Jervois Privé: Luxury in compact sizes from just under $3,000 psf

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/ EdgeProp Singapore
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May 17, 2019 2:00 PM SGT

Maiden boutique development by Midas Land co-founders Mike Ho and Dawn Lim features star designers – Yip Yuen Hong of ipli Architects, ‘designer to the celebrities’ Peter Tay and landscape architecture firm Salad Dressing

Luxury in compact sizes is the rage today: from cars, crossovers and SUVs to homes in Singapore’s most prestigious addresses. The latest to hit the market is Jervois Privé, a 45-unit, boutique luxury development that is set to preview on the weekend of May 18 and 19.
Jervois Privé is the maiden project by Midas Land, a property development company co-founded by two friends in late 2017: Mike Ho, third-generation owner of Spring Court, one of the oldest Chinese restaurants in Singapore that is celebrating its 90th year; and Dawn Lim, a trained architect and former executive director of listed construction and property development group, Chip Eng Seng Corp.
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At the showflat of Jervois Prive (from left): Yip Yuen Hong of ipli Architects; Dawn Lim and Mike Ho of Midas Land (Credit: Albert Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

‘Mike Ho and friends’

Midas Land may be a new setup, but its two co-founders and managing directors have more than two decades’ experience in real estate. Ho, for instance, has been investing in conservation shophouses and also developed some landed residential projects in the past.
Lim spent nine years at Chip Eng Seng, which was founded by her father, Lim Tiam Seng, in the 1960s. She joined the firm in 2009, first as a project director in the property development arm, CEL Development, and subsequently as an executive director of the listed holding company. Prior to joining the firm, she was a senior architect in Melbourne, Australia, where she had graduated with a bachelor’s degree in architecture (honours) from Deakin University.
Lim resigned as executive director in October 2018, following the sale of her family’s entire block of 29.73% of issued shares in Chip Eng Seng to Celine Tang, group managing director of Singapore-listed SingHaiyi.
“I have known Dawn since she was at Chip Eng Seng and I knew that she was a trained architect,” says Ho. “So, I asked her if she was interested in doing a project together, and she said ‘no’.” Lim relates: “I said ‘no’ because I really hadn’t thought about developing a project then.”
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He approached her again after he identified a site in late 2017. It is the former Jervois Green, a block of just eight apartments sitting on a prime, freehold site of 27,109 sq ft located on Jervois Road. It is also near the Alexandra Canal Linear Park, where Ho enjoys a daily morning run. He is therefore familiar with the area. The Jervois Green site sits in the vicinity of the Good Class Bungalow (GCB) enclaves of Tanglin Hill and Jervois Hill.
Ho succeeded in persuading Lim to view the site. “When I visited the site, I fell in love with it,” recounts Lim. She decided to run some numbers and consulted her bankers. “Then I got back to Mike and said, ‘Let’s do it.’”
They submitted a bid for Jervois Green. When the tender closed in December 2017, they won the site for $52.9 million. As Lim was still at Chip Eng Seng then, and a friend of Ho’s who jointly invested in the project requested anonymity, the trio were known collectively as “Mike Ho and friends”.
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Timeless luxury at Jervois Privé, a boutique development designed by ipli Architects (Credit: Albert Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

Timelessness, old world charm

When it came to choosing the architect for the project, it was unanimous: both wanted the multiple-award winner Yip Yuen Hong, principal of ipli Architects. “I have been a great fan of Yuen Hong since I graduated from architecture school,” says Lim. “I’ve seen his designs featured in magazines, but I’ve never visited an actual home designed by him. When Mike said his home was designed by Yuen Hong, I asked if I could see it.”
Ho had appointed Yip to design his home when he redeveloped an old GCB on Cable Road. “We wanted to recreate the old world charm of a kampong house,” relates Yip. The house sports a timber façade of balal wood, timber windows and even a second-floor verandah with timber flooring, he adds.
Even though the house was built 13 years ago, it has weathered well, notes Yip. “Our aspiration was to create something timeless,” he says. The house was also created with cross-ventilation in mind: full-height glass sliding doors on the first and second levels open out to the lush garden and swimming pool. There is also a skylight on the second level of the house, which brings in natural light.
Yip wants to create this sense of timelessness at Jervois Privé too. “We drew inspiration from the surroundings – the GCBs, high-end condos and embassies,” he says. “As the development is low-rise with just five storeys, we tried to capture the essence of the old black and white houses that could still be found in the area, and the idyllic lifestyle surrounded by greenery.”
The three-bedroom showflat at Jervois Prive is designed by 'interior designer to the stars' Peter Tay (Credit: Albert Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Despite its proximity to the buzz of Orchard Road, the project has a tranquil setting. Hence, the name Jervois Privé was chosen. “Privé means private, and that’s what we wanted to create – a private sanctuary,” says Yip. The colour palette was thus deliberately kept to whites and greys, with off-form concrete contrasted against the shiny metallic finish of powder-coated aluminium “to add some sparkle”.

Smaller sizes, luxury finishes

The apartments at Jervois Privé range from one-bedroom units starting from 549 sq ft, two-bedroom units from 689 sq ft and three-bedroom units from 1,109 sq ft. The largest unit in the development is a 1,389 sq ft, three-bedroom apartment. There are only five units of one-bedders and 10 units of three-bedders, while two-bedroom units form the majority, says Lim. “They are good-sized units. We wanted to create spaces that we ourselves would want to live in.”
The units will have 3.2m ceiling height, luxury fittings and finishing such as caesarstone countertop and splashback, Gaggenau branded kitchen appliances, Gessi and Duravit branded sanitary wares and fittings, and marble flooring for the living area, bathrooms and even the balconies. Even the marble used for the balcony is similar to the living room’s but in mosaic, says Lim. “When you open the glass sliding doors, the balcony becomes an extension of the living room and you can bring the outdoors in.”
Units on the lower floors will have a view of the lush greenery, while the units on the higher floors and the roof terrace will have a sweeping view of the GCB neighbourhood, notes Ho. The facilities are on the rooftop of the development and include a 25m swimming pool, a jacuzzi pool, a dining pavilion, an indoor gym and outdoor fitness area.
The master bedroom of the show unit at Jervois Prive (Credit: Albert Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
While ipli is the design architect, Salad Dressing is the landscape designer. Interior designer to the celebrities, Peter Tay, designed the showflat for Jervois Privé. “We enlisted an A-team of designers for this project,” says Ho.
Prices will start from $1.6 million for a one-bedroom or from just below $3,000 psf. PropNex and SRI are the appointed marketing agencies for Jervois Privé.

Niche appeal

“Jervois Privé will appeal to those who prefer to be nearer to the Tanglin area,” says Dominic Lee, PropNex head of luxury team. “Those living in the GCBs there may want to buy a property for their children so they could live near them.”
In addition to the old rich, Bruce Lye, managing partner of SRI, believes there is another potential group of buyers – “those in their mid-30s, who are well-travelled and appreciate the finer things in life”.
Agents at Jervois Prive, which is scheduled for preview on the weekend of May 18-19 (Credit: Albert Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
In the same neighbourhood is SC Global Developments’ Petit Jervois, a redevelopment of the former Jervois Gardens. The new 55-unit luxury project is designed by RT+Q. The majority of the units are one- and two-bedroom apartments in the 800 to 1,000 sq ft range. By-invitation-only VIP previews started late last year. Based on a caveat lodged last November, a 1,012 sq ft unit was sold for $2.93 million ($2,892 psf).
Along Orchard Boulevard, City Developments’ Boulevard 88 has also seen more than 45 units snapped up since its preview towards the end of March. Average prices of units sold have increased from $3,550 psf to $3,776 psf. “Most of the buyers are Singaporeans, especially for the four-bedroom units priced from $10 million,” says PropNex’s Lee. “Some are downsizing from a GCB or landed home and they want an Orchard Boulevard address.”
Lee sees these “new to market offerings” drawing the well-heeled and the well-travelled. “Every project has its own unique selling points,” he notes. “Developers in the luxury space have raised their game and are increasingly thinking out of the box to create interesting lifestyle concepts.”
SRI’s Lye sees interest in Jervois Privé coming from people living in the surrounding areas, such as Bishopsgate, Jervois and Nathan Road. They include residents of the older condos, for instance, Regency Park. “There’s a niche group of buyers who prefer boutique developments and appreciate tranquillity over a mega-development with a few hundred units and full of amenities,” he says. “They are either buying for their children or buying for investment. And they tend to zoom in on quality projects.”
While no launch date has been set for Jervois Privé, Midas Land’s Ho reckons it will be “a week or two” after the preview.