Wednesday, December 12, 2007

HONG KONG movie superstar Jackie Chan’s love affair with Singapore property continues with his latest purchase - the former Jinriksha Station

HONG KONG movie superstar Jackie Chan’s love affair with Singapore property continues with his latest purchase - the former Jinriksha Station at 1 Neil Road.

He fell in love with the historic building - once the central depot for rickshaw drivers in Singapore - and bought it for $11 million.

The three-storey corner building in Tanjong Pagar now houses a music lounge called EZ50 on the ground floor. Its sale price works out to $818 per sq ft (psf).

‘It’s a good price because the individual shophouses there are about $1,000 over psf on average,’ said Mr Simon Kwan, who helped broker the deal about a fortnight back. ‘As long as he purchases it at or below the market price, he will be comfortable,’ he said, of Chan.

Mr Kwan, who is the star’s property agent, also runs EZ50 and The 50s pubs, as well as the recently opened Jackie Chan’s Cafe Coffee and Tea at 1 Nassim Road.

The star purchased 1 Neil Road from a firm owned by Mr S. L. Cheong, which also owns the 1 Nassim Road property leased to Chan.

Mr Cheong, the uncle of SC Global chief Simon Cheong, also sold Chan The 50s entertainment complex on Tanjong Pagar Road for $8.8 million in 1996.

Both the Tanjong Pagar buildings are in the Neil Road conservation area.

‘You can’t find buildings like this anywhere else,’ said Mr Kwan. ‘These are the two most outstanding buildings in Tanjong Pagar.’

The former Jinriksha station was built in 1903.

It is a commercial building with space for rent. The One Family KTV karaoke lounge used to occupy the second and third floors, but it had since closed down, according to Mr Kwan, who is managing the building on behalf of Chan.

Mr Kwan has plans for a piano bar, a foot reflexology business or offices for the 8,500 sq ft of space on the second and third floors.

‘The highest possibility is to have offices,’ he said, explaining that this plan would leave him time to concentrate on running Chan’s new restaurant business in Singapore.

Also, office rents are currently strong, supported by tight supply.

Rents at the nearby Red Dot Traffic Building are at $6 psf a month, while those at International Plaza next to the Tanjong Pagar MRT station are going for $7.50 to $8 psf.

Mr Kwan said they could have seven to eight office units.

A decision will be made after a trip to Hong Kong to meet up with Chan and firm up plans, he said.

Apart from commercial buildings, the movie star also owns a few condominium units in the Orchard Road area, including a three-bedroom unit in The Grangeford condo on Leonie Hill Road.

The 99-year leasehold Grangeford is by now known for the property that sold en bloc for more than half of Horizon Towers’ price on a psf basis.

Chan bought his Grangeford apartment, which is being rented out, for only $1.3 million back in 1996.

He will stand to reap about $3.4 million from the collective sale, which he was originally not keen on joining.

Another Hong Kong superstar, Andy Lau, also used to own an apartment at Grangeford, as well as a unit at the UE Square condo.

Mr Kwan said he had since sold these off for Andy Lau. He also used to manage the Singapore properties of the late Teresa Teng and Anita Mui.

Savills Singapore’s director of business development and marketing, Mr Ku Swee Yong, said there would be more celebrities entering Singapore’s property market.

‘For one, the Formula One event will bring in a lot of celebrities.’

Source : Straits Times - 12 Dec 2007

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