In a report released on April 2, the ministerial committee on 38 Oxley Road — the home of late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew — has laid out three options for the property, ranging from preservation to demolition and redevelopment (see table).
Source: Report of the Ministerial Committee on 38 Oxley Road
“We did not make any recommendation because no decision is required at this point in time,” says Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who chaired the committee. Lee’s daughter, Dr Lee Wei Ling, lives in the house and has said that she intends to continue to do so. Therefore, the fate of the house will have to be decided by a future government, adds Teo.
The property has a rich history, as it was Lee’s home from the mid-1940s until his death in 2015. It was also where the People’s Action Party was formed in 1954 and where meetings took place that led to the formation of the first independent government of Singapore.
Based on archival plans dated 1898, the house is one of a pair of identical bungalows built at 38 and 40 Oxley Road, says the report. The building design is of an “early style” bungalow built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The house at 38 Oxley Road is of an ‘early style’ bungalow built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries
The options listed by the ministerial committee include the demolition and redevelopment of the property. If this happens, the site could be redeveloped into either a pair of bungalows, a pair of semi-detached houses or three to four terraced units, says the report.
Under this option, the area surrounding the property, which is currently zoned as a two-storey mixed Landed Housing Area, could be rezoned to Residential use at a gross plot ratio of 1.4, which can allow for five-storey residential developments. “With this change, the site at 38 Oxley Road will be able to yield 16 flat units,” says the report.
The area surrounding 38 Oxley Road (marked in blue) could be rezoned to a gross plot ratio of 1.4
Source: URA, Report of the Ministerial Committee on 38 Oxley Road
The original bungalow at 40 Oxley Road was redeveloped in 2006 into a two-storey detached house (No 40) on a 5,048 sq ft site and a pair of two-storey semi-detached houses (Nos 42 and 44) with 3,191 sq ft and 3,182 sq ft of land respectively.
On the other side of 38 Oxley Road are three strata-landed houses (36, 36A and 36B Oxley Road). The most recent transaction for a house on Oxley Road was in December 2009, when No 36, which has a strata area of 10,990 sq ft, changed hands for $6.88 million ($626 psf).
The original bungalow at 40 Oxley Road was redeveloped in 2006 into a detached house and a pair of semi-detached houses
Across the road from 38 Oxley Road is Oxley Neo Residences, developed in 2010 by Medway Investments, a family property investment company headed by a 75-year-old stockbroker, who asked to be known as “Neo”. The property sits on a freehold land area of about 38,000 sq ft and comprises six bungalows and a pair of semi-detached houses.
Oxley Neo Residences (left) and 38 Oxley Road
The site was previously occupied by a pair of colonial bungalows, which Medway Investments purchased for $3.9 million in 1989. The original bungalows were demolished and redeveloped because they had a lot of cracks and were considered structurally unsound.
The houses have a carpark on the lowest level, a living area and six bedrooms spread across the next two levels, and an attic. They are effectively four-storey houses, says Neo, as the carpark is on ground level in lieu of a basement. They do not have windows on the façade facing 38 Oxley Road, owing to the need for Lee’s security. Neo’s family occupies two of the houses and the others are rented out at “around $20,000 a month”.
The site of Oxley Neo Residences is one of the biggest landed housing plots on Oxley Road. Neo is therefore considering an en bloc sale, “provided the price is good”.