SingHaiyi roots for flower power

/ EdgeProp Singapore |
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The Singapore-listed property group will roll out three new projects this year, starting with the preview of The Lilium and The Gazania later this month, followed by that of Parc Clematis some time in 3Q2019

Daffodils, lilies, poppies and tulips have inspired many an English and American poet, while plum blossoms, peonies and chrysanthemums are significant in classical Chinese poems and songs. It is not surprising, then, that even property developers turn to the world of flowers in search of exotic names for their projects.
The latest to do so is Singapore-listed property developer SingHaiyi Group, which will be unleashing its “flower series” – a trilogy of new residential projects this year. They are The Lilium and The Gazania in the How Sun private residential estate, which are likely to be previewed some time this month; and Parc Clematis in the neighbourhood of Clementi, scheduled to be unveiled some time in 3Q2019.
SingHaiyi purchased two en bloc sites in the How Sun area, namely the former Sun Rosier and the former How Sun Park (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
According to Gregory Sim, deputy CEO of SingHaiyi Group, one of the reasons behind the “flower series” was to inject softer elements into the properties. “People often associate real estate with the hard elements such as concrete, aluminium and steel,” he says. “We hope to introduce a softer aspect through the names of the projects, the architectural lines and our landscaping.”

Three en bloc purchases worth $1.2 billion

All three developments are collective sale sites purchased by SingHaiyi and its related parties over a five-month period from September 2017 to January 2018. The purchases amounted to more than $1.19 billion.
It started with the purchase of the former Sun Rosier for $271 million ($1,325 psf per plot ratio or psf ppr) in September 2017. The site will be redeveloped into The Gazania, a low-rise, freehold condominium development of about 250 units on How Sun Drive.
This was followed two months later by the purchase of the former How Sun Park for $81.1 million ($1,092 psf ppr). Located along How Sun Road, the new, freehold boutique development that will be built on the site is The Lilium, and will contain about 80 units.
The biggest en bloc purchase made by SingHaiyi to date is the former Park West, a 99-year leasehold site. Its price tag of $840.9 million ($850 psf ppr) in January 2018 also makes it the fourth biggest deal in the latest en bloc wave of 2017-2018, and it ranks among the biggest all-time en bloc deals to date. The new leasehold development, Parc Clematis located on Jalan Lempeng, will be a high-rise project with 1,468 units.
The clubhouse and swimming pool of The Gazania (Credit: SingHaiyi)

Simultaneous launches

SingHaiyi intends to launch The Gazania and The Lilium simultaneously not only due to their proximity, but also because they complement each other, says Sim. Both projects are designed by Singapore-based RSP Architects Planners & Engineers. “We thought that the smaller development with 80 units will appeal to those who want a residence that’s quiet and serene,” he explains. “The 250-unit development, being bigger, will appeal to those who want a more active, vibrant lifestyle. We then picked names of flowers that would resonate with the respective projects’ characteristics.”
The idea of using flower names arose from a discussion between Sim and Celine Tang, SingHaiyi’s group managing director. “Since the former development Sun Rosier has the word ‘sun’, we thought the perfect complement would be the ‘moon’,” says Sim. “But it’s hard to relate ‘sun’ and ‘moon’ back to property.”
The idea was therefore to choose the names of flowers that bloomed in the day and the night. The result was “lilium”, which is a type of lily that resembles a lotus flower that blooms at night, for the former How Sun Park. The former Sun Rosier took on the name of “gazania”, also known as “the African daisy” or “treasure flower”. It comes in vibrant colours and responds very well to the sun.
The Gazania (pictured) will share similar architectural lines and facade treatment ast The Lilium, and both projects will be launched simultaneously (Credit: SingHaiyi)
At The Lilium, unit types range from two- to four-bedroom apartments. The project will cater to those who want more space and a tranquil environment, says Sim. The Gazania, on the other hand, being a larger development, will have a wider mix of unit types – from one- to four-bedroom apartments – catering to investors, young couples and families as well as multi-generations living together.
Even though both developments will share some similarities in terms of façade treatment, they will have their own distinct design characteristics, says Sim.
The enduring appeal of both projects lies in the freehold tenure, and location within the How Sun private residential estate which is largely a landed housing estate, he adds. In terms of amenities, the two developments are near top schools such as St Andrew’s School, Maris Stella High School and Nanyang Junior College.

Proximity to MRT, Bidadari estate

The nearest MRT station is Bartley on the Circle Line, which is just a three-minute walk from The Gazania, and a six-minute walk from The Lilium. “It’s very rare to find freehold private condos located so close to an MRT station,” Sim points out. “That was certainly one of the reasons why we were interested in the How Sun area in the first place.”
The interior of The Gazania which is located just a three-minute walk from the Bartley MRT station (Credit: SingHaiyi)
What’s more, Bartley MRT Station is just one stop from the Serangoon MRT interchange station for the Circle and North East Lines. The MRT interchange station is also integrated with Nex – one of the biggest suburban shopping malls in Singapore – and the Serangoon bus interchange.
The How Sun estate is easily accessible by car via Bartley Road, Upper Serangoon Road and Upper Paya Lebar Road.
Nearby is the upcoming Bidadari Estate, announced in the 2013 Master Plan. Besides seven new-generation public housing projects with a total of 6,100 units, there will also be parks, gardens, communal and social spaces, lakes, dedicated bicycle paths and walking trails. In the future, The Woodleigh Mall, which is integrated with the Woodleigh MRT station, is just one stop from the Serangoon interchange station.
“Having all these new amenities will help create value for future home owners of The Gazania and The Lilium,” Sim adds.
The Gazania and The Lilium are both freehold projects located within the How Sun private housing estate (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

Freehold tenure - key differential

He acknowledges that there have been many new launches in the Hougang-Serangoon and Woodleigh-Potong Pasir areas over the past 12 months: the 613-unit The Garden Residences and 1,052-unit Affinity at Serangoon at Serangoon North Avenue 1 launched in June last year; followed by the 1,427-unit Riverfront Residences at Hougang Avenue 7 and the 805-unit Park Colonial at Woodleigh Link on the evening of July 5, the eve of the implementation of the property cooling measures.
The 729-unit The Tre Ver at Potong Pasir Avenue 1 was launched last August, while The Woodleigh Residences released 50 units at a preview last November. The latest launch in the area was the 1,410-unit The Florence Residences in March this year.
“We will certainly draw reference from projects nearby, like The Woodleigh Residences and Park Colonial, and try to strike a balance between the two,” says Sim. Prices of units sold at Park Colonial may have averaged about $1,736 psf at launch in July 2018. However, more than 60 units were sold at prices above $1,900 psf, with close to 20 units sold at prices above $2,000 psf. Meanwhile, the average price of units released at The Woodleigh Residences last November was $2,025 psf.
Sim highlights that while these projects are leasehold, The Gazania and The Lilium are freehold. “Our pricing strategy is pegged to recent new launches in the Bidadari area, with a premium of about 15% to 20% accorded to the freehold status of the two projects.”
Sim: It’s very rare to find freehold private condos located so close to an MRT station (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
These two condos – The Gazania and The Lilium – will stand out as among the few new freehold developments in the Bidadari area when they are fully developed, notes Alan Cheong, executive director of research & consultancy at Savills Singapore.
“The value of a freehold tenure cannot be overstated,” concedes Ismail Gafoor, CEO of PropNex. “A lot of people appreciate the value of freehold property over the long term, and are willing to pay a premium for it. But developers are also cognisant of the fact that homebuyers are very price-sensitive today, and will therefore price their projects accordingly.”
Following the launch of The Gazania and The Lilium, SingHaiyi will be looking at replenishing its landbank. “We are a listed company, and we will have to start looking for suitable sites even before the launch of Parc Clematis,” says Sim. “It’s not easy to find the right site so we should actively look out after launching these two projects.”
The Lilium and The Gazania will come with a choice of a warm or a cool scheme (Credit: SingHaiyi)

Parc Clematis – within an established residential area

The third and biggest project launch in SingHaiyi’s residential property portfolio to date will be Parc Clematis, which derives its name from a genus of flowers within the buttercup family. The site is on Jalan Lempeng, just off Clementi Avenue 6. It is well-served by amenities, being located in the vicinity of parks and the rail corridor, as well as Nan Hua Primary School, Clementi Mall and Clementi MRT Station on the East West Line.
Like The Gazania and The Lilium, Parc Clematis is also located within an established landed housing estate, namely Faber Park. Parc Clematis sits on a site area of 633,644 sq ft – the equivalent of about nine soccer fields. It has the potential to be redeveloped into a brand-new, 25-storey condo with a total of 1,765 units. However, SingHaiyi decided to build 1,468 units instead. “Right from the start, we knew we didn’t want to maximise the number of units in the development,” says Sim. “We didn’t want to have unit sizes that were too small.”
To optimise space use, SingHaiyi's team embarked on a fact-finding mission. “The lifestyles of people have changed, so we need to adapt,” says Sim. “We wanted to see how people utilise the space and the appliances within their home.”
SingHaiyi has planned for 1,468 units at Parc Clematis, even though the site has the potential to be developed into 1,765 units (Credit: SingHaiyi)
One example is the living and dining area. According to Sim, some homeowners say they do not mind having a smaller living room if it means having a bigger master bedroom because they now watch television and movies on their personal devices in their bedroom. Another example is the oven, a standard provision in the kitchens of most condominiums today. “Judging from my own personal experience, I use my oven perhaps only once or twice a year to bake cookies with my children during Christmas or roast something over New Year,” says Sim.
A more practical solution is to provide microwave combination ovens for the one- and two-bedroom units at Parc Clematis, which not only occupy less space, but are also more likely to be used regularly, he adds.
Residents of such units who want to use the larger, conventional ovens for baking, could still do so at the “co-kitchen” that SingHaiyi will be introducing at Parc Clematis. The co-kitchen will house 10 to 12 ovens, which residents can book for use. There will be ovens reserved for halal and for vegetarian food. “Given the scale of the project, we are able to provide such facilities to cater to a diverse range of residents’ needs,” says Sim.
In addition to co-kitchens, residents at Parc Clematis can also look out for other shared facilities such as co-dining pavilions, self-service large washing machines and dryers, as well as vending machines.

Stakes in other listed developers

Besides being group managing director of SingHaiyi, Celine Tang is also the chairman of Singapore-listed construction company, Chip Eng Seng Corp, after becoming the latter’s largest shareholder last October. Tang and her husband, Gordon, had purchased 29.7% of Chip Eng Seng’s shares from the company’s founder, Lim Tiam Seng and six other members of his family who are also major shareholders. Chip Eng Seng’s property development arm, CEL Development, is the developer of Park Colonial and the upcoming redevelopment of the former Changi Garden which it purchased in October 2017.
Tang is also the non-executive chairman of Singapore-listed property group, OKH Global, in which she and her husband acquired a 44.3% stake in 2016 through the issuance of new shares at a discount to market price.
Despite holding substantial stakes in the two other listed companies, Tang is “more involved with SingHaiyi”, says Sim. The three listed companies “operate very independently from one another”, he adds.
However, he “wouldn’t rule out the possibility” of the three entities doing joint ventures in the future, especially if they are bidding for a big development site. “We could leverage one another’s expertise,” he says. “So if there’s a mega-sized project in the future that we are keen on, why not?”

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