Boutique developer eyes Catalist listing

Completed bungalows at Propspur's Highland Meadows in the US. The firm is seeking to expand its pipeline of projects in the US, Asia and Australia, and hopes to list on the SGX Catalist board in the next 12 to 18 months.
Completed bungalows at Propspur's Highland Meadows in the US. The firm is seeking to expand its pipeline of projects in the US, Asia and Australia, and hopes to list on the SGX Catalist board in the next 12 to 18 months.PHOTO: PROPSPUR HOLDINGS

While its planned projects are overseas, Propspur is also looking at local opportunities

Boutique developer Propspur Holdings is eyeing a listing on the Singapore Exchange Catalist board in the next 12 to 18 months, as the firm seeks to expand its pipeline of projects in the United States, Asia and Australia.

The firm was set up by chief executive Tin Chew and managing director Benjamin Song in April this year.

Mr Chew, a former fund manager, and Mr Song, a civil engineer, were part of a group of investors who bought and sold real estate in the US after the sub-prime mortgage crisis in 2009.

The two men got together again in 2013 to tap growth opportunities in niche markets in America and established Propspur this year.

"We feel that the US has more or less recovered and is on the uptrend. We are very bullish about the market. The pent-up demand and the fundamentals have improved," Mr Chew told The Straits Times at Propspur's new office at Suntec Tower Three.

The firm is jointly developing a freehold landed residential project called Highland Meadows in Des Moines, Iowa, with Kimberley Development. Phase one - comprising 19 bungalows with an average price of US$400,000 (S$540,000) - has sold out. Each home has a built-up area of about 3,700 sq ft on average.

Propspur said the project will be developed over five phases, with phases two and three due to be launched by early next year with average homes prices from around US$300,000 to US$350,000.

The remaining four phases of the development could likely yield a total of 220 bungalows.

Mr Chew said Highland Meadows is targeted at buyers wanting units to live in rather than as investments.

Des Moines, Iowa's capital city, has a sizeable number of insurance companies, financial services firms and businesses in the creative and media sectors.

Propspur is lining up another project in Ankeny, north of Des Moines, which could yield 100 to 200 bungalows. It is also interested in developing hotels in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Nashville, Tennessee.

Propspur employs about 20 staff here and will set up a representative office in Iowa later this year.

Mr Song added that the firm is in talks with partners on plans to build various developments, including serviced apartments in Perth, Australia; an industrial property in the Chinese province of Hubei and a hotel in Qingdao; a "condo hotel" in Phuket, Thailand; and a mixed development in Seremban, Malaysia.

"We have identified Seremban because that's where the high-speed rail will be; we look at locations that make sense... We hope to launch the Malaysia project some time next year," Mr Song said.

While all its planned projects are overseas, the firm is open to exploring opportunities in Singapore, such as developing boutique hotels or even partnering other developers to build executive condominiums.

If all goes according to plan, Propspur hopes to set up a real estate investment trust (Reit) in the next eight to 10 years.

Mr Chew noted: "When we get listed, it would be a step closer because a listed company can sponsor a business trust or Reit, which is where we want our properties to be in the end."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2016, with the headline 'Boutique developer eyes Catalist listing'. Print Edition | Subscribe