The Assembly Place ventures into short stays and co-working

By Charlene Chin / EdgeProp Singapore | August 19, 2021 2:17 PM SGT
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SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - While co-living operator The Assembly Place (TAP) is signing more leases and securing more properties, it is also expanding into new business verticals — short stays and co-working. (See also: The Assembly Place bolsters co-living market share)
The company has signed four more buildings under 5+5 year management contracts, of which two are zoned for serviced apartment use. Unlike residential units which require a minimum stay of three months, serviced apartments only require a minimum stay of seven days, under URA guidelines.
The four buildings comprise a 171-bed co-living hostel at 25A Perak Road (formerly Footprints Hostel), and serviced apartments and residential units situated at 3 Tank Road, 18 Penhas Road and 272 East Coast Road.
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TAP has submitted a request for change of use of 18 Penhas Road from residential to serviced apartment use, shares Eugene Lim, founder and CEO of the co-living business.
“With this [alternative of a] seven-day stay in our properties, we will be able to provide more options to our tenants,” says Lim. “It is important for us to have that basket of inventory, because sometimes we do have tenants who want to have shorter stays under three months, but currently, with the assets that we have, we cannot provide that.”
TAP could potentially be targeting shortterm guests with this segment of its properties. Lim is confident that with the vaccination drive ongoing and borders slowly opening up, by Christmas, when all these projects will be ready, “we will open the door to welcome a lot of friends and family of our existing expat tenants who will come to visit them”.
With the addition of the four new buildings to its portfolio, TAP will have close to 550 rooms spread out across 16 locations. Out of the 550 rooms, 95% are under management contract, it says. The current rooms enjoy a strong occupancy of 98%.
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The Assembly Place - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
The five-foot way at the Jalan Besar property is decked out in specially selected tiles that pay homage to the enclave (Credit: The Assembly Place)

Tapping into co-working

Beyond just shorter stays, the business is also looking at offering co-working amenities to its members and the wider public. It is currently exploring deals to secure several commercial buildings, with the choice of co-working and co-living within the space. “We are going to launch our day pass programme [where our members can work from],” Lim says. He adds that “instead of a monthly basis, you could pay for a preferential day pass at $15, have a cup of coffee on the house, and work, with WiFi connection”. (See: Find Singapore commercial properties with our commercial directory)
In one of its upcoming properties, at 138-142 Jalan Besar, TAP will house its office space and a social cafe with co-working amenities on the ground floor, while the second and third floors will be for co-living purposes. It is also currently in talks with wellness providers, and is looking to rent out a part of its ground-floor space to a fitness centre or yoga studio.
Slated for launch in October, this row of conservation shophouses will house 20 rooms of sizes from 150 to 250 sq ft. Due to the nature of the shophouse configuration, some of the rooms will be larger than others and will enjoy the entire frontage of the shophouse windows. Each room will be selfsufficient, equipped with washer-cumdryers, and most of them will have their own attached bathroom.
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There will also be an outdoor roof terrace, with an open-air communal area for residents to mingle in.
18 Penhas Road - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
TAP has submitted a request for change of use of 18 Penhas Road from residential use to serviced apartment use (Credit: The Assembly Place)

Preserving culture and heritage

The Jalan Besar property will have an eclectic industrial theme, following the overall vibe of the neighbourhood. Studioshen, which has been engaged to work on the architectural and interior design for the shophouse, had to rejuvenate almost the entire facade, including engaging craftsmen from Malaysia to redo the conservation windows, says its founder, Austen Chan. These included “all the trimmings, restoring the mouldings on the columns and the original signage”, he says. Costs for renovation and restoration works have been estimated around $1.5 million.
The design of the shopfront is key, because it is “the life, as people are walking to and from the first storey all the time”, says Chan. “That is where we will use the shopfront to really capture the imagination of people coming by,” he adds. The five-foot way, for instance, is decked out in specially selected tiles that pay homage to the enclave.
Work is also currently underway for another conservation shophouse at 257 Outram Road, which is slated for launch by Christmas this year. The design of the property, which will host about 12 rooms, will lean towards a mid-century modern concept, shares Chen. Reminiscent of shophouses in the 1950s to 1970s, the property is characterised by industrial materials like steel windows and frames, the use of reinforced concrete, thin sunshade fins and air vents.
Room rates for TAP’s Jalan Besar and Outram Road properties will range from $2,200 to $2,500 per month.
Check out the latest listings near 142 Jalan Besar, 257 Outram Road

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