Over the weekend, Sichuan hot pot chain Haidilao International’s co-founder Shi Yonghong, was reported to have paid $50 million for a Good Class Bungalow (GCB) at Cluny Hill from Dr Lee Wei Ling, the daughter of the late Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and sister of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
The bungalow sits within the Cluny Hill GCB Area, on a land area of 18,255 sqft, which at $50 million, works out to about $2,740 per square foot. According to ST, the legal transfer took place on Sept 6.
The previous owner of the GCB was Kwa Geok Choo Pte Ltd (known as Cluny Lodge Pte Ltd). Kwa Geok Choo is Dr Lee’s late mother. While Dr Lee is the sole shareholder of the entity, its directors include her nephew Li Huanwu, the second son of Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Suet Fern (who have recently put up for sale their Caldecott Hill Estate bungalows).
The Cluny Hill GCB purchase also means Shi’s bungalow is near his co-founder and friend, Zhang Yong, whose family bought two GCBs in the Gallop Road/Woollerton Park GCB Area several years back.
These are a 21,649-sqft GCB and a 15,884-sqft GCB, also known as the Winged House. Both bungalows are next to each other and are located in a secluded cul-de-sac.
Zhang first bought The Winged House for $27 million (S$1,700 psf) in 2016. It was dubbed so because it was designed by K2LD Architects in the shape of two wings. When it was first purchased, it had two levels and a basement, with five bedrooms, a pool, terrace and garden.
Four years later, Zhang’s son, Zhang Hanzhi (who is in his early 20s), bought the adjacent freehold GCB for S$42 million (S$1,940 psf) in December 2020.
While Shi’s GCB is located in a different GCB Area than Zhang’s, all three are within walking distance of the Singapore Botanic Gardens.
In 1994, both Zhang Yong (52) and Shi Yonghong (53) co-found Haidilao in Jianyang, Sichuan, China, with their respective wives, Shu Ping and Li Haiyan.
In 2012, the group opened its first restaurant outside of mainland China in Clarke Quay, Singapore. This was followed by its first US outlet in California in 2013.
Besides the 1,400 stores in mainland China, the brand of restaurants can now be found in over 100 stores worldwide, including Malaysia, Australia, Taiwan, the UK, Canada, South Korea and Japan. It went public in Hong Kong in September 2018 and generated US$6.4b (S$9 billon) in sales in 2021 (Forbes).
Zhang and his family moved to Singapore in 2018 and later became a naturalised Singapore citizen.