After operating for more than three decades, owners of old-fashioned Boon Lay Raja restaurant has finally decided to take a break and sell off the shop space and recipes to Mr. Ong Pang Aik, executive chairman of listed construction firm, Lian Beng Group as a private investment in October 2014.
With the restaurant is strategically located near good crowd and the business is earning decent profits from the restaurant, one of the owners, Mr. Henry Tan Kweng Nam has admit age is catching up with him and his partners whom are also in their 60s or 70s. The 73 year-old owner has also mentioned that there are no successor in the business – neither were her daughter nor the restaurant’s chefs.
History of Boon Lay Raja Restaurant
Mr. Henry Tan posing outside of the restaurant. Photo by Straits Times.
The original Boon Lay Raja restaurant was open in 1979 which hailed its customers from nearby factories. Later in 1989, it relocated to a site in Jurong Gateway Road in Jurong East. Mr. Henry Tan was a former secondary school principal, was encouraged to enter the F&B industry by his three university classmates, whom later became the main shareholders for the restaurant as well.
However, Mr. Henry Tan was not a cook himself. What he did was study recipes and menus of other restaurants and he will then get his chefs to whip up the new dishes based on the ideas that came into his mind.
Restaurant Space Sold For S$15 Million
Savills Singapore was appointed by the owners of Boon Lay Raja Restaurant to sell the restaurant space that can accommodate 60 tables or 600 person by tender. The space occupies 11,248 sq ft and only about 200 metres away from Jurong East MRT Station. Furthermore, it has a remaining lease of 69 years taken from the Housing and Development Board (HDB). A reserve price of S$15 million or S$1,334 sq ft was set in the tender which closes 3pm on 6th November 2014.
Lian Beng Group’s Mr. Ong was the final winner among the four bidders which he bought over as a private investment. The reasons for the bid is due to its good location, near proximity to Jurong East MRT and the boom of nearby shopping malls.
It was also commented by Savills associate director of investment sales, Derrick Tan that the prime HDB restaurant space is a rarity, especially in the Jurong Gateway precinct, which is the biggest commercial hub outside the CBD area. Furthermore, the area has been planned for further growth with the makeover of Jurong Lake District and possible site of the new Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High Speed Rail Terminus.
What is the Fate of Boon Lay Raja Restaurant ?
There are plans by Mr. Ong that the restaurant space will be rented out to a well-known Chinese restaurant and the operations are planned to start in May 2015. Meanwhile, business continues as usual until end of March. They are also already fully booked for Chinese New Year’s eve dinner.
For those that are interested in visiting the restaurant before they change the ownership, it is recommended to do it within these two months. Some of the trademarks dish are red garoupa in Nonya sauce, roasted duck with mango and Buddha jumps over the wall.
Boon Lay Raja Restaurant
#02-337, Block 135
Jurong Gateway Road
Tel: +65 6563 6643
Fax: +65 6562 4569