Chyau Fwu’s Vicky Hwang talks about Parkview Eclat and Parkview Square

By Michael Lim
/ The Edge Property |
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When Parkview Eclat on Grange Road was launched for sale in May 2007, it was positioned as one of the most exclusive condominiums in Singapore. There were only two units on each floor — a 2,896 sq ft, three-bedroom unit and a 3,251 sq ft, four-bedroom unit. Each unit came with an en suite 3.5m spa pool, a first then. Units were priced from $8.08 million, or an average of $3,000 psf.
Chyau Fwu has placed the three penthouses at Parkview Eclat up for sale
The three penthouses at the luxury 35-unit, 18-storey condo are now on the market. Two are five-bedroom duplexes of 5,900 sq ft each and their price tag is $26 million ($4,406 psf) each. The super penthouse, a five-bedroom duplex, is a sprawling 10,096 sq ft with a private pool and roof terrace, and priced at a whopping $45 million ($4,457 psf).
All Parkview Eclat units are fitted with Zucchetti bathroom accessories, Gaggenau and De Dietrich appliances and a Mirror TV integrated into a Bulthaup custom kitchen system. The units are also fitted with web-enabled Legrand intelligent lighting system. The development was designed by Jim Adams, who also designed ParkView Square, Chyau Fwu’s first development in Singapore.

The patriarch

The developer of Parkview Eclat is Chyau Fwu Group, founded by the late tycoon C S Hwang, who was originally from Taiwan before moving to Hong Kong. The Hong Kong-based company is most famous for its Hong Kong Parkview development, one of the largest housing estates in the Special Administrative Region. The project, completed in 1989, comprises 18 blocks with a total of 780 residential units and 200 serviced apartments, and is located in Tai Tam, a southern district on Hong Kong island. The extended Hwang family continues to live in several units in the development.
Chyau Fwu Group is now headed by Hwang’s eldest son, George Wong, and his three brothers, Victor, Tony and Richard, who collectively rank among the 50 richest in Hong Kong with a net worth of more than US$1 billion ($1.3 billion). Wong, chairman of Chyau Fwu, is famous for his art collection and reported to buy art pieces by famous European artists such as Oscar-Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Rene Magritte, Marc Chagall and Edgar Degas as well as American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein.

Global expansion

Over the decades, the group has expanded its footprint beyond Hong Kong to Singapore, China and Europe. In Beijing, there is Parkview Green, a two million sq ft, mixed-use development that includes office, hotel and retail components. The hotel is operated by the Hwang family under the Eclat brand. The project was completed in 2013. The Hwangs are also the developer of Parkview Deco, a large mixed-use development in Shanghai, which includes residential and commercial towers. The first phase contains half a dozen blocks of up to six storeys with a total built-up area of 410,000 sq ft. Upon completion next year, it will contain an international kindergarten, education centres, a medical complex and maternity centre, as well as two buildings dedicated to F&B.
Chyau Fwu Group incorporated Parkview International in 1993 when the family bought Battersea Power Station for £10.5 million. The Hwang family subsequently sold it to Real Estate Opportunities, an Irish real estate company, for £400 million in November 2006. The site was then put up for tender and sold to a Malaysian consortium led by S P Setia, Sime Darby and the Employees’ Provident Fund of Malaysia for £400 million in July 2012.
The group also owns properties in France, including 42-room hotel residence Le Beauvallon in St Tropez in the French Riviera. The hotel had undergone an estimated €25 million, five-year restoration and upgrading programme, and reopened earlier this year. The Le Beauvallon is available for rent from €80,000 ($121,200) a day in July and August, and from €70,000 a day the rest of the year.
The other property that the group owns in France is a development project for a 39-room luxury hotel, Château de Coligny, located just outside Paris. Restoration and development works for the luxury hotel has been put on hold in view of the weaker European economy.

Return to Singapore

Vicky Hwang, the second daughter of Victor (C S Hwang’s second son), had been in Europe overseeing the restoration and development of Château de Coligny, but relocated to Singapore in 2012 with her Belgian husband, Vincent Pieron. She is now managing director of Chyau Fwu Development in Singapore and Pieron is project director.
Vicky was chosen to head the business in Singapore
Vicky was chosen to head the business in Singapore
Vicky is the third of nine granddaughters and five grandsons of the late C S Hwang. She was chosen to head the business in the citystate, as the other family members in the business, including three uncles and her brother, were involved in the development projects in China, while her father oversees the business in Europe.
Besides the luxury condo Parkview Eclat, Chyau Fwu’s maiden development in Singapore was the 24-storey office tower Parkview Square. The Grade-A office building features ornate Art Deco architecture, a marbled lobby and an open courtyard surrounded by eight life-sized bronze statues. Eight fibre-glass statues crown the top of the tower and gargoyles decorate the exterior of the building.
It cost $88 million to build Parkview Square, and the design was the brainchild of C S Hwang, according to American architect James Adams. Not only was Adams involved in the design of Parkview Square, but he was also the architect of Parkview Eclat, also designed in Art Deco style. Adams is best known for his designs of Forum Casino at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, MGM Grand Casino in Detroit, and Galaxy Casino and Resort in Macau.
Vicky says Parkview Square “is very special to the family”, as it was the last project by her grandfather, who passed away in 2004.

Upgrading of Parkview Square

After 14 years, Parkview Square is due for an upgrade. The lobby of the tower, with its 15m-high ceiling, is the location of the famous Divine Wine Bar, with its 12m-high wine tower containing 3,000 bottles. To retrieve a customer’s order of wine, a staff dressed as an angel is harnessed to a pulley and lifted up the tower — an act that became a form of entertainment.
After 14 years, Parkview Square is due for a multimillion- dollar upgrade of its M&E and lobby areas
The office tower has column-free floor plates of more than 14,000 sq ft and is ranked a premier Grade-A office building in Raffles Place. Adjacent to the building is the upcoming DUO, a mixed-use development by M+S, a joint venture between Malaysia’s Khazanah Nasional and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings. DUO Tower, expected to be completed by year-end, will contain 600,000 sq ft of Grade-A office space.
Parkview Square will be upgraded to be on a par with the new Grade-A office tower coming up in the neighbourhood. The mechanical and electrical equipment, including the air-conditioning system and chillers, will be replaced. Other planned upgrading works in the pipeline include renovating the washrooms, installing new energy- and water-efficient appliances, as well as converting the office space on the third level into a museum. Given its ceiling height of 7m, the third level is ideal as a permanent gallery to showcase Wong’s art collection, says Vicky.
The result of the upgrading works will be an eco-friendly, sustainable building, she says, adding that the Hwangs have no intention of selling the building.
Even the Divine Wine Bar closed in early August to make way for a new F&B concept. Vicky says it will be transformed into the new “grand lobby and bar” with all-day dining at the lobby café and drinks in the evening.
Besides overseeing the upgrade of Parkview Square, Vicky will also be handling the marketing of the penthouses at Parkview Eclat. Continuing the family tradition of living within their own developments, Vicky, her husband and their two daughters live there as well.
Chyau Fwu continues to be interested in expanding its footprint in Singapore and Southeast Asia, says Vicky. “I’ve been put in charge of sniffing out opportunities and informing the family about them.”

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