[UPDATE] Jervois Mansion – most affordable CCR project launch of the year?

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/ EdgeProp Singapore
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October 1, 2021 6:00 AM SGT
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The new Jervois Mansion will have six 5-storey blocks with a total of 130 units, with a mix of one- to five-bedroom apartments (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore).
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SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Back in 1985, when George Michael’s ”Careless Whisper” and Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” were chart-toppers, Arthur Aw, executive director of investment company Kimen Group, was just enlisting for National Service. Before entering the army, Aw topped out one of the three 4-storey blocks at Jervois Mansions that was completed that year. His father, the late Aw Kim Chen, founder of Kimen Group, was the developer of Jervois Mansions. “This development has sentimental value for our family,” says Aw.
Located at 18 Jervois Road across the road from the High Commission of Malaysia, Jervois Mansions has 32 apartments that have been held for lease for 36 years. Jervois Mansions sits on a freehold site of 93,183 sq ft. It is, in turn, a redevelopment of three former Good Class Bungalows (GCBs) that Aw’s father had purchased in 1980.
ARTHUR AW - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Aw: We have been managing our own properties for more than 30 years, and we understand the maintenance issues that can arise. Hence, we want to make sure that the materials we use for the property will last (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Aw returned to the fold in October 2017 after a 12-year stint at Ascendas-Singbridge, where he was last executive vice president (EVP) of special projects and EVP-founder of Bridge+. Prior to that, he had spent a decade at JTC Corp, where he was last director of land planning. While at JTC, Aw had been deputy director of one-north development group. He was given a scholarship to do his PhD at the prestigious Architectural Association London. His thesis had focused on large-scale, integrated workspace developments, and stemmed from his placemaking experience at one-north, he says.
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Soon after joining Kimen Group, Aw refreshed Jervois Mansions with a black and white theme, which was “welcomed by our expatriate tenants”, he says. Still, Aw felt that the project was starting to show its age as it approached 40. “While these three-bedroom apartments are sizeable at 2,400 sq ft, they only have two bathrooms,” he laments. That led to the decision to redevelop Jervois Mansions.
Artist's impression of the 130-unit Jervois Mansion - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Artist's impression of the 130-unit Jervois Mansion, which is scheduled for completion by end 2026 (Credit: Kimen Group)

Redevelopment revisited

Given its proximity to the Bishopsgate-Chatsworth GCB area, the site has a plot ratio of 1.4 and the new residential development has to be low-rise, with up to afive storeys. Named Jervois Mansion, it will have 130 apartments housed in six blocks linked by overhead bridges at the rooftop decks.
Aw handpicked Christopher Lee — co-founder of Serie Architects, an international practice specialising in architecture, urban design and research — to lead the design team at Jervois Mansion. Studio iF, led by Gwen Tan, principal architect and partner at Formwerkz Architects, is the appointed interior designer for the project, while Chang Huai-yan, founder of Salad Dressing, is the landscape architect.
Mace Studio managing director and landscape architect Mason Tan, as well as director and biodiversity planner Janet Wong, are the appointed “sustenance curators” at Jervois Mansion. The duo, bohemian-style urban farmers, are advisers on the type of plants that will thrive at the community garden, given the type of soil at the site.
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The pair will be retained for an additional two years upon completion of the project, to train the gardeners and maintenance staff at Jervois Mansion on organic farming. They will conduct workshops for residents too. “Those who are interested are encouraged to tend the community garden and grow their own vegetables,” adds Aw. “The rule of thumb is that the harvest has to be shared with the community.”
The Jervois Mansion sales gallery is not just a showcase of the various unit types, but also a testbed for urban farming, biodiversity and other sustainability features. “We want to give people a foretaste of what it’s like to live at Jervois Mansion,” says Aw.
vegetable garden - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
The vegetable garden created outside the sales gallery of Jervois Mansion where the two "sustenance curators" are testing out the suitable vegetables, herbs and flowers that can be planted on the site (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

Sustainable luxury?

The project has obtained the BCA Green Mak Gold Plus Super Low Energy (Residential Buildings) rating, which is one tier below the Platinum rating. For instance, 30% of the common facilities at Jervois Mansion will be solar-powered in the future.
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As this is Kimen Group’s maiden residential project for sale, Aw selected Roxy-Pacific Holdings, led by executive chairman Teo Hong Lim, as its development manager. “We chose Roxy-Pacific because of its reputation as a quality developer of micro apartments,” says Aw. Attention has been placed on maximising the sizes and efficiency of the bedrooms and bathrooms. Aw has also ensured that every apartment has a framed view of the garden.
Units on the ground floor will have 4.57m ceiling height, which allows owners to build a loft — be it an extra bedroom or a workspace. The units on the fifth floor, which is the penthouse level, will have a ceiling height of 3.3m. “The high ceiling and full-height windows will make the apartments bright and airy,” says Aw.
To further promote cross-ventilation, the main entrance to each apartment will have two doors: a timber door and door grille. This way, the timber door can be left open without compromising on security. Aw foresees that it will encourage neighbourliness among residents.
wet kitchen - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
The wet kitchen where all the appliances and materials used are European made (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Kimen Group is using exclusively European brands for its materials and fittings. For instance, kitchen appliances are from French brand De Dietrich, kitchen sinks are of German brand Blanco, while kitchen mixer taps are from German brand Steinberg. Floor and bathroom tiles are of engineered stone from Spanish brand Grespania Ceramica.
It is not just about creating a luxury project, but one that is sustainable over the long term, says Aw. “We have been managing our own properties for more than 30 years, and we understand the maintenance issues that can arise. Hence, we want to make sure that the materials we use for the property will last.”
To give home buyers of Jervois Mansion added assurance, Kimen Group will retain about 25 units in the project as a long-term investment. Kimen Group has identified the large three- and four-bedroom premium units in the two middle blocks for its long-term investment. The rationale for holding the premium units is that the developer will not be competing with investors who want to lease out their units in the future, explains Aw. “The premium units, being larger, will command higher rental rates compared to the standard units,” he says. “This will lead to product differentiation rather than head-on competition for tenants.”
Jervois Mansion block 2 - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
The roof deck of each block has been turned into a different “lifestyle quarter”. For instance, the“sunrise quarter” will have a yoga lawn, hammocks and lounge chairs (Credit: Kimen Group)

Different ‘lifestyle quarters’ on the roof decks

The roof deck of each block has been turned into a different “lifestyle quarter”, says Aw. For instance, the first block is called the “family quarter”, and will feature pavilions for family gatherings, a chef kitchen and barbeque pavilion. The “sunrise quarter” will have a yoga lawn, hammocks and lounge chairs. There is also a “junior quarter” where the children’s play area will be located. There will also be green hedge, which acts both as a safety feature and a noise barrier for the residents living in the units below, adds Aw.
One of the roof terraces will be turned into an urban farm, called the “harvest quarter”. The next block will be the “sundry garden”. This is where there will be a commercial-grade washer-dryer so residents can wash and dry their bed linen, soft toys or curtains. The laundry area will be shielded by greenery. However, the space is ideal for residents to meet and interact too, says Aw.
There is also a “social quarter” at the roof terrace of the block with predominantly one- and two-bedroom units. The “social quarter” will have work pods and a dining table for 20 to encourage camaraderie among residents.
While the other five blocks are more exclusive, with two to four apartments per floor, the social block will have nine units per floor, as they are predominantly the compact units.
showflat of a two-bedroom - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
A showflat of a two-bedroom, ground floor unit with a 4.57m ceiling height (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
“The one- and two-bedroom units will appeal to the younger homeowners — the singles and couples with no kids,” reckons Aw. “The vitality of a community depends on having a different mix of unit types to draw different age groups — from singles, to families and the elderly.”
At Jervois Mansion, Aw has made sure there is diversity in unit types. One- and two-bedroom configurations with sizes from 495 to 861 sq ft make up 70 of the 130 units in the development (54%). Three- to five-bedroom units range from 1,001 to 1,808 sq ft and make up the remaining 60 units (46%).
When completed sometime in late 2026, Jervois Mansion will have a side-gate leading directly to the Alexandra Park Connector just 20m away. The park connector goes all the way to Robertson Quay. Shopping mall Valley Point is located within walking distance, while Great World City is a five-minute drive away. The nearest MRT station is Great World City on the Thomson-East Coast Line, which is expected to open at the end of next year.
Public preview of Jervois Mansion will start from Oct 2, with the official launch scheduled for Oct 16. Kimen Group has appointed three marketing agencies for the project, namely PropNex, ERA Realty Network and SRI.
According to Aw, the prices of Jervois Mansion units will vary according to their sizes and attributes. For instance, prices of two- and three-bedroom units will start from above $2,200 psf, while four- and five-bedroom units will be close to $2,400 psf. Meanwhile, one-bedroom apartments will be tagged at prices north of $2,400 psf.
Good Class Bungalow area of Jervois Road and Bishopsgate - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
The Good Class Bungalow area of Jervois Road and Bishopsgate (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

Jervois enclave

Dominic Lee, head of luxury team at PropNex, believes that Jervois Mansion’s land size of close to 100,000 sq ft will differentiate it from other projects in the area. As it sits on one of the biggest condominium plots in the Jervois area, “there is ample space for communal facilities — on the grounds as well as roof terraces”, points out Lee.
Recent launches in the Jervois area have been of upscale, boutique developments with about 50 units or fewer, for instance, the 45-unit Jervois Prive by Midas Land; Fragrance Group’s 36-unit Jervois Treasures; and SC Global’s Petit Jervois, with 55 units. The project with the greatest premium is Petit Jervois, where units have been transacted at a median price of $2,902 psf this year to date. (Browse newly launched condos in Singapore right now)
Jervois Mansion is located in prime District 10, which is part of the Core Central Region (CCR). “The project is priced to sell,” says Nicholas Mak, ERA Realty head of research. “Its pricing is on a par with those of upcoming launches in the Rest of Central Region (RCR), such as the Slim Barracks Rise GLS [government land sale] sites at the one-north region or even the Northumberland Road, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 and Lentor Central sites. So you are buying a freehold project in the CCR at RCR project prices. There should be capital upside with prices of freehold projects in the prime districts anticipated to move up.”
Jervois Table - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
In fact, Ken Low, managing partner of SRI, considers Jervois Mansion “the most affordable CCR project today”. Low has seen strong indications of buying interest.
One of the main draws is “the lush landscaping and bungalow-inspired living”, he says. “With Kimen Group holding 25 units for the long term, residents will be assured that the quality of the project and the value will be upheld.”
PropNex’s Lee sees interest coming from both owner-occupiers for the larger units and from investors for the smaller units. “The buyers are likely to be a good mix of upgraders from the city-fringe and others who are existing residents of older developments from the surrounding areas,” he says. “It’s a nice, quiet residential enclave that’s near the lifestyle amenities at River Valley Road, Robertson Quay and Orchard Road.”
Indeed, the Jervois neighbourhood is a submarket of its own, says ERA’s Mak. “It’s near the Embassy Row, the GCB area and park connector.”

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