Roll-out for Katong bakery

Roll-out for Katong bakery

SINGAPORE - An iconic food institution is set to get a new lease of life in 2016, when a new residential project The Red House is completed.

The well-known Katong Red House Bakery, which was first set up in 1931 and closed down in 2003, will be revived at its original location as part of a mixed development that will also include five other existing shophouses and 42residential units, which will be spread out between a new development and above the shophouses.

There will also be a sky pool and gym.

And paying homage to its heritage, the East Coast Road project, which was launched for sale on Saturday, will also have an heritage gallery, which will highlight the history of the property and the Red House Bakery.

The curator and artefacts have yet to be finalised.

About 80 years ago, well-known philanthropist Sheriffa Zain Alsharoff Mohamed Alsagoff bequeathed the land and properties sitting on it, including the Red House and its adjacent five shophouses, as a wakaf or Islamic endowment. They are managed by Muis, or the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore.

Developer Warees Investments, the real estate development arm of Muis, is behind the development, together with the wakaf.

Proceeds from the Red House project will be used to provide free medical care to the needy.

Although originally a free clinic named Al-Taha Dispensary was mentioned in the wakaf deed, Muis and the trust will find a more effective way to disburse funds for medical purposes when the project is completed.

Other endowment projects include Somerset Bencoolen, a mixed-use development in Bras Basah, and condominium Chancery Residence in Chancery Lane.

At a showflat preview yesterday, MrHaider Sithawalla, 80, chairman of Warees' board of directors, said: "Time has taken its toll on The Red House and its adjacent shophouses. Buildings, like people, do age.

"Over the past few years, Muis, Warees and the trustees have spent a considerable amount of time and effort to find ways to improve the returns from these properties in line with the prevailing market conditions."

A new addition to the plot will be the residential block, which will be built behind the shophouses.

The 42 units will be between 441 sq ft and 1,206sq ft in size, with prices starting at $1,499 a square foot.

Warees' chief operating officer Zaini Osman, 36, said that the group did its best to preserve the heritage of Katong when designing the project.

"We have met people from the local grassroots, Peranakan and business associations, and did research on the heritage of Katong."

For one descendant of Madam Sheriffa Zain, the launch of the restored property was a good tribute to his grandmother.

Mr Syed Omar Mohamed Alsagoff, 75, also one of the trustees of the property, said: "She would have never expected to see this happen. She would want to see that what she bequests, continues."

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