A Good Class Bungalow area that is as prestigious as the Nassim and Cluny area but rarely shows up on the radar is Tanglin Hill. It falls under the Ridley Park GCB area, just across the road from the Chatsworth and Rochalie Drive GCB estate.
Tanglin Hill is considered the land of the Kwek family of Hong Leong Group, not just because family members have homes there – including Kwek Leng Beng, the executive chairman of Singapore-listed property group City Developments Ltd and parent company Hong Leong Holdings – but also because they still own sizeable GCB plots in the area.
One such empty plot that is fenced up – with a sign warning against trespassing – measures about 145,000 sq ft. In 2006, it received development approval for eight GCBs to be built on the site, but it is still vacant.
Adjacent to it is another equally large plot, but with a series of derelict buildings. The plot belongs to the Brunei Consulate and used to house the High Commission of Brunei before it moved to its present location on Tanglin Road. It was also said to be the site of a hostel for students from Brunei that closed in the 1980s.
These big GCB plots are typically not on the market. However, those who want to get their hands on a Tanglin Hill address now have an opportunity to do so: a GCB located nearby is available for sale. Sitting on a land area of 16,446 sq ft, the house is a throwback to the 1980s.
The previous owner, a couple who are both retired doctors, lived there for a good part of 20 years. They had purchased the property in 1984. The existing house was originally built by Hong Leong. The couple had renovated the property before moving in.
With four children, the family outgrew the property, and they decided to move to a bigger GCB in Cluny Park. Since they had fond memories of the Tanglin Hill GCB, which was their first home, they decided to rent it out instead of selling it. For the past 10 years, it was tenanted to an expatriate family. When the lease expired six months ago, the owners decided that it was time to sell.
“The children have since grown up and now have their own homes,” says Steve Tay, senior associate vice president of List Sotheby’s International Realty (List SIR), the exclusive agent for the property. “Now that they are retired and the house is vacant, they feel that instead of continuing to maintain it, they would rather find the right buyer who will build a new family home.”
The GCB sits on a regular-shaped, freehold site elevated above street level. The new owner has the option to relocate the main entrance that will allow them to drive directly to a basement garage.
Building a double-storey GCB is likely to cost between $5 million and $6 million today, estimates Tay. The asking price for the GCB site at Tanglin Hill is $33.8 million ($2,055 psf).
He has already received an offer for $29 million for the house. However, the owner has turned down the offer.
“A site like this is rare,” says Tay. “It is sitting next to a protected green zone, very near to Botanic Gardens as well as just a short drive to Orchard Road and Dempsey Hill.”
Based on caveats lodged, the last GCB that changed hands in Tanglin Hill was three years ago. It was for a property located just one street away: a freehold site of 17,728 sq ft, which fetched $27.5 million ($1,551 psf) in March 2016, according to URA Realis in the same month. Construction is currently underway on the site, where a new GCB is being built.
“The prestigious address is likely to appeal to the new Singapore citizens,” says Tay. “The environment is as exclusive as the Nassim or Cluny areas.”
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