139 Cecil Street now majority owned by Zhou family from Shanghai

Formerly named Cecil House and now known as DB2Land Building, 139 Cecil Street has an estimated land area of 7,936 sq ft. The approved GFA for the addition and alteration works reflects an 11.2 plot ratio (ratio of maximum GFA to land area) – the same plot ratio stipulated under URA’s Master Plan 2014 for the commercial-zoned site.

Under the proposed refurbishment granted written permission by URA last year, there will be food and beverage use on the first storey, offices from the second to 14th floors and a mechanised car park from basement to the fifth storey. The 16th storey will have a communal roof terrace and F&B space.

The Zhou family from Shanghai who picked up an office block at 137 Cecil Street last year has bought a 60 per cent stake in the company that owns the next-door property at 139 Cecil Street.

The latest deal is said to value the 11-storey property at S$140 million. It is on a site with 99-year leasehold tenure starting Aug 20, 1981, which means the balance lease is around 64 years.

Written permission was granted last year by Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) for a major refurbishment exercise to build additional floors, extending the block to 16 storeys. These works could cost about S$20 million.

The Zhou family has paid S$75 million for a 60 per cent stake in Ececil Pte Ltd, which owns 139 Cecil Street, to a joint venture between Vibrant Group and DB2 Group. Vibrant announced the completion of the sale in a regulatory filing last week. The Vibrant-DB2 joint venture continues to hold the remaining 40 per cent in Ececil. It acquired 100 per cent of Ececil in 2014 from Cheong Sim Lam in a deal that valued the office block at S$110 million.

The major refurbishment, or “addition and alteration” works, will see the gross floor area (GFA) of the property increase from 68,809 sq ft currently to 88,886 sq ft; the latter figure is estimated to yield about 75,300 sq ft strata area.

The next-door property at 137 Cecil Street, which was once known as Aviva Building, is now named Hengda Building after the Zhou family’s Shanghai Hengda Group, which is involved in real estate and other businesses.

Mr Cheong, a member of the family that developed International Plaza in the 1970s, gained control of the two adjacent buildings from Yi Kai Group and Fission Group shortly after the duo teamed up to acquire the two properties in July 2009 for S$100.80 million.

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