Thiam Siew Avenue Houses owned by the Wee family in Singapore is selling a collection of properties.
|Announcement of Tender Award: On the close of the tender on 18 November 2022, Thiam Siew Avenue houses made up of two land plots with a total of twenty-two freehold land parcels of 263,794 sq ft land size have been sold to joint developers, Hoi Hup Realty and Sunway Developments. At $815 million plus an estimated $284 million development charge, the land price works out to $1,488 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr). The land price comes out to $1,440 psf ppr, if an additional $39.3 million is given as bonus for 7% of balcony space.
Thiam Siew Avenue is a small serene street with only 25 residences flanked by Tanjong Katong Road and Haig Road . Many of the homes are single-story, pre-war landed properties namely bungalows and semi-detached houses with nine thousand to ten thousand square feet of land apiece.
Property mogul and owner of hotels, Wee Thiam Siew, who died in 1972, owned the houses. Wee Thiam Siew & Co and Thiam Siew Avenue Investments, companies whose beneficiaries are family members, control the properties. Most of them belong to the third generation. Being the chairman of Ban Leong & Co, Wee dealt in cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products.
Hollywood Theatre, constructed in 1957 and opened by the late Loke Wan Tho in 1958 on Tanjong Katong Road. Stars from Hong Kong graced the stage during the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1990s, the cinema closed, becoming a church at one point, then a food centre, then a supermarket after that.
In 1968, Lion City Hotel opened next door to Hollywood Theater. Members of the Wee family owned and operated the hotel until December 2010, when they decided to put it up for sale by tender along with the adjacent Hollywood Theatre. Singapore’s listed UOL Group announced its purchase of the Lion City Hotel and Hollywood Theatre in January 2011 for $311 million.
Redevelopment of this site into a mixed-use development included the four-storey Kinex mall with 202,191 sq ft of net lettable space; and the Katong Regency housing project comprises 3 blocks of 9 to 10 storeys. This freehold condo launched in April 2012 and sold out within a week with an average price of $1,608 per square foot. A URA Realis caveat indicates that units are selling for $1,797 psf on the resale market since the project attained its TOP in 2015.
Previously, Wee lived just behind Thiam Siew Avenue at 525 Dunman Road. His house was situated on a large plot of land as well. A corner section of the land at Haig Road had been acquired by the government from the family and offered for sale under the government land sales (GLS) program. The site was bought in 1997 by Far East Organization. It was on a 99-year lease. Afterwards, the site was developed into Dunman View. Dunman View is an 18-storey high-rise condo with 148 units and was completed in 2004.
Dunman Grove consists of terraced landed property developed by the Wee family’s Wee Thiam Siew & Co business on the remaining plot located at Dunman Road. These houses obtained TOP in 1990.
Some of the Dunman Grove terraced home owners came together and offered their properties jointly for sales to developer Hoi Hup Realty 10 years ago. Thereafter, 18-stoery Questa @ Dunman comprising 122 untis was built on the site. The freehold high-rise condo, which was finished in 2013, offers a combination of suites, 1- and 2-bedroom apartment units.
The Largest Property Divestment:
Savills Singapore’s deputy managing director of investment sales and capital markets, Galven Tan is the exclusive marketing agent. He has been appointed to sell the land lots along Thiam Siew Avenue. The site on which the Thiam Siew Avenue homes were erected was formerly part of Wee’s home at 525 Dunman Road.
Before pre-war however, he chose to build residences there for rental revenue. In 1939, Wee named the route Thiam Siew Road, but in 1940, he changed it to Thiam Siew Avenue.
Tan of Savills says that the Wee family kept the homes for lease after the post-war years and many of the renters are long-term ones. The Wee family plans to sell all 22 land parcels with 25 residences along Thiam Siew Avenue after nearly 80 years.
Thiam Siew Avenue Houses Plot 1 & Plot 2
credit: savills/google map
The landed semi-detached houses with odd house numbers from one to seventeen were erected in the early 1940s during the pre-war years. 2 consecutive landed bungalows on the same row, Nos. nineteen and twenty-one, were likewise built before the war. The four landed semi-detached residences at numbers twenty-three to twenty-nine on the other hand were constructed only in 2007. These dwellings altogether comprise Plot 1, which is on a freehold land size of 135,361 square feet.
Plot 2 sits on a total freehold land size of 128,436 square feet. This plot comprises the even-numbered homes from No. two to twenty-two are located on the other side of Thiam Siew Avenue. The landed pre-war semi-detached homes are Nos. two to sixteen are , whereas Nos. eighteen to twenty-two are landed pre-war bungalows.
Potential For Redevelopment:
Developers can acquire either Plot 1 or Plot 2, or both plots together, according to Savills’ Tan. The developer can then acquire Thiam Siew Avenue and seal it off, as it serves primarily residential areas. The two plots can then be merged, resulting in a total site area of about 263,797 square feet (excluding the road), according to Tan. With the road included, the overall plot area would be around 300,000 square feet. However, officials must approve the closure of the route.
Tan estimated that a new development at Thiam Siew Avenue may have a total gross floor area (GFA) of 738,632 square feet based on the 2.8 plot ratio as reflected in the URA Master Plan 2019.
District 15 New Condo Launch Average Selling Prices
Thiam Siew Avenue is located in District 15 and is regarded to be part of the excellent East Coast region. However, according to the new URA ruling that average size of residential units in that sector of Singapore must be at least 85 square metre (915 square feet), only about 414 condominium apartments on Plot 1 and approximately 393 condominium units on Plot 2 can be built.
If the two lots are combined and the road is cordoned off, a property developer might be able to build 800 new condo launch
units on the site.
Thiam Siew Avenue Investments owns all of the pre-war properties except for those at Nos. twelve, nineteen and twenty-two. Wee Thiam Siew & Co. owns the land that was converted into the four landed semi-detached residences at Nos. twenty-three to twenty-nine in 2007. Both companies, however, are under the Wee family’s ownership. Altogether, inclusive of the three residences at Nos. twelve, nineteen and twenty-two that are held in separate names are owned in totality by Wee family members and will be put up for sale.
Thiam Siew Avenue Sale Details
On September 24, the land lots were put on sale, with the tender concluding on November 18. For the Thiam Siew Avenue plots, no pricing information is available. It is expected, however, to be benchmarked to other freehold property
developments in premium District 15.
For example, in October 2017, City Developments Ltd (CDL) and Hong Realty acquired Amber Park for $906.7 million at $1,515 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr). In July 2018, GuocoLand purchased Casa Meyfort on Meyer Road for $319.8 million which works out to $1,580 per square foot per plot ratio for the land, including an anticipated development charge amounting to $57.8 million. This new launch condo is Meyer Mansion along Meyer Road.
Is Jalan Tembusu’s government land sale (GLS) site a competitor?
An upcoming land parcel at the junction of Tanjong Katong Road and Jalan Tembusu is on the approved list of the GLS programme. It is fairly close to Thiam Siew Avenue. The 99-year leasehold property at Jalan Tembusu
has a land area of 210,624 square feet with GFA of 589,754 square feet. The land is suitable for development into a new 645-unit complex, based on the average unit size of 915 square feet. The property is around 600 metres from the Thomson-East Coast Line’s (TEL) planned Tanjong Katong MRT Station.
Though ideally placed, the Jalan Tembusu GLS site
on the confirmed list will pose a greater commitment for a developer as over 600 apartment units need to be sold in a 5-year framework, according to Head of research at ERA Realty, Nicholas Mak.
Executive director and head of research at Savills Singapore, Alan Cheong anticipates bids for the Jalan Tembusu site to be about $1,400 per square foot per plot ratio. He feels that there could be around 4 to 5 developers who would bid for it as the total value is greater than $820 million.
Given the freehold nature of the Thiam Siew Avenue plots, market observers anticipate the sellers to charge a premium, with the two sites expected to sell for between $1,450 and $1,500 per square foot per plot ratio. This is without taking into account the newly increased development charge (DC)
Largest One-family Seller:
Thiam Siew Avenue is situated in the sub-regional centre, Paya Lebar Central. A recently completed popular new condo, Park Place Residences
is located here and is seamlessly connected to Paya Lebar Square, Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ) and the Paya Lebar MRT Interchange Station (CRL and EW Lines). There is also the retail mall, Kinex situated nearby. Top primary schools, Tanjong Katong Primary School and Kong Hwa School, are within one kilometre of Thiam Siew Avenue.
Despite the large number of new construction projects in district 15, healthy residential sales in the East have been recorded.
- 1) Since its May 2019 debut, about 80% of the 582-unit Amber Park has been sold.
- 2) Ever since the debut in 4Q2019, GuocoLand’s 200-unit Meyer Mansion has sold almost 40% of its units. While the median price per square foot at Meyer Mansion is $2,581, 8 apartments were sold for between $3,009 and $3,182 per square foot.
While the median price per square foot at Meyer Mansion is $2,581, 8 apartments were sold for between $3,009 and $3,182 per square foot.
- 3) In April 2017, half of the 429-unit Park Place Residences at PLQ were sold at an average price of $1,800 per square foot, and yet another 161 apartments were sold at an average price of $2,015 per square foot in April 2018. By 2019, the project had been completely sold. In August, a 17th-floor, two-bedroom apartment measuring 667 square feet sold for $1.495 million, setting a new record for the property of $2,240 per square foot.
Such selling prices should work in favour of the Thiam Siew Avenue property plots, according to Tan. In the event a developer wants to build a large property with a good selection of amenities facilities, he may combine the two plots of land. If not, he can look to purchase either land Plot 1 or Plot 2.
The dual plots on Thiam Siew Avenue are particularly attractive:
- 1) since they are held by a one family, which provides a developer with deal assurance.
- 2) since the houses are exempt from the strata title board.
- 3) since this size of freehold property is becoming increasingly scarce.