Singaporean Tan See Min is the third generation owner of the historic shophouse located at the 24th floor of Purvis Street, built in 1927. His grandfather ran an enterprise of packaging and parcelling on the lower level of the shophouse. Moreover, the family lived in five bedroom on the second level.
Marina View Residences showflat address is along Union Street and Shenton Way, putting the future residents at a stone’s throw distance from the Shenton MRT station that links to the Thomson East-Coast Line.
“In the past there was a tradition of sending things back to relatives in China and my grandfather was the one who handled the packaging for these packages,” relates the 67-year-old. The next door neighbor was an “dhobi” (also known as a laundry services) as well as an expert glazier working on glass windows as well as other projects was in an area in the back of the storehouse.
But the moment World War II came, Tan’s grandfather took his group to Kuraman Island, a small tropical island located in the South China Sea, off the Federal Territory of Labuan, Malaysia. Following the war the family retreated to Singapore and Tan’s grandfather returned to his business of packaging located on Purvis Street. Later, he branched out into the distribution and sale of baking materials.
Tan’s father was also a businessman. Tan became an agent for SG Oxygen along with his brothers, transporting gases like carbon dioxide, oxygen, and Acetylene to foundries. “The shophouse could hold nearly 100 cylinders at a time,” he says.
When Tan was a kid and a teenager, he lived in the estate of his family in Sembawang the Sembawang area, which his father owned for the property, which was 30 acres (12ha) of agricultural land. “I was a fan of picking durians and tapping the rubber with my mom,” he recalls.
But, once he was an adolescent He moved to the shophouse on Purvis Street for a better location near his school. He also helped his father deliver deliveries when needed. “I delivered lorry-loads of cylinders” the man says.
It was the 1970s and Tan was a participant in the first fights between gangs back then. “They were fighting on the streets, fighting and running from Purvis Street all up all the way to Odeon Towers on North Bridge Road,” recounts Tan.
Purvis Street was known for its Hainanese restaurants. Chin Chin Eating House, which was founded in 1934 and remains in operation, is known due to the Hainanese Chicken Rice. The other restaurant that was open is Yet Con Restaurant, whose most popular dish was steamboat, as well as Hainanese chicken rice. It was shut down in 2021 having spent more than 70 of operation.
Mooi Chin Place, a restaurant which opened on the street of Purvis in 1935, was renowned for its sambal and pomfret recipe, Tan relates. The restaurant has since been shut down. The shop was also known as a popular Hainanese confectionery in Purvis Street called Nam Tong Lee. It was well-known due to it’s Hainanese mooncakes.
“The older Purvis Street used to be fairly self-sustaining, in a sense that there were dentists, doctors and eateries, in addition to luxury hotels” Tan writes. Tan. His father owned an boarding house, also known as “a backpackers hotel” for around 10 years throughout the 1970s.
When Tan first got married Tan and his wife first got married, they lived in the shophouse until making the move to their home for marriage. Tan is now a father to three daughters.
Before he was a businessperson, Tan was a regular soldier during six months. The company he runs, Acmecon Engineers, is a property development consultant. In addition to Singapore his major projects are in the world, including China as well as his home country of the Middle East.
After the death of his grandfather Tan’s father as well as his uncle were co-owners of a shophouse located on Purvis Street. When Tan’s uncle and father passed away within a couple of months of each other in the year 2011, Tan and his cousin were joint owners of the assets.
In the year 2016, Tan spent $1 million updating the interior inside the building. Since the ceiling at the top of the storehouse’s second level is approximately 11 meters, Tan was able to build an attic. Following the remodel the shophouse is equipped with top-quality specifications, a well-organized layout, an ample ceiling height, and bathroom suites on the two floors. The exterior was kept intact as well as the window lattices that were originally in place.
First and 2nd floors of the shophouse have been approved for use as a restaurant, however the permit expires in August 5, 2025 and Sept 20th in 2025.
Fizzy Dayz is the casual diner concept of the prestigious Nutmeg & Clove group, is located on the first floor. The restaurant is currently closed to be renovated and will reopen at close of the month with the new concept. The cafe that is a board game operator King & the Pawn occupies the upper floors.
According to Tan Tan, the total monthly rental for each tenant is around $20,000. Prior to Covid, the rate was $24,000 per month, according to him. He believes there’s potential for more rental upside.
“Time to sell”
Tan’s cousin ageing in the 80s believes that it is the right time to sell the property. So, the family has decided to place the property up for sale through an the expression of interest (EOI) through Savills Singapore as the exclusive marketing agent. The EOI application deadline is on the 21st of June.
The shophouse located on Purvis Street is a size of 1,679 sq feet with the lease for 999 years beginning on January 25 1827. The floor space is 3,702 square feet. The property is zoned for residential and commercial usage with a plot proportion of 4.2. The new owner is able to construct an extension with five floors, increasing the floor area by 7,052 square feet. The estimated cost of $17.8 million is equivalent to $2,876 psf for each plot ratio.
In the words of Yap Hui Yee the head of the investment department and market development at Savills Singapore, adding a rear extension to the current property will raise the floor area and also introduce new tenant concepts. It will also provide “significant value-add opportunities” as well as a an additional capital and rental potential. “Alternative applications such as accommodation, hospitality as well as wellness and healthcare could be considered with the approval of the appropriate authority,” she adds.
Purvis Street is situated within the Beach Road Conservation Area and only has 20 shophouses that are conservation-friendly according to Savills. Shops on Purvis Street are occupied by families and rarely put available for sale, according to Yap. Only eight transactions were reported by Realis between January 1995 and the this date. The most recent transaction occurred in January 2022. The 32-room Hotel Kai located at 14 Purvis Street changed hands for $28 million. The value of the transaction is an average of $875 per key.
Yap claims that the property located at 24 Purvis Street can benefit from development of the Civic and Cultural District. It is walking distance from Raffles Hotel Raffles City, South Beach and three MRT stations (Bugis Interchange, City Hall Interchange and Esplanade). It is also close to new mixed-use developments within The Bugis as well as the Beach Road neighbourhood, such as Guoco Midtown, Shaw Towers and The M.