[SINGAPORE] Satinder Garcha's Elevation group is understood to have inked a deal to buy Murray Terrace for $75 million.
Talk in the market is that Mr Garcha plans to convert the conservation property into a hotel, subject to approval from the authorities.
US-based property fund group AEW is selling the property, which comprises a row of 14 conserved shophouses just off Maxwell Road and opposite URA Centre. Thirteen of these shophouses are three storeys high and the remaining one, four storeys high.
The premises, at Nos 2 to 28 Murray Street, are now leased as offices, with ad agency Leo Burnett being the anchor tenant.
Jones Lang LaSalle is said to have brokered the sale.
Murray Terrace's net lettable area is about 50,000 sq ft, so assuming how the hotel rooms are carved out, the property could potentially yield about 150 rooms with an average size of 30 sq m (about 323 sq ft).
Market watchers reckon Murray Terrace could be transformed into a boutique upmarket hotel, given its unique location, near the financial district, Chinatown and the Club Street dining belt. It is also a short walk from Tanjong Pagar MRT Station.
Murray Terrace is on a site with land area of 25,151 sq ft and a remaining lease term of about 60 years. The site is currently zoned for commercial use under Master Plan 2008.
The pre-war conservation shophouses were restored in 2009, earning the project an Architectural Heritage Award from Urban Redevelopment Authority the following year.
In the Little India location, Mr Garcha is said to be planning an art-themed boutique hotel within six adjoining three-storey freehold conservation shophouses in Syed Alwi Road that he bought for $23 million earlier this year. Conversion of the shophouses into a hotel would again be subject to securing all approvals from the authorities.
The six shophouses have gross floor area of about 18,500 sq ft and stand on a site of around 8,100 sq ft.
In South America, the 41-year-old Singapore citizen and avid polo player is also restoring the historic City Hotel in downtown Santiago facing the Plaza de las Armas. The property is expected to be a full-fledged hotel with signature restaurants, ballrooms and conference facilities.
New Delhi-born Mr Garcha made his fortune in Silicon Valley during the dotcom boom before moving to Singapore and setting up Elevation group. The group has developed a string of bungalows in Singapore's Good Class Bungalow Areas as well as in the upscale waterfront housing district of Sentosa Cove.
Source: Business Times, 20 Oct 2012