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Hong Fok's Cheong family puts up Oxley Rise mansion for sale

A sprawling mansion at 5 Oxley Rise, where Jewish businessman Manasseh Meyer and real estate tycoon Cheong Eak Chong once resided has been put up for sale.

The hilltop, two-storey bungalow which sits on a 151,205 sq ft freehold site in prime district 9 is expected to attract offers in excess of $300 million, marketing agent CBRE said on Monday (April 18).

The property is owned by seven members of the same family, all sons of the late Mr Cheong, founder of listed developer Hong Fok Corporation and Tian Teck group, according to The Business Times.

BT listed the seven owners as Mr Cheong Hooi Hong, Mr Cheong Keng Hooi, Mr Cheong Kheng Lim, Mr Cheong Sim Lam, Mr Cheong Pin Chuan, Mr Cheong Kim Pong and Mr Cheong Pin Seng. Most of them are involved with either Singapore-listed Hong Fok Corp or Hong Kong-listed Tian Teck Land.

One of Singapore's oldest developers, Tian Teck group developed International Plaza in Anson Road, which recently relaunched its collective sale tender for $2.7 billion.

The mansion's last resident was matriarch Lim Ghee, who died in February 2020, according to BT.

The public tender will close on June 8 at 3pm.

Mr Michael Tay, head of Singapore capital markets at CBRE, said: "Plum landed sites in Singapore which are larger than 100,000 sq ft are typically tightly held and are rarely put up for sale, and as such, this asset class has been proven to be resilient through various market cycles. Given its prime location and superior physical attributes, we are expecting this trophy asset to attract offers in excess of $300 million."

The site, which consists of two land plots, offers a rare 360-degree panoramic view of the city and is zoned for residential (two-storey mixed landed) use. That means the site can be redeveloped to accommodate a single large mansion, a strata or a mixed-use landed development, or multiple good class bungalows (GCBs), subject to the authorities' approval.

"If sold at about $300 million, this will be a new record price for residential land in prime district 9," Mr Samuel Eyo, managing director of Lighthouse Property Consultants, said.

"Based on current zoning and demand for landed property, it will be a good idea to build cluster bungalows to maximise land use and profit," he said.

Some recent landed transactions in the vicinity include a Cluny Hill GCB, which transacted at $63.7 million, or a land rate of $4,291 per sq ft per plot ratio, in April 2021. Another GCB in Nassim Road was sold for $128.8 million in March 2021.

Mr Tay added: "If the existing mansion is conserved, we understand that the URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority) will consider gazetting the site into a good class bungalow area.

"With only 39 gazetted GCB areas in Singapore, this is an opportunity for developers to create a product within a brand new GCB area. For owner-occupiers, it is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to acquire sprawling land to build multiple GCBs to house multiple generations," he said.

List Sotheby's International Realty's analysis of data from the URA's Realis platform showed that there were 12 deals in GCB areas worth $322.54 million in the first quarter of 2022, 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.

List Sotheby's International Realty research director Han Huan Mei attributed the market slowdown to the latest round of property curbs, the Chinese New Year holiday lull and uncertainty caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

But Singapore's reputation as a safe haven for investors will still attract the ultra-high-net-worth foreign investors to park their funds here, she said.

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.

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