Category Archives: West Coast/Pasir Panjang

District 5

Normanton Park up for collective sale

The lacklustre property market enjoyed a shot of adrenaline yesterday with news that the sprawling Normanton Park condominium is up for a collective sale with an asking price of around $840 million.

The ambitious move by the owners of the 38-year-old estate near Kent Ridge Park seems to fly in the face of prevailing market trends, which all point to slowing sales.

Only 341 new private homes were sold last month, a striking fall of 33.5 per cent from the 513 units moved in August, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority yesterday.

The 488-unit Normanton Park would be the biggest collective sale in eight years if it goes through, but experts are sceptical.

The 99-year leasehold estate is on a sprawling 660,000 sq ft site with a reserve price said to be in the region of $840 million. A sale at that level would make it the largest collective deal since Farrer Court was sold at $1.3 billion and Leedon Heights at $835 million in 2007.

Marketing agent Mount Everest Properties said a developer would have to stump up an additional $300 million or so to top up the lease, which has 61 years to run, and account for the development charge. Factoring in these costs, the overall price would work out to about $820 per square foot per plot ratio, as the site has a plot ratio of 2.1. Each owner could stand to pocket $1.6 million to $1.7 million on average.

There has been only one large collective sale this year, when SIN Capital Group bought Thong Sia Building, along Bideford Road, for $380 million in July.

Amber Park, Spring Grove and Riviera Point are among the many that tried their luck in recent years but failed to find a buyer.

The tender for the Normanton Park sale closes on Jan 19.


Sungei Pandan waterfront site may yield 600 homes

A residential site at West Coast Vale was put on the market yesterday with price expectations of up to about $370 million.

The 18,908 sq m plot, which is on the confirmed list of the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme, is located on the Sungei Pandan waterfront.

Its maximum gross floor area of 52,945 sq m could yield about 595 residential units.

Analysts said there would be keen interest in the 99-year leasehold site.

“While there has been a fall in the supply of land available for residential development, the same number of developers are still there.”

Market expert noted that developers would be interested because of the amenities in the area, which will include the upcoming high-speed rail terminal in Jurong East.

“The area also has the new Science Centre, and the Westgate and Jem shopping malls,” he said.

Recent developments there have fared quite well.

“Nine months ago, Waterfront @ Faber was launched. It has 210 units, with 135 already sold. That’s more than 60 per cent, which is quite good.”

Market analyst said: “Surrounding projects include The Infiniti and Hundred Trees, many of which have seen strong end-user demand, and have been fully sold.

“Many of the projects were launched in 2006 and 2007.”

Market analyst expects about 10 bidders for the West Coast Vale site, with offers exceeding $600 per sq ft (psf).

Market expert predicts five to eight bidders, offering $400 to $500 psf, made up mostly of “cash-rich listed developers who need to have land in the pipeline for future developments”.

Market analyst expects the bid price at $600 to $650 psf, noting that there could be higher building costs as the site is near water.

“The negative is possibly the industrial estates to the west of the area. However, that is rather minor as they are fast-changing.”

The tender closes at noon on Aug 4, said the Urban Redevelopment Authority yesterday.

Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre upgrading

The 32-year-old Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre is undergoing improvement works, and sellers there are hopeful that a refurbished centre will draw the crowds back.

Some areas in the centre were hoarded up when The Straits Times visited earlier this month.

According to the signs put up, a wider carpark driveway will be completed by the end of this month, and a linkway between Blocks 13 and 14 will be built by end-September. The centre remains open during this period.

HDB called for an expression of interest last month for a consultant to carry out further improvement works by mid-2017, such as building more covered walkways and roof extensions, upgrading common toilets and repainting the facade of the centre.

The cost of the renovations is not available as the proposals are not finalised.

Mr Tay Khiam Back, chairman of the centre’s association, said stallholders will also benefit from new coldrooms currently under construction.

“The previous system was designed more than 30 years ago and is getting old,” he said.

Sellers and shoppers said the renovations works are a long time coming.

The centre, made up of 26 blocks, opened in 1983 to centralise the distribution of vegetables, fruits and dried goods.

Sellers said that the number of walk-in customers has dwindled over the years as people preferred to shop for groceries in the comfort of supermarkets instead of the non-air-conditioned centre.

Madam Sim Cho Hwang, the 62-year-old boss of Shen Trading and Wholesale, a dried goods store in the centre, said: “It is about time they did something about the carpark. It has been the same size since 1983, and there are cracks in the carpark grounds.”

With perspiration running down her face, she added: “I hope they make the roof higher, so there is better ventilation. It is very hot in here.”

Madam Noor Sinah Abdul Gani, who shops at the centre once a week, said she is looking forward to the covered walkways and wider carpark driveway.

The 58-year-old, who sells spices at a Jurong East market, said: “The centre is quite dirty and disorganised now, and the carpark is small and congested.”

Singapore Heritage tour of Gillman Barracks launched

A new history and heritage tour of the Gillman Barracks was launched on Saturday (May 2), in conjunction with Singapore HeritageFest 2015.

The conserved colonial barracks is currently home to the visual arts community.

Members of the public can go to to register for the free hour-long tour, where museum volunteers will share many interesting facts about Gillman Barracks.

The tours will take place on May 2-3 and May 9-10. Subsequent tours will be held once a month from June.

The tour is in addition to the weekly Art and History tour at Gillman Barracks.

PORTFOLIO of nine freehold shophouses and two 9,999-year leasehold strata shop units is up for sale #sgbayhomes

A PORTFOLIO of nine freehold shophouses and two 9,999-year leasehold strata shop units is up for sale to a single buyer.

The seller is The Bamboo Group, a six-year-old boutique property investment and development company specialising in repositioning shophouses.

With a total floor area of 31,774 square feet, the portfolio has an indicative price of S$77 million and is up for sale through an expression of interest (EOI) exercise being conducted by Cushman & Wakefield. The offer will close on May 21.

Included in the portfolio are five two-storey conservation shophouses along Tanjong Katong Road and three shophouses along South Buona Vista Road. The Tanjong Katong Road properties comprise No 362 (at the junction with Wilkinson Road) and four adjoining properties at No 332, 334, 336 and 338 (at the Branksome Road corner).

Along South Buona Vista Road, two adjoining properties, No 30 and No 32, are available along with No 38 a few doors away.

Under the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Master Plan 2014, all these eight shophouse properties are zoned “residential with commercial at first storey” and have a 3.0 plot ratio (ratio of maximum gross floor area to land area).

The ground-level space in the shophouses is either leased to or approved for use as food and beverage/retail outlets.

The upper level contains furnished boutique residential studio units with tenancies of six months or longer.

Also part of the portfolio is a corner freehold two-storey shophouse at 101 Soo Chow Walk, off Upper Thomson Road and a stone’s throw from the future Upper Thomson MRT Station. Zoned for commercial use within a two-storey envelope control streetblock plan, the property has five shop lots on the ground floor and a single large shop lot on the upper floor. Negotiations are ongoing with potential tenants.

The final component of the portfolio for sale comprises two adjoining corner strata commercial units at 1 & 1B Figaro Street, at the junction with Jalan Tua Kong. The units have two separate titles with 9,999-year leasehold tenure. Both units are leased.

Queenstown’s past has a new trail

Princess House. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG  

The empty field next to Alexandra Fire Station in Queensway has a dark history.

In February 1942, it was the site of the British army’s Normanton oil depot and, in a vain attempt to stop Japanese soldiers from advancing, troops set fire to its oil silos. Thick plumes of smoke engulfed the nearby Boh Beh Kang and Alexandra villages.

Many residents were massacred as enemy troops marched onwards. The death toll is unknown.

The field is now part of a new history trail of Dawson and Alexandra launched today. It is being organised by civic group My Community, Queenstown Citizens’ Consultative Committee and urban explorer group The Other Sites of Singapore.

The trail focuses on the estate’s military history and the stories of residents.

It is the second trail to be launched in Queenstown – the other covers community landmarks in Tanglin Halt and Duchess estates – and explains the different layers of history in Singapore’s first satellite estate, showing how it has evolved since the colonial period.

My Community founder Kwek Li Yong said the story of the damaged oil silos and the killing of the Boh Beh Kang and Alexandra villagers has often been overshadowed by the 1942 massacre at the British Military Hospital – known as Alexandra Hospital today – where 200 patients and staff members were killed in 30 minutes.

There are 18 stops along the Alexandra and Dawson trail, one of which is hidden in a wooded area in Kay Siang Road, where the remnants of two storage bunkers lie. The bunkers were likely to have been constructed in the 1940s and have features such as double doors to reinforce them against bombings.

The trail also takes participants through community sites such as the Taoist Tiong Ghee Temple, which started as an altar in a villager’s hut in 1931; the Housing Board’s first point blocks, 160 and 161 in Mei Ling Street; and the site of the 1950s Hock Lee bus riots at the junction of Dawson Road and Alexandra Road.

Ms Badariah Hussein, 65, who lives in one of the point blocks in Queenstown, noted that participants will get to learn a little about Singapore’s housing evolution through the trail. Constructed in 1970, the point blocks were designed to give residents more privacy by restricting the number of units to just four per level. “I’m very proud to live in one of Singapore’s special blocks and will never sell it off,” the former clerk said.

Dr Chia Shi-Lu, MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC, said participants will get to hear first-hand accounts from long-time residents, shopowners and librarians. “Our stories are big in heart and soul, and certainly speak volumes of life in the 1960s and 1970s,” he said.

Members of the public can sign up for tours at www.myqueens The tours will be held on the last Saturday of each month, starting next month.

Organisers are seeking about 100 volunteers to run the new tour and an existing one in Tiong Bahru over the next few months. Those who are interested can sign up by sending an e-mail to

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More new space planned for startups: Spring Singapore

Second LaunchPad is in planning stage; three new blocks will be added to the first facility

THE government is planning to set up a second LaunchPad for startups even as it expands the first one – JTC LaunchPad @ one-north – with the construction of three new blocks.

The existing LaunchPad at Ayer Rajah Crescent – which comprises blocks 71, 73 and 79 and is jointly spearheaded by JTC Corporation and Spring Singapore – offers facilities such as co-working, incubation, and startup space for entrepreneurs.

The three new blocks – 75, 77 and 81 – will provide an additional 12,000 square metres of space and house 250 more startups. These blocks will be completed over 2016 and 2017.

At the existing LaunchPad, block 71 is about 95 per cent filled,block 73 is about 50 per cent taken up and block 79 is more than 80 per cent occupied. It will house about 500 startups and 35 incubators.

The new LaunchPad will be in the vicinity of JTC’s CleanTech Park, which is next to Nanyang Technological University (NTU). Plans for the new facility are still underway, but its main tenets are similar to the current site.

Locating it next to NTU and within the vibrant living laboratory in CleanTech Park will allow startups to benefit from the proximity to research experts and academia from the university and the industries and businesses, noted Heah Soon Poh, assistant chief executive officer of JTC’s Cluster Group.

In addition to providing physical facilities, other means of supporting the entrepreneurial community in Singapore include the opening of Block 71 San Francisco, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday, when he officially opened JTC LaunchPad @ one-north. Block 71 San Francisco will help connect Singapore’s startups to the US market and startup eco-system of mentors and investors, said Mr Lee.

Taking the LaunchPad community to the next level will be the newly privatised Action Community for Entrepreneurship, said Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck. Its welcome centre and collaborative ideation space at block 79 will be a one-stop shop for new entrepreneurs and also be a focal point for players to connect and network.

With this match between the “software” and the “hardware”, it will be possible to replicate this model in other parts of the world, said Mr Teo.

Entrepreneurial activity in Singapore has increased steadily over the years, with the number of employing startups growing from 24,000 in 2005 to 42,000 in 2013. The proportion of startups in higher-value sectors has also grown. Startups in these knowledge-intensive, technology sectors comprised 39 per cent of all active startups in 2013, an increase from 33 per cent in 2005.

Singapore’s startup sector employs about 9 per cent of the country’s workforce. About 20 per cent of Singapore respondents in the latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report have indicated their intention to start a business within the next three years.