Boon Lay Raja restaurant sold for $15 million

Mr Henry Tan Kweng Nam, managing director of Boon Lay Raja Restaurant. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
Mr Henry Tan Kweng Nam, managing director of Boon Lay Raja Restaurant. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

SINGAPORE- The owners of listed construction firm Lian Beng Group have bought the shop space of the popular Boon Lay Raja Restaurant in Jurong East, which is closing, for around $15 million.

Mr Ong Pang Aik, Lian Beng executive chairman, said his family decided to buy the 11,248 sq ft premises in Block 135, Jurong Gateway Road as a private investment and rent it out.

"The restaurant has a good location. It is near Jurong East MRT and there are many shopping malls nearby," said Mr Ong.

The Ongs will likely rent the space to a well-known Chinese restaurant.

"The restaurant owners said they plan to start operation in May. But we are not ready to reveal their name yet as things are not confirmed," said Mr Ong.

News of the sale of Boon Lay Raja Restaurant made headlines last October.

Its owners asked for $15 million for the restaurant space, which has 69 years left on its lease with the Housing and Development Board (HDB).

The restaurant's boss, Mr Henry Tan Kweng Nam, said he was happy the buyers met his asking price and revealed that four bids were made for his eatery, a familiar institutionon on the west side of Singapore.

"I am 75 years old and it will be tough for me to continue running the business. I am happy to retire soon," he said.

Customers will be able to eat at the restaurant until March 31, the last day of operations.

"We are already fully booked for Chinese New Year's eve dinner. But until the end of March, we will do our best to serve our customers," he said.

The original Boon Lay Raja outlet opened in 1979 in Jalan Boon Lay. It moved to its present location at Jurong Gateway Road in 1989.

Its trademark dishes are red garoupa in Nonya sauce, roasted duck with mango and Buddha jumps over the wall.