From property agents to developers

/ The Edge Property
October 12, 2015 6:00 PM SGT
Are property development and marketing high-end homes an ideal combination? Bruce Lye and Benson Koh of SRI5000 tell us why it is.
Bruce Lye and Benson Koh, managing partners of SRI5000, a division of property agency SLP International, have just completed their maiden property development. It’s a semi-detached house at 2A Andrews Avenue, located off Sembawang Road and opposite Sembawang Park in the northernmost corner of Singapore.
Semi-detached house at 2A Andrews Avenue Road
“A lot of people said we were crazy to choose such a remote area for our first development,” recounts Lye. “But we saw it differently.”
They had honed in on Sembawang as the location for their first project because it is an established landed housing estate that has continued to see at least one or two transactions each month, despite the property cooling measures in place, adds Koh.
The house is a redevelopment of an old property that the owner had leased to a church, which had in turn converted it into a halfway house for the rehabilitation of ex-convicts. When it was put up for sale by the previous owner, the house had languished on the market for 2½ years before the duo grabbed it. “The house was old, and the moment you stepped in, all you saw were the 30 bunk beds across the room,” says Lye. “Many who came to view the property couldn’t visualise its potential, but we could.”
What’s more, 2A and the other houses with even number addresses on Andrews Avenue are of freehold tenure. The houses with odd numbers across the street as well as those on Sembawang Road all the way to Wak Hassan Drive and Wak Hassan Place at the northernmost shoreline of Singapore are predominantly 99- year leasehold as they were formerly state land sold by the Singapore Land Authority to developers for residential development. The freehold tenure was an added attraction for the pair at SRI5000.
Potential of a former eyesore
Koh and Lye purchased the house from the private owner in November 2013 under the new development company they created, namely SRI5000 Developments. According...