EL Devt's Lim family buys 2 GCBs for S$46.6m

Price works out to S$1,202 psf for old bungalow in Chancery Lane and S$1,350 psf for Ewart Park property

SEP 15, 2017

SOME members of the Lim family that controls construction group Evan Lim & Co and property developer EL Development have bought two Good Class Bungalows, one in Chancery Lane and the other in Ewart Park.

Options to buy the freehold bungalows, at S$26.06 million and S$20.5 million respectively, are understood to have been exercised, though no caveats have been lodged by the respective buyers, who probably wish to keep a low profile on the transaction.

The Lim family members currently reside in smaller landed homes (outside GCB Areas) and condominiums. Word in the market is that they had been looking for bungalows in GCB Areas to live in.

BT understands, though, that the family has yet to decide whether the two properties would be for their own occupation or for reselling later.

On the Chancery Lane site is a two-storey bungalow that is more than 30 years old and ripe for redevelopment. The price that the Lims have paid reflects S$1,202 per square foot on the land area of 21,684 square feet - not too far off the S$1,227 psf fetched in April for the next-door property that was sold by renowned Singapore-born pianist Seow Yit Kin.

The Lims could touch up the Ewart Park bungalow, which was completed in 2006. The price they paid translates to nearly S$1,350 psf on the land area of around 15,200 sq ft. Designed by Guz Architects, the villa spans two storeys and a basement. It has five en suite bedrooms and a pool as well as an open courtyard, garden landscaping and water features that create a resort feel.

Evan Lim & Co was set up by its eponymous founder in 1963 as a general building contractor. When his youngest son, Yew Soon, joined the business in 2005, he helped the group to diversify into property development. Thus, EL Development was set up in 2007, initially as a fully-owned subsidiary of Evan Lim & Co but later spun off as an independent company to help it build up its brand and reputation as a property developer.

EL Development's maiden project was the 32-unit Rhapsody on Mount Elizabeth completed in 2010. Other residential projects that it has completed include Parc Centennial along Kampong Java Road, Stevens Suites along Stevens Close and La Fiesta in Sengkang. Currently, it is developing the 660-unit Symphony Suites in Yishun, which is slated for completion in 2019, and the 752-unit Parc Riviera in West Coast Vale, expected to be completed in 2020.

The group has also developed industrial projects such as Nordix in Woodlands, Eldix in Mandai and Jurong Food Hub.

The annual combined turnover of Evan Lim & Co and EL Development in the past five years has been around S$300 million. Mr Lim Yew Soon is the managing director of EL Development, while his elder brother, Yew Chee, runs Evan Lim & Co.

Inclusive of the two bungalows bought recently by the Lims, the preliminary tally so far this year for transactions in GCB Areas stands at around S$600 million. For the whole of last year, the figure was S$789 million.

Bungalows in GCB Areas are the most prestigious form of landed housing in Singapore, with strict planning conditions to preserve their exclusivity and low-rise character.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority has designated 39 GCB Areas. Only Singapore citizens are allowed to buy landed residential properties within these areas under a policy change that took effect in the second half of 2012.