HDB coffee shop in Hougang sold for record $23.8 million

A coffee shop in Hougang Avenue 4 has reportedly been sold for $23.8 million - a record price for a Housing Board coffee shop.

According to a report yesterday by Chinese newspaper Lianhe Wanbao, the Broadway Group has entered into a resale agreement to buy the shop, called Coffee Express 2000, at that eye-popping price.

The group, which owns a chain of eating houses in Singapore, opened its first outlet in 1997.

It filed a caveat on the Hougang shop on March 28 but the transaction will be completed only in September, the report said. Attempts to reach Broadway and the shop owner were unsuccessful.

But stallholders at the 4,025 sq ft shop, which has 17 stalls, said they were notified more than a month ago about the change in ownership.

They did not know how much it was sold for until the media report appeared.

The previous record was $15 million, according to Wanbao. The exact price for the Hougang shop - $23,888,888 - sounds auspicious in Cantonese.

A stall assistant who did not want to be named said he was worried that stall rentals would rise as a result.

Director Ong Kah Seng at property consultancy R'ST Research said the price was "on the high side" but justifiable.

"Coffee shops are still relevant today, and their investment potential is pretty strong," he said. "They're still a popular meeting place, and there are not many new ones coming up."

He added that Hougang is an established housing estate with a large catchment of residents.

However, patrons said they will go elsewhere if the shop raises its prices. There are at least four other coffee shops nearby.

Ms Kelly Tan, a 49-year-old clerk, said she frequents the cooked food stall at Coffee Express 2000 at least once a week because "its packet of hor fun (flat rice noodles) is bigger".

"But if the price increases by more than 50 cents, I will just go to another shop," she said.