Commercial site in Little India back on market, at 22% lower asking price

SINGAPORE – A cluster of commercial properties in the Tekka/Race Course enclave of Little India are back on the market, but at 22 per cent below the asking price compared with their first foray in February 2019.

Property advisory firm Showsuite Consultancy placed the guide price for the 25,865 sq ft Little India commercial site, which includes a two-storey conservation bungalow once owned by businessman Tan Teng Niah, at $55 million.

This is lower than the $70.6 million cited two years ago when the properties were first put up for sale.

But even at this price, Showsuite said, the assets offer an attractive entry yield of 3.4 per year, especially given current low interest rates.

Located about 100m from Little India MRT station, the portfolio comprises four independent commercial properties and the land that connects them. The buildings have a combined gross floor area of about 16,800 sq ft, with the bulk of it comprising valuable ground-level retail space.

It includes a single-storey retail building at 672 Chander Road accommodating 14 shops, with an open courtyard and sheltered dining areas. Facing Kerbau Road is a pair of adjoining two-storey conservation shophouses and the iconic two-storey heritage bungalow once owned by Mr Tan at 37 Kerbau Road. Fronting Buffalo Road is a pair of single-storey shops.

The area is predominantly zoned Commercial in the 2019 Master Plan, with a section of the courtyard to be retained as Open Space.

The portfolio has a leasehold tenure of 69 years.

The eight-room Tan Teng Niah bungalow, originally built in the 1900s, is a landmark listed in the National Heritage Board’s Little India Heritage Trail, and was earmarked for conservation in the 1980s. The late Mr Tan was a Chinese businessman who owned several confectionery factories in Serangoon Road and a rubber smoke-house in Kerbau Road.

Mr Karamjit Singh, chief executive of Showsuite, said apart from its history, the heritage house has a very rich and charming facade. “A hybrid of Southern Chinese and European architectural influences, the two-storey bungalow is located at the centre of the site and is a popular tourist and school expedition pit stop due to its Instagram-worthy colours.”

The portfolio is almost fully leased to restaurants, eateries, grocers and mobile service centres, in addition to other trades and services, and has been enjoying high occupancy for years.

“To our knowledge, this property could be one of the largest plots of privately held commercial land located in Little India” Mr Singh added.

“As the shop and buildings are not strata-titled, the entire portfolio is to be sold in its entirety, which presents the scale and an opportunity to generate further awareness, footfall and income.”

Meanwhile, a residential site in Northumberland Road – about 400m from the cluster of Tekka properties – was earlier put up for sale through the Government Land Sales programme. The site, located in Race Course Road, can potentially accommodate more than 400 new apartments, thereby introducing a higher live-in population to the Little India area and enhancing its vibrancy.

The tender for the site is scheduled to close on April 27.

The Expression of Interest exercise for the cluster of Tekka properties is scheduled to close at 2.30pm on May 5. Interested parties can contact Mr Singh on 9681-0111.

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