Fragrance Foodstuff which is famous for Bak Kwa, bought 2 prime adjoining shophouses along New Bridge Road where it leased the ground floor space for its flagship outlet for about 12 years. It paid S $20.5M for the shophouses, which sit on 99-year-tenure land. The land they sit on has a balance of 77 years remaining. The combined landed area is 1728sqft, thus translate the purchase to around $3535 psf based on gross floor space of 5800sqft. The seller is Yeah Capital Pte Ltd, which is owned by the family controlling ValueMax Group of pawnbroking shops.
For Sale Furama City Centre
Felicia Chin and Sora Ma are now officially cafe owners, in addition to their day jobs as MediaCorp artistes.
They have joined forces to set up The Mama Shop, a retro-themed space in the former Police Operational Headquarters at 195 Pearl’s Hill Terrace. The cafe serves up burgers, waffles and old-school drinks like iced kopi and sparkling limau.
The Mama Shop’s opening ceremony was held on Monday night, complete with a festive lion dance and celebrity guests including Pierre Png, Jesseca Liu, Dennis Chew, Michelle Chong, Pornsak, and Zheng Geping and family.
“It’s a small start but I think it’s a place for friends and to meet new people,” Chin said. “It’s called Mama Shop because there’s a personal touch to it — it’s not pretentious. I chanced upon this location and I thought it’s away from everybody else. It’s like a personal kind of private area for your friends and it’s quite quiet; it’s not amongst the crowds. Sometimes, good things have to be looked for.”
The business has been a personal effort for both Chin and Ma, both 30. “When it comes to acting, you only need to make sure your scenes are done well,” said Ma. “But when it comes to business, there are a lot of things you have to know. Felicia and I are in charge of marketing and PR but we have to know, for example, where the food comes from and how to pair it. Everything on the menu, we’ve experimented with more than ten times.”
She added: “It feels like I’ve been promoted!”
Some 70 per cent of the 50 units at Havelock II that Guthrie GTS has sold since the project was soft launched in mid-July were picked up by buyers for their own use.
This is a significantly higher proportion compared with a share of 30-45 per cent for owner occupiers among buyers of strata commercial units in Guthrie’s ventures in recent years, such as Paya Lebar Square, The Adelphi near City Hall MRT Station and Burlington Square along Bencoolen Street.
In an interview with BT, Guthrie GTS director Michael Leong described the higher proportion of end users in Havelock II as a “healthy trend” reflecting the drop in speculative fervour.
The 50 units Guthrie has sold in Havelock II make up half of the 100 office and retail units released in the project, which will be the revamped 2HR building the group acquired in March 2013. In all, the project will have 245 units comprising 151 retail units and 94 office units.
Mr Leong acknowledged that the TDSR (total debt servicing ratio framework) has slowed sales; that said, he noted that “buyers now have a better grasp of this policy, enabling them to evaluate faster and accelerate purchasing decisions”.
To date, the group has sold 30 of the 50 retail units released and 20 of the 50 office units released. Office units sold have sizes ranging from 312 sq ft to 2,357 sq ft and have achieved an average price of S$2,228 psf, while retail units taken up are sized 150-1,335 sq ft and have fetched an average of S$4,657 psf.
“Although the building is in a slightly fringe part of the CBD, it is attractively located between two MRT stations – Clarke Quay and Chinatown stations,” said Mr Leong.
The project stands on a site with a balance lease term of about 68 years. Guthrie paid S$282.88 million for the eight-storey building last year and will invest a further S$40 million revamping it. However, the site’s lease will not be topped up.
Most of the building’s tenants have already moved out with the last remaining occupiers slated to exit by end-January 2015. Renovations began a month ago and are slated for completion by H1 2016.
Among other things, a new facade will adorn the building. Its carpark entrance/exit will be relocated, and two levels in the building will be converted to retail use.
As a result, the revamped building will have four floors of retail space (Basement 1 to Level 3). Above that will be five levels of offices. About 100 car park lots will be housed in Basement 2.
The existing office-retail mix of 80:20 will be changed to 45:55. Havelock II will have 82,408 sq ft of retail space and 64,583 sq ft of offices.
Guthrie has also strategically decided to price 70 per cent of the project’s total 245 units within a sweet spot of up to S$2 million each because that is the marketable and affordable range, said Mr Leong.
Close to half the 245 units cost up to S$1.5 million each. Sizes of retail units in the project range from 140 sq ft (for an F&B kiosk) to 7,395 sq ft (for the food court unit). There is also a 6,620 sq ft supermarket unit.
All retail units will be provided with water points and discharge outlets. Selected units will be provided with independent air-conditioning systems, which will allow occupiers greater flexibility in their operating hours.
All the office units too will be provided with water points and discharge outlets in addition to independent own air-con systems. Selected office units will have ensuite toilets.
Guthrie has appointed CBRE to market Havelock II’s office units, and SLP International, the retail units.
American architect Ed Poole was so set against a proposal to put Pearl Bank Apartments up for a collective sale in 2007 that he hired a lawyer and rallied his neighbours.
The attempt failed.
“Pearl Bank is irreplaceable,” said Mr Poole, 54, who lives in a penthouse unit in the landmark building along Outram Road. “There is no way you can find another apartment like Pearl Bank in Singapore.”
Indeed, for residents such as Mr Poole, architectural devotees and ordinary Singaporeans alike, the horseshoe-shaped building atop Pearl’s Hill, overlooking Chinatown and as far as Sentosa, is unique and should be preserved carefully.
Most of the apartment owners living there are now seeking a conservation order for the 38-storey Pearl Bank, the tallest residential building in Singapore when it was completed in 1976.
This is part of a plan thought up by the building’s architect, 77-year-old Tan Cheng Siong.
The management committee plans to apply to the authorities to extend its 99-year lease and increase its gross floor area to build a 27-storey residential block above the existing carpark.
If the plan goes through, the new area can be sold and the money collected can pay for upgrading works and a lease extension, without residents having to pay extra.
While some residents of the 272 apartments and eight penthouses had wanted to cash in through a collective sale, most had feared that selling out to developers would lead to the destruction of the beacon-like building.
The conservation order will ensure that the building is kept, while helping to finance the sprucing up it badly needs, say supporters of the plan.
Residents have had to put up with peeling paint, water leaks and even rats sometimes.
“Last year, we caught about three rats in our home. We have no idea how the rats climbed up 37 floors. Maybe through the pipes,” said a penthouse resident in her 40s, who gave her name only as Ms Ling.
Others complained of chipped steps in the stairwells and lifts that break down frequently.
Madam Too Poh Eng, 70, tries to take the newer of the eight lifts there. “Some lifts are so old that I recite a chant each time I take them. You never know when it will stall,” said the resident on the 14th floor.