[UPDATE] As East Village comes into its own, strata owners offer bulk sale of units for $83 mil

/ EdgeProp Singapore |
Completed in 2014, East Village is a four-storey, mixed-use development with 108 shops on the first level and 90 apartments on the three upper floors (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
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SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - In the eight years since it opened in 2014, East Village, a mall bounded by Upper Changi Road and Bedok Road, has undergone many changes. A freehold, mixed-use development, the project has 108 strata-titled shops on the first level, with 90 apartments on the three upper floors. The mall has a big catchment, given that Bedok is the largest planning area in Singapore, with a population of 276,990, according to the Department of Statistics. The mall is also an attraction for those further afield — from Tampines, Pasir Ris and Changi.
“It’s a convenient location for those of us living in the east,” says Rahayu Mohd, a resident of Pasir Ris, who likes to visit East Village with her family on weekends. Their main intention is to buy a wide range of desserts and snacks — from churros to cookies, cakes and the tradition- al Malay dessert putu piring — from the shops in East Village. “While waiting for our snacks to be packed and ready — as there is usually a queue — we will browse around the boutiques and shops,” she adds. “And a lot of times, we go home with more than just snacks.”
Local celebrity couple Syarif Sleeq and Malaque Mahlady, opened churros shop Chulop! at East Village seven years ago (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The churros shop Chulop! at East Village was founded by local celebrity couple Syarif Sleeq and Malaque Mahlady, and opened in 2015. The couple launched a new concept bakery, Boms & Buns, just a few doors away from Chulop! in April 2020.
Other F&B outlets that have been there since 2014 include J&C Bakery and Kookie Krumbz. Riz Cakes and Haig Road Putu Piring Café both entered East Village in 2018.
Boms & Buns, which opened a few doors from Chulop! is also owned by the same group (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

Budding entrepreneurs

During the Covid pandemic over the past two years, budding F&B entrepreneurs saw the opportunity to establish their foothold at East Village. One such entrepreneur is Abigail Chia, founder of Café Cartisan Specialty Coffee, who had spent 12 years in Melbourne before moving back to Singapore. The first unit she took up in April 2020 was situated along one of the inner corridors. She now uses it as a storage space and as her concept shop. Last June, Chia took up a second unit of 215 sq ft more prominently located near the main entrance of the mall for Café Cartisan.
Besides specialty coffee and handcrafted cold brew, Café Cartisan features cakes such as its signature strawberry cream shortcake, red velvet salted caramel and 24K chocolate brownie. “I’d like to think that we are a pioneer in bringing the trendy crowd here,” she says.
Abigail Chia, founder of Café Cartisan Specialty Coffee, in front of her 215 sq ft outlet that opened in June last year. Her previous unit at East Village is now used as her store and concept shop (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Another F&B entrepreneur that set up shop at East Village two years ago is Sharin A Iskandar Shah, the owner and founder of Barista in Boots. “I always wanted to open a coffee place,” she says. “And so I did.” Shah, who has been in the F&B business since 2006, started with Star- bucks and then worked at a Mexican restaurant and bar. Her last job was with a social enterprise for ex-offenders, and it was there that she learnt how to set up F&B outlets.
Barista in Boots is her first solo venture, and was set up as a social enterprise for underprivileged women. Prior to Covid, she had operated a mobile cart serving specialty coffee at events. Since then, her menu has expanded to include tacos, sliders and shakes. “I want to raise awareness of specialty coffee among the Malay community,” she says.
Shahrina A Iskandar Shah - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Shahrina A Iskandar Shah, founder and owner of Barista in Boots, who wants to raise awareness of specialty coffee among the Malay community (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Another new addition to East Village last year is Tree Galeri, a boutique gallery opened by artist and designer Razak with his brother. The boutique carries art pieces by Razak, and T-shirt design services. “My brother and I decided it was time to do something on our own instead of just working for people,” says Razak. “We started this business because we felt that we are at an age where we want to slow down.”
They selected East Village to set up Tree Galeri because of the mall’s laidback vibe. “It’s a little quieter compared to most malls along busy thoroughfares which tend to be quite noisy,” says Razak. “And we like the environment here be- cause it is surrounded by a private housing estate.”
Artist and designer Razak, at his Tree Galeri store, which he setup with his brother last year (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

‘An F&B hub’

Indeed, East Village has morphed into “an F&B hub”, says K Tung, one of the residents of the private landed housing estate located just across the road. She frequents Putu Piring Café and Eng’s Wanton Mee and Claypot Rice. “I used to go to the Cold Storage there, before it closed,” she says.
When East Village first opened, it was anchored by Cold Storage supermarket, which took up three strata-titled retail units totalling 6,985 sq ft. The supermarket closed in August2021, and was succeeded by Eccellente by Hao Mart, the premium brand of local supermarket chain Hao Mart.
Excellente by Hao mart, the supermarket that replaced Cold Storage, and occupies three units with a total strata area of 6,985 sq ft (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The strata-titled mall has stabilised, and it is running at almost full occupancy, says Sammi Lim, founder and executive director of Brilliance Capital. “East Village has developed into a mall that supports local start-ups catering to the community,” she says. “The relaxed ambience of East Village is akin to Changi Village but in an air-conditioned setting.”
When the shop units at East Village were first launched for sale in April 2012, many of them were snapped up at an average price of $5,002 psf, based on caveats lodged with URA Realis. Many of the buyers were investors who had switched from the residential sector, following a series of property cooling measures in 2011 such as the imposition of additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) and seller’s stamp duty (SSD). Prices of strata shop units at East Village crossed $6,000 psf, hitting a high of $6,615 psf in May 2013. This was for the sub-sale of a 108 sq ft unit that changed hands for $712,000. The previous owner had purchased the unit just one year earlier in April 2012 for $546,811 or $5,008 psf, according to a caveat lodged.
Source: EdgeProp Inspector

Recent transactions

Last year, seven units changed hands at East Village. Four of the seven units were scooped up by BKW Automobile, a new and used car dealer that is also in the car rental business.
The purchase price for the four units, which have a total strata area of 936 sq ft, amounted to $2.624 million or an average of $2,802 psf, according to caveats lodged last July. BKW Automobile occupies one of the four units, the 215 sq ft unit at #01-40.
Maqayla boutique occupies two adjacent units and has been a tenant there for the past seven years (Photo: EdgeProp Singapore)
The other three units purchased by BKW Automobile are currently tenanted. Two adjoining units are tenanted to Maqayla, a boutique that has been at East Village for seven years. The third unit is located directly opposite Maqayla boutique and is tenanted to Manzil Group, an interior design and renovation company. All three units face the entrance to the Eccellente supermarket.
The latest transaction at East Village was in December, when a 151 sq ft, corner unit changed hands for $515,000 ($3,417 psf). The unit was last purchased in 2012 for $745,945 ($4,950 psf), according to a caveat lodged then. The unit is currently occupied by D’Maid Agency by Syed Ali.
Liho Tea is next to the main entrance to East Village mall. There are two other entrances to the mall on either end (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
At East Village, there are three entrances into the mall from the open-air public carpark in front of the mall. Besides the public carpark, the development provides basement parking for the mall and the apartment units above. Of the 108 units in the mall, 39 are zoned for full F&B use, and the rest for retail, although they can also be used for food kiosks for takeout or delivery.
There are 12 F&B units facing the public carpark, and the two largest units of 1,313 sq ft are situated here. These 12 units have another advantage: they have their own dedicated entrances, which means they are not restricted by the opening hours of the mall. “They have greater flexibility in their opening hours,” says Lim.
The F&B units fronting the carpark have their own dedicated entrances and have the flexibility in terms of opening hours (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

Bulk sale

The owners of 14 strata-titled F&B units and the three units occupied by the supermarket have banded together and appointed Lim to sell their units collectively. While the supermarket unit belongs to World Class Land — the developer of East Village — the other 14 F&B units belong to individual investors, including family members of the Koh family of Aspial Corp, for in- stance, executive director Koh Lee Hwee, who owns two of the units, according to a property title search. Another two units belong to her sister Ko Lee Meng, who is deputy chairman and CEO of Global Premium Hotels, the hotel arm of property business Fragrance Group con- trolled by elder brother, James Koh.
Besides the supermarket space, the other 14 units for sale are also considered prime units as they are zoned for F&B use, and either have entrances facing the public carpark or are located prominently near the main entrance, says Lim. The units are fully leased, with F&B tenants such as Ikura Japanese Restaurant, Hong Kong Street Family Restaurant and Indian Tandoor North Indian Restaurant.
The F&B units that are for sale include the prime units fronting the public carpark. They include tenants like Ikura Japanese Restaurant (pictured), Hong Kong Street Family Restaurant and Indian Tandoor North Indian Restaurant (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The 17 units have a combined strata area of 17,997 sq ft. They represent 36% of the total strata area of the entire mall and 33% of the share value of the entire development (including the apartments above). “They will offer the buyer a controlling stake in the development,” adds Lim. The asking price for the portfolio as a whole is $83 million, which reflects an average price of $4,612 psf.
Some of the prime individual units at East Village that belong to other owners were recently listed for sale at asking prices above $6,000 psf. For instance, a 969 sq ft unit was offered for sale at $6.2 million ($6,398 psf). Another unit of 108 sq ft, which is likely to be a prime unit, has an indicative selling price of $688,000 or $6,379 psf. Meanwhile, a 226 sq ft unit along one of the secondary corridors has been listed at a selling price of $900,000 ($3,982 psf).
The 17 units with a total strata area of 17,997 sq ft that are for bulk sale at $83 million or an average of $4,612 psf
“Generally, internal units at East Village have asking prices of $3,000 to $4,000 psf, while those prime units fronting the carpark or located near the main entrance have asking prices in the $6,000 to $7,000 psf range,” says Lim. “There are no market comparables to East Village in District 16, especially when it comes to freehold strata retail units that are less than 10 years old.”

In the neighbourhood

Besides East Village, there are two other strata-titled malls in the Bedok-Upper Changi area of District 16, namely Eastwood Centre and Bedok Shopping Complex. Eastwood Centre is on Eastwood Road, off Bedok Road. The mixed-use development has a 99-year lease from 1995. Completed in 1998, it has 48 apartments sitting on top of a retail podium with 17 shops, with sizes ranging from 358 to 2,293 sq ft. The retail podium is anchored by Cold Storage.
The private housing estate located near East Village (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The latest transaction at Eastwood Centre was in October last year, when a 420 sq ft shop unit changed hands for $1.28 million ($3,049 psf), according to a caveat lodged. It is also the highest psf price achieved in the development to date.
Located near East Village is Bedok Shopping Complex, a row of shophouses for retail and F&B use along Bedok Road. All the units have a similar size of 893 sq ft, with a 60-year lease from 1977.
The latest transaction was for the unit at 294 Bedok Road that changed hands for $460,000 ($515 psf) in August 2020, according to URA Realis.
Bedok Market Place is located near East Village (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
In District 16, median rental rates for first-lev- el retail units of 30 sq m (323 sq ft) and below stood at $9.29 psf per month in 4Q2021, according to URA data. Those between 30 sq m and 100 sq m (323 sq ft and 1,076 sq ft) have median monthly rental rates of $13.15 psf in the last three months of 2021. Meanwhile, large-format units from 100 sq m to more than 300 sq m (1,076 sq ft to 3,229 sq ft), have median rents of $12.19 psf per month in 4Q2021.
At East Village, asking monthly rental rates for units range from $11.11 psf for a 108 sq ft unit to $12.40 psf for a 722 sq ft unit, according to property agents’ listings.
The 14 units at East Village that have been bundled for sale should appeal to a family office or high-net-worth individual who wants to buy and hold the units for the long term, says Lim. Interest from foreign buyers, especially those from China and Hong Kong, has also escalated, she notes. This is because these strata-titled retail units are freehold, and are available for sale as a portfolio, she adds. “What’s more, being commercial units, they are not subjected to ABSD nor SSD and are open to foreign buyers.” There is always the option to sell the individual strata units in the future, according to Lim. The units will be sold by expression of interest, which will close on May 26. (Find Singapore commercial properties with our commercial directory)

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