The Assembly Place launches a 426-bed Telok Kurau Campus to tap the student housing sector
A joint venture of TAP and Apricot Capital was the highest bidder. Apricot Capital represents the family office David Teo founded Super Group, the instant beverage empire. The lease was for 103 years and the purchase price of $40 million ($383 per sq ft) represented a significant saving. Apricot Capital has the majority share in the joint venture. TAP, which is also responsible for the operation of the student housing, holds the minor stake.
The Presbyterian Church of Singapore still owns the 999-year lease of the property. The seller of the joint venture is The Trustees of the Presbyterian Church of Singapore.
In addition to the 40 million dollars for the site and the retrofitting of the property, the joint-venture partners also invested an extra $6 million over a period of 3 1/2 months. These included the replacement of the electrical and plumbing systems, the air-conditioning system, as well as the casement window. The landscaping of the large site cost nearly $1,000,000. The landscape architect for the site was Thanapong Boonyasiriwat Gong, Director of Ecoplan Asia.
Lim says, “Since this was a site we had purchased on 103 year lease we were more willing to make capital investments.” The majority of SLA sites (Singapore Land Authority’s) are on nine-year contracts, which limit the capital investment that can be made.
Lim is expecting to earn $4 million annually when the building’s are fully leased.
TAP also plans to provide programmes to its students. The programmes could range from career talks on tech or sports sciences to F&B.
Lim says, “It is important to develop a strong community.” The key to mental wellness is the ability to cope with stress. It is possible that international students may feel isolated in Singapore, without their families or siblings. “It’s crucial to create programmes for them that will allow them to meet other students.”
Prior to its sale to the joint-venture between Apricot Capital & TAP, the property operated as EastLodge – a 120 room student accommodation on two of the blocks that were already there. Telok Kurau’s primary school was housed within the 1960s structure.
The Assembly Place’s co-living project, Campus by The Assembly Place at 116 Lorong J Telok Kurau (TAP), has been launched. It features 426 beds.
The campus by TAP site is 104 469 sq ft and has two blocks: one with 161 beds, the other with 265. Eugene Lim says that TAP is bringing co-living into student accommodation.
Three weeks after the start of the pre-marketing stage, 120 beds have been reserved in the smaller building, with some students already moving in.
Lim said that TAP has 55% members who are younger than 30. The majority of these students are from abroad. Lim recognized that there was untapped demand for housing international students.
The average student has a housing budget that is less than $1,000 per month. His conclusion was that the $1,500-$2,000 monthly rental of an average co-living area is out of their budget range. Hence, the decision was made to further explore Singapore’s international housing market.
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Lim: “When I began studying the market and saw what was available, it came as a surprise.” “We’re still behind the curve in terms of what we have to offer in student housing, when compared to student housing built specifically for students in Australia, UK and US.”
Few large student housing sites with communal amenities are for sale. Knight Frank’s sale in September of 2022 at Lorong J Telok Kurau attracted more than 15 bids at the closing date the month following.
TAP’s beds will reach 2,000 by the end of 2023. This includes 426 beds on Campus. TAP has launched 42 new rooms at Duke’s Road 6 in February, and all of the available rooms have been taken within six week. TAP acquired the Feng Lai Mansion in Geylang’s Lorong 30 39, a block of 80 apartments. TAP manages apartments for co-living. Within two months, all the apartments were occupied.
Work has started on the renovation of 18 Roberts Lane (off Serangoon Road), which was formerly known as Goodland Building. TAP also plans to gradually assume 21 Lorong 13 Geylang in December. TAP manages 55 rooms in the two buildings.
TAP launched its first apartment service project, YMCA@ Stevens in mid-March. It has 27 apartments and 46 rooms. TAP Service Residences@ River Valley at 3 Tank Road has just launched with 15 rooms. In the middle of October, TAP Service Residences @ Penhas Road launched a new serviced residence.
TAP, which includes the Campus that was recently opened, has 1,800 beds. Plan is to have 2,000 beds available by the end of 2023 and 3,000 by 2024. Lim explained that TAP was cash flow positive, however, to boost our growth they will have to do another round of fundraising.
Most of the students come from China or countries in Southeast Asia such as Indonesia. Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. They are mostly enrolled at James Cook University and Kaplan City Campus, as well as Singapore University of Technology and Design.
“We’ve signed memoranda of understanding [MOUs] with fourteen educational institutions. Ten have listed our property already on their sites. Lim said that they are aiming to enroll students in November.
Campus by TAP offers a variety of room configurations. Premium rooms are those that have two or three bed configurations, while others may feature four, six, or seven. The rooms all have air conditioning. The average price per bed per month is $850. Premium beds are priced up to $1600 per month. Lim says that the rooms with premium amenities in the small block have been almost completely occupied.
There are a number of amenities, including an air-conditioned resident’s lounge, where you can watch movies, an air-conditioned outdoor cross-fit section, as well as a basketball court for 5-a-side football, an enormous chess board, and seating outside. We created communal areas for the students because the size of the land is so large.
In each block there are a common dining room, a kitchen and ice cream machines. Both blocks have a shared study area on their second levels. Students will have their own study area next to their bed as well as a wardrobe. Each floor has male and female showers, toilets, and other amenities.