Sunday, October 14, 2007

Tanglin Village proves hot property for businesses

TANGLIN Village, the latest lifestyle hot spot in town, is drawing massive crowds to its range of newly opened shops and restaurants.

And where consumers and foodies flock, so do business people. They have descended on the prime Dempsey Road enclave in a bid to clinch the remaining pieces of land.

Tanglin Village’s short-term leases - usually for three years, as the land is slated for residential use after 2015 - have not deterred tenants, said the Singapore Land Authority (SLA). It said businesses are confident of reaping most of their investments in the first three years.

Offers have poured in for two Tanglin Village plots released recently, said the SLA, which is managing the development.

A former chapel site at 39C Harding Road drew a record 23 bids when its tender closed last month. The top rental offer was $56,000 a month - five times the guide rent, SLA said.

It was put in by Ponte & Partners, the Singapore-based firm that brought in German brewery Paulaner Brauhaus at Millenia Walk.

The Harding Road property, which has a gross floor area of 4,456 sq ft, is safeguarded for conservation. It sits on a 43,172 sq ft plot.

Most of the other bidders for the site were also from the food and beverage industry, including Da Paolo Ristorante Italiano, Palm Beach Seafood and Select Catering Services.

A second site, at 45 Minden Road, was similarly popular with 15 bidders lodging offers. The highest was $51,000 a month, or more than double the $22,000 guide rent.

It came from the Siam Silk Company, a unit of Thailand’s Thai Silk Company, which was founded by the renowned Jim Thompson.

If it is awarded the 30,631 sq ft property - which has 10,156 sq ft of gross floor area - the firm plans to open a Jim Thompson Thai restaurant and wine bar, said Mr Steve Benhar, corporate counsel for the Thai Silk Company. The eatery will feature private indoor dining and a garden bar.

The strong response to the two sites is testament to how hot Tanglin Village has become in recent months.

A year ago, a building with 13,000 sq ft of gross floor area drew only 11 rental bids - the highest just $23,000 a month. Oosh, an alfresco bar and restaurant, is now operating at the site.

Earlier this year, some 27 sub-tenant businesses faced the prospect of being evicted when their master tenant, Tanglin Warehouse, fell behind in its rental payments to the SLA.

This was averted after Tanglin Warehouse settled the arrears in full.

And things have picked up quickly since then. In the last six months, 25 firms have set up shop in the area, according to the SLA.

Their offerings run a wide gamut, from restaurants and shops to education and entertainment centres. Some tenants even use the space for offices.

The burst of activity has brought occupancy at Tanglin Village to more than 70 per cent, said the SLA’s chief executive, Brigadier-General (NS) Lam Joon Khoi.

‘Tanglin Village tenders so far have attracted a number of entrepreneurs to build their dream businesses,’ he told The Straits Times.

To better serve these tenants and their customers, the SLA intends to review ‘basic infrastructural improvements’, such as road paving, lighting and utilities, BG Lam added.

More tenants, including an international school, are also expected to make their homes in the area soon.

It is also understood that a brewery will open, as well as an Italian restaurant and an outlet for the Long Beach Seafood restaurant chain.

Tanglin Village’s success has spurred the SLA to examine uses for other enclaves such as Keat Hong camp in Choa Chu Kang - a former Singapore Armed Forces camp - and Phoenix Park in Tanglin Road, the former headquarters of the Home Affairs Ministry.

Tanglin Village

Source: The Straits Times 13 Oct 07

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