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Thread: Love of property runs in his blood

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    Default Love of property runs in his blood


    Love of property runs in his blood

    Hatten Group MD's idol is his father, the 'Geylang king'

    Published on Mar 31, 2014

    By Rachael Boon

    AS THE son of Eric Tan, the so-called "Geylang king", Hatten Group managing director Colin Tan has the love of property coursing through his veins.

    His father achieved fame after buying more than 30 properties and plots in the Geylang area between 1990 and 1995 for redevelopment. Those projects included the 49-unit Torieview Mansions and the 14-unit Goodview Mansions.

    Mr Tan, 31, says: "When I was younger, we went around with our dad to look at land. There was an interest in doing developments, and looking at how buildings were built."

    Road trips with his father and brother Edwin, now Hatten Group's chief executive, presented them with opportunities in Malaysia in 2004.

    One eventually led to Malacca, where Hatten Group took the chance to transform a 7.7ha development. Called Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall, it is now known as the biggest retail mall in Malacca, and is the group's flagship project.

    "Dataran Pahlawan was an abandoned project, hidden within the city centre and next to a historical site. We thought this was a good place to start a development if we wanted to."

    Mr Tan says they decided to give it a shot, marking the start of Hatten Group's involvement in real estate in Malaysia.

    "My father could have continued in the construction business, but we went into Malaysia because there were good opportunities. He had the foresight that Malacca is a gem and a chance not to be missed."

    Hatten Group was incorporated in 2008, and its headquarters is in Malacca, where Mr Tan is based. He says he could not have done it without his father, now Hatten Group's chairman, who has always been there to guide him along the way, playing a central role in the business.

    The chairman, Mr Eric Tan, has seen his fair share of ups and downs in the property line, having gone into property development with Torie Development in 1983.

    The recession hit in 1984 to 1985 and he found himself owing money to the bank. He later went into construction in 1986, and returned to property with plots in the Geylang area.

    As the managing director of local firm Torie Group, which already had six projects in Malacca in 1995, he was hit again by the regional recession in the late 1990s. He has since kept a low profile in Singapore, focusing on Malaysia, where he is now known as Datuk Wira Eric Tan.

    Mr Colin Tan says what his father went through did not really affect his decision to go into property. Instead, it was being exposed to real estate at a very young age. Calling his father his idol, Mr Tan says he has seen how his father managed the various challenges all these years. He has one elder brother, and a younger sister and brother.

    Hatten Group's latest venture is Capital City in the fast-growing Iskandar development zone, a 20-minute drive from Singapore. The RM2.2 billion (S$847 million) mixed-used project is at Jalan Tempoi, about 7km north-west of Danga Bay, and is being jointly developed with Sunbuild Development and Gadang Holdings. The site is a 17-minute drive from the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex.

    The project consists of two hotel blocks, three Soho (small office home office) loft residential blocks and a one million sq ft retail concept mall named Capital 21.

    Mr Tan decided to proceed with the Iskandar project even though many developers are rushing into the zone.

    "The big players are in Medini and Danga Bay area, none of them has stepped into this area where we've started, and the majority of its surroundings are residential areas, so we thought this would be a good chance for us."

    Hatten Group's other projects include Hatten Square, a mixed-use development with 200 units of retail space, and Hatten Hotel with 750 hotel suites.

    The property group, which is also involved in hospitality, wants to stand out from other residential developers by focusing on integrated projects. Mr Tan says: "If you're talking about residential projects, a lot of developers can do it. Mixed, integrated developments, not so much, which is a niche market in that sense. We didn't want to compete with the rest of them, but to create something unique."

    The group has plans for six new projects in Malaysia - in centres including Malacca and Seremban - but is focusing its efforts on Capital City for now.

    Mr Tan, who is married with two children, is not ruling out Singapore, and is open to other businesses, saying that Hatten Group is expanding into health and education. "If the timing or opportunity is right, we will do something in Singapore as well."

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  2. #2

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    got money anything can run in your blood la.

    stupid article.

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