Rare freehold landed site at Oxley Rise expected to draw offers of over S$300m

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AN elevated freehold residential landed site at 5 Oxley Rise in District 9 with an enormous size of 151,205 square feet (sq ft) has been put up for sale by public tender, with offers in excess of S$300 million expected.

CBRE, which is marketing the property, says it is one of the last remaining freehold residential landed sites within the prime Orchard Road district, and may be redeveloped into a single large mansion, strata or mixed landed developments, or multiple Good Class Bungalows (GCBs).

Situated on a hilltop, 5 Oxley Rise comprises 2 land plots, with a 2-storey bungalow and 4 outhouses surrounded by sprawling greenery on site.

The bungalow is an iconic mansion steeped in rich heritage, where numerous notable figures in Singapore’s history have resided. These include Sir Manasseh Meyer, a Jewish businessman responsible for constructing the neighbouring Chesed-El Synagogue, and Cheong Eak Chong, one of Singapore’s pioneer real estate developers and founder of Hong Fok Corporation and Tian Teck group.

A Business Times story in October 2020 reported that the property is owned by 7 members of the same family, all sons of the late Cheong. It listed them as Cheong Hooi Hong, Cheong Keng Hooi, Cheong Kheng Lim, Cheong Sim Lam, Cheong Pin Chuan, Cheong Kim Pong and Cheong Pin Seng. Most of them are involved with either Singapore-listed Hong Fok or Hong Kong-listed Tian Teck Land.

The bungalow at the site is adorned with large windows, spacious balconies and a terracotta roof and offers a 360-degree view of the city.

According to the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) Master Plan 2019, the site is zoned for residential (2-storey mixed landed) use. CBRE says potential developers and owner-occupiers can consider a few residential landed options, such as redeveloping the site to accommodate a single large mansion, a strata or a mixed-use landed development, or multiple GCBs, subject to approval from the relevant authorities.

Noting that the property is within one of Singapore’s most exclusive and highly coveted residential enclaves, Michael Tay, CBRE’s head of Singapore capital markets said plum landed sites larger than 100,000 sq ft are typically tightly held and rarely put up for sale.

“As such, these esteemed asset classes have been proven to be resilient through various market cycles. Given its prime location and superior physical attributes, we are expecting this trophy asset to attract offers in excess of S$300 million.”

Recent landed transactions in the vicinity include 2 Cluny Hill, which transacted at S$63.7 million (S$4,291 per square foot per plot ratio) in April 2021, 30 Nassim Road at S$128.8 million (S$4,005 psf ppr) in March 2021, and 33 Nassim Road at S$230 million (S$2,721 psf ppr) in mid-2019.

If the existing mansion is conserved, “we understand that the URA will consider gazetting the site into a Good Class Bungalow Area (GCBA),” added Tay. “With only 39 gazetted GCBAs in Singapore, this is a rare opportunity for developers to create a product within a brand new GCBA.”

Bungalows in the gazetted GCBAs are the most prestigious form of landed housing in Singapore, with strict planning conditions stipulated by the URA to preserve their exclusivity and low-rise character.

Tay noted that the GCB asset class has also proven to be resilient through various market cycles due to its tight ownership.

A selling price of S$300 million would translate to S$1,984 psf for the land, which KH Tan, managing director of Newsman Realty says is “not very expensive, compared to say, the Holland belt”.

Bruce Lye, co-founder of Singapore Realtors Inc agrees.

“Prime district 9 land zoned for landed development can easily command in excess of S$2,500 psf in today’s market,” he said. “However, given the large quantum of the parcel, the buyer would likely be a local family office looking to land bank, or a luxury developer who would take a position to capitalise on the demand for prime brand new GCBs.”

However, Realstar Premier founder William Wong thinks “It’s almost impossible” for the site to be turned into a GCBA because housing density in the Oxley area “is pretty high”.

“Depending on how they carve out the plot, it is more likely that the buyer develops boutique-sized bungalows ranging from 5,000 to 7,000 sq ft each on it,” said Wong, “They can then be sold for as high as $4,000-$4,500 psf of land, or about S$20 million each for a small bungalow.”

Such a project would be worth considering as most landed houses in the prime areas are located in districts 10 and 11, and the supply of new landed housing in district 9 is “almost non-existent”, he adds.

5 Oxley Rise is located between the Central Business District and Orchard Road, offering easy access to amenities within the vicinity, including popular food and beverage and lifestyle destinations, Robertson Quay and Clarke Quay; various parks such as Fort Canning Park and Pearl Bank Park; private clubs such as The Tanglin Club and The American Club; and medical facilities such as Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, Gleneagles Hospital, Camden Medical Centre, and Paragon Medical Centre.

Educational institutions close by include River Valley Primary School, St Margaret’s Primary School, and Anglo-Chinese School Junior. The site is also accessible via major arterial roads and expressways such as River Valley Road, Penang Road and the Central Expressway.

The public tender will close on June 8 at 3 pm.

source: The Business Times

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