Most of you have seen this six-storey building—you just didn’t realise it. Built in 1986, the 101 Beach Road is a nondescript commercial-residential mixed-use building at the junction of Beach Road and Liang Seah Street. This is just across the road from Shaw Towers and the upcoming Guoco Midtown mega-development comprising of the Midtown Bay condo.
One of the selling points is that the development sits on 999-year leasehold land dating from 1827, which means that humanity would probably self-destruct before you have to return this land to the Singapore government in year 2826.
A little-known fact is that there are 15 private residential units within the building, collectively called The 101. There’s no fancy condo amenities whatsoever here, just dwelling units, although the smattering of dining options along Liang Seah Street must count for something.
Now, behold the stunning property price appreciation of The 101 over the years.
If you think that no-frills private apartments like these will lag behind in value appreciation, then you couldn’t be more wrong.
The last transaction at The 101 took place in 2015, and you can see from the chart below how staggering the appreciation of value had been for The 101, compared to properties in the same district and age range:
While condos and private apartments of a similar age in the Bugis district experienced a 106.92% increase in price over the two decade period of 1995 to 2015, owners of The 101 saw their units appreciate by more than 150%!
Now let’s examine why, despite the lack of condo facilities, the property value for The 101 could outperform the likes of full condos such as Burlington Square and Sunshine Plaza.
First, the proximity of the property to Suntec City. Completed in 1997, Suntec City remains the largest mixed-use development to date in Singapore, and being one of the few condos within walking distance to Suntec City was a great perk, especially for investors who know that a fair number of renters will choose location over condo amenities any day.
Secondly, while the entire Bugis area can be considered centrally-located and within walking distance to MRT stations and amenities, the plot of land that The 101 specifically sits on (698.9 square metres) is of the ideal size for redevelopment; not too large, which would be prohibitively expensive for developers, but not too small or constrained by the many conservation houses in this heritage district.
Last but not least, buyers and owners of The 101 must’ve been seen of the empty land parcels surrounding the property and instantly recognised the development potential of the area.
In 1990, the construction of the iconic twin office towers, The Gateway, within touching distance of The 101 was a sign of things to come. Designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei, The Gateway was–and still remains–a landmark development for Singapore.
You could say that, at the time, placing such a significant development away from the Central Business District (CBD) was a show of intent by the government to develop the area into a commercial hub.
The long waiting game for owners
But for nearly a decade, owners of The 101 had to play a waiting game for the next big change. It took 17 years until the government released one of the many vacant land parcels in Bugis for sale, the first being the sprawling piece of land between Raffles Hotel and Suntec City where South Beach now stands. This is less than 200 metres away from The 101.
Then, a similarly massive mixed-use development of Duo Galleria and Duo Residences was launched in 2013, about 150 metres in the other direction. Surrounded by exciting changes, transaction prices of The 101 began to veer off the district’s average in the positive direction from 2010 onwards.
Then, in 2018, the goverment released for tender the land parcel directly opposite The 101, which will become the Guoco Midtown/Midtown Bay development in a few years’ time that promises to completely transform the Bugis district into an attractive hub where people will live, work, play and hang out.
Even Shaw Towers will be torn down and redeveloped as part of the plan.
A new expressway, the North-South Corridor, will also funnel traffic directly to the area when it’s complete by 2026.
So, this neighbourhood has been undergoing a makeover over the years, and it’s finally time for old developements such as The 101 to make way for the new.
And with a $90 million reserve price, an en bloc sale would be the end of a highly lucrative journey for owners here, should their attempt be successful in this challenging economic climate.
Would this en bloc bid be successful? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
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