New Price Record Set By Property Magnate Wee Thiam Siew's Family For Olive Road GCB At $50.2m

April 27, 2022

Due to the recent increase in prices in nearby GCB areas, buyers are taking note of the Olive Road area, which is near MacRitchie Reservoir. Credit: Showsuite Consultancy and CBRE

SINGAPORE - The family of the late property magnate and hotelier Wee Thiam Siew has bought a good class bungalow (GCB) in Olive Road for $50.2 million, six months after they concluded the largest residential land sale here since the July 2018 property cooling measures.

The Wee family sold freehold land plots in Thiam Siew Avenue in the Katong area in November last year for $815 million.

They have set another price record this month with their $50.2 million GCB purchase in the Caldecott Hill Estate GCB area.

Brokered by SRI, the deal works out to about $1,800 per sq ft (psf) on the freehold land area of 27,909 sq ft - breaking the previous record set by a $36 million Olive Road GCB sale last year to Mr Ian Ang, co-founder and chief executive of ergonomic chair retailer Secretlab.

According to documents seen by The Straits Times, the caveat for the property was lodged on April 18 by Mr Wee Hian Nam. When contacted on Tuesday (April 26), Mr Wee's agent declined to comment.

The agent for the Olive Road GCB sellers, Mr Hong Kai Tiong and Hu Kine Poey, also declined to comment.

The Wee family sold two freehold land parcels in Thiam Siew Avenue, a residential street of landed homes adjacent to Tanjong Katong Road, for $815 million or $1,488 psf per plot ratio to a joint venture between Hoi Hup Realty and Sunway Developments in November last year.

These parcels are part of an extensive residential development site, the largest sold since the July 2018 cooling measures, marketing agent Savills said. They comprise 22 plots that are occupied by five bungalows and 10 pairs of semi-detached houses.

The Thiam Siew Avenue properties were held primarily under Thiam Siew Avenue Investments and Wee Thiam Siew & Co, whose beneficiaries are the members of the late Mr Wee's family, many of whom are from the third generation, according to property portal EdgeProp.

The late Mr Wee was chairman of Ban Leong & Co, which deals in cigars, cigarette and tobacco, and the owner of Lion City Hotel and the adjoining former Hollywood Theatre, which was sold to UOL Group in 2011 for $313 million.

He also built the New 7th Storey Hotel in Rochor Road in the 1950s. It has since been demolished to make way for Bugis MRT station.

Mr Samuel Eyo, managing director of Lighthouse Property Consultants, noted: “The Olive Road site sits on elevated ground, and the $1,800 psf price is decent for freehold GCB land in the Caldecott Hill Estate GCB area.”

“This is a good buy given the current market, and the nearby Leedon Park GCB area and Ridout Park GCB areas are commanding $2,500 psf to $3,000 psf.”

He added: “Caldecott Hill was never on the radar for many GCB buyers. But due to the recent increase in prices in other nearby GCB areas, buyers are taking note of the Olive Road area, which is near MacRitchie Reservoir.”

Analysts say this could be good news for Perennial Holdings, which is planning to build 15 99-year GCBs on the former Caldecott Broadcast Centre site in Andrew Road in what is potentially the biggest cluster of leasehold GCBs to be launched in Caldecott Hill’s predominantly freehold GCB area.

An entity jointly owned by Perennial and its chairman, Mr Kuok Khoon Hong, bought the site in late 2020 for $280.9 million.

Perennial has proposed redeveloping the 752,015 sq ft leasehold site into 15 bungalows in the initial phase, with each bungalow having sizeable plots ranging from 1,400 sq m (15,070 sq ft) to 23,300 sq m.

“The latest Olive Road GCB sale could mean that Perennial can command better prices when it launches its leasehold GCBs,” Mr Eyo said.

List Sotheby’s International Realty’s analysis of data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority's Realis platform showed that there were 19 deals in GCB areas worth $511 million in the first quarter of this year, down from 24 deals totalling $700.9 million a year ago.

In the fourth quarter of 2021, there were 12 deals worth $341.2 million.

But with the relaxation of cross-border travel restrictions, List Sotheby’s sees the pace of luxury property investment picking up in the second half of this year.

Credit: Straits Times

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