Category Archives: Orchard/River Valley/Holland

Districts 9 & 10

Popular TeoChew eatery closing doors

After more than 25 years in business, popular Chinese eatery Teochew City Seafood Restaurant is finally closing its doors.

The restaurant, known for its Teochew and Cantonese dishes such as cold crab, steamed pomfret, and yam with gingko nuts, served its last lunch on Friday.

Restaurant manager Brian Wong, 59, said that business at the restaurant located at The Centrepoint mall had been severely affected by the departure of the mall’s anchor tenant, Robinsons.

Robinsons had moved out earlier in May when its lease expired, and is to be replaced by another department store, Metro, at the end of the year.

“The whole shopping centre was empty,” said Mr Wong. He estimated that sales fell by “at least 50 per cent” after Robinsons left.

According to him, the 6,448 sq ft premises can seat up to 330 people. As far as he knows, there are no plans to reopen another outlet elsewhere.

When contacted on Friday, Prima Group, which owns Teochew City, declined to comment on the reasons for the restaurant’s closure, or to release any sales figures.

The director of Prima Group, Mr Kong Yong Yeo, said in a statement: “We would like to thank all our customers for their unwavering support.

“Through their experiences with us, we look forward to their continued patronage at our newly relocated Noodle Place Restaurant at Orchard Gateway and Prima Tower Revolving Restaurant.”

Teochew City is not the only well-loved Chinese restaurant to have taken itself off the menu recently.

Just earlier this month, the owners of popular Jurong East restaurant Boon Lay Raja announced they would be putting the space on the market.

Mr Robert Tan, 59, who was the last customer to walk out of the restaurant on Friday, said he has been a fan of the restaurant since its early days.

“This is my favourite restaurant,” said Mr Tan, who runs the Julie Roberts four-leaf clover shop at nearby Cuppage Plaza.

“Lately, I’ve been coming here practically every Sunday with my mother,” he went on. “It feels like home here.”

He and his mother, 93, both love the shark’s fin soup.

Asked where he will get his Teochew cuisine fix now, he said: “I am at a loss. It really is a pity.”

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Transaction over X-value remained negative

The overall median Transaction Over X-value (TOX), which measures whether people are overpaying or underpaying the SRX Property X-Value estimated market value, remained at negative S$10,000 last month, up from negative S$20,000 in July.

For districts with more than 10 resale transactions, districts 15 (Katong, Joo Chiat, Amber Road), 23 (Bukit Panjang, Choa Chu Kang) and 16 (Bedok, Upper East Coast) posted the lowest median TOX at -S$40,000, -S$38,000, -S$30,000, respectively.

Conversely, district 11 (Watten Estate, Novena, Thomson) had the highest median TOX of S$50,000, followed by district 18 (Tampines, Pasir Ris) and district 25 (Kranji, Woodgrove) with S$16,000 and S$9,000, respectively.

Dining in CBD becoming a lifestyle

A food and beverage (F&B) culture has sprung to life in Singapore’s financial district recently on the back of a growing population of office workers, residents and visitors there, according to a report on Tuesday.

Dining in the central business district (CBD) could become even more popular in future, property consultancy Colliers said.

It noted that more than 10 years ago, the CBD was “often characterised as one-dimensional, with office buildings laid out side by side with its worker population plying 9 am to 5 pm work hours”.

But the district has since been steadily transformed by high-rise residences, the integrated resort and other business hotels alongside gleaming new office towers, it said.

“The increased level of human activity in the CBD has led to an explosion of the food and beverage (F&B) culture in Singapore’s financial district, where all types of dining concepts and watering holes can be found catering to every price and taste,” Colliers said in its report, released yesterday.

The CBD takes in Raffles Place, Shenton Way, Tanjong Pagar and Marina Bay. It is part of the “Downtown Core”, which also includes City Hall and Bugis.

The number of office workers and residents in the financial district has shot up in recent years.

The working population in the downtown core is estimated to have expanded from 239,000 workers in 2003 to 356,000 last year – an increase of almost 50 per cent over the 10-year period, said Colliers.

City living has also grown more popular since the launch of the 646-unit Icon in Gopeng Street in 2003 and the 1,111-unit The Sail@Marina Bay in 2004, it said.

There are about 5,300 completed high-rise private homes in the CBD now.

“The increase in office-working population during the weekdays, the live-in population of residents and business travellers staying in the 2,561-room Marina Bay Sands (MBS) and other hotels in the CBD, and the transient tourists who make their way to the attractions at MBS, the Merlion Park and Gardens by the Bay, have created a critical mass where F&B trades can flourish,” noted Colliers.

The detailed report can be found:

Click to access TP-Sept2014.pdf

Thai Baron eyeing UE assets,_Nov_05.JPG

Thai beer baron Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi is eyeing United Engineers (UE), which will allow him to expand his property portfolio in Singapore, a market he knows well, say analysts.

Mr Charoen is in the midst of talks with OCBC Bank and its concert parties about buying their combined stakes in UE, a property, engineering and construction group, and its WBL Corp unit.

Analysts told The Straits Times yesterday that the tycoon may be aiming to expand his foothold outside Thailand and sees a chance to do that by snapping up UE, which holds a sizeable property portfolio in Singapore.

“He probably wants to have a more diversified portfolio outside of Thailand…” said Voyage Research analyst Ng Kian Teck.

“Exploring opportunities in Singapore may interest him because he already has assets here, and he would have been scouting around to see (what is) available for sale.”

Mr Charoen’s net worth is about US$11.3 billion (S$14 billion), according to Forbes. He controls mainboard-listed developer Frasers Centrepoint Limited, which came as part of the package when he took over beverage giant Fraser & Neave (F&N) in a $13.75 billion buyout early last year.

His privately held TCC Group is also one of the biggest land owners in Thailand, and holds assets outside the country.

TCC owned the InterContinental Hotel in Bugis before injecting it earlier this year into the recently listed Frasers Hospitality Trust.

DMG analyst Goh Han Peng said Mr Charoen may be particularly interested in investment properties that “can generate recurring income with scope for capital appreciation”.

Frasers Centrepoint wants to grow the share of its revenue from investment properties, according to a Business Times report earlier this year. It noted that investment properties comprise 30 per cent of the group’s revenue with development projects bringing in the other 70 per cent.

Frasers Centrepoint group chief executive Lim Ee Seng had said in the report that the developer was eyeing “commercial assets, particularly suburban malls, offices and even business parks”.

This could fit in with UE’s portfolio of properties, which range from offices and shops to serviced apartments and light-industrial space. These assets include its flagship UE Square in River Valley, estimated to be worth $550 million, and UE Bizhub Tower at 79 Anson Road, which has an estimated value of $340 million.

UE also has four serviced residences under its Park Avenue arm. Its investment properties could be worth nearly $2.07 billion combined, and its residential developments about $627 million, according to a CIMB report last week.

Another reason Mr Charoen is eyeing UE could be a good working relationship with the sellers, market watchers said.

OCBC and its concert parties, which are insurer Great Eastern and the bank’s founding Lee family, together hold an estimated 34 to 36 per cent of UE, and have worked with Mr Charoen before.

The three parties sold their stakes in Asia Pacific Breweries and F&N to Mr Charoen for $3.2 billion in 2012, setting the stage for his F&N buyout – one of the biggest corporate takeover sagas in recent history.

Analysts said neither OCBC nor Mr Charoen was likely to feel pressured into inking a deal over UE. “It’s not a case where one side has to sell and the other has to buy. They can both walk away from the deal,” Mr Ng said.

If Mr Charoen does acquire UE, the deal would add to a lengthening overseas buying spree.

In June, Frasers Centrepoint launched a successful takeover bid for Sydney-listed Australand Property Group – formerly a CapitaLand unit – at A$4.48 per share, which valued the firm at about A$2.6 billion (S$3 billion).

Companies backed by Mr Charoen have announced US$4.5 billion worth of acquisitions this year, according to Bloomberg.

However, analysts said this was probably not because of uncertainty in Thailand. “The recent acquisitions are made with expansionary purposes… rather than being a defensive move to diversify out of Thailand,” Mr Goh said.

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ZOUK’s lease at Jiak Kim Street is extended till 2015 unless new site is found

The Singapore Land Authority (SLA), Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) have today announced that Zouk will be allowed an extension of time to facilitate its relocation from Jiak Kim Street.

At the end of its current tenancy on 31 December 2014, Zouk will be granted a final extension of the tenancy at its current premises. The duration of the extension will be tied to Zouk’s ability to secure alternative premises within a specified timeline:

a) If Zouk is able to secure a new location by 30 June 2015, they can be given a final extension up to 31 December 2017 to complete its relocation. An extension up to 2017 will give Zouk sufficient time to undertake renovations or to plan and construct a new structure to house the club at the new site, and relocate thereafter.

b) If Zouk is unable or chooses not to secure a new location by 30 June 2015, the tenancy at Jiak Kim Street will expire on 31 December 2015.