Shophouse on Hongkong Street on the market for $10.1 million
A shophouse at 18 Hongkong Street, located off Boat Quay in prime District 1, is up for sale with an asking price of $10.1 million. The four-storey walk-up property has an existing gross floor area (GFA) of 5,074 q ft, inclusive of outdoor balconies on the second, third and fourth floors. Hence, the asking price works out to $1,991 psf based on the existing GFA.
Zoned for commercial use, the property sits on a land area of 1,884 sq ft which is with an approved gross plot ratio of 4.2 under the 2019 URA Master Plan. The 99-years’ leasehold land has a tenure starting from Jan 1, 1951, which means there is a balance of about 27 years remaining on the lease. Krystal Khor, director at Mondania, who is marketing the property, notes that the owner of 18 Hongkong Street had previously obtained planning permission for all four of its floors to be used as a backpackers’ hostel. For the last seven years, the property has been leased to the hostel operator of City Backpackers @ Clarke Quay. However, the planning permission is slated to expire by 2024 and the property can be sold with vacant possession should the buyer prefer, Khor adds.
The property at 18 Hongkong Street lies within the Upper Circular Conservation Area, which is bounded by Upper Circular Road, South Bridge Road, North Canal Road and New Bridge Road. Buildings within the area comprise mainly three- to five-storey shophouses that were built from the 1930s to the late 1960s. Under URA’s conservation guidelines, the area is classified as one of Singapore’s secondary settlements — post-World War 1 urban developments outside the central city district. Other secondary settlements include areas like Balestier, Beach Road, Jalan Besar, Joo Chiat and Tiong Bahru.
Taking into account 18 Hongkong Street’s approved gross plot ratio of 4.2 and its maximum allowable height of six-storeys, a redevelopment of the property with the rear extension could yield an enlarged GFA of 7,912 sq ft. According to Khor, the owner has submitted an application to obtain planning permission to increase the property’s GFA to 7,912 sq ft via the addition of a fifth-storey extension that comes with a rooftop terrace. “A $250,000 fee for the proposed increment in GFA has already been paid for by the owner,” she notes. At the same time, the owner is also seeking approvals for F&B usage for the first and second floors and office usage for the third to fifth floors.
In the last 10 years, Hongkong Street, originally tenanted by merchants in a small, quiet alley that would ply their trade at Boat Quay, has seen steady change — a ripple effect from the transformation of the waterfront areas along Singapore River into lifestyle destinations. Given its proximity to tourist hotspots such as Clarke Quay and Marina Bay, the street has seen a rejuvenation of budget and boutique hotels. On top of that, it has also become home to gourmet F&B establishments, including famous cocktail bar 28 HongKong Street and Spanish eatery FOC Restaurant, as well as specialty fitness centres. “With Clarke Quay MRT Station just a short walk away, the location is ideal,” adds Mondania’s Khor.
Mondania’s Khor believes 18 Hongkong Street will attract keen interest from a diverse pool of buyers, due to its strategic location and its wide redevelopment potential spanning F&B, hotel, offices and retail. In addition, its commercial zoning allows foreigners and companies to purchase the properties without additional buyer’s stamp duty or seller’s stamp duty. The property has another factor going for it: its address number. “The number ‘18’ is considered lucky and auspicious — we expect the building number alone will pique the interest of a number of buyers,” Khor says.