want to cash out for various reasons.

“As long as they are realistic to the current market, they will be able to sell their assets because there is sufficient capital looking for shophouses. Low interest rates – below commercial shophouse rental yields – will continue to result in positive carry and drive deals.”

Adapted from The Business Times

The Rare 3 Amalgamated Heritage Buildings with Full Glass Frontages – 33 / 35 / 37 Tras Street: Exclusively Sold & Leased by Mondania in 2018.

Clifton Partners picks up Tras St shophouse trio for S$21.2m

S’pore property invesment firm buying the adjoining two-storey units from an entity linked to investor Stanley Quek

VETERAN property investor Stanley Quek is selling another conservation shophouse property. This time, an entity connected to him has offloaded three adjoining two-storey shophouses on Tras Street, for S$21.2 million.

The property, which is part of the Tanjong Pagar Conservation Area, is being bought by an entity affiliated to Clifton Partners, a real estate investment firm owned by Singaporean Zain Fancy. The price paid is understood to reflect a gross yield of nearly 3.5 per cent based on the current tenancies.

Standing next to Maxwell House, the three shophouse are at 33, 35 and 37 Tras Street. They are on a single land lot of about 4,450 sq ft and with 99-year leasehold tenure starting April 1994 – with about 74 years’ balance lease.

The property translates to nearly S$2,600 per square foot based on built-up area of about 8,160 sq ft.

The ground floor is leased to Z Wedding, while Hassell Design occupies the upper level.

Other recent shophouse sales by entities connected to Dr Quek, a doctor-turned-property developer and investor, are a pair of properties at 40 and 41 Duxton Hill, which were transacted at S$24.8 million; and 10 Stanley Street, which went for S$12.5 million. 8M Real Estate picked up the freehold Stanley Street property on vacant possession.

The pair of shophouses on Duxton Hill are on sites with 99-year leasehold tenures, and have about 69 years left on the lease. Although on two separate land lots, the units are linked, forming a distinctive corner shophouse lot.

The two units have a total built-up area of about 8,900 sq ft across four levels and an attic. Tenants on the street level include Italian restaurant Latteria, which has also leased the open space next door from the state on a Temporary Occupation Licence for an alfresco dining area. The upper levels are leased to Adelphi Digital Consulting Group. The shophouses were acquired by Alan Choe, a former head of the Urban Redevelopment Authority and also former chairman of Sentosa Development Corporation.

Adapted from The Business Times

Located within the Telok Ayer Conservation Area, The Perfect 10 Stanley Street was transacted at S$12.5m in 2018, brokered by Mondania.

Pick-up in CBD shophouse transactions

In the Telok Ayer Conservation Area, 10 Stanley Street was sold for $12.5 million to 8M Real Estate, a private property investment and asset management group founded by its managing director Ashish Manchharam. The deal was brokered by Krystal Khor of Mondania, a specialist in marketing conservation property.

Two adjacent shophouses at 40 and 41 Duxton Hill were sold last month for $24.8 million. The shophouses have a combined land area of 2,539 sq ft and a built-up area of 8,900 sq ft spanning four levels and an attic. Despite their 99-year lease, they achieved a transacted price of $2,787 psf. The buyer of the pair of shophouses is reportedly Alan Choe, HDB’s first architect-planner and founder of URA.

A stretch of four shophouses at 39 to 42 Duxton Road have also been put on the market for sale by their owners. They have a combined floor area of 8,100 sq ft and a 99-year lease. The four shophouses are located across from Six Senses Duxton, a boutique hotel owned by property developer and hotelier Satinder Garcha of Garcha Hotels. The asking price of the four shophouses at 39 to 42 Duxton Road is said to be in the $2,700-to-$2,800 psf range. They are marketed by Mondania.

Adapted from EdgeProp Singapore

A Pair of Corner Adjoining 4.5-Storey Shophouse Buildings with an Outdoor Alfresco Dining Area, 40, 41 Duxton Hill was transacted at S$24.8m, while the 4.5-Storey Freehold Property, 10 Stanley Street was sold at S$12.5m in 2018 by Mondania

Two shophouses in Duxton Hill and one on Stanley Street sold for S$37.3m

ENTITIES connected to veteran property investor Stanley Quek are understood to be selling a pair of adjoining shophouses in Duxton Hill and a shophouse in Stanley Street in separate deals totalling S$37.3 million.

The pair of shophouses at 40 and 41 Duxton Hill are changing hands at S$24.8 million. They are on two separate land lots, but the units are linked, forming a distinctive corner shophouse lot.

Tenants on the street level include Italian restaurant Latteria, which has also leased the open space next door from the state on a Temporary Occupation Licence for an alfresco dining area. The upper levels are leased to Adelphi Digital Consulting Group.

Both shophouses are on sites with 99-year leasehold tenures, and have about 69 years left on the lease.

The two units have a total land area of 2,539 sq ft; their total built up area is estimated at about 8,900 sq ft sq ft across four levels and an attic.

Based on the annual gross rental income from these units, which are fully leased, the transaction price is understood to reflect a gross yield of about 3.7 per cent.

The Business Times understands that the shophouse pair is being picked up by Alan Choe, a former head of the Urban Redevelopment Authority and also former chairman of Sentosa Development Corporation.

They are being sold by a small consortium of friends stitched together by Dr Quek, a doctor-turned-property developer/investor.

A separate entity majority owned byhim is selling 10 Stanley Street on vacant possession to 8M Real Estate.

The freehold property is on a 1,426 sq ft site and spans four levels and an attic. 8M Real Estate is expected to refurbish the property and lease it out. The deal was brokered by Krystal Khor of boutique property agency Mondania Pte Ltd.

Separately, Mondania has teamed up with Ben Liu of PropNex Realty to exclusively market a row of four adjoining two-storey shophouses at 39, 40, 41 and 42 Duxton Road.

The asking price:S$23.8 million.

The properties are on four separate land lots, each with about 68 years left on the lease.

The total land area is about 4,336 sq ft; their combined built-up area is about 8,100 sq ft.

Located opposite Garcha Hotels’ Six Senses Duxton, the four shophouses are owned by three unrelated parties.

Nos. 39 and 40 are owned by a company controlled by a Chan family; no. 41 is owned by Macoline (S) Pte Ltd, and no. 42, by C&P Rent-A-Car.

Said Ms Khor of Mondania: “A buyer of this row of four shophouses could potentially amalgamate them to a single unit – subject to approval from the authorities; this will increase space efficiency for potential tenants.”

The properties are located near the upcoming Maxwell Station on the Thomson-East Coast Line.

Adapted from The Business Times

“There’s an increase in demand for conservation shophouses from people who appreciate such properties. Very few commercial shophouses here are up for sale, as these assets are tightly held. As such, there is a spillover in demand for conservation shophouses and terraced houses in the neighbouring streets.” – Mondania, a niche real estate firm specialising in marketing shophouses.

Joo Chiat makeover boost for conservation shophouses

While some owners are holding on to their property, TSG Group is rolling out its historic portfolio of freehold conservation shophouses for sale to capitalise on improved sentiment amid increased home sales, en bloc sales and redevelopments in the area.

A lone, pre-war corner terraced house with a brightly painted façade sits elevated above street level on Mangis Road. The single-storey house occupies a freehold land area of 2,559 sq ft. “This house belongs to my husband’s family [the Chews] and at least three generations have lived here,” says Doris Soh. “My son is now 47, and all my grandchildren were raised here.”
 
Like most of the original residents in the Katong-Joo Chiat neighbourhood, Soh is of Peranakan descent. She remembers a time when the Joo Chiat neighbourhood was very safe: “People left their doors open and children would run in and out of the houses.”
 
Private developers had come knocking on her door in the past, trying to persuade the couple to sell their home. She says, “They said they wanted to give us an HDB flat in return for the land, but we refused. We said they could take the house but not the land.”
 
While Soh’s house has remained untouched by time, many of her neighbours have sold their homes and relocated. The area has since been redeveloped. Across the road from Soh’s home is The Geranium, a 62-unit, five-storey, freehold private condominium developed by Fragrance Group and completed in 2006. Recently, a 980 sq ft, three-bedroom unit on the fourth floor was sold for $1.07 million ($1,092 psf), according to a caveat lodged in May this year. The unit fetched $588,000 ($600 psf) when it was launched 12 years ago.
 
Adjacent to her home on the right is Katong Apartments, a four-storey, 20-unit, free- hold apartment block completed in 1995. Most recently, a 1,399 sq ft, three-bedroom unit was sold for $1.27 million ($908 psf) in August. The unit previously changed hands for $538,000 ($384 psf) in July 2006.
 
Soh’s immediate neighbour on the left is now a row of contemporary three-storey, four-bedroom terraced houses completed in 2009. The one adjacent to Soh’s house was sold for $2.23 million ($1,741 psf based on land area) in April this year.
 
Ongoing gentrification
 
“The Joo Chiat area has undergone a gentrification over the past decade,” says Krystal Khor, director of Mondania, a niche real estate firm specialising in marketing shophouses. “There’s an increase in demand for conservation shophouses from people who appreciate such properties.”
 
According to Khor, it started with redevelopments taking place on the thoroughfare of East Coast Road: the refurbishment of The Red House heritage development and a new block of apartments behind it; 112 Katong mall; Katong Square; and the two new hotels adjacent to it — Hotel Indigo and Holiday Inn Express; as well as The Flow, a newly completed mixed-use development with strata shops, clinics, restaurants and a food court.
 
New businesses
 
In recent years, the Joo Chiat area has seen the emergence of trendy new cafés such as Birds of Paradise Gelato Boutique; Avenue Café by Quadwork, an architectural and interior design firm; and Fire Bake, a bakehouse and restaurant. Joining them are boutique gyms such as Oompf! Lifestyle Fitness and Spartans Boxing, dance studios such as Dance- vault Studio and MMA studios such as Spirit Gym-Muaythai Gym.
 
Very few commercial shophouses on East Coast Road and the main Joo Chiat Road are up for sale, as these assets are tightly held, observes Mondania’s Khor. As such, there is a spillover in demand for conservation shop- houses and terraced houses in the neighbour- ing streets, including Joo Chiat Place, Joo Chi- at Lane, Tembeling Road, Everitt Road and Mangis Road.
 
‘Rare collection’
 
Sensing this confluence of factors, the Teo family-controlled TSG Group has rolled out one of the biggest portfolios of conservation shophouses for sale in recent times. Savills Singapore has been given the mandate to market TSG’s portfolio of shophouses in the Joo Chiat area in association with Mondania.
 
The conservation shophouses are a row of five adjoining double-storey terraced houses— 33 to 41 Tembeling Road, which are zoned for residential use; a row of nine adjoining shophouses perpendicular to the five on Tembeling Road —30 to 46 Joo Chiat Place, which are zoned commercial use on the first level and residential use on the upper levels; and, farther down Joo Chiat Place, a row of six terraced houses — 92 to 112 Joo Chiat Place, which are zoned residential. Given the residential element, buyers have to be Singaporeans or Singapore-based companies.
 
TSG Group, founded as Teo Siok Guan Pte Ltd in 1950, accumulated the portfolio over a period of more than half a century. The main reason for divesting the assets is that TSG Group wants to reposition its investment portfolio. The indicative price for the entire portfolio of 20 conservation shophouses is $68 million, or an average of $1,380 psf based on built-up area.
 
Adaptive reuse, value-add
 
Mondania’s Khor sees two possible options for the nine pre-war shophouses at Joo Chiat Place: One is to increase the internal gross floor area through additions and alterations; the other is to extend the rear portion by building a new annex block of up to six storeys. The nine conservation shophouses at 30 to 46 Joo Chiat Place also benefit from the dual front- age on Joo Chiat Place and Tembeling Road, adds Khor.
 
The five conservation terraced houses at 33 to 41 Tembeling Road and the nine conservation shophouses at 30 to 46 Joo Chi- at Place share a common back lane, which can be revitalised into a residential community garden, subject to approval from the authorities. Khor says, “Adaptive reuse of this space can add value to the surroundings and be explored.”
 
Khor points to some of the conservation terraces on Tembeling Road that have done that. An example is Sandalwood on Tembeling Road by niche shophouse investor and developer Breezeway Development. The development comprises a row of 12 two-storey conservation shophouses that have been retrofitted and a new five-storey annex with 16 apartments. Sandalwood was designed by renowned architect Chan Soo Khian of SCDA Architects and completed in 2006.
 
The latest transaction at Sandalwood was that of an 850 sq ft, one-bedroom apartment that changed hands for $1.06 million ($1,247 psf) in July. Meanwhile, farther down Tembeling Road, a newly completed three-storey terraced house was sold for $3.3 million. The 3,960 sq ft terraced house has five bedrooms and five bathrooms, and sits on a freehold land area of 1,800 sq ft.
 
Near TSG Group’s five conservation terraced houses on Tembeling Road is the 100-unit Legenda at Joo Chiat developed by Hoi Hup Development and completed in 2004. The latest transaction at the 99-year leasehold condo was in October, when a 1,216 sq ft unit on the second level changed hands for $1.15 million ($945 psf).
 
Farther down Tembeling Road is D’Fresco, a freehold 30-unit boutique condo by HLH Holdings. The project was completed in 2010. The latest transaction at D’Fresco was that ofa 1,539 sq ft, three-bedroom unit on the fifth level that changed hands for $1.25 million ($812 psf) in November. Prior to that, a 1,119 sq ft two-bedroom unit that went for $1.23 million ($1,099 psf) in October, according to caveats lodged.
 
Eclectic mix
 
TSG Group’s row of six conservation terraced houses at 92 to 102 Joo Chiat Place has been completely refurbished. The façade of the two-storey transitional-style townhouses was restored and a new three-storey rear extension was added. The interiors were transformed into modern family-friendly homes with two bed- rooms and a study each. The mezzanine level contains the master bedroom and en suite bathroom. The open kitchen comes with a skylight, and the spiral staircase is a central feature of each townhouse. Designed by lead- ing architectural firm Ong & Ong, the property won the URA Heritage Awards in 2009 when refurbishment was completed.
 
The six conservation terrace houses at 92 to 102 Joo Chiat Place have an average floor area of 2,013 sq ft each and total floor area of 12,099 sq ft. Khor sees potential for rental enhancement from the current $3 psf per month. “Residences of a similar quality can range from $3.99 psf for a three-bedroom apartment to $5.35 psf for an intermediate heritage-style apartment as seen at the neighbouring Lotus at Joo Chiat,” she estimates.
 
And like Doris Soh, owner of the lone, conserved corner terraced house on Mangis Road, there are those who like these properties because they are timeless. Soh is unfazed by the transformation of the Joo Chiat neighbourhood. “I’m not sad because I’m still staying in my own house,” she says.
 
Adapted from EdgeProp Singapore
 

Krystal Khor, director of Mondania, a property agency specialising in sales and leasing of shophouses, said: “Landlords are either signing lower rents or providing basic F&B provisions such as grease traps and electricity upgrades, the cost of which used to be borne by the incoming tenants in the past. However, premium locations with high foot traffic still command stable rents.”

Smaller supply of quality units slows shophouse market in H2

But the full-year 2017 figure is set to be the highest in four years after an active H1, when S$520 m in deals were transacted

THE shophouse market is poised for a slower second half after having hit high notes in the preceding two half-year periods.

District 1 includes places in the Central Business District (CBD) such as Amoy Street and Boat Quay; District 2 includes Chinatown, Tanjong Pagar Road and Duxton.

Industry players reckon many owners prefer to hold on to their properties for now, as they are eyeing capital appreciation.

Giving an investor’s perspective, however, 8M Real Estate founder Ashish Manchharam said: “Shophouse prices have run up in the past 12 months, but rents have not caught up, leading to yield compression.

“Owners continue to expect higher prices, which has caused a price gap between buyers and sellers – resulting in limited transactions.”

Property market observers suggest that some investors may be looking to switch to the residential sector, which seems to offer better value right now.

Caveats lodged so far this quarter (the latest was on Nov 1) amount to S$88.2 million. More deals are in the works, but most market watchers do not expect the second-half tally to surpass the S$520 million achieved in the first half, which in turn exceeded the S$453 million in H2 2016.

That said, the full-year 2017 figure is set to be the highest in four years. Already, the year-to-date figure of S$815.7 million is ahead of the S$707.1 million for the whole of last year. The last peak was in 2013, when S$1.27 billion worth of shophouses changed hands.

Krystal Khor, director of Mondania, a property agency specialising in sales and leasing of shophouses, said: “Landlords are either signing lower rents or providing basic F&B provisions such as grease traps and electricity upgrades, the cost of which used to be borne by the incoming tenants in the past.

“However, premium locations with high foot traffic still command stable rents.”

She added that landlords also invest significant sums to re-do the facade to draw F&B tenants.

Adapted from The Business Times

“Prices of shophouses in the Telok Ayer Conservation Area, particularly Amoy Street, continue to hold their value,” notes Krystal Khor of Mondania Pte Ltd, who specialises in marketing conservation shophouses.

Increase in demand for conservation shophouses

Interest in conservation shophouses has certainly increased, and so have prices. Price escalation in the conservation shophouse segment has been most evident in the CBD area, particularly at Amoy Street. In 2010, the row of five 99-year leasehold conservation shophouses at 112 to 116 Amoy Street was sold for $24.5 million. A year later, the shophouses changed hands for $34.43 million and in 2014, property investment group 8M Real Estate purchased them for about $50 million.

“Prices of shophouses in the Telok Ayer Conservation Area, particularly Amoy Street, continue to hold their value,” notes Krystal Khor of Mondania Pte Ltd, who specialises in marketing conservation shophouses.

Mondania’s Khor is currently marketing a portfolio of shophouses in the neighbourhood of Joo Chiat and Tembeling Road. She has seen an increase in interest in shophouses in the area, as it is currently being gentrified.

Some of the property funds and investors who have been actively buying in recent years are now focusing on adding value and improving their properties to attract a better tenant pool, says Mondania’s Khor. “These days, it takes two to three months to find a tenant,” she adds. “Twelve to 18 months ago, it took just one month to secure a tenant.”

Adapted from EdgeProp Singapore

Timeless Heritage, Prestigious Historical Buildings

Timeless Heritage, Prestigious Historical Buildings

Established since 1988, Mondania Pte Ltd who specializes in the Sale & Leasing of Conservation Properties, welcomes you to look at the Unique Character Shophouses we are marketing exclusively.

Conservation Shophouses cannot be duplicated and a person who appreciates the past understands its relation to the present.

Headed by Ms Krystal Khor, Mondania Pte Ltd has transacted the sale of Iconic Properties such as the Space Design Showroom at Bencoolen Street in 2007 and in 2016, seven conservation shophouses in a single transaction for S$81M.

Real Estate is about people and shophouses having undergone modernization and rejuvenation present viable opportunities for investment and exciting leasing concepts.

As every conservation shophouse is unique, experience and knowledge of this niche market is essential in advising the client for them to make a valued judgement, making a critical difference on the end result. 

With our own office located right in Tras Street (Heart of Tanjong Pagar Central), we welcome you to visit us and look at the unique character shophouses we have for your business concepts.

Written by Krystal Khor of Mondania Pte Ltd

In 2005-6, shophouses on Tras Street were being sold for $550 psf. Today, that figure is closer to $2,100 psf. Rents have also risen in tandem – Ms Krystal Khor, 2017.

New faces of Heritage Buildings

In 1961, the American writer/urban activist Jane Jacobs penned an essay, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. In it, she chronicled the successes and failures of the country’s metropolitan areas. One of the most famous takeaways from that widely acclaimed paper was that “Old ideas can sometimes use new buildings. New ideas must use old buildings”.

Realtor Krystal Khor, Director of Mondania Pte Ltd, says that in 2005-6, shophouses on Tras Street were being sold for $550 psf. Today, that figure is closer to $2,100 psf. Rents have also risen in tandem.

Khor relates the example of My Art Space’s founder Teh Chankerk, who was a tenant at 21 Tanjong Pagar Road before moving to Istana Park. “Chankerk said that if it were not for this space (21 Tanjong Pagar) that brought out what he could do with the art, the National Environment Agency and National Parks Board would never have found him. The business would never have grown, and nothing would have taken off, if the space didn’t give expression to his dreams.”

Adapted from Prestige Online 

Two 99-year Leasehold Shophouse Buildings, 50 & 74 Tras Street were sold by Mondania @ S$20.5m in 2017. One year later, 52 Tras Street was transacted at close to S$10m in 2018, exclusively by Mondania.

Phoenix Property Investors puts Peck Seah shophouses on the market for $57.8m

HONG KONG-BASED private equity real estate firm Phoenix Property Investors has put a row of six adjoining shophouses along Peck Seah Street near Tanjong Pagar MRT Station on the market.

The indicative price for 48 to 56 Peck Seah Street (even numbers only) is S$57.8 million, which works out to about S$2,900 per square foot (psf) on the total gross floor area (GFA) of some 19,938 sq ft.

In another recent transaction, SilkRoad Property Partners bought 50 and 74 Tras Street at S$9.2 million and S$11.3 million respectively from veteran investor Stanley Quek’s Region Development; the deal was brokered by Krystal Khor of Mondania and Simon Monteiro of Savills.

Separately, a portfolio of 22 shophouses in Joo Chiat Place, Tembeling Road and Killiney Road estimated to be worth about S$80 million is coming to the market soon. The portfolio, owned by Teo Siok Guan Pte Ltd, is to be marketed by Mondania and Savills.

Adapted from The Business Times

15 / 17 / 19 / 21 / 23 Tanjong Pagar Road, 18 Gemmill Lane & 71 Neil Road were brokered by Mondania @ $57.4m, S$11m & S$13m respectively in 2016. The 5 Adjoining Properties’s Gross Yield works out to 4%

Stanley Quek companies sell 7 shophouses for S$81.4m to 8M Real Estate

A GROUP of companies controlled by seasoned property investor Stanley Quek is selling seven shophouses for S$81.4 million to boutique real estate investment company 8M Real Estate.

Five of the shophouses are adjoining properties at Nos 15, 17, 19, 21 and 23 Tanjong Pagar Road; they are changing hands for S$57.4 million. This works out to S$2,166 per square foot on the estimated gross floor area of 26,500 sq ft spanning four floors and a mezzanine level.

The five shophouses are on 8,902 sq ft of land with about 77.5 years’ balance lease. The internal space in the five adjacent properties is contiguous.

8M Real Estate managing director Ashish Manchharam said the space on the ground floor has been vacated by the previous tenant and will be leased to several restaurants. On Level 2 are Yoga Movement and landscape architects Grant Associates. Online content discovery platform Outbrain occupies most of the third floor while Adelphi Digital takes up the fourth and mezzanine levels.

The other two shophouses that 8M Real Estate is buying from Dr Quek-controlled entities are 18 Gemmill Lane and 71 Neil Road.

The Neil Road property, on a site with a balance lease term of 72 years, is being transacted for S$13 million or S$1,912 psf based on the GFA of 6,800 sq ft. All three levels and the attic are leased to PMG Group, which is in the integrated marketing communications business.

The Gemmill Lane property is being sold for S$11 million or S$2,511 psf on GFA of 4,380 sq ft spread over three levels and an attic. The street level space is leased to restaurant Bar A Thym. Level 2 is vacant while Level 3 and the attic are occupied by media group Unruly.

The companies controlled by Dr Quek are expected to make nice gains from divesting the seven shophouses after a holding period of four to five years. Based on caveats data, the five Tanjong Pagar shophouses were previously transacted at S$32.83 million in 2011; 18 Gemmill Lane changed hands at S$5.8 million and 71 Neil Road at S$8.2 million, both in 2012. The vendors are estimated to have spent about S$1 million refurbishing the seven properties, translating to a total investment of about S$48 million.

When contacted, Dr Quek said: “We believe this is an appropriate point to realise gains, having acquired the properties in 2011/2012 – and to reposition our portfolio of conservation CBD shophouses. We’ve made some gains here and move on to new asset classes or other areas of shophouses. I remain very keen on conservation shophouses because they are limited edition properties.”

8M Real Estate, on the other hand, still sees opportunity for repositioning and further growth for the shophouses it is buying from the Dr Quek-controlled companies.

“We shall seek to immediately refurbish and lease out the ground floor of the Tanjong Pagar shophouses with several exciting new F&B concepts and fill up the vacant second-floor space at 18 Gemmill Lane,” said Mr Manchharam.

The acquisition price of the seven shophouses equates to a gross yield of 4.0 per cent on the assumption the portfolio is fully leased, he added.

The latest acquisition will serve to boost the group’s CBD conservation shophouse portfolio. Set up in 2014, 8M Real Estate is owned by Mr Manchharam along with some institutional investors.

Inclusive of its purchase of 37 Craig Road for S$6.5 million last month, 31 Hongkong Street for S$14.45 million last year as well as its 2014 acquisitions of five shophouses along 112-116 Amoy Street (for S$50 million), and 22 Gemmill Lane (S$14.25 million), the total value of the group’s 15 shophouses today is about S$200 million, said Mr Manchharam. Having spent about S$3-4 million sprucing up the Amoy Street shophouses, 8M Real Estate has lined up hip eateries for the ground level. So far, Burger Joint has opened, while New York cocktail bar Employees Only and restaurants Ding Dong and boCHINche are slated to open next month.

“At the end of the day, we view shophouses as retail-anchored real estate and our focus is on the CBD because of the growing population that provides patronage, particularly for the ground-floor F&B outlets,” said Mr Manchharam.

Offices located on the upper levels within these shophouses also draw niche tenants, for instance, online media/tech companies.

Krystal Khor of Mondania Pte Ltd brokered the sale of the seven shophouses.

Adapted from The Business Times

Mondania & “Hopping Tras Street” – Thanks to Straits Times journalist Lynn Tan for her article & calling us to chat about the creative developments in the street!

Your Trusted Conservation Specialist since 2007

Tras Street sheds dingy image with new bars and eateries

Tras Street at Tanjong Pagar Road has shed its dingy image with new bars and restaurants lining it

Tras Street, the once dingy and slightly notorious street off Tanjong Pagar Road, has transformed into a thriving food and beverage neighbourhood.

Bustling restaurants and trendy cocktail bars are now located alongside advertising offices, yoga studios and fund management firms. Only a few KTV bars still remain on the conservation shophouse-lined street.

About 13 food and beverage outlets, excluding karaoke bars, now line the part of Tras Street between Cook and Wallich streets.

This is a far cry from the food offerings there three to four years ago.

Back then, the street was known mostly for popular late-night Korean fried chicken restaurant Kko Kko Nara, and the now-defunct European restaurant Table 66, which relocated in 2011 to Winstedt Road and relaunched itself as Skyve Wine Bistro.

Now, the street is home to two French restaurants – 2-1/2-year-old Brasserie Gavroche and eight-month-old Fleur De Sel; two cocktail bars – House Of Dandy and Jekyll & Hyde; cafe-bar Cafe Gavroche; year-old Japanese restaurant Sushi Mitsuya; and private dining and cooking studio My Private Chef.

More recent entrants include Spanish tapas and sake bar BAM!, which opened in December last year; and Sicilian seafood restaurant Gattopardo Ristorante Di Mare, which relocated there from Hotel Fort Canning in January.

 

The newest restaurant on the block opened three weeks ago. Buttero – which is headed and co-owned by Logan Campbell, 36, a New Zealand-born chef who used to head Lucio’s, one of Sydney’s best-known and established Italian restaurants – serves rustic Italian fare including pastas, as well as barbecued and grilled meats.

Restaurateurs and real-estate management companies say more food and beverage outlets are slated to open in this part of Tras Street soon.

The area is flanked by a myriad of other food and beverage offerings, from the Japanese eateries at Orchid Hotel, to the restaurants and bars at Icon Village, to others at 100AM mall and along Tanjong Pagar Road.

Restaurateurs and cocktail bar owners SundayLife! spoke to say they were drawn to the street for several reasons.

One is the area’s proximity to the Central Business District, as well as to residential, commercial and hotel properties. For instance, the street is a stone’s throw from Orchid Hotel, Amara Singapore and the recently opened Carlton City Hotel. Another hotel, Oasia, is also being developed.

The restaurants target mainly discerning diners from the corporate sector. So the location makes it more convenient for customers to dine there, restaurateurs say.

Also, many of the chefs who have set up restaurants in the street have their own following, having previously worked at top hotels and restaurants in Singapore.

Other pull factors include the reasonable rentals and the conservation area’s charm.

The fact that it is also located away from the hustle and bustle of the main road also gives the street exclusivity, restaurateurs say.

Many also cite the potential they see in the area, given that it is the quietest and least developed of the trendy Chinatown triangle, which includes popular food and beverage enclaves such as Keong Saik Road, Duxton Hill and Road, and the Club Street and Ann Siang Hill areas.

Buttero’s chef Campbell says: “I think there is room for everyone. And I like the fact that the street is a little bit gritty. I like being off the main area and being a dirty little secret.”

Mr Jeff Ho, 37, co-owner of cocktail bar Jekyll & Hyde, says: “It was relatively under-developed and we saw an opportunity as we felt we could help improve the vibe of the area.”

Rental rates, he adds, are also reasonable. When an area is too crowded and popular, rentals tend to be driven up, he says.

A SundayLife! check with restaurateurs, real-estate agents and property management companies found that rentals range from about $7 to $10 per square feet (psf), up from about $6 psf about two years ago.

In the Duxton Road and Hill, and in the Club Street and Ann Siang Hill areas, rentals can range between $10 and $15 psf.

Ms Krystal Khor, 41, of real estate and property management company Mondania, which manages about half of the properties in Tras Street, says her company has been “working for many years to bring up the standard of tenants in the street”. She has been working with properties in the street since 2007.

She says: “We try our best to bring in a good profile of tenants. If all the units are rented out to food and beverage businesses that will not be a good thing either. We are selective as we do not want our tenants to cannibalise one another.”

Indeed, ask restaurant and bar owners about the competition among them, and they will say otherwise.

In fact, it there is more camaraderie than competition among food and beverage business owners here.

Jekyll & Hyde’s Mr Ho says he has lent chairs to BAM!, while House Of Dandy’s owner Guy MacGregor says Cafe and Brasserie Gavroche have helped serve food when his bar has run out.

Owners are more than willing to send a bucket of ice across the street when one of their compatriots runs out.

Feel like having a different style of cocktail or a particular spirit? Head to the other cocktail bar down the road.

Mr Lino Sauro, 44, chef-owner of Gattopardo, says: “We (the chefs) all knew each other from before. All of us offer a different type of cuisine and we cannot be happier to create an amazing and unique gastronomic corner in an already super saturated dining scene in Singapore.”

Brasserie Gavroche and Cafe Gavroche’s chef-owner Frederic Colin, 40, adds: “We recommend diners to other restaurants and to have drinks at the cocktail bars, we complement one another with the quality and variety of restaurants in Tras Street.”

Tras Street was named in 1898 after a Malaysian town, according to the National Library Board’s Infopedia.

Located on the fringe of Chinatown and away from the main thoroughfare of Tanjong Pagar Road, it was lined with homes and businesses in the early days.

While other parts of the historic neighbourhood flourished, Tras Street mostly remained quiet. Still, it seems notoriety has plagued the street throughout the years.

Thugs with parangs smashed a coffee shop in 1961, while in the mid-noughties, KTV hostesses were nabbed on suspicion of consuming drugs.

A semi-retired clothing business owner who declined to be named and who has owned “a couple of shophouses” in Tras Street since the early 1990s, says the street was a “sleepy” one. It housed mostly trading and commodity businesses.

The sleazy KTV bars started moving in in the late 1990s but the street has “cleaned up” and most have moved out, he says.

These days, in fact, the street is often abuzz with diners and those after pre- or post-dinner tipples. In fact, it is not uncommon to see people walking in the middle of the one-way street, and hopping from a restaurant to a bar, or chatting outside the food and beverage establishments.

Buttero’s chef Campbell says the street would be perfect for a “street party”.

He says: “We could have a block party or a festival where each restaurant could serve its signature dish. Each of the restaurants has something different and interesting to offer.”

But food and beverage operators here are quick to add that they may not be keen for the street to turn into the next Club Street, which is known for being lively and having a high volume of diners and drinkers.

They say the influx of too many food and beverage businesses would make the street too saturated, which could in turn take away the street’s charm and exclusivity.

Alexandre Lozachmeur, 34, chef-owner of Fleur De Sel, says “people bring people”, which has helped to improve the reputation of food and beverage outlets in the street.

He says: “The street has become a destination, and more people are beginning to talk about Tras Street but if the street becomes like Club Street, it might be a little too much.”

Adapted from The Straits Times

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