Serene Centre sold for $105 million to family behind 3-in-1 coffee empire Super Group

February 23, 2024

The Straits Times

SINGAPORE – Serene Centre, a prime mixed-use development at the corner of Bukit Timah Road and Farrer Road, has been sold for $105 million to the Teo family from Apricot Capital and partners, and will be managed by co-living operator The Assembly Place.

The Teo family are behind Singapore’s 3-in-1 coffee empire Super Group. Mr David Teo, founder of Super Group, incorporated private investment holding company Apricot Capital after the $1.45 billion sale of Super Group to food and beverage conglomerate Jacobs Douwe Egberts.

The Assembly Place was appointed asset manager of Serene Centre, a freehold four-storey commercial/residential development at 10 Jalan Serene.

Serene Centre was first launched for sale via tender in 2022 at a reserve price of $120 million. Mr Shaun Poh, executive director of capital markets at Cushman & Wakefield, the development’s marketing agent, said: “The bids we received back then didn’t meet the seller’s expectation. We continued to market it for the client via private treaty.”

Built in the 1980s, the development comprised 30 retail/food and beverage units, 10 apartment units and carpark facilities, according to marketing agent Cushman & Wakefield. Located near the Botanic Gardens MRT interchange station, the site, which is zoned “commercial/residential”, spans 47,475 sq ft in gross floor area.

In relation to Serene Centre’s sale, Mr Poh said: “Given the age of the building and its ultra-prime location, we understand that the buyer has the intention to carry out a comprehensive asset enhancement initiative to spruce up the place.”

The mall will be undergoing a multimillion-dollar enhancement, with 86 service apartment rooms planned on the upper floors as part of the co-living concept, and communal facilities such as kitchens, utility rooms and lounge areas, The Assembly Place said.

It added that it will oversee the management and revitalization of the retail spaces on the first two floors, along with converting the residential apartments on the upper floors into co-living spaces.

This marks the co-living operator’s first venture into retail mall management, a move that is “in line with our longer-term growth strategy as we continue to expand on our co-living concepts,” said Mr Eugene Lim, founder and chief executive of The Assembly Place.

“Co-living tenants will be drawn into the vibrant retail spaces and retailers, likewise, will benefit from the increased footfall from the co-living community,” he added.

The Assembly Place said it will also have regular programmes and initiatives to build social connections and cultivate community spirit among its co-living tenants.

Renovation works will start in April, and is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2025.