July 14, 2007

Owners of Claymore bungalow plots sitting on potential goldmine

The three plots could fetch $400m if they are sold, say property consultants

By Joyce Teo, Property Correspondent

THREE adjacent homes - one of them unoccupied - could fetch a staggering $400 million if they all went on sale.

But these are anything but ordinary homes. They are the last three bungalow plots at a prime location smack in the heart of the Orchard Road district.

The spotlight has swung to the three bungalows - surrounded by condominiums and malls - after one of them, at 11 Claymore Road, was put up for sale at $115million amid a booming property market.

Assuming all three plots were sold at that level - although the indications are that at least one is not up for sale - they could fetch almost $400 million and be redeveloped into a luxury condominium, consultants said.

On Monday, Credo Real Estate put 11 Claymore Road up for sale at $2,815 per sq ft of potential gross floor area, inclusive of a development charge of $26.67 million. It is currently rented to Pat's Schoolhouse childcare centre.

A British pre-school chain, Modern Montessori International Group, leases one of the other bungalows at 15 Claymore Road.

The third bungalow, at 9 Claymore Road, is believed to be vacant, though recently renovation work has been started on it.

It is the biggest of the three plots and could fetch $151.5 million, if there is a buyer at the asking price of its neighbouring plot.

Next to 15 Claymore Road is The Tate Residences, which is being developed. One of the condominiums at the rear, The Ardmore, was recently acquired for $262 million or a record $2,338 psf of potential gross floor area.

The owners of two of the bungalow plots declined to comment, while the owner of the third plot was not contactable.

According to a search done by The Straits Times, the freehold plots are all registered under Chinese names, two of which are believed to be family-owned businesses. The other is an individual.

Kok Kim Chuan Co owns 11, Claymore Road. A company search showed that it was registered in 1970. Then, it was described as being a real estate agent. It also handled the retail sale of motor vehicles except motorcycles, and was into chartered bus and excursion bus services.

Mr Karamjit Singh, the managing director of Credo Real Estate, which is handling the sale of 11 Claymore Road, said the Kok family did not wish to comment.

The founder of Pat's Schoolhouse, Mrs Patricia Koh, said the childcare centre has been leasing the Claymore Road property for the past six to seven years. Prior to that, it was used as a family residence.

At the start of the lease, she dealt with the late Mr Kok Kim Chuan and now deals with his son.

Teo Soo Chuan Realty, registered in July 1985 as a holding company, owns 15 Claymore Road. It is believed to be a family business of Mr Teo Soo Chuan, who did not wish to comment.

When asked, Mr Singh said the owners of 15 Claymore Road said they have no intention of selling.

Mr Teo is a director of Ngee Ann Development, Singapore Clan Foundation and The Singapore Sugar Traders Association, among others.

He once held directorships at a host of companies and organisations, including Singapura Finance from 1981 to 2002.

From 1965 to 1988, he had been the managing director of See Hoy Chan Singapore, founded by his father. He became a director when the company became See Hoy Chan (1988), a rice-trader.

Modern Montessori International is believed to have occupied 15 Claymore Road for nearly six years. Another childcare centre occupied the site previously.

The third plot - 9 Claymore Road - is owned by a Singaporean, Mr Tan Kheng Chuan. He was appointed a manager and existing owner of the since-deregistered Hiap Ann Sago Factory in August 1940, and then a manager and owner of Hiap Ann in 1946.

A childcare teacher at Pat's Schoolhouse said the 9 Claymore Road property is vacant, though someone pops by once in a while to collect the mail.

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