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Wah Loon founder buys Boat Quay shophouse

Firm controlled by Alan Chong and spouse paying S$21.35m for the 999-yr property housing Michelin-starred Braci

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The six-floor property, as seen in this handout photo from 2016, is one of the tallest conservation shophouses in Boat Quay.

Singapore

WAH LOON Engineering founder Alan Chong, who recently bought a new freehold bungalow in Jervois Hill for S$41.2 million, has also snapped up one of the tallest conservation shophouses along Boat Quay for S$21.35 million.

Spanning six levels, the shophouse has an estimated built-up area of 6,300 sq ft, according to information on the website of Clifton Partners, a real estate investment firm. The property is being sold by an affiliate of the company.

Boasting views of the Singapore River from the upper levels, the shophouse is on a 1,119 sq ft site with 999-year leasehold tenure and is fully leased.

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The top two levels - including some roof terrace space on the sixth floor - are occupied by Braci, a one Michelin-starred Italian restaurant.

A Korean restaurant is on the first level, a nail salon on the second floor while offices take up the third and fourth levels.

Based on the property's current rental income, the transacted price is understood to reflect close to 3 per cent gross yield.

The Clifton Partners affiliate selling the property did a major renovation a couple of years ago including the installation of a new lift.

JB Lin, associate director of boutique property agency Corporate Visions, brokered the sale.

The property is being bought by a company owned by Mr Chong and his wife.

Mr Chong recently sold most of his stake in Wah Loon Engineering to Vinci Energies Asia Pacific, a subsidiary of Euronext Paris-listed infrastructure and construction giant Vinci SA. The deal is said to have valued Wah Loon at about S$300 million, going by a back-of-the-envelope calculation by brokers.

Word on the street is that Mr Chong has been looking for property investments for some time.

His purchase of the Boat Quay shophouse is believed to have preceded his family's acquisition of the Jervois Hill villa.

Earlier this month, BT reported the purchase of the bungalow by Mr Chong's daughter. The price works out to about S$2,729.52 per square foot on land area of 15,094 sq ft.

In terms of psf on land area, this is a record price for a transaction in a Good Class Bungalow Area - busting the previous high of S$2,350 psf set last year for a bungalow in Cluny Hill near the Botanic Gardens.

The Jervois Hill bungalow is being sold by seasoned bungalow investor George Lim, who developed the property on a plot that he acquired for S$25.8 million or S$1,709 psf in 2012. Mr Lim spent about S$10 million-plus building the bungalow on-site.

Spread across two levels and a basement, the villa has five bedrooms, a guest bedroom, a swimming pool, and a pond (which continues as an aquarium in the basement).

There is also a home theatre and a wine cellar plus dry and wet kitchens.

Mr Chong lives in the Chatsworth Road area with his family and the avid car collector is said to have been drawn by the Jervois Hill bungalow's basement carpark, which can accommodate nine to 10 cars.