Sunday, July 25, 2010

No more 'House of Lims' after $137m sale

In the biggest collective sale this year, an apartment block of 27 units has raised eyebrows for garnering 100 per cent 'yes' votes.

But more than 20 units there were actually owned by an extended family, the Lims, for decades.

At one point, three generations were living under one roof.

Meng Garden Apartments in Lloyd Road, off Killiney Road, has been sold to boutique developer TG Development (TGD) for $137 million.

The deal was sealed last Friday after the developer put down a 10 per cent deposit.

The majority of the apartments in the eight-storey block belonged to the 10 children of patriach Lim Siew Meng.

The former deputy managing director of local trading firm Lim Teck Lee bought the 35,639 sq ft plot of land from the Alkaff family before he died in 1976.

The Lims were living in a two-storey house, the original residence of the Alkaffs, in Lloyd Road before building Meng Garden in 1985.

Mr Alwi Alkaff, 82, said his father, Mr Syed Mohamed Alkaff, sold the house to the Lims as 'the Alkaff family was getting bigger and every member wanted his own house'.

The Lims declined to be interviewed.

TGD managing director Ong Boon Chuan told The Sunday Times that an upmarket development similar to those it developed in Sentosa Cove will be built there.

The freehold site is zoned for residential use. It has a 2.8 plot ratio and a 10-storey height control.

At about $1,380 per sq ft (psf) per plot ratio, it is 'a good deal', said Mr Ong. 'The land is squarish and easy to design, and it is near Somerset MRT.'

This is not the first time residents have put the property up for collective sale. In 2007, they asked for $1,488 psf per plot ratio, but there were no takers.

CB Richard Ellis brokered this collective sale. The tender, put up last month, was reported to have attracted six bidders, said The Business Times.

Age has taken its toll on the property. Pieces of discarded furniture were seen lining one end of the lift lobby.

The security guard house, near the lift lobby, looked dusty and reeked of stale cigarette smoke.

Property consultancy Cushman & Wakefield's managing director Donald Han said that an old development is like an old person whose health-care costs go up with age.

'In some cases, it is not worth repairing the water-proofing of floors or lifts,' said Mr Han.

In addition, a collective sale today can give home owners a 30 to 50 per cent premium over the selling price in the second-hand market, he said.

Source: Sunday Times, 25 Jul 2010

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