ACT doubles down in the US

/ The Edge Property
September 23, 2016 10:30 AM SGT
In James Toh’s office on the attic level of a conserved shophouse on Mosque Street in Chinatown sits a fish tank for a coffee table. It was installed several years ago. “I don’t have a view from my office,” explains Toh, managing director of ACT Holdings. “So, I thought I should introduce some indoor live greenery and fish.”
When Toh purchased the goldfish several years ago, they were only the size of his thumb. “Now, they’ve grown so much that even the aquarium maintenance guy is surprised that they can grow so well in a fish tank of this size,” he says.
The rate of growth of the fish rivals that of his property portfolio. Over the past two decades, ACT has developed 25 residential projects in Singapore, many of which are conventional landed and strata landed housing projects in both the prime districts and the suburbs. These include several waterfront bungalows at Sentosa Cove and a row of terraces called Villas at Sentosa Cove; Ventura Heights, a strata housing project with eight bungalows and 32 semi-detached houses at Astrid Hill; One Mount Rosie, a strata landed development with 12 units; and the 59-unit strata landed project Watten Residences.
ACT’s last major site acquisition was the former Singapore Crocodile Farm at 1 Surin Avenue/ 709 Upper Serangoon Road. ACT, along with its partners Nobel Design Holdings and Pinnacle Assets Group, purchased the two adjoining sites with a combined site area of 42,851 sq ft for $37.5 million, according to a caveat lodged in September 2012.
Relaunch of One Surin
The site has since been redeveloped into One Surin, a strata landed housing project with 27 units. The freehold project is scheduled to be completed by year-end, and ACT Holdings intends to relaunch the project then. “Home buyers will be able to appreciate the project better when it’s completed,” says Toh.
This was evident when another strata landed housing project by ACT Holdings was completed in March this year. Only seven strata terraced units in the project, called Charlton 27, remain unsold. Most of the units were sold when the project was launched in May 2013, just a month before the introduction of the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) loan framework at end-June that year, which caused home sales across the island to wither.
Sales picked up after the completion of Charlton 27. Three units with built-up areas of...