Porcelain Hotel in the heart of Chinatown for sale at $115m

Ravi Philemon

CBRE and EDMUND TIE, as the joint exclusive marketing agent, announced on Feb 27 that they are pleased to present for sale The Porcelain Hotel, a 138-key boutique hotel located in the heart of Singapore’s bustling Chinatown.

porcelain hotel

(Image: CBRE, Edmund Tie)

Housed in a row of adjoining conservation shophouses located at 46 to 50 Mosque Street, The Porcelain Hotel enjoys over 55-metre wide road frontage. The 99-year hotel occupies a land area of 10,143 sf and an estimated gross floor area of 38,686 sf. Spanning four storeys, The Porcelain Hotel offers 138 rooms with majority of the room sizes ranging from 86 sf to 172 sf and a selection of larger units up to 452 sf.

Based on the Master Plan 2019, the site is zoned “Commercial”. The purchaser has the option of an acquisition with vacant possession or a sale and leaseback arrangement. The property has excellent specifications such as concrete floorings and regular layout.

The guide price for The Porcelain Hotel at S$115 million, reflecting approximately S$830,000 per key or S$2,950 psf on the gross floor area, compares favorably to other recent transactions of hotels and shophouses.

Mr Clemence Lee, Senior Director, Capital Markets, CBRE, said: “Boutique hotels in Singapore with a palatable investment quantum are tightly held and seldom put into the market. With the recent spike in buying interest for hotels and hotel sites in Singapore, we expect strong interest from real estate funds, developers, family offices, and hotel/co-living operators. With a leaseback arrangement in place, the incoming buyer will have some time to plan how they would like to carry out asset enhancement initiatives to refurbish and reposition the property. The new owner will have the flexibility to either self-manage the hotel or engage an independent operator.”

“Furthermore, as one of the top tourist destinations in Singapore, Chinatown enjoys high shopper footfall around the clock. To capitalize on the crowd, the potential buyer can explore repositioning and converting the ground floor into F&B use and curating an exciting tenant mix featuring restaurants, wine bars, cafes and bistros,” Mr Lee added.

Ms Swee Shou Fern, Executive Director, Investment Advisory, EDMUND TIE, said: “The Porcelain Hotel presents a rare opportunity for one to own a row of shophouses with hotel approval in Chinatown, where new application for hotel use in this area will generally not be supported. Strategically located in the heart of Chinatown and within an easy 5 to 10 minutes’ stroll to the CBD, the property is ideally positioned to cater to both business travelers and tourists.

“With a strong pipeline of new tourism offerings as well as rejuvenation of existing attractions, the appeal of Singapore as a regional tourist destination in South-east Asia is poised to increase over time. The mid-to-long term outlook for Singapore’s hospitality property market is favourable given the low hotel supply pipeline over the next three to four years,” Ms Swee added.

The Porcelain Hotel is conveniently located within a short 5-minute walk to Chinatown MRT station and is readily accessible via public transportation along New Bridge Road and Cross Street. It is easily accessible to other parts of Singapore via the Central Expressway (CTE), Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) and Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE). Orchard Road is a short 10-minutes’ drive, while Changi International Airport is a short 20-minutes’ drive.

Located in the Kreta Ayer conservation area, Mosque Street boasts of a rich history. Today, it is a popular street which houses a plethora of shops and stalls featuring restaurants serving authentic Chinese cuisine; retail shops selling souvenirs, antiques, clothing, jewellery and cultural knick-knacks, as well as various accommodation options such as boutique hotels and backpacker hostels.

As the property sits on land zoned for commercial use, foreigners are eligible to purchase the building. There is also no Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) or Seller’s Stamp Duty (SSD) imposed on the purchase of the property.

The Porcelain Hotel is being marketed through an Expression of Interest exercise, which will close on Friday, 27 March 2020, at 3pm.

Interest for hotels and hotel land has been strong over the past year. Recent hotel land transactions include Min Yuan Apartments, which was transacted at S$160.5 million (S$2,613 psf ppr), Darby Park Executive Suites, which was transacted at S$160 million (S$2,754 psf ppr) and Golden Wall Centre, which was transacted at S$276.2 million (S$2,721 psf ppr).

Recent boutique hotel transactions include Wangz Hotel, which was sold at over S$60 million (S$1.46 million per key) and Wanderlust Hotel, which was sold at S$37 million (SS$1.28 million per key). Recent shophouse transactions in the Chinatown precinct include 76 Pagoda Street at $13.3m ($3,500 psf) and 31 Pagoda Street at $16.25m ($4,779 psf).

A 2019 Deloitte Global Millennial Survey said Millennials and Gen Z aspire to travel and help their communities more than starting families or their own businesses. The survey questioned 13,416 millennials across 42 countries and territories, along with 3,009 Gen Z respondents in 10 countries. Among the key findings:

  • Economic and social/political optimism is at record lows. Respondents express a strong lack of faith in traditional societal institutions, including mass media, and are pessimistic about social progress.
  • Millennials and Gen Z are disillusioned. They’re not particularly satisfied with their lives, their financial situations, their jobs, government and business leaders, social media, or the way their data is used.
  • Millennials value experiences. They aspire to travel and help their communities more than starting families or their own businesses.
  • Millennials are skeptical of business’s motives. Respondents do not think highly of leaders’ impact on society, their commitment to improving the world, or their trustworthiness.
  • They let their wallets do the talking (and walking). Millennials and Gen Z, in general, will patronize and support companies that align with their values; many say they will not hesitate to lessen or end a relationship when they disagree with a company’s business practices, values, or political leanings.

Each year, Deloitte ask millennials about global societal challenges and their personal concerns to see how they’re trending. This year, they said that they were seeing a palpable deterioration of optimism and a wide variety of both macroeconomic and day-to-day anxieties weighing on their minds.

Among 20 challenges facing society that most concern respondents on a personal level, climate change/protecting the environment/natural disasters topped the list. And it wasn’t close. Twenty-nine percent cited it as a worry, seven points more than the next-highest concern: income inequality/distribution of wealth.

The Deloitte survey showed that more than half of Millennials and Gen Z want to earn high salaries and be wealthy. But that their priorities have evolved or at least have been delayed by financial or other constraints. Having children, buying homes, and other traditional signals of adulthood “success markers” do not top their list of ambitions.

Instead, travel and seeing the world was at the top of the list (57 percent) of aspirations, while slightly fewer than half said they wanted to own a home (49 percent). They also were more attracted to making a positive impact in their communities or society at large (46 percent) than in having children and starting families (39 percent). Women (62 percent) are more interested in seeing the world than are men (51 percent), the survey said.

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