SilkRoad Property Partners to sell South Bridge Road shophouses for $50 mil

/ EdgeProp Singapore |
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A pair of shophouses at 273 and 275 South Bridge Road is for sale at $50 million. Mary Sai, executive director of investment and capital markets at Knight Frank Singapore, is its marketing agent.
The 999-year leasehold, four-storey shophouses have a footprint of 3,089 sq ft and a floor area of 11,008 sq ft. The $50 million price tag works out to $4,542 psf based on floor area. The sale is conducted by an expression of interest (EOI) exercise, which will close on April 3.
The existing owner of the shophouses is real estate investment manager SilkRoad Property Partners. As of Feb 24, SilkRoad has been entirely sold to HSBC Asset Management. Peter Wittendorp, CEO and founder of SilkRoad, has assumed the role of head of real estate, Asia Pacific, at HSBC Asset Management.
SilkRoad purchased the pair of shophouses at 273 and 275 South Bridge Road from Eu Realty in February 2018 for $26.5 million, based on a caveat lodged with URA Realis.
The reception area of the ST Signature Chinatown (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

Co-living hotel on upper floors

The shophouses were leased to co-living hotel operator ST Signature, a hospitality brand of Catalist-listed F&B operator Katrina Group. It is currently operating as ST Signature Chinatown, a 38-room budget co-living hotel with shared amenities, from pocket sitting rooms and kitchens to communal bathrooms on each level.
ST Signature Chinatown’s five-year lease ends in June this year but can be renewed for another three years. “The new owner will have immediate rental income with the potential for rental upside upon lease renewal,” says Sai.
Daily rates at ST Signature Chinatown start from around $100 a night for a single room to $138 a night for a double room, according to The property has an average occupancy rate between 80% and 85%. Its appeal lies in its proximity to Chinatown, with Smith Street and Temple Street just across the road.
Single rooms with no windows have daily room rates from $100 a night (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The South Bridge Road shophouses are within walking distance of Maxwell MRT Station on the Thomson-East Coast Line and Chinatown MRT Station on the Northeast Line. The Chinatown Food Centre on Smith Street is just across the road, notes Sai.
Additionally, they fall within the Telok Ayer Conservation Area of District 1. Next door to the shophouses at 273 and 275 South Bridge Road is the Eu Yan Sang Building. The four shophouses at 265 to 271 South Bridge Road have been given a new lease of life following the opening of the Great Room with 22,000 sq ft premium co-working space in April last year.
The building used to be the headquarters of Eu Yan Sang, a traditional Chinese medicine brand that opened its first medical hall there. The heritage building dates back to 1910.
8M Real Estate purchased the Eu Yan Sang Building at 265 to 271 South Bridge Road for $54 million in December 2019 and refurbished it (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

Changing hands and renewal

8M Real Estate purchased the Eu Yan Sang Building at 265 to 271 South Bridge Road for $54 million in December 2019 and refurbished it. The property was purchased on a 199-year lease, with Eu Realty holding the underlying 999-year lease.
The neighbouring shophouses along the same row have the Art Deco architectural style and are believed to have been built in the pre-war years, sometime in the 1930s.
A ground-floor unit is still vacant at 273-275 South Bridge Road. According to Knight Frank’s Sai, it was temporarily leased to Kele, a purveyor of pineapple tarts and other traditional Chinese New Year cookies. The landlord is currently seeking a new tenant.
The vacant unit on the first level of the shophouses can be leased to an F&B tenant (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
“The unit is ideal for F&B as the ground floor of many of the shophouses along the row has been converted to F&B outlets, for instance, Yakun Kaya Toast, which opened its latest outlet at a corner unit at 297 South Bridge Road,” Sai adds.
Sources indicate that two adjacent shophouses at 277 and 279 South Bridge Road changed hands for $23 million last year.
Based on a property title search, the deal was completed in November 2023. However, a caveat was not lodged. The shophouses have a combined land area of 2,847 sq ft and a floor area of 8,259 sq ft. The purchase price translates to $2,785 psf. The property has a 99-year lease from 1992, with a remaining lease of 67 years.
The shophouses at 277 and 279 South Bridge Road were purchased by Clifton Partners, a property investment management firm headed by Zain Fancy. Six years ago, in January 2018, the pair of shophouses had traded for $19 million, based on a caveat lodged then.
There are about 13 rooms per level at South Bridge Road (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

‘No longer the old Chinatown’

Another shophouse that is up for sale is a corner two-storey shophouse at 201 South Bridge Road. It sits at the junction of South Bridge Road and Cross Street.
It is also for sale by EOI with a guide price of $8.8 million or $3,408 psf based on the floor area of 2,582 sq ft. The shophouse has a land area of 1,049 sq ft and is zoned for commercial use. It underwent extensive refurbishment in 2022. Savills Singapore is marketing the property.
“Many of the shophouses along South Bridge Road have been refurbished,” observes Krystal Khor, associate director of Mondania, who focuses on marketing conservation shophouses.
New F&B tenants have moved in due to the proximity to the Maxwell MRT Station on the Thomson-East Coast Line, which opened in November 2022, she adds.
The area has become livelier with the introduction of Great Room and new dining spots like Taiwanese café Breakfast Hola at 280 South Bridge Road and Korean-Japanese Gui Café at 278 South Bridge Road, says Khor.“It’s no longer the tired old Chinatown,” she adds.
Based on recent shophouse transactions, Knight Frank’s Sai says that “the market appears to be resilient”.

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