Jurong West coffee shop sells for 8-figure sum, stallholders not increasing prices despite rent adjustment

The coffeeshop in Block 496 Jurong West Street 41 that was sold for an eight-figure sum.
PHOTO: Screengrab from 8world

While coffee shops are our go-to spots for affordable food, hefty fees can be involved when they change hands.

Recently, a Yishun coffeeshop was sold for $40 million while another in Tampines changed hands for a whopping $41.6 million.

It's time to add Jurong West Street 41 to that list as a coffee shop at Block 496 was sold for an eight-figure sum, reported 8world.

The new owner officially took over in April this year, and the coffee shop officially re-opened last month after a six-digit renovation.

While rental fees for the coffee shop, now under the FoodHub brand, were "slightly adjusted", new boss Paul Kok Kuan Pow emphasised that the amount was "still acceptable" for stallholders.

"I mainly want to bring some cheap and high-quality food to the residents of Jurong West. In addition to introducing some well-known food stalls, I also retained many of the original stalls," the F&B entrepreneur said to 8world.

Well-known newcomers include Chef Kin HK Wanton Noodle, a popular chain started by Chef Kin, an ex-Crystal Jade chef.  There's also Bak Kut Teh specialist Rong Cheng Rou Gu Cha and Tiong Bahru Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice.

Paul added that the food stalls have not raised food prices "to take care of regular customers".

Indeed, the few food stall owners and workers that spoke to 8world mentioned the support received from their customers and how they are trying their best to avoid pass on added costs to them.

A fishball noodle stall owner from the coffee shop mentioned that he had experienced several prior ownership changes, having been in the same location for 35 years.

Despite rising rental costs, he has been trying to keep prices low as many customers being senior citizens, and his business strategy is to have a small profit margin but high sales, he explained. 

While the current price tag of the coffee shop has not been revealed, it was sold for $2,954,000 in 1998. Three years later, it changed hands for $6,700,000.

And if you find Paul's name familiar, that's because his company EH 155 bought a Bukit Batok coffee shop for $31 million back in 2015, setting a new record for a Housing Board coffee shop at the time. 

With several eye-catching multi-million dollar sales of late, National Development Minister Desmond Lee has said that the Housing Board "will not hesitate to review its policies to address affordability concerns".

When asked about rent control measures, he said that controlling rent may result in unintended impacts such as "reducing the incentive" for owners to invest in improvements to their coffee shops.

ALSO READ: Hmm really? Netizens unsure of claims that coffee and 'cai fan' prices will not increase at $40 million Yishun coffee shop

amierul@asiaone.com