Van Holland: Toho Mansion En Bloc Sale
Koh Brothers bought the former Toho Mansion site in March 2018 for $120.5m. Based on a land size of 47,660sf with a plot ratio of 1.4, the land rate works out to $1,805 psf ppr. In comparison, the land price of 99-year leasehold One Holland Village is $1,888 psf ppr.
The developer gets to enjoy another premium 10% above its GFA without having to pay any development charge.
Van Holland will be a low-density development with 69 1-bedroom to 4-bedroom units.
Holland Village, with a strong European legacy over the years, has become a popular destination for both locals and expatriates. It is also well known for being a creative commune and an incubator for local artists, musician and entrepreneurs. By day, it is an urban village for lifestyle activities. By night, it becomes a vibrant dining destination for gathering.
Indeed, at Van Holland, you get to enjoy the best of both worlds. On one hand, you are away from the maddening crowd nestled in the serenity of a low-density project. On the other hand, you are just one step away from Holland Village, the centre of action.
Location of Van Holland
The biggest asset for Van Holland, without doubt, is its location.
Van Holland is directly linked to Holland Village by an overhead bridge. With elevators on both ends of the bridge, it is a 3-minute walk via fully sheltered walkway to the MRT station. With the ease of accessibility provided by the MRT, Van Holland offers seamless travel for commuters.
For those who drive, PIE and CTE are easily accessible and connects to Orchard Road and One North.
Book-Matched Marble Flooring
Book-matched marble gets its unique name from the processing method. When a slab of stone is sliced thinly, the slices share the same distinct pattern. When placed side by side, they mirror each other like an open book.
The book-matching technique is only possible using the finest marble slab, with a clear base and distinct veins. Marble slabs with fewer characteristics or undefined colours will not be able to display the beauty of it.
Generally, book-matched marbles are more commonly used as a feature wall. But the developer has taken on the challenge to the next level by showcasing this beauty on the floors; a statement piece of art flowing seamlessly from the entrance, to the kitchen and living room, making every home at Van Holland a unique art piece of its own.
Even the floors of the balconies will be of the same marble. However, they will be cut into smaller tiles to prevent slippage.
Wardrobe Pull-Down System
Another innovative feature is their wardrobe pull-down system.
Most wardrobes these days are far too small to keep all the clothing. We would typically store hardly-used items in the top-section that will not see the light of days. In this case, with a 3.1m ceiling height, the wardrobe has full-height dual clothes hanging compartment. Since the upper section is out of reach, the pull-down system enables you to retrieve the clothes without any problem.
A brilliant idea, indeed!
Sanitary Fittings: Fratelli Frattini
Like a piece of jewellery that completes a sophisticated outfit, every home at Van Holland will be crowned with the scintillating beauty of F.lli Frattini fittings.
Rubinetterie Fratelli Frattini, is founded in 1958 by three brothers in San Maurizio d’Opaglio, a commune in the province of Novara, to the west of Milan.
Van Holland will be among the first condominium projects in Singapore to feature the F.lli Frattini brand of luxury sanitaryware, including Swarovski crystal-encrusted faucets. It is the first time I see Swarovski crystal on a tap! This sheer touch of elegance that will make Van Holland house-owners feel proud to showcase their apartments to friends and relatives.
It will be complemented by the top-end German brand of bathroom fittings and sanitaryware, namely, Duravit. The kitchen appliances and washer-dryer will be headlined by another premium German brand, Miele.
Van Holland Floor Plans
Van Holland Developer
Listed on Main Board of the SGX-ST in August 1994, Koh Brothers Group Limited (“Koh Brothers”, or together with its subsidiaries, the “Group”) is a well-established construction, property development and specialist engineering solutions provider. Mr Koh Tiat Meng started the company as a sole proprietorship in 1966. Today, the Group has more than 40 subsidiaries, joint venture companies and associated companies spread over Singapore, PRC, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
Over the years, the Group has undertaken various construction and infrastructure projects with its A1 grading by the Building and Construction Authority. It is currently the highest grade for contractors’ registration in this category and allows the Group to tender for public sector construction projects of unlimited value. Besides, the Group has developed a name for itself as a niche real estate developer, with an established reputation for quality and innovation.
Some notable residential projects by Koh Brothers are Westwood Residences (EC), Parc Olympia, Lincoln Suites, The Lumos and The Montana.
My Views on Van Holland:
During the days of Toho Mansion before its collective sale, I had handled several rental transactions there. Even though most of the walk-up apartments there were poorly maintained or not renovated, it was easy to find tenants, mainly because of its proximity to Holland Village. There was always more demands than supplies.
When I first heard that Toho Mansion would undergo redevelopment, I was very excited because that plot of land deserves something better.
The best part of Van Holland, of course, is its location. There are not many condominiums that are within less than five minutes walk to Holland Village, especially newer ones that are five years old or less.
The most recent development is a 28-unit boutique project, The Enclave.Holland, launched in 2018. Urban Edge (2007) and Ford @ Holland (2009) nearest to Van Holland are already ten years or older. Further down Holland Road, you have Holland Residences (2012) in Taman Warna, and in Holland Hill, Parvis (2012) and Lush On Holland Hill (2012). In comparison, none of these can compete with Van Holland in terms of location.
So there is a pent-up demand for new condominiums in the Holland Village neighbourhood. It was not surprising that response to One Holland Village Residences was very positive. In less than one month since it was launched on 25 Nov 2019, 110 out of the 296 units (more than 37%) were sold.
Van Holland is just across from Holland Village. The distance from Van Holland to Holland Village MRT is nearer than from One Holland Village. From Van Holland it is a mere 290m or 3-4 minute walk; whereas from One Holland Village it is 60m further.
The key difference is, from Van Holland, there is a direct link to an overhead bridge and a sheltered walkway to Holland Village and the MRT station. Furthermore, the overhead bridge has elevators on both ends, making it handicap-friendly.
Right next to the overhead bridge are the bus stops. Bus services are 7, 61, 75, 77, 95, 165, 970 and 5N.
From the side of Van Holland, these buses will take you to places like Botanic Garden, Orchard Road, Chinatown, Shenton Way, Ang Mo Kio and Hougang.
From across Van Holland, they will take you to Clementi, Bukit Timah, Bukit Panjang, Bukit Batok, NUS and NUH. Hence, the road coverage by buses is quite extensive.
The amenities around Van Holland are in abundance. Holland Village serves as a one-stop place for all your banking, shopping, groceries, entertainment and dining needs.
Cold Storage and 7-Eleven are open 24/7. Almost all the major banks are represented in Holland Village. No wonder expatriates love to live in this area!
The developer makes a great effort to make this project an outstanding one with luxurious finishing.
The flooring, bathroom fittings and kitchen appliances are all top-of-the-line brands.
They are among the first, if not the first, to introduce F.lli Frantini sanitary ware.
Configurations and Sizes of Units
In spite of only 69 units, the developer has catered to both investors and those buying for own stay. The smaller 491sf 1-bedders and 652sf 2-bedders are more palatable for investors because of lower quantum.
There is a need for bigger units with four bedrooms in this area, especially for those who are buying for own stay. Generally, this group of buyers with a high budget prefers a freehold property.
With sizes ranging from 1343sf to 1595sf and 1988sf, they fill the gaps to meet the needs of various family sizes.
For the 1-bedders, a full-width sliding door separates the master bedroom and living room. In this way, it can either be a studio with a sense of space or a 1-bedder when you need privacy.
Space-wise for 1-bedder and 2-bedder, they are very functional with the open-kitchen concept and good-size balcony but not an over-kill.
2-bedders have both one bathroom and two bathrooms options. These two options are prevalent with most new projects, partly for budget-conscious buyers and investors. For all practical purpose, one bathroom is sufficient for singles or couples. The difference in cost in one extra bathroom is more than $100,000.
Short of Ideals
Schools Near Van Holland
Unfortunately for families with young children, Van Holland Holland is not within 1km to any primary school. Henry Park and Nanyang Primary School are about 1.5km and 2.4km away, respectively.
On the other hand, Van Holland is near the educational hub with many secondary schools (ACSI, St Margaret and Hwa Chong) and tertiary institutions (NUS, Singapore Poly, Ngee Ann Poly) within relatively easy reach.
For expatriates, there are many international schools within a short drive away. With this, Van Holland will be a very rentable place. The catchment for tenants is limitless, be it those who work in CBD area, Biopolis, Alexandra Business Park or even Harbourfront area.
Though Van Holland is a small project with only 69 units, the developer has made provisions for two infinity-edge pools, one on the ground and the other on the rooftop level.
The developer has sacrificed a unit on the roof-top to build a bigger clubhouse.
The Sky Club is impressive for hosting parties or functions. Within the clubhouse will be a cigar room, a wine cellar, and an event space with a kitchen and pantry.
Other wide-ranging facilities include a junior rock-climbing wall, garden lounges, jacuzzi spas, gym etc. Not bad for a small project.
What I Don't Like About Van Holland
Van Holland only has 69 units sitting on a small plot of land. While it may appeal to those who like low-density development, it will not be ideal as an investment property since tenants like a full offering of condominium facilities.
A small project will have limitations due to restricted space. Much as the developer tries hard to circumvent this problem, it still cannot compete with larger projects with more, bigger and better facilities. To their credit, the developer decides to go for quality to compensate for this shortfall.
Even though Van Holland is a freehold project, One Holland Village Residences will be a better choice for investors. The latter is an integrated development with full condominium facilities, including a tennis court. As a more grandeur project and located right in the smack of Holland Village, Van Holland will be in the shadow of One Holland Village Residences as far as tenants are concerned.
With its freehold status, Van Holland will likely be the preferred choice of an older generation of buyers who are die-hards for only freehold properties.
Not only small projects have lesser facilities, but owners will also likely end up paying more for maintenance since the pool of ownership is smaller.
Potential Road Noise Problem
About 80-90% of condominiums in the Holland area are along the road. To partly addressed this problem, the developer of Van Holland makes use of the water feature wall and a 10m waterfall at the drop-off area to drown out the road noise. The developer hopes that the waterfall will at the same time be an Instagram-worthy spot.
It is good to know that Holland Road is not a major road with fast-moving traffic, so noise level will not be unbearable, except for those with a low threshold for noise.
The Biggest Issue: Distance Between The Blocks
Every developer will want to maximise the development of the land. When the plot size is small, it can be disastrous as in the case of Van Holland.
The distance between two of the blocks is as close as 5.4m! This is too close for comfort!
To make matter worse, the balconies and bedrooms of these two blocks are facing each other.
Initially, I thought that situated next to the GCB area is a positive attribute. However, there are restrictions imposed by URA. The rooms and balconies are not allowed to face the bungalows because of invasion of privacy. As a result, they have to face inwards.
Those units designated as ‘exclusive series’ in block 190 will all be looking directly into their neighbours in blocks 186 and 188. I don’t think buyers who have to pay premium prices for these ‘exclusive’ units are going to bite.
It is important to identify which are the premium facing units.
Out of the 15 stacks, I have identified only five with acceptable facing. And none of them is from the ‘exclusive series’. Of the five stacks, there are 1BR, 2BR and 3BR. In most projects, the bigger 4BR units would enjoy the best facing, but not in this case.
Taking the cues from some of the nearby D10 developments, Van Holland will not be cheap.
The indicative starting price is $2,600psf. While this price seems quite attractive given its excellent location, not many buyers are used to this price level yet.
Most recent launches in D10 are selling above $2,500psf. This resistance level of $2,500psf is apparent judging from the take-up rate.
One Holland Village Residences, on the other hand, is doing relatively well. So, will response to Van Holland be positive?
If the prices can be kept to between $2,600-2,700psf, there is a chance the project might perform well.
With prices in the Orchard area that is only minutes drive away crossing the $3000-4000psf level, soon Holland areas will look cheap.
It is interesting to note the majority of buyers for One Holland Village Residences are locals, many of whom live in Districts 10 and 11.
My Ratings of Van Holland
Van Holland 荷兰轩
186, 188, 190 Holland Road.
KBD (A unit of Koh Brothers)
47,600 sq ft
GROSS FLOOR AREA
73,396 sq ft
NO OF BLOCKS
NO OF STOREYS
4 and 5
NO OF UNITS
31 March 2023
ROOM TYPES & SIZES
1BR 491sf (10 units) / 2BR 652-685sf (9 units) / 2BR Premium 709-790sf (17 units) /2+STUDY 997sf (8 units) / 3BR 1054-1146sf (12 units) / 4BR 1343sf (5 units) / 4BR Excl 1595sf (6 units) / 4BR Exc.attic 1988sf (2 units)
Danny Han has always been in the people’s business, having spent 23 years as a church pastor, five years as an insurance agent, and the last 16 years as a property consultant.
Danny has a genuine interest in people and firmly believes in personal integrity. While helping homeowners with their property needs, their interest always takes precedence over his personal gains. Hence, Danny has consistently earned his clients’ complete trust and loyalty. Many of them have become his personal friends.
Danny received his Diploma in Mechanical Engineering from Singapore Polytechnics and Bachelor of Science from Oklahoma Christian University of Science and Arts in Bible & Psychology.
Besides keeping abreast of the property market trend and constantly equipping himself to better serve his clients, Danny is a passionate foodie, a weekend cyclist, and an avid hiker.