Weave and SLB bought the row of Kampong Glam shophouses last year.
Weave Living opened its first location in Singapore this week with the facility in Kampong Glam half leased at rents exceeding expectations, Sachin Doshi, founder and chief executive of the Hong Kong-based startup told Mingtiandi on Thursday.
The Warburg Pincus-backed rental housing operator on Wednesday officially opened its 65-unit Weave Suites – Midtown near the Bugis MRT station a year after it announced a joint deal with SGX-listed builder SLB Development to acquire a row of shophouses at 33 Jalan Sultan to mark its entry to the Lion City.
Since starting leasing three weeks ago, Doshi said the company, which focuses on providing “hassle-free living” has experienced stronger than expected demand with half of bookings coming from local citizens, as Southeast Asia’s most expensive city struggles with a housing shortage.
“Rents have gone up a lot in Singapore and the leasing demand is very strong. For the conversion rate, almost 90 percent of people who walk through the door and look at the properties become tenants, which is great,” Doshi said. “It also gives us more confidence that there is depth in the market, there’s certainly demand for institutional counterparties as landlords.”
More Weave in Singapore
Weave, together with SLB, renovated the set of 17 two-storey shophouses, which had formerly been used as a boutique hotel, into fully furnished homes complemented by amenity spaces, with most units having their own private terraces and kitchenettes, according to the firm’s social media post.
Sachin Doshi, Founder & Group CEO, Weave Living
Doshi said that as part of the renovation the partners opened up the property’s ground floor to host shared amenities such as a large gourmet kitchen, a gym, meeting rooms and workspaces. The location’s block-long street frontage also allowed the companies to convert some units into retail space dedicated for restaurants.
Formerly known as Hotel Clover, Weave and SLB paid S$75 million (then $56 million) to acquire the 35,000 square foot (3,252 square metre) property from local investor Teo Kok Hwee’s hotel investment firm, Singa Property. The Warburg Pincus-backed operator holds a majority stake in the JV.
Weave’s first location in the city is located at the northern fringe of the city’s urban core with quick access to the city’s financial district.
With the company having opened its first location outside its home base in Hong Kong, Doshi said Weave is open to setting up more branches in Singapore now that it has demonstrated the demand for professionally managed accommodation.
“They can expect to see more Weave in Singapore,” he said.
The company CEO linked the stronger than expected demand for the project to an undersupply of new housing in the city-state, particularly in areas within a 10-minute commute from the central business district.
The loft suite is Weave’s biggest unit in its Singapore branch.
Doshi said the company was particularly encouraged to see Singapore citizens representing half of their original crew of tenants, pointing out that many returning professionals are looking for distinctive spaces and may find renting HDB (subsidised housing) to be less appealing.
Progress Back Home
Back home, Weave has been teaming up with global investors in snapping up hotels and apartment blocks in Hong Kong which it repositions into branded rental housing.
According to its website, the operator now has six operating properties across the city with another three branches slated to open this year.
Among its major acquisitions in 2022 was the HK$900 million (then $115 million) buy of the Grand City Hotel at 338-346 Queen’s Road West in Sai Ying Pun in May through a JV with US investment manager Angelo Gordon.
That deal in western Hong Kong Island came one month after the company picked up the 435-key Rosedale Hotel in Kowloon for HK$1.37 billion in a joint deal with PGIM Real Estate.
Also last year, Weave partnered with LaSalle Investment Management to purchase a 25-unit apartment tower at 68 Robinson Road in Hong Kong Island’s Mid-Levels for around HK$275 million.
Spotlight Interview Up Next
To explain more about Weave’s expansion into Singapore as well as other elements of the company’s growth strategy, Doshi will be appearing on Mingtiandi’s MTD TV video platform next week in a joint interview alongside Warburg Pincus managing director Qiqi Zhang.
A garden suite at Weave Suites – Midtown in Singapore
In that interview at 10:00 AM Hong Kong time on Tuesday 14 March, Doshi and Zhang will describe their experiences working together to launch Weave, as well as sharing their insights into the forces driving multi-family investments in Asia Pacific.
The interview is part of MTD TV’s month-long APAC Residential Forum, which is sponsored by Yardi, and will be followed by panels dedicated to the Greater China, Japan and Australia markets.