Published on Sep 4, 2011


A little touch of mystery

In a land-scarce country where urban renewal takes place at a breathless pace and buildings are torn down relentlessly to make way for new developments, lone, unoccupied buildings and houses are as rare as they come. Melissa Lin, Daryl Chin and Kon Xin Hua go in search of them

PLACE IN HISTORY: Designed in the 1930s, the house comprises a main unit and a smaller one. The main unit received conservation status in 2008. -- ST FILE PHOTO

Dwarfed by trees and condominiums that have sprung up over the years, the house at 25, Grange Road is barely noticeable from the main road.

For years, photography enthusiasts have been attracted to the Chee Guan Chiang House, so called because it was built by Mr Chee Guan Chiang, the eldest son of the first chairman of OCBC group.

It is now owned by investment firm Lee Tat Development.

Designed in the 1930s by well-known Singapore architect Ho Kwong Yew, it comprises a main house and a smaller house within the compound. It is not known how long they had not been occupied for. However, poor maintenance, vandalism and the passage of time have reportedly left the houses in a desolate state. An 'investigation' by the Singapore Paranormal Investigators further contributed to its mysterious aura. The main house was given conservation status by the Urban Redevelopment Authority in 2008.

When The Sunday Times did a check, construction work for a condominium was ongoing beside the houses, which could not be seen from the property's gated entrance. A red mailbox hung from the gate, alongside two signs warning against trespassers and illegal parking on the private property.

The Sunday Times reported in 2007 that the property could be seen only by residents from neighbouring condominiums who used it as a short cut to Orchard Road.

In 2008, Lee Tat won a legal battle to close off the access road that passes through their Grange Road property.

Lee Tat declined to comment on its future plans for the place.