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Bulk sale of 19 Thomson Plaza-linked townhouses for $158 mil

SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Tucked away behind Thomson Plaza is a townhouse development called Marigold Mews. It is on Marigold Drive, accessible via Soo Chow Garden Road off Upper Thomson Road. What is little known is that these 20 double-storey townhouses are linked to the Thomson Plaza shopping mall, and are part of the mixed-use development.


Location of the strata townhouses linked to Thomson Plaza, Marigold Mews at Marigold Drive (Source: EdgeProp Singapore)

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Owners of 19 townhouses at Marigold Mews banded together to launch a bulk sale on July 13 at a price tag of $158 million. The sale is conducted via an expression of interest exercise by sole marketing agent Sammi Lim, founder and executive director of Brilliance Capital.

The only indication that the residential development is linked to Thomson Plaza are the beams running across the two rows of townhouses. “These are very solid, supporting beams and they are linked to the edge of Thomson Plaza,” points out Tim Kow, one of the owners of the townhouses who are participating in the bulk sale.


The beams running across the townhouses at Marigold Mews connect them to Thomson Plaza. They were both built in 1979  (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

Marigold Mews was completed in 1979, with a 99-year lease from 1976. Hence, the property has 53 years left on its lease.

Thomson Plaza shopping mall was built and completed at the same time as Marigold Mews in 1979 by CapitaLand (former DBS Land). The three-storey shopping mall comes with a total gross floor area (GFA) of 467,298 sq ft and has 180 shops, including restaurants, cafes, supermarkets and enrichment centres. Anchor tenants include FairPrice Finest, Daiso Japan, DBS Bank, Koufu and Yamaha Music School. Established F&B operators that have been there for many years include Peach Garden Chinese Restaurant, Sushi Tei, Swensen’s, KFC and Pizza Hut.

Mercatus Co-operative acquired the strata ownership of the property in July 2016 from NTUC Fairprice Co-operative, which had in turn purchased 100% interest in Thomson Plaza Pte Ltd from CapitaLand in 2011 for $103,093. Hence, Mercatus owns 110,000 sq ft of retail space in Thomson Plaza (specifically Swing By @ Thomson Plaza), which translates to about 50% of the net lettable area within the mall. Last month, Mercatus announced that it is conducting a “strategic review” of some of the real estate investments within its portfolio, including AMK Hub, Jurong Point, Nex and Swing By @ Thomson Plaza.


Thomson Plaza is linked directly to the Upper Thomson MRT station on the Thomson East Coast Line (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

The 19 townhouses occupy a total strata area of 60,805 sq ft, which translates to 25.29% of Thomson Plaza’s total strata area, says Brilliance Capital’s Lim. Collectively, they are a major stakeholder in the Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST) by strata area, she adds.

Each townhouse has a strata area ranging from 2,411 to 4,133 sq ft. Based on the asking price of $158 million for the bulk sale, the owners could walk away with $6.2 million to $10.7 million apiece, estimates Lim.

The strata townhouses have three bedrooms on the upper floor and one bedroom on the first floor, says Kow, who has been living at Marigold Mews since 1996. Over the years, some residents have renovated their units and added more rooms to accommodate their growing families. Kow’s home, for instance, has five bedrooms today. “My three children grew up here,” he says. “Because of the size of these houses and the location, it’s attractive to families with children.”


Kow: While most of the owners of Marigold Mews are happy to stay on at their existing property, a pressing concern is the shortening lease (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

A bonus is the Upper Thomson MRT Station on the Thomson-East Coast Line which opened last August. “In the future, we can just wear our flip-flops, shorts and t-shirt and bring a towel, then take the MRT train all the way to the Katong Station, and walk across to the beach at East Coast Park,” he says.

Many of the residents at Marigold Mews have lived there for many years. In fact, based on URA data, the last transaction was in 2018, when one of the townhouses with a strata area of 2,960 sq ft changed hands for $1.77 million ($598 psf).

That was four years ago. “It’s hard to do a proper valuation because nobody is selling,” says Jenny Yin, who moved to Marigold Mews from Serangoon Gardens 15 years ago. Her home has become a showpiece for Marigold Mews as it is filled with her collection of artefacts and antiques.


The living room of one of the townhouses, owned by Jennifer Yin, a collector of antiques and artefacts (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

While most of the owners of Marigold Mews are happy to stay on at their existing property, a pressing concern is the shortening lease, concedes Kow. “Once the lease crosses 50 years, we really have to think of the future,” he says.

Any collective sale hopes are linked to the fate of Thomson Plaza. Under the URA Master Plan 2019, the Thomson Plaza site is zoned for full commercial use with a gross plot ratio of 3.0. The future commercial development could include a hotel. The mall has a direct link to the Upper Thomson MRT Station. (Find Singapore commercial properties with our commercial directory)

If Mercatus were to divest Swing By @ Thomson Plaza, the future buyer could control more than 80% of the total strata area at Thomson Plaza when combined with the residential units at Marigold Mews, Lim points out. “It will be a great value-add to the buyer, and a strategic step in any collective sale which may happen in the future.”


Lim: The townhouses at Marigold Mews will be a great value-add to a buyer of Mercatus’ stake in Thomson Plaza should the latter seek to divest the asset (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

Until then, a bulk buyer of the units at Marigold Mews could rent out the townhouses given the healthy rental demand, or repurpose the property for use as serviced residences or for co-living, notes Lim. The expression of interest exercise will close on Aug 18.

Check out the latest listings near Marigold Drive, Thomson Plaza, Upper Thomson Road, Upper Thomson MRT Station

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