Roman Scott, the conservation shophouse investor

The founder of Calamander Group, who is divesting one of his portfolios held in a property fund, has put on the market three shophouses on Stanley Street for $50 million and another shophouse on Tras Street for $11 million

Scott: Singapore conservation shophouses are ideal for those seeking to protect their wealth (Credit: Albert Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
To Roman Scott, economist and chairman of Calamander Group, curating tenants is the most important part of investing in conservation shophouses in Singapore. “It’s fun curating tenants,” he says. “You get to meet these cool, top chefs, eat their food and help them design their restaurants. I think all shophouse investors try to curate fabulous food concepts because we love to eat. So, why not build it into your shophouse? We are encouraging Singapore to be the centre for top chefs.”
He considers the conservation shophouses along Stanley Street in the CBD’s Telok Ayer Conservation Area to be “the most coveted, gilt-edged real estate in Singapore”. It is the closest to the CBD and the Singapore Exchange, Lau Pa Sat and the MRT station, Scott says. Based on his research, there are only 5,000 such conservation shophouses left in Singapore, and they were built 100 to 150 years ago. Of these, only 3,200 are located in the heart of the CBD.
In 2006, Scott founded Calamander Group and embarked on his quest for conservation shophouses in the CBD. The Singapore Permanent Resident (PR) has led an illustrious career as a former partner and director of The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) as well as senior member of BCG’s Global Financial Services practice. A global economic strategist and bank restructuring expert, Scott served on the Singapore government’s Economic Restructuring Committee Financial Services Task Force in 2001 and her Economic Strategies Committee in 2009. He was on the board of the British Chamber of Commerce Singapore from 2005 to 2011, and the Indonesian government’s Bank Restructuring Agency from 2000 to 2004.
One of the reasons Scott chose to be an entrepreneur and invest in his passion (shophouses) was also because he didn’t want to do any more “cleaning up” of banks in trouble, he says. “They are always getting into trouble. It’s a...