Little India heritage site goes up for tender

The House of Tan Teng Niah was built in 1900, and is believed to be the last remaining Chinese villa in Little India. The property is now used for commercial purposes but was famed as a residence in the past. It is one of the landmarks listed in the Natio
The House of Tan Teng Niah was built in 1900, and is believed to be the last remaining Chinese villa in Little India. The property is now used for commercial purposes but was famed as a residence in the past. It is one of the landmarks listed in the National Heritage Board's Little India Heritage Trail.PHOTO: JLL

A distinctive conserved two-storey bungalow in Little India known by many as the House of Tan Teng Niah is up for tender.

The property is now used for commercial purposes but was famed as a residence in the past. It is considered a heritage landmark.

The eight-room villa was built in 1900, purportedly for the wife of prominent businessman Tan Teng Niah, who owned several confectionery factories in Serangoon Road and a rubber smoke house in Kerbau Road.

It is believed to be the last remaining Chinese villa in Little India.

The 25,865 sq ft plot near Little India MRT station and directly opposite Tekka Market is mainly zoned for commercial use.

Mr Karamjit Singh, senior consultant at marketing agent JLL, said in a statement yesterday that the shop lots and buildings are not strata-titled, so the entire portfolio is to be sold in its entirety.

"We understand that the asset was valued at $70.6 million late last year," added Mr Singh.

"To our knowledge, this could well be one of the largest plots of privately held commercial land in the vicinity of the Little India MRT station. An opportunity to acquire an asset of this unique nature is rare to come by."

The villa is one of the landmarks listed in the National Heritage Board's Little India Heritage Trail.

It is described as a hybrid of southern Chinese and European architectural influences.

The villa was restored and conserved in the 1980s as "a reminder of an era when small Chinese businesses co-existed and flourished alongside the Indian-dominated cattle-trade industry for which the Little India area was once known", said JLL.

Mr Singh said the "income-generating portfolio" may appeal to investors, individuals of high net worth or family offices, for its historical value.

Three other buildings are within the site: a pair of adjoining two-storey heritage shophouses at 41/43 Kerbau Road, a single-storey shop fronting Buffalo Road, and a single-level retail building at 672 Chander Road. The lettable space across all four buildings is almost fully leased.

The combined gross floor area of all the buildings is about 16,800 sq ft.

As the land and buildings are non-residential, additional buyer's stamp duty will not apply to the purchase.

The tender closes at 2.30pm on April 2.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2019, with the headline 'Little India heritage site goes up for tender'. Print Edition | Subscribe