8M Real Estate pays S$40 million for an island block of five shophouses on Jalan Besar

The 999-year leasehold property is linked to an underground pedestrian link to the Jalan Besar MRT station through a covered walkway.

Sep 30, 2022

For S$40 million, Singapore-based real estate investment firm 8M Real Estate is purchasing an island block of 5 contiguous preserved shophouses along Jalan Besar, literally a stone's throw from the Jalan Besar MRT station.

The three-story houses, located in the Little India Conservation Area, sit on 6,584 square feet of ground and have a 999-year leasehold tenure dating back to October 1926. The shophouses, located on the corner of Jalan Besar and Veerasamy Road, are entirely leased to retail and office tenants.

According to data from data platform Handshakes, the properties are being sold by Teo Siok Guan (Private) Limited, which is now in liquidation (members' voluntarily winding up). The firm is named after Teo Siok Guan, the late owner of Guan Hoe Company (Malaya), which was originally located on Hill Street. According to the Rojak Librarian blog, it was well-known as the exclusive representative for Suzuki Motorcycles in Singapore and Malaya in the 1960s. He passed away in May 1957.

Teo Siok Guan (Private) Limited once had shophouses on Joo Chiat Place, Tembeling Road, and Killiney Road, all of which were sold.

Simon Monteiro of List Sotheby's International Realty arranged the sale of the five shophouses on Jalan Besar.

8M is projected to invest between S$3 million and S$5 million to improve the asset. According to market experts, the firm may consider converting the shophouses into a hotel, serviced flats, or other kinds of lodging.

When queried, 8M founder and CEO Ashish Manchharam emphasised the property's exceptional location. The acquisition is 8M's first in more than a year. It previously purchased three neighbouring properties at 8, 9, and 10 Craig Road from Hong Kong-based Harilela Group for S$29.28 million in January 2021.

"This island block of 5 shophouses in Jalan Besar boasts unique architectural features going back to the late 1920s, and is connected to an underground pedestrian link to the Jalan Besar MRT station by a covered walkway." This is our second purchase in Little India following purchasing the Wanderlust hotel on Dickson Road in 2018." Manchharam added.

8M paid S$37 million for the freehold, four-story hotel and spent another S$3 million to renovate it.

"We are optimistic about the possibilities for the Little India region due to increased demand from tenants and operators as the area evolves following the completion of major infrastructural improvements such as MRT stations and planned residential complexes," Manchharam added.

He also mentioned that the Jalan Besar shophouse block the group is purchasing is diagonally opposite the Housing Board's first prime location public housing project, River Peaks I and II, which will be built on two plots of land along Weld Road and Kelantan Road, adjacent to the Jalan Besar MRT station. The project will have 960 Build-To-Order (BTO) flats split across six 47-story-high buildings. One of the blocks will include some rental apartments. The project is expected to be completed in 2028.

8M Real Estate, which Manchharam founded in 2014 with some international institutional investors, controls a portfolio of more than 60 properties in Singapore valued more than S$1 billion, mostly preserved shophouses. Boat Quay, New Bridge Road, South Bridge Road, Amoy Street, Gemmill Lane, Duxton Hill, and Keong Saik Road are among the most popular.