GEYLANG, infamously known as Singapore’s red-light district, is generating a mini buzz of a different kind this year – enbloc activity.

This month Yuen Sing Mansion, a freehold collective sale site along Lorong 13 Geylang, was sold via private treaty for S$15.2 million, lower than the original reserve price of S$17 million.

The buyer is East Asia Geylang Development.

Yuen Sing which had been launched for sale by tender by marketing agent JLL back in September 2018 is only the second successful enbloc sale in 2020.

The first enbloc deal this year was in January – Casa Sophia, a 12-unit freehold development in Sophia Road that went for S$29 million.

Yuen Sing is a four-storey development comprising nine apartments built on a regular shaped plot.

Back in 2018, the owners were expecting bids in excess of S$17 million, which reflects about S$779 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr) or S$753 psf ppr after factoring in the 10 per cent bonus balcony and a corresponding estimated development charge of about S$1.24 million.

Under the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) 2014 Master Plan, the 7,868 sq ft site is zoned residential/institution with a gross plot ratio of 2.8 and an allowable height of up to eight storeys, subject to 26 metres above mean sea level, according to a 2018 Business Times report. A developer can potentially configure the allowable GFA (gross floor area) of 24,235 sq ft up to 29 apartments based on the URA’s grant of outline permission recently.

“After the last unsuccessful tender in 2018, all the owners remained keen to sell, and various agents along the way sounded them out,” said lawyer Thomas Toh of CTLC Law Corp who represented the sellers.

“The sellers were quite happy there was an interested party,” said Mr Toh.

Negotiations began late last year with the buyer, went on during the circuit breaker and finally it was closed in July, he said. Circuit breaker was between April 7 and June 1.

The sale and purchase agreement was inked on Aug 3. Among the negotiated terms was for a longer completion period of six months for the buyer which even factored for another lockdown, he said.

This means the completion period can be extended beyond the six months if there is another lockdown, he said.

East Asia Geylang Development, incorporated in April 2, 2020, is a real estate company, according to regulatory filings.

It has two shareholders – Zhang Zhiming who is from China and Huang Yanhong, a Singapore citizen. Both share the same address – a unit in Carlton Residences.

Yuen Sing is within easy access to the Aljunied and Kallang MRT Stations being within an 800-metre and 850-metre walk respectively. Paya Lebar Centre, Singapore Sports Hub, the Central Business District as well as the future Kallang Riverside are all within a short five to 10 minutes’ drive from the site.

Nearer to the Paya Lebar end of Geylang is Tivoli Lodge, a freehold residential development in Lorong 31 which has entered sale via private treaty from Aug 14, 2020, said sole marketing agent ERA Realty Network. It was previously launched for sale by tender in March 2020 at a S$17.3 million reserve price which translates to an estimated S$795 psf ppr.

There will not be any additional development charge payable to the authorities due to the high development baseline for the land.

Tivoli Lodge is an 8-storey residential development comprising 14 three-bedroom units with 2 on each level. It has a site area of 675.4 square metres (7,270 square feet). It is zoned for Residential or Institution with a gross plot ratio of 2.8, under the URA’s Master Plan 2019.

Benjamin Poh, ERA Realty Network divisional director, said that Tivoli Lodge provides an opportunity for a boutique-sized project as the reserve price of S$17.3 million is considered a low price quantum and less risky for developers. Another alternative is that the site is also suitable as co-living space for investors who are keen to redevelop the land after the URA transformation.

“Potential buyers are small time developers,” said Mr Poh.

Geylang is undergoing a major revamp into a commercial environment, he noted. It is about a 10-minute drive to the Central Business District (CBD).

Tivoli Lodge is a 750-metre walk to Paya Lebar Quarter, a four-hectare mixed-development with retail, office and residential components.

In June, adjacent condominiums Wing Fong Mansions and Wing Fong Court in Lorong 14 were put up for tender, with an indicative land rate of S$1,280 psf ppr for the combined sites, marketing agent PropNex Realty told The Business Times, without disclosing the latest reserve prices.

In January this year, PropNex attempted to launch the two freehold properties in Geylang for collective sale, with the tenders originally set to close on May 18. However, the tenders were deferred due to the government’s restrictions on the number of attendees at gatherings amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was reported then that the reserve price for Wing Fong Mansions was S$176 million; Wing Fong Court’s reserve price was S$108 million.


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