Meyer House: Trophy property in the East

By
/ EdgeProp Singapore
|
July 12, 2019 12:49 PM SGT

The Wee family’s Kheng Leong Co and listed property firm UOL Group have combined forces with three famous names in design to create a project rivalling those in the traditional prime districts and setting a new benchmark at Meyer Road

View of central courtyard and swimming pool, with the public park beyond (Credit: Kheng Leong/UOL Group)
Since private previews began at the end of May, five of the 56 units at Meyer House have been sold at prices from $7.45 million to $8.3 million apiece, or from $2,561 to $2,700 psf.
Located in the prestigious Meyer Road area in District 15, the freehold Meyer House is developed by a 50:50 joint venture between Singapore-listed property firm UOL Group and privately-held property development and investment firm Kheng Leong Co, owned by the family of billionaire banker and businessman Wee Cho Yaw.
ADVERTISEMENT
Kheng Leong and UOL are hoping to replicate the success of their last luxury project, Nassim Park Residences, which they developed jointly with Japanese financial services group, Orix Corp. They have even positioned Meyer House as “the Nassim of the East”.
Rolled out 11 years ago at the end of May 2008, the 100-unit Nassim Park Residences was never officially launched. Yet, close to 70 units were snapped up within the first four months of preview – at an average price of $2,959 psf – before the global financial crisis struck in September 2008.
This was despite the super-sized units, with four-bedroom units starting from 3,175 sq ft and priced north of $10 million. Completed in 2011, Nassim Park Residences was fully sold shortly after.
Launched 11 years ago, close to 70 units at Nassim Park Residences were snapped up within the first four months of preview – at an average price of $2,959 psf – before the global financial crisis struck in September 2008 (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
In the market upturn following the global financial crisis, a 3,466 sq ft, four-bedroom unit was sold for $14.28 million ($4,120 psf) in 2010, which was the highest price psf achieved in the development; while a 6,878 sq ft penthouse changed hands in a sub-sale for $27.6 million ($4,001 psf) in 2012, the highest in the luxury condo in terms of absolute price.
ADVERTISEMENT
At Nassim Park Residences, there was not just one star designer but three: design architect Chan Soo Khian, principal of Singapore-based SCDA Architects; Zen monk and Japanese landscape architect Shunmyo Masuno; and French interior designer Christian Liaigre.

Timelessness

“They created something that’s timeless so that even 10 years on, Nassim Park Residences still looks contemporary,” says Wee Teng Yuan, business development manager at Kheng Leong Co. “And that’s what we want to create at Meyer House.”
Having joined Kheng Leong in March 2017, Wee has been involved in the Meyer House development from the start. He is the third generation of Wees to join Kheng Leong: His father Wee Ee Chao is deputy chairman and CEO of Kheng Leong as well as the second of Wee Cho Yaw’s three sons.
ADVERTISEMENT
Meyer House is located next to the Meyer Road Playground which will be an extension of the landscaped garden within the project (Credit: Kheng Leong/UOL Group)
Wee Cho Yaw began his career at Kheng Leong Co, before joining United Chinese Bank (UCB) in 1958. UCB has since morphed into the United Overseas Bank (UOB) of today. Incorporated in 1949, Kheng Leong operated as an international commodity and spice trading company in its early years. It has since evolved into an investment vehicle today, with interests in property development and real estate investment.
Kheng Leong strengthened its foothold in the Nassim area by buying the remaining 45 units of The Nassim (adjacent to Nassim Park Residences) two years ago. The bulk purchase of the units at The Nassim was made in January 2017 – just two months before a new additional conveyance duty was imposed on the acquisition of shares in companies or special purpose vehicles holding residential assets.
The purchase price was $411.6 million for a 100% stake in Nassim Hill Realty, the vehicle that owned the 45 units at The Nassim. The purchase price translated to about $2,300 psf, or an 18% discount to the prevailing market price of the individual units then. Developed by CapitaLand and completed in 2015, the 55-unit The Nassim features large-format apartments: three-bedroom apartments from 1,927 sq ft; four-bedroom units from 5,307 sq ft; and five-bedroom penthouses from 7,061 sq ft.
Since May 2017, about 30 units at The Nassim have been sold at an average price of $3,165 psf, based on caveats lodged. The landscape architect for Nassim Park Residences, Shunmyo Masuno, was engaged to enhance the landscaping around the swimming pool area of The Nassim.
A view of the “English-style landscaped garden with tropical sensitivities" at Meyer House (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
While the landscaping at the Nassim condos bears Masuno’s Japanese zen aesthetic, Meyer House will be “an English-style landscaped garden with tropical sensitivities”, says Wee.

Power of three

The trio of designers headlining Meyer House are: design architect Wong Mun Summ, co-founder of Singapore-based WOHA; New York- and Toronto-based interior design firm Yabu Pushelberg; and German international design and engineering firm Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl (RSD) as the landscape architect.
In UOL’s portfolio, recent projects designed by WOHA include the 729-unit residential development The Tre Ver at Potong Pasir; the 367-room Parkroyal on Pickering hotel in the CBD; the redevelopment of Pan Pacific Orchard in Singapore; and the upcoming Pan Pacific hotel in London.
The eponymous design firm founded by Glenn Pushelberg and George Yabu, on the other hand, is famous for the interiors of luxury hotels such as Four Seasons New York and The Times Square Edition, New York; Park Hyatt Bangkok; and more recently, the upcoming Raffles Resort Sentosa and Spa in Singapore. Meyer House will be the firm’s first private residential project in Singapore.
RSD is renowned for its concept and design for Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park; Jurong Eco Garden located within JTC’s CleanTech Park; and Mandai Nature Safari Park.
The former Nanak Mansions en bloc site could have been redeveloped into 203 units but Kheng Leong and UOL decided to build just 56 large-format units (Credit: JLL)
The Meyer House site is a redevelopment of the former Nanak Mansions, purchased en bloc jointly by Kheng Leong and UOL Group, for $201.1 million ($1,429 psf per plot ratio) in September 2017.
For price trends, recent transactions, other project info, check out the MeyerHouse or Nassim Park Residences project details page

‘The rich still want space’

Based on its gross plot ratio of 1.4, the site could have been redeveloped into a new private condo of 203 units of compact apartments averaging about 700 sq ft in size.
“We decided that a luxury condo with large-format apartments was something that was missing in the East Coast area,” says Wee. “We wanted to create a project that is exclusive; it’s one of the reasons why we didn’t want to go with 200 units across five floors.”
Kheng Leong and UOL opted to develop just 56 units at Meyer House instead. Of these, only 10 are three-bedroom apartments of 1,862 to 2,013 sq ft. The majority (40 units) are four-bedroom apartments of 2,820 to 3,315 sq ft. Duplex, five-bedroom penthouses of 5,587 to 5,608 sq ft make up the remaining six units.
“What hasn’t changed over the years, from the time we launched Nassim Park Residences and now, is that the rich still want space,” says Wee.
All the units come with a balcony as an extension of the living room that's 90% weatherproof (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The units at Meyer House are arrayed in a C-shaped, conjoined block around a landscaped central courtyard and swimming pool. For added privacy, facing units on opposite ends are at least 45m apart.
“The design [at Meyer House] is very similar to The Nassim and Nassim Park Residences where landscaping is an important feature throughout the development,” says Wee. “To create the ‘landed housing’ feel, you must have a sprawling garden and good distance between blocks.”

‘Die-hard East Coast fans’

Kheng Leong and UOL had looked at “a few other sites” that were offered for en bloc sale in District 15 at the time, but decided to focus on Meyer Road. “A lot of the old rich have lived here for many generations,” observes Wee. “They are die-hard East Coast fans who refuse to move out of District 15. So, from the get-go, we decided we should create a product in the East with the same historical significance as Nassim.”
Situated on an island site, Meyer House is bounded by Meyer Road on one side, and Jalan Nuri on the other two sides. Jalan Nuri is a private road, accessible only to residents of the houses along the street. Many of them are also owners of units at the former Nanak Mansions, and beneficiaries of its en bloc sale. “Interest for the new development from some of these owners has been strong,” notes Wee.
Every unit will have a private lift lobby and dedicated lift (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Meyer House was designed such that the development fronts a 60,000 sq ft public park, the Meyer Road Playground. “It’s a typical neighbourhood park,” notes Wee. However, Kheng Leong and UOL are seeking approval to redevelop and enhance the public park at their own cost. “We want owners to feel that Meyer Road Playground is an extension of their internal landscaped garden,” he adds. There will be a private entrance from Meyer House directly into the park, and a separate entrance for public use.
From the street, owners can drive or be driven directly into the basement carpark and their respective units. While there are only 56 units, they are served by 64 lifts. Every unit will have a dedicated lift and private lobby, says Wee. The four-bedroom and penthouse units have their own dedicated parking spaces as well.

‘Highly differentiated’

All the units will have balconies designed as an extension of the living room. The balcony will have an outer layer of venetian blinds to keep out the sun or rain; and an inner skin that allows 95% of the air-conditioning to be retained even as residents enjoy the views and sounds of nature outside. “We wanted the balcony to be a usable space, not an afterthought,” says Wee. “And for it to be 90% weatherproof.”
The façade of Meyer House is of glass fibre reinforced concrete (GFRC) that gives the development “a stately, handsome exterior”, adds Wee. It was designed by WOHA as an architectural feature, an additional layer of sun-shading as well as framing the views from the bedrooms.
Full marble master bathroom (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
All the units will be fully fitted with timber flooring in the living room, full marble bathrooms, Axor bathroom fittings, Miele kitchen appliances including double-door integrated refrigerator, washer and dryer. Instead of a wet and dry kitchen concept, the apartments will have a generous-sized, enclosed kitchen and a “library bar” with a sculptural, single-piece marble counter and wall display shelves custom-made by Yabu Pushelberg.
The sales gallery was constructed at a cost of $4 million, and showcases the materials that will be used, including the GFRC panels, the landscaping as well as finishing and fittings in the interiors of the show suite. “We wanted to let buyers understand what the product really looks like,” says Wee. “I think a lot of people are afraid of developers cutting corners. But a lot of the things that you see at the sales gallery will be the exact ones used at Meyer House.”
Even though the Meyer House site was purchased before the en bloc sale fever and the July 2018 property cooling measures, UOL and Kheng Leong did not make any changes to the product. “We believe in creating a product that’s highly differentiated,” says Jesline Goh, chief investment and asset officer, UOL Group.

‘Product to rival those in prime Districts 9-11’

So far, the buyers of Meyer House are a mix of local Singaporean and international buyers who are familiar with East Coast, adds Goh. While there are those looking to downsize from a landed property, there are also those buying for their children. “We have a lot of interest from such buyers,” adds Goh. “That’s why we believe it’s a product that can be passed on from generation to generation.”
The fully-equipped enclosed kitchen and utlity area (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The pricing of Meyer House is currently in the ballpark of $2,500 to $2,700 psf. Meanwhile, the six penthouses will be available for sale with “price on application”, says Goh.
ERA Realty Network and PropNex Realty are the two appointed marketing agents for Meyer House. “Meyer House is possibly the only one of its kind in District 15,” says Eugene Lim, ERA’s key executive officer. “It bears all the hallmarks of a trophy property: The Meyer Road address, three designers who are legends in their respective fields working together; hence, it appeals to a niche group of buyers.”
Dominic Lee, head of luxury team at PropNex, expects Meyer House to set a new benchmark both in terms of product offering and pricing. “You are essentially buying a luxury product that’s comparable to, or even better than some of those seen at Districts 9 to 11.”
Kheng Leong’s Wee agrees. “For UOL and Kheng Leong, the quality of the product is important to us,” he says. “We have a product that can rival projects in Districts 9, 10 and 11.”
For the Latest Listings near MeyerHouse, Click Here