Marine Parade Rd freehold site up for sale

Published 10 May 2011
The Business Times

Plot can yield 98 condo units; seen fetching over $100m

A 47,400 square foot freehold site on Marine Parade Road (near Parkway Parade), which includes a conservation bungalow built 113 years ago, has been put up for sale by tender with a price expectation of about $100-110 million.

Marked for sale: The bungalow was built in 1898 by Choa Kim Keat, after whom Kim Keat Road in Balestier is named

Marked for sale: The bungalow was built in 1898 by Choa Kim Keat, after whom Kim Keat Road in Balestier is named

This works out to $1,164-1,262 per sq ft of potential gross floor area inclusive of an estimated $19.5 million development charge (DC), assuming the new project has a gross floor area (GFA) of 102,648 sq ft.

The GFA is based on the 2.1 plot ratio allocated for the site under Master Plan 2008, plus a bonus GFA of 3,108 sq ft equivalent to the conserved bungalow’s GFA accorded under guidelines set by the Urban Redevelopment Authority; this is subject to payment of DC if applicable, explains Karamjit Singh, managing director of Credo Real Estate, which is marketing the property.

The site can yield a new condo with about 98 units averaging 1,000 sq ft each. The conservation bungalow may be used as a clubhouse in the project, in the fashion of Draycott 8, Grand Duchess at St Patrick’s and The Sea View. Alternatively, the conservation bungalow could be sold as a strata unit.

The bungalow was built in 1898 by Choa Kim Keat, after whom Kim Keat Road in Balestier is named. Mr Choa is understood to have been a compradore (or a go-between) at Straits Trading Company. The imposing villa was Mr Choa’s weekend retreat by the sea, long before much of Marine Parade was reclaimed.

In the early days, until around 1970, Marine Parade was a stretch of sandy beaches, lined with grand old bungalows surrounded by lush gardens and coconut palms. The bungalow was formerly known as Sea Breeze Lodge.

Up for sale are No 37 Marine Parade – where the conservation bungalow stands – and 42 A/B/C/D/E/F East Coast Road – a three-storey block of six apartments and servants’ quarters. The two adjoining plots have a total land area of 47,400 sq ft and are being put up for sale by the estate of the late Eric Choa, who was a lawyer and the grandson of Mr Choa Kim Keat. Mr Eric Choa died in 2009.

The bungalow was occupied by the Choa family, except for a few years during World War II when it was used to house Japanese officers during the occupation of Singapore.

‘According to Mr Victor Choa, Mr Eric Choa’s son, his parents moved back into the bungalow after the war in 1946, where they lived until 2010,’ said Mr Singh.

The family has a long and rich history in Singapore, dating back to the early 1800s. Many of Singapore’s familiar roads and landmarks have been named after them.

‘Mr Choa Kim Keat married the grand-daughter of the late Mr Tan Tock Seng, who was a merchant and respected philanthropist after whom Tan Tock Seng Hospital was named. Mr Eric Choa’s wife, Madam Hoo Yan Meng, was the great granddaughter of noted Chinese businessman Mr Hoo Ah Kay, who was also known as Whampoa,’ said Mr Singh. ‘The 113-year-old single-storey bungalow was identified for conservation by URA in 2009 much to the delight of the descendants of Mr Choa.’

The tender for the property closes on June 6.

In a separate transaction, Spring Court and the adjoining Spring Mansion in the Balestier area were sold last month for a combined $74 million under a collective sale. The price works out to $794 per sq ft of potential gross floor area excluding DC, which is payable subject to URA’s approval of the proposed new development for the site, according to Strata AMC, the property agency which brokered the sale.

The two properties are on the same freehold plot of 32,593 sq ft. However, they have different zonings under Master Plan 2008. One is zoned for commercial and residential use with a 3.0 plot ratio (ratio of maximum GFA to land area), while the other is zoned for residential use with 2.8 plot ratio.

The buyer of Spring Court and Spring Mansions is a consortium comprising Nobel Design Holdings, 2E Capital and Lian Huat Group.

Rodyk & Davidson are the lawyers who acted for the buyer.

The deal is conditional upon approval from the Strata Titles Board or the High Court or Court of Appeal as the case may be.

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