Should this GCB at Brizay Park be retained or rebuilt?

By
/ EdgeProp Singapore
|
June 19, 2020 6:00 AM SGT
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SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - When Singaporeans see an old house, they instinctively want to tear it down and rebuild it to their personal taste and more importantly, to maximise plot ratio. Not Jemma Chapple, who loves old buildings. “It’s so sad when people want to tear down an old house,” she says. “I’m from London and I’ve always lived in old properties.”
EDGEPROP SINGAPORE - The Good Class Bungalow at Brizay Park was built more than 25 years ago and is on the market for $24.8 million or $1,436 psf (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The Good Class Bungalow at Brizay Park was built more than 25 years ago and is on the market for $24.8 million or $1,436 psf (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
In Singapore, Chapple and her family, together with their dog named Danny, are living in a Good Class Bungalow (GCB) at Brizay Park. It is a quiet enclave surrounded by greenery, as well as just off Wilby Road and Old Holland Road in prime District 10. Built more than 25 years ago, the house sits on an elevated, freehold site of 17,275 sq ft, and has a sizeable garden and a swimming pool.
A double-storey detached house of close to 8,000 sq ft, it has multiple entry points for the convenience of the family. There is a side entrance from the car porch, the French doors from the patio to the living room, and another entrance from the garden and swimming pool to the children’s playroom. The playroom is also a lounge for them to entertain their friends. “We love the playroom,” says Chapple.
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Next to the children’s playroom is another spacious room that has been converted into a study. The room has a view of the garden, and it is where Chapple works.
EDGEPROP SINGAPORE - The children's playroom and lounge where they can entertain their friends (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The children's playroom and lounge where they can entertain their friends (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
“We love the windows, the shade, the high ceilings and the garden,” she says. “We never have to turn on the air-conditioning. We always have the windows and doors open. The only time we turn on the air-conditioning is at night, upstairs in our bedrooms.”

Ideal for entertaining

There are two dining areas with direct access to a spacious kitchen. It is an ideal home for those who love to entertain. “I have two children, and they are always bringing their friends home,” says Chapple. “As the house is big, the children have their own room, and we can sit out here on the patio. And we do sit out here a lot.”
The house has four en suite bedrooms: a guest room on the first level, and three more bedrooms, including the master bedroom on the second level. The master bedroom has an en suite bathroom, as well as a dressing room. As the house is on higher ground, the bedrooms have views of the surrounding greenery and Holland Plain beyond.
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EDGEPROP SINGAPORE - The en suite guest bedroom is on the first level, with three more en suite bedrooms on the second level (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The en suite guest bedroom is on the first level, with three more en suite bedrooms on the second level (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Chapple is wondering when construction at Holland Plain will start. This is because three years ago, URA announced a plan to build 2,500 private residential units at Holland Plain, a 34ha precinct near the Rail Corridor and park connector along the Bukit Timah First Diversion Canal. However, the new developments are planned to be “sensitive to the surroundings”, says URA.
Having lived in the house for almost three years, Chapple and her family have grown fond of it. With the lease expiring in the summer of next year, they have renewed it for another two years.
EDGEPROP SINGAPORE - The living room and one of two dining rooms (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The living room and one of two dining rooms (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

Original condition, European style

The house was given a fresh coat of white paint before the family moved in, but it was very much in its original condition. “We only put in the furniture,” says Chapple.
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The furniture comprises a collection of vintage furniture pieces that she has brought from England and antique pieces that she has purchased in Singapore. She has repainted some of the furniture pieces in bright colours to liven up the rooms. In one of the dining rooms is a traditional English dresser that Chapple repainted off-white. It is an heirloom from her mother. The original pinewood dresser from Harrods was a wedding gift for her parents when they were married 55 years ago.
The highlight of the other dining room is a Chinese antique medicine cabinet painted white and a Chinese antique console table that Chapple repainted a bright blue. Meanwhile, the centrepiece in the living room is an antique Chinese sideboard given a bright green shade. The paintings around the house are gifts from a friend who is an artist.
EDGEPROP SINGAPORE - One of two dining areas in the home (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
One of two dining areas in the home (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The GCB at Brizay Park that Chapple and her family call home, has been put on the market for sale at $24.8 million ($1,436 psf), according to Jeffrey Sim, associate executive director at OrangeTee & Tie, who is marketing the property.
Given that the site is elevated, it will appeal to those who want to build a new home with basement parking. “They can also orientate the house to have a wide frontage,” says Sim.

For the ‘new rich’

As the GCB will be sold with tenancy in place for the next three years, Sim says the new owner can enjoy the rental income of about $18,000 a month, while taking his or her time to plan the design for the new house. With a plot ratio of 0.7, the new property can have a built-up area of about 12,000 sq ft.
EDGEPROP SINGAPORE - The property sits on an elevated site of 17,275 sq ft, which can be redeveloped into a new, bigger bungalow of 12,000 sq ft (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The property sits on an elevated site of 17,275 sq ft, which can be redeveloped into a new, bigger bungalow of 12,000 sq ft (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Sim sees the property appealing to “the new rich”. He says: “Buying a GCB is a different ballgame. It’s like buying a Lamborghini.”
Whoever buys the GCB at Brizay Park will be in good company among other business magnates. Across the road is a new GCB built by Andy Chua, the owner of Yun Nam Hair Care who purchased the 29,785 sq ft, freehold plot for $33 million ($1,108 psf) in 2016. Another neighbour on Brizay Park is Benjamin Ngiam, managing director and co-founder of IPC Corp, a property investment and development company.
On Wilby Road is the bungalow of Dora Hoan, founder, co-chairman and group CEO of skincare and personal care empire, Best World International, while on Old Holland Road is the GCB of Jean Yip, the entrepreneur behind the chain of hair and beauty salons as well as a growing property development and investment portfolio.
EDGEPROP SINGAPORE - The covered patio overlooking the lawn is where the family spend a lot of time (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The covered patio overlooking the lawn is where the family spend a lot of time (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Yip’s neighbours on Old Holland Road include property developer Victor Ow, chairman and CEO of Clydesbuilt Group, and Teo Hock Seng, group managing director of Komoco Holdings, the automotive group that represents brands such as Ferrari, Harley-Davidson, Hyundai, Jeep and Maserati.

For keeps?

Most of the GCBs in the area are owner-occupied, hence very few GCBs have changed hands over the years, notes OrangeTee’s Sim. There has not been a GCB transaction along Brizay Park since 2016, when Yun Nam Hair Care’s Chua bought the house across the road. At Wilby Road, the last transaction was eight years ago, when a GCB sitting on a 16,146 sq ft, freehold site changed hands for $22.8 million ($1,412 psf), according to a caveat lodged in December 2012.
Along Old Holland Road, the last transaction was for a bungalow sitting on a 10,237 sq ft, freehold site which fetched $13.38 million ($1,307 psf) in February this year. Sim is also marketing another GCB on Old Holland Road — a 12,000 sq ft, palatial, Mediterranean-style house sitting on a freehold land area of 25,810 sq ft. It is on the market for $32.8 million ($1,271 psf).
EDGEPROP SINGAPORE - The balcony on the second level of the house with views of the surrounding greenery (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The balcony on the second level of the house with views of the surrounding greenery (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Chapple is disappointed on learning that the existing house at Brizay Park is likely to be torn down and redeveloped into a new mansion when it is sold. “You can always renovate the house or extend it if you want a bigger home,” she says. “Maybe all the original bathrooms need to be redone and the kitchen needs an update. But you don’t need to tear it down and rebuild.”
Perhaps the new owner could be motivated to retain the existing house after seeing how Chapple has turned it into a comfortable family home.
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