Oxley Road dispute: 5 things you might not have known about Lee Kuan Yew's Oxley Road home

The Lee family relaxing with their black labrador on the verandah of their Oxley Road home in May 1965.
The Lee family relaxing with their black labrador on the verandah of their Oxley Road home in May 1965. PHOTO: LEE FAMILY

SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will deliver a ministerial statement on Monday (July 3) to refute the "baseless accusations" his siblings have been making over the Oxley Road dispute.

While much has been said about the dispute, here are five things about the property at 38, Oxley Road that you may not have known.

1. It sits on a plot of land that can fit 12 four-room HDB flats

The house sits on a 1,120.5 sq m plot of freehold land, which can accommodate about 12 four-room HDB flats.

The land is worth about $24 million, according to media reports that take into consideration the per sq ft price of homes in the area.

The tallest buildings in Oxley Road are two stacks of 12-storey apartments, called Orchard Court, at 19 and 27, Oxley Road.

2. The land can fetch about $140 million if rezoned or redeveloped

Property experts say that if the authorities allow the land to be rezoned or have its plot ratio increased and rebuilt into a condo of at least 12 storeys, the land could fetch about $140 million, after deducting construction and other costs.

A view of 38 Oxley Road and its surrounding area. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

If the house is rebuilt and turned into a condominium of at least 12 storeys, it can be sold at $2,250 per sq ft. Property experts cited $2,000 to $2,500 per sq ft as a reasonable price.


The result is a piece of land that could fetch about $140 million. This increase in value could extend to neighbouring parcels of land.

3. Oxley Road gets its name from a British surgeon

The area where the house stands was named after a British surgeon, Thomas Oxley, who owned a nutmeg plantation there in the late 19th century.

Dr Oxley held the post of senior surgeon for the Straits Settlements in 1844. Other notable buildings standing on land previously occupied by his nutmeg estate are the two Victorian semi-detached houses at 165 Penang Road.

The exterior of Casa Gessi at 165 Penang Road, the Asian flagship store for Gessi, the Italian luxury bathroom brand. PHOTO: GESSI

The two white houses were previously known to pubgoers as the home of the former Dubliner Irish Pub. But it is now home to Casa Gessi, the Asian flagship store for Italian luxury bathroom and kitchen fittings and furnishings manufacturer, Gessi.

4. The house is one of a matching pair

The original owner of 38, Oxley Road, a Jewish merchant, had built house numbers 38 and 40 as a matching pair in the late 19th century.

However, No. 40 has already been torn down and redeveloped.

5. The house is typical of late 19th century bungalows and not many like it remain

Singapore artist Ong Kim Seng's painting of the house features it in its original condition in the 1950s. PHOTO: ONG KIM SENG

The pre-war house is typical of bungalows of the time, and features low stilts that would typically leave the ground level open for ventilation.

This is to prevent damp and to rear livestock, but No. 38 has a "basement" room added by the original owner.

Architectural historians say not many houses like this remain, and it is rare to have an example like 38, Oxley Road whose interior has remained largely unmodified from its original state.

Read more:

38, Oxley Road: Demolish, develop or preserve?

Mr Lee Kuan Yew wanted his house to be demolished: 5 things about 38 Oxley Road