Geylang Home Sandwich by New Condos

After refusing to sell to developers for a decade, the owners of two terrace homes are suddenly getting intimately acquainted with their condo projects, which are completely enveloping them.

“I can still do my gardening, and I will not sell no matter how much the other side offers,” said a 60-year-old hawker known only as Goh.

Goh House at Guillemard Road

Because Goh and the other owner at 337 Guillemard Road refused to sell, developers Macly Group and Tiara Realty proceeded with the construction of two condo towers – La Brisa and Noma, respectively – surrounding them.

Goh’s house is now a sliver of land sandwiched between two multi-story buildings, while the other house, which has been converted into a prayer hall, will be flanked by one that is still under construction.

Google Map

La Brisa has been completed since 2012 on Lorong 28 Geylang, while Noma is scheduled to be completed in 2023 close to Guillemard Road.

Goh said that he would never sell his house, which he has shared with his sister since the death of their mother, the original owner, since it is now a rare in a nation where the bulk of residential homes have a limited lifespan.

“Right now, finding a home like this is impossible. Other properties have 99-year leases, but this one is freehold and belongs to us,” he said.

All public housing flats in Singapore must be surrendered after their 99-year leases expire.

“I created a garden in the open space in front of the home. Aside from gardening, I maintain angelfish and birds, and I get to see the city rise up in the mornings while sitting in my garden,” the hawker said.

Five of his former neighbors allegedly paid S$20.55 million (about US$15 million) to clear the way for the Noma project. Goh said that the Macly Group contacted him in 2017 but that he refused to sell.

Noma Site
Google Street View shows the terrace homes progressively being overshadowed by the eight-story La Brisa since at least 2008. Images taken in previous years show Goh’s garden shrinking year after year.

The owner of the Buddhist prayer hall refused to sell the land, according to the caretaker. It is not an officially recognized house of worship and only accepts the owner’s friends and family.

Going forward, such cases going to increase as there are more enbloc going on over at Geylang area. Yuen Sin Mansions was enbloc and will be rebuild to Gems Ville New Condo and also a row of landed houses over at Jalan Molek that that will be Mori New Condo. Gems Ville will likely launch in 2022 while Mori will likely launch end of 2021.


Why Invest in Geylang?

Geylang Rezone

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) announced a proposal to rezone portions of Geylang from Residential/Institution to Commercial/Institution on January 13, 2015. This is a suggested change to the 2014 URA Master Plan.

Geylang has been on my radar for excellent property purchases since 2001. People thought I was insane at the time for investing in Geylang, but I’ve turned a profit.

In recent years, I have projected that Geylang’s commercial and residential environment would undergo significant changes, including an increase in locational status, improved government efforts, and much more. Almost every one of them came true…


What does the rezoning imply for current Geylang property owners?

The URA proposes to rezone the site over at Geylang Road, Guillemard Road, Lorong 22 Geylang, and Lorong 4 Geylang from ‘Residential/Institution’ to ‘Commercial/Institution,’ excluding parcels of land zoned Road, lots fronting Geylang Road, and the sports field bounded by Lorong 12 Geylang and Talma Road.

In summary, under the planned rezoning exercise, the URA would not approve any new residential developments in a 14-hectare area of Geylang between Lorong 4 to Lorong 22. Existing residential developments may be preserved. Similarly, newly authorized residential developments in the region may begin construction. The new zone forbids residential usage.

The maximum plot ratio (the maximum gross floor area to land area ratio) will remain at 2.8.

According to the URA, the reasoning is as follows: “With more new residential projects in the region, there has been an increasing spill over of disputes and friction on the ground between homeowners and the various uses in the area.” As a result, in collaboration with the police and other authorities, we believe that the development of the residential community between Lorongs 4 and 22 should be rebalanced and controlled in order to minimize friction with residential uses and prevent degrading the area’s character.”

The lower Lorongs have greater commercial activity than the higher Lorongs. The higher Lorongs have more residential enclaves than the lower Lorongs. The proposed rezoning, which would exclude new residential developments, would enable conflicting use problems to be better controlled and avoid spillover into neighboring regions.


Does this rezoning affect enbloc potential in a good or negative way?

The rezoning is anticipated to increase land prices in the area and encourage collective sales.

Any residential properties in the designated belt that want to be redeveloped in the future must adhere to the authorized uses allowed in the new commercial/institution zone.

The designated belt will have a spillover impact on the upper Lorongs because residential developers who wish to capitalize on future possibilities in the region and adjacent redevelopment zones will need to acquire additional land to construct new residential projects in that area. Developers will find Geylang extremely lucrative indeed, given its present high plot ratio of 2.8, freehold land, and ‘cheaper to enbloc’ homes.

Many of the freehold residential properties in the higher Lorongs are older, smaller in size, and less expensive for developers to enbloc. Developers or investors may be interested in combining existing residential clusters for redevelopment via a collective sale procedure.

Given that PayaLebarAirbase will be relocated by 2030 to allow for greater construction ratios in the region, developers will capitalize on these possibilities in the early years for economic reasons.

I anticipate a favorable effect on land values in this area in the medium to long term.


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