Nassim Road Good Class Bungalow GCB, District 10 Singapore

Nassim Road is Singapore’s most exclusive and prestigious address. Singapore’s most expensive GCB is found here, when Wing Tai’s Cheung Wai Keung sold 33 Nassim Rd, with 84,544 sqft of land, at $230m ($2,720 psf) in 2019 to SG Casa, a trust reportedly owned by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin.

The previous price record was also along Nassim Road in 2018, when Tony Tung, Chairman of oil trading company Winson Group, purchased his Nassim Rd GCB for $108m.

The sales that followed were no slouch either – in 2021, Jin Xiao Qun, wife of Nanofilm Techologies’ founder Dr Shi Xu, purchased a 32,159 sqft GCB for $128.8m, setting a (then) psf record of $4,005. If you played Monopoly in the 2000s, you will recall that Nassim Road (and Queen Astrid Park) occupied the costliest blue slots and the transactions have shown that this is no exaggeration.

Nassim Road is a 2km stretch bounded by Cluny Road and Tanglin Road, striking the perfect balance between nature (Botanic Gardens) and lifestyle (Orchard Road). Nassim is of Arabian origin, meaning ‘breezy’, with many Muslim families in the Middle East supposedly adopting this name. It is speculated that Nassim Rd may have been named after connections with the Alsagoff family, a successful spice enterprise family of Yemeni roots, who owned land on Nassim Rd. This family were also involved in the Bukit Tunggal GCBA.

Nassim Road is also officially a conservation area designated by URA, alongside Chatsworth Park, Holland Park / Ridout Park, hence it is no surprise that you will find beautifully conserved houses such as the one at 2 Nassim Road, which is being tenanted to pan-Asia real estate manager SC Capital today.

Nassim Rd’s exclusive nature has meant that many foreign embassies call this home. This includes the embassies of Russia, Japan, Pakistan, Philippines and the iconic Eden Hall at 28 Nassim Rd, designed by R.A.J Bidwell and now home to the British High Commissioner.

The British government had sold 109,000 sqft of Eden Hall back in 2001 to billionaires Peter Kwee of Pontiac Land and Popiah King Sam Goi for just $50.4m ($462 psf) and since sold them on to Oei Siu Hoa, sister of Oei Hong Leong of the Widjaja family fame and Sincere Watch Chairman Tay Liam Wee. A further 33,300 sqft of Eden Hall was sold in 2016 following a public tender to OUE at $56.6m ($1,699 psf).

Besides the magnificent GCBs found in this estate, there are also a number of condos with the Nassim address, including the ultra luxurious Les Maisons Nassim, which has reached a record of $6,073 psf. This is still under construction and was the enbloc site of 14/14A Nassim Road, which was owned by the descendants of Tan Siang Kuang, a prominent Teochew businessman and the 1st Chairman of Overseas Union Bank. He and his family, Puay Hee (son) and Siak Kew (brother) have roads named after them in Macpherson, where my mum first lived after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in London. This low profile family was in the news in 2018, having sold their palatial 66,452sqft home at 14/14A Nassim Rd for a whopping $218m ($2,744psf) to Stanley Ho’s Shun Tak.

Nassim Jade, another condo within the prestigious enclave, was the subject of great national contention after Ong Beng Seng’s Hotel Properties Limited launch in 1996. The issue surrounded discounts which were purportedly offered to Lee Kuan Yew and his family, prompting an official statement by the then-Senior Minister here. His son, former Singtel CEO Lee Hsien Yang, also reportedly stays in a condo in the Nassim precinct today.

Among the rich and famous owners in this GCBA are the Prince of Brunei, Jefri Bolkiah, who owns the palatial 110,000 sqft house at 48 Nassim Rd. If it goes on sale, Arwaa Mansion, as it is known, will definitely smash the costliest house in Singapore. I fondly recall spotting this majestic mansion from the balcony of an apartment I was viewing along Stevens Road – absolutely amazing! Interestingly, I understand from friends that the empty field beside is now a popular spot for wedding photos!

There is also Hong Fok CEO Cheong Pin Chuan, who has listed his 40 Nassim Rd (58,784 sqft) house for sale in March 2022 with a guide price of $220m ($3,755 psf) and OUE Chairman Stephen Riady, who purchased his 33,300 sqft plot for $56.6m ($1,700 psf) in 2016. Both have significant real estate interests, owning and developing iconic buildings such as The Concourse, OUE Bayfront and Hilton Singapore Orchard amongst them.

If you are in the market with a similar budget of $225m, you can also opt for Peter Kwee’s Nassim Quattro, a 4-apartment site at 49 Nassim Road, occupying 45,000 sqft of land. Designed by Mercurio Design Lab, it has a long 85m private driveway to ensure maximum exclusivity with a private swimming pool for every unit. The firm has described much of its design on their website. The total cost of land acquisition? Likely less than $100m as the Kwees had landbanked it progressively since the 1980s, with the last piece of the puzzle completed in 2007 with a $70m acquisition of 49A-D Nassim Road.

Other prominent past & present owners / occupants in this estate (including its condos) include ST Telemedia CEO Stephen Miller, The Hour Glass Founder Dr Henry Tay, Indonesian billionaire Peter Sondakh of the Rajawali Group, Asia Reinsurance Broker CEO Richard Austen, serial property investor Kishore Buxani and REIT veteran Michael Dwyer.

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Garlick Avenue Good Class Bungalow GCB Review, District 10, Singapore

Garlick Avenue is located off Bukit Timah Road and can be accessed primarily from Old Holland Road or Sixth Avenue. Accordingly, it is very close to the 34ha site at Holland Plain (or commonly known as Old Holland Rd Field) which will yield some 2,500 new homes as part of the URA Masterplan.

This GCBA was named after Dr George Herbert Garlick, Medical Director of the Singapore Antituberculosis Association. Born in London to Dr George Garlick, he was educated at Epsom College and St Mary’s Hospital Medical School before qualifying as a doctor in 1912. He was a radiologist by training and Principal Medical Officer of the Johor State. He was accorded the Dato honorific by the Sultan of Johor for his contributions, which included setting up a nursing school, a hospital and extensive rural public health training. He served with the British Army during WWII as a radiologist and was a Prisoner of War at Changi before re-establishing the radiology department at today’s KK Hospital. He is buried at the Bidadari Garden Cemetery after he passed on in Switzerland in 1959.

Among the recent transactions in this GCBA was Singapore’s richest billionaire Goh Cheng Liang’s purchase of a palatial 101,550 sqft mansion from Thye Hong Biscuit Co for $93m in Sept 2020. After factoring in provisions for roads, this plot can be subdivided into up to 6 GCBs. Not that the Goh family needs that extra cash anyway. This is arguably the largest plot in this relatively small GCBA.

Other transactions include:
Jun 2021: $23.5m ($1427 psf) – 16,464 sqft
Apr 2021: $11.3m ($1225 psf) – 9,222 sqft
Sept 2020: $37.5m ($1660 psf) – 22,595 sqft
Jul 2020: $16.8m ($873 psf) – 19,248 sqft.

Prominent residents in this GCBA past and present are rumoured to also include Sustained Land’s Douglas Ong, a boutique developer who has been relatively active in the new launch market with 3 Cuscaden, Sky Everton, One Meyer and Coastline Residences among their launches. Others include Nelly Rolles, shareholder of Poh Tiong Choon Logistics and Swiss wine industrialist Emil Strickler.


Holland Park Good Class Bungalow GCB Review, District 10, Singapore

Holland Park is bounded by Holland Road and the GCB areas of Ridout Road and Pierce Road. It takes its name from Hugh Holland, an architect, amateur actor and early resident of the area.

This GCBA is closely tied with the billionaire Lien family, who derived their wealth from Overseas Union Bank, and continues to hold a 5% stake in UOB following their $10Bn merger in 2001. The sale included their hospitality assets held through OUE, including the landmark Mandarin Orchard Hotel built in 1971, the tallest hotel in SEA then. OUE was sold to Lippo’s Riady family in 2006. Today, the Lien family operate their private investments through their family office, Wah Hin & Co and are actively involved in philanthropy through the Lien Foundation, which was started in 1980 with half of Lien Ying Chow’s net worth. Talk about being ahead of his time!

At the mouth of Holland Park is the Lien Towers, a 12-storey building with just 24 identical units at 5,048 sqft each. The last transaction was in Jun 2021, at $8.4m ($1,657 psf) and still off its historical high of $1,882 psf in 2012.

Following Lien Ying Chow’s passing, their sprawling 100,000 sqft GCB was redeveloped into 6 GCBs (Lien Villas Collective) with 1 retaining the original grandeur of the home, with each being designed by different architects – K2LD’s Screen House, Ministry of Design’s Zig Zag House, Edmund Ng’s Raw House, Terre, PODesign’s 8 Box House & Zarch Collaboratives.

Eminent residents here are said to include the billionaire Song family of China’s Nanshan Group, former Rajah & Tann Senior Partner Chen Choong Joong and former Venture Ccorp Chief Technology Officer Thian Nie Khian.

Past transactions:
May’21 – $24.5m ($1699psf) – 14,416 sqft
Dec’16 – $25.5m ($1691psf) – 15,080 sqft
Nov’14 – $30m ($1991psf) – 15,071 sqft


Thiam Siew Avenue En Bloc – End Of An Era

Thiam Siew Avenue comprises of some 25 houses with a mix of semi-ds and bungalows, making up almost 265,000 sqft of land. It is a dual lane road connecting Tanjong Katong Road to Haig Road in prime District 15. The lane is surrounded by high rise condos such as Butterworth 8, Versilia on Haig and Questa @ Dunman among others. In late Nov 2021, this site was sold for $815m ($1,488 psf) to a Hoi Hup & Sunway JV, making this the largest enbloc land sale since the 2018 enbloc fever.

The redeveloped site can contain up to 800 units and is expected to cost around $2,500 psf, setting a new benchmark for the Haig Road / Tanjong Katong vicinity.

Named after property magnate and hotelier Wee Thiam Siew in 1940, this sale marks the end of an era for the low profile family, having held the houses for almost 80 years. They also used to own the surrounding plots including what is now Dunman View and Questa @ Dunman condos, having sold them a couple of decades ago.

Of note, Wee made his fortune as the former Chairman of Ban Leong & Co (which was in the business of cigars, cigarettes and tobacco) and the owner of the 7th Storey Hotel at Rochor and Lion City Hotel / Hollywood Theatre close by at Tanjong Katong. He was educated St Joseph’s Institution and Raffles Institution before working as telegraphist for the then Eastern Extension Telegraph Co at age 16.

Together with his brothers Wee Thiam Kee and Wee Thiam Leong, he helped to grow Ban Leong & Co’s tobacco empire before diversifying into real estate. He built the iconic 7th Storey Hotel at Rochor that was eventually acquired by the government for the Downtown Line construction.

Of the 25 houses, most were built during the early 1940s, as you can identify from their unique colonial inspired architecture that is becoming increasingly rare these days. Alas, these too will be gone in no time. These photos here are meant to encapsulate a soon to be bygone era when the new swanky towers come up.

[April 2022 Update] Enriched by the sale, Wee Thiam Siew’s descendants have gone on to purchase their own individual properties. This includes Wee Hian Nam’s purchase of a 27,909 sq ft Olive Road GCB at $50.2mil, smashing the GCBA’s record price.

Credits to Edgeprop & The Business Times