Published March 16, 2006

Binjai bungalow on the block


ANOTHER property owned by the former boss of troubled electronic waste recycler Citiraya has been put up for auction.

Investors who missed out on Ng Teck Lee's bungalow at Paya Lebar Crescent when it was auctioned last month can now bid for his Good Class Bungalow (GCB) at 49A Binjai Park.

The freehold property is being sold by a mortgagee bank, said to be HSBC. Sources put the likely price at $13 million - $376 per sq ft of land area.

Mr Ng left Singapore as Citiraya was hit by a scandal involving millions of dollars of bribes and a scam to re-sell obsolete electronics equipment that was meant to be destroyed. His whereabouts are unknown.

He is understood to have bought the Binjai Park property in July 2004 for $9 million but never lived in it. The property, about 10 years old, is being sold at an auction conducted by Colliers International on Wednesday, March 29, at Amara Hotel at 2.30 pm.

The two-storey house with basement has eight bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, an entertainment room, a games room, two maids' rooms, a garage and a swimming pool.

Mr Ng's two-storey freehold bungalow at 97 Paya Lebar Crescent was sold to the owner of a neighbouring property at a Knight Frank auction on Feb 28 for $3.08 million. The final transacted price, reached after 38 bids, was higher than the mortgagee bank - reportedly United Overseas Bank - expected, according to an earlier BT report.

Meanwhile, sources have told BT that boutique developer BS Capital yesterday picked up a 92,664 sq ft freehold vacant industrial site at 8 Tagore Drive for $14.88 million at a Colliers auction yesterday. It was the sole bid at the auction. The price works out to a land cost of $80 psf of potential gross floor area. The property has a 2.0 plot ratio - the ratio of potential gross floor area to land area - and is zoned for 'Business 1' use. The seller was mortgagee bank OCBC, BT understands. Colliers auctioneer Grace Ng declined to confirm the identity of the buyer when contacted.

Analysts estimate breakeven for a new light industrial or warehouse project on the site at about $230 psf of net lettable area. This will be BS Capital's first industrial project.

Its earlier projects are mostly residential. In 2003 it bought a 276,112 sq ft GCB site at Bishopsgate for $69.8 million from HSBC and subdivided it into 16 lots, which it has since sold. In 2004, BS Capital bagged the Falcon Crest site in the prime Draycott area through an enbloc sale. It is redeveloping the site into a luxury apartment block, The Arc at Draycott, which is now being marketed. Last year, BS Capital bought HMC Building in Mistri Road off Shenton Way, which it plans to redevelop into a 43-storey apartment project.

BS Capital's major shareholders include former Citiraya director and co-founder Raymond Ng Ah Hua - brother of Ng Teck Lee. Raymond left Citiraya in March 2004, several months before the company came under investigation by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau and the Commercial Affairs Department.