Richard Goh transforms Ardmore Three unit and launches it for sale at $6.68 mil

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/ EdgeProp Singapore
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April 1, 2021 7:00 AM SGT
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SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Singaporean Richard Goh spent 28 years managing a property development, construction and interior design business. During his tenure as the chairman of Synthesis Development Team, he was involved in the development of Good Class Bungalows (GCBs) at Maryland Drive, Chatsworth Park and Olive Road. At Olive Road, he completely transformed the GCB, which has since become his private residence. At Cluny Hill, Goh was involved in helping a friend redevelop a new GCB.
For much of the 1970s and 1980s, Goh was active in the building and design of show units for new residential projects launched then, such as Cairnhill Plaza, Gilstead Court and Nassim Mansion in the prime districts. He was also involved in the design of the show units for Faber Gardens in the Thomson area. Many of these projects were developed by UOL Group.
According to Goh, it was a chance encounter with then-UOB chairman Wee Cho Yaw at Changi Airport in 1977, when he was on a trip back from London, that he received his big break. Wee had arranged for Goh to meet the general manager of UOL Group then, and that opened the door for him to undertake the design of the show units for their projects thereafter.
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Even though Goh wound up Synthesis Development Team a decade ago as he was “exhausted”, he continues to dabble in the development of GCBs and refurbishment of shophouses. An avid property investor, Goh says he invests mainly in apartments with a view to renting them out. Of late, he is of the belief that he may have “too many” units. He is now looking to “offload something”, he says.
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Goh: I did major surgery to completely transform the unit. That’s my specialty as I’ve been in the design and construction business for almost three decades (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

One of the first buyers

That “something” has turned out to be a 1,776 sq ft, three-bedroom apartment on the ninth floor of Ardmore Three. According to Goh, he was one of the first buyers in the 84-unit, freehold project at Ardmore Park when developer Wheelock Properties previewed the project in late 2012. Based on caveats lodged, Goh was buyer No. 2. He paid $5.7 million ($3,215 psf) for his unit in early January 2013.
Following the property cooling measures in 2013 that included hikes in additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) and the imposition of the total debt servicing ratio (TDSR) loan framework, demand for luxury condos cooled. “The market softened after the cooling measures were introduced,” concedes Goh.
Having sold three units, Wheelock Properties held back the launch of Ardmore Three until after the project was completed in 2014. The remaining units were launched in mid-2015, with a deferred payment scheme and an “ABSD-assist package”.
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The original unit before it was renovated (Photo: Richard Goh)
All the units at Ardmore Three were fully sold by end-2017. The highest price achieved was for a 36th-floor unit of 1,776 sq ft, which fetched $7.7 million ($4,335 psf), according to a caveat lodged in June 2017.
When the project was completed, Goh was able to secure a tenant at a monthly rental rate of about $10,000. That works out to a gross yield of about 2% based on his purchase price. His latest tenant, a Japanese expatriate, vacated the premises in December.
Goh decided to take back the apartment and renovate it. Even though he had purchased the apartment off-plan eight years ago, he had chosen the unit after much thought. The 36-storey Ardmore Three features exclusively three-bedroom apartments sized from 1,744 to 1,798 sq ft. There are three units per floor, and each comes with private lift access.
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According to Goh, the units on his stack have “the best views and features”. Even though his ninth-floor unit is considered to be on the lowest level, as the tower has been raised eight floors above street level, the view from the balcony is of the treetops, Ardmore Park skyline and the swimming pool.
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The interior of the apartment at Ardmore Three that has been completely transformed (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

‘Major surgery’

Given his experience in the construction and design business, he was confident he was able to makeover the unit last December. “I did major surgery to completely transform the unit,” says Goh. “That’s my specialty as I’ve been in the design and construction business for almost three decades.”
He reconfigured the layout of the living and dining area so that it looked more spacious. The television points and cables have been concealed behind a panel. He also removed the original half-drop ceiling that extended all the way to the middle of the living and dining area. It was where the essential services and air-conditioning system was concealed. He had them relocated elsewhere. This elevated the ceiling height in the living and dining area. “I improved the width, depth and the feel of the whole space,” he says.
Goh had also removed the original long countertop of the dry kitchen. “I felt it was better to have the kitchen segregated from the living and dining area,” he says. And for those who want to entertain at home, or for heavy-duty Asian cooking, he created a wet kitchen in the utility area. “It’s better to have a differentiation of space and function,” he adds.
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The dry kitchen is enclosed with glass partition with Japanese silk fabric design (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Goh replaced the original kitchen counter with a shorter one of French marble Noir San Laurent. The counter can double as a food preparation area as well as bar counter. The marble was chosen to match the dining table and the imported furniture that Goh had ordered for the living and dining area.
Further segregating the dry kitchen from the living and dining area is a glass partition with a Japanese silk fabric design. The glass provides noise cancellation, while allowing those within the dry kitchen to enjoy the view. Hence, even though the dry kitchen is enclosed, it would not feel “boxed in”, he adds.
Access to the dry kitchen is via a motorised glass sliding door. The glass door leads to the bedroom corridor as well as provides “total insulation” from the sounds in the living and dining area too.
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The master bedroom with its rainbow coloured mood lighting (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The bedrooms have been fully furnished, and fitted with acoustic wall panels, mood lighting for the master bedroom and a vanity area at the corner of the en suite walk-in wardrobe adjoining the master bathroom.
One of the bedrooms has been turned into a “private space” with flexibility for use as a study, a TV room or a home office. There is a sofa that can easily be transformed into a pull-out bed as a guest room.
Goh has also installed a state-of-the-art Jung system lighting design for the entire apartment. This allows the future owner to set different moods “with a touch of a button” in the different spaces, he adds. Televisions and sound systems have also been installed.
He estimates that he spent about $200,000 on renovations, and another $200,000 on furnishings — from furniture, rugs, drapes, blinds to lighting, television and sound equipment.
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One of the three bedrooms turned into a private space that can serve as a study, famiy room or guest room (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

Asking price

Following the complete transformation of the unit, it is now on the market for $6.68 million ($3,761 psf), with Edwin Yip, associate director of Tristar Properties, as the sole marketing agent. Owners who are interested in buying the entire apartment including all the loose furniture and furnishing, need only add another $200,000 to the price tag, he notes.
There hasn’t been a transaction at Ardmore Three since 2019. According to caveats lodged with URA Realis, a 20th-floor unit changed hands for $5.15 million ($2,882 psf) in November 2019. Prior to that, a 1,787 sq ft unit on the 36th floor was sold for $7.46 million ($4,175 psf) in December 2017.
However, Tristar’s Yip believes there is strong demand for good-sized, three-bedroom apartments in the exclusive Ardmore Park neighbourhood. He has seen a pick-up in demand for “nicely done up units” as more buyers are looking to purchase for their own residence.
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View from the ninth floor balcony of Goh's unit (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
What’s more, interest in the luxury residential market has intensified following several outsized deals recently. Nearby, Swire Properties recently sold all 20 units at Eden at Draycott for $293 million or $4,827 psf.
Meanwhile, in the Nassim enclave, a GCB has just changed hands for $128.8 million or a record-breaking $4,005 psf.
“We foresee more liquidity coming into the market for luxury properties like Ardmore Three, especially for units at such a price quantum,” notes Yip.
According to Goh, the new owner can “just move in with their luggage”.
Check out the latest listings near Ardmore Park, Ardmore II, Ardmore Three, Draycott Drive, Draycott Park