Welcome to our, er, humble home

(2011-01-05 01:32:18) 下一個

The New Paper on Sunday gets a peek into a swanky Sentosa Cove home, thanks to owner. -TNP

Mon, Jan 03, 2011
The New Paper

By Desmond Ng

SINGAPORE'S swankiest neighbourhood, Sentosa Cove, has made the headlines for all the wrong reasons recently.

Sentosa Cove 'Death bungalow' sold for $13.6 million
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Last year, a Chinese national moonlighting as a KTV hostess drowned in a swimming pool in a waterfront bungalow on Ocean Drive. That property was subsequently sold below market price for $13.6 million to two brothers last August because of its history.

Their "discount"? About $6 million.

At the same time, a $36 million record deal for a Sentosa Cove bungalow that set tongues wagging last April fizzled out, reported The Straits Times last month.

The $36 million home
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The buyer of the 14,983 sq ft, 99-year leasehold site on Paradise Island backed out, forfeiting a $500,000 deposit and more.

If the deal had gone through, the per sq ft (psf) price could have been the highest for a bungalow sale in Singapore.

But the super-rich residents in this coveted neighbourhood are unfazed by the bad press. They have seen their properties soar in valuation thanks to the real estate boom in the last two years.

Take Mr Mahesh Sivaswamy, for example.

The managing director of shipping company Orient Express Lines bought into Sentosa Cove when the property market was in the doldrums in 2006.

The 43-year-old Singaporean paid $6.6 million for a 10,000 sq-ft bungalow with a land area of about 8,500 sq ft.

Welcome to our, er, humble home
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Photos: TNP

Today, the property is worth a cool $25 million - about four times what he paid, give or take a couple of millions.

The last record price for a bungalow at Sentosa Cove was $2,900 psf, reported The Business Times last month.

But Mr Mahesh is not ready to cash in yet. He and his family are not prepared to give up the Sentosa Cove lifestyle that's unlike any in Singapore.

His lifestyle here is a far cry from where he grew up in Mumbai, India.

His two-storey home is on Coral Island, which is surrounded by waterways and linked to Sentosa Cove by a bridge. It's so exclusive that there are only 21 bungalows and villas on this tiny island.

His bungalow has four bedrooms, an infinity pool and a dock in their backyard where a yacht, a jet-ski and a kayak are moored.

From the living room, the family has a good view of their swimming pool and the waterways.

Mr Mahesh said that when he wanted to buy a landed home here, Sentosa Cove was his first choice.

His family viewed the place and immediately fell in love with the waterways surrounding the island and the tranquillity. They also like that the estate is exclusive.

He said: "We loved the ambience and the water. We were very impressed by the place and the scenery. It's nice and quiet."

He lives there with his wife, 43, a 19-year-old undergraduate daughter, and a 16-year-old son, who is studying in an international school here.

The family, who became citizens last July, had been living in Singapore for 11 years in various condos on the mainland.

In the porch is a Maserati Quattroporte, an Audi Q5 and an $11,000 electric buggy to get around the exclusive gated estate.

For leisure, his daughter jet-skis to St John's Island just 10 minutes away for a spot of sunbathing.

"And if we want to have a picnic, we can get on the yacht and go island-hopping. It's a totally different lifestyle here.

"I feel safe when my daughter goes jet-skiing here. It's safer than out on the roads with all that traffic," said Mr Mahesh.

If he needs groceries, he hops on his electric buggy to a 7-Eleven shop some five minutes away within the estate.

The family usually spends weekends at home. And if business associates visit from overseas, there's no better place to host them than in his house, Mr Mahesh said.

"They are usually impressed when they come here. The view is great and it's so quiet," he said.

"I wonder if we'd be able to find another place or estate as good as Sentosa Cove in mainland Singapore or even overseas."

The Maheshes are among only about 3,200 residents, almost equally split between Singaporeans and foreigners, who call Sentosa Cove home.

Related story:

» Sentosa Cove 'Death bungalow' sold for $13.6 million
Related story:

» $36 million Sentosa Cove deal called off

The community is expected to rise to about 8,000 residents when the area is fully completed in 2014.

Mr Mahesh thinks that the cove is big enoughto accommodate the new residents.

There are more than 1,000 landed homes and condo units there now, complete with a marina, hotel, shops and restaurants.

Sentosa Cove Resort Management told The Business Times last September that the residents, whose properties cost $20 million to $30 million each, are very private people.

The media is not allowed to take photographs of these expensive homes unless accompanied by a staff member.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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