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PostPosted: Sun, 03 Sep 2006 02:36 pm 
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If you drive along Still Road South, you would see a pair of derelict houses on each side of the road, 25 & 26 Still Road South.

Rumours has it that it was once part of a large garden complex and when Still Road was constructed, the two houses were spilt. Due to the separation, the spirits were no longer at peace and were haunting the place ever since.

What is the truth behind these houses? Who own these houses? Why were these houses left abandoned resulting in urban legends. API fengshui went to the site to investigate.

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25 Still Road South

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Close up of 25 Still Road South

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26 Still Road South

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26 Close up

API fengshui found out the following:

In 1917, Moona Kader Sultan, a wealthy Indian cattle merchant built the Karikal Mahal, a complex of 4 luxurious houses there.

Lee Kong Chian's father Lee Kuo Chuan, from which the street took it's name, later brought over Karikal Mahal and the surrounding area. It was later turned into Grand Hotel, which was very popular among VIPs. The hotel, which used to stand next to the sea before the land was reclaimed, was split in half by Still Road when the area was developed in the mid '70's. The land where the road was built was given to the government by Lee's family.

Both remaining parts of the hotel, which have been derelict for many years, can still be see on either side of Still Road.

Part of the former hotel at 26 Still Road South has been gazetted for conservation.

The whole of Kuo Chuan Avenue (comprising more than 10 semi colonial houses still belong the Lee Kong Chian's family.

They were built around the 1920's by Lee Kong Chian who at that time owned a rubber company; the bungalows were for employees of that company. Lee Kong Chian also founded the Lee Foundation.

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Current Kuo Chuan Ave Colonial Houses.

Kuo Chuan Avenue and the land on which the hotel stands have been earmarked for development for several years.

Tenants are on short leases as a result. Whilst this is good in terms of low rents it also means that it is difficult to make plans to far ahead. In Nov 2004, the street was less than half occupied. Since then the units have all been let and there is now a waiting list.

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Anyway, it looks like a good bargain for a temporary lease.

fengshui remarks:

Lee Kong Chian was once the chairman of OCBC Bank in 1965.He died in 1967 at age 74 and is survived by three sons Lee Seng Gee, Lee Seng Tee, Lee Seng Wee and three daughters.

One of the caretaker which fengshui interviewed is taking care of both 25 and 26 Still Road South. She remembered one of the daughters kindly, saying that a lady of her status still used to drop by to deliver goodies to her and ask about their well being.

As to why the houses are still left as it is, there is certainly no property dispute there. Besides being earmarked for conservation, other parts are being targeted for development later on.

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PostPosted: Thu, 28 Sep 2006 05:38 pm 
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saw this ST article posted in 2004, even ST has no clue to the owner

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Nov 13, 2004 TODAY'S SIGHTS
Deserted but still grand, By Crystal Chan

Ex-home of wealthy merchant became Grand Hotel around 1948; closed in 2000 WITH its distinctive classical ornamentation, the former Grand Hotel along Still Road South on the East Coast stands out from the neighbouring condominiums, schools and blocks of flats.

Residents are curious but clueless about the building's past. Housewife Esha Batish, 32, who sees the building when taking her daughter to Katong Convent next door, said: 'Looking at the architecture, I think it was built in colonial times.'

BUILT IN THE EARLY 1900s: Wealthy cattle merchant Mohd Kadir Sultan intended the building for himself and his wives. -- AZIZ HUSSIN

It was. Mohd Kadir Sultan, a wealthy cattle merchant from India, built it in the early 1900s as a house for himself and his many wives. He named it Karikal Mahal.

Around 1948, it was sold, renovated and opulently renamed the Grand Hotel - though in truth it was only a 20-room budget operation.

Today, the grey building looks much as it did during the 1970s to 1990s. It has been deserted since the hotel closed down in 2000.

In its years as a hotel, there came occasional notoriety. A 1993 New Paper report detailed how a woman caught her husband meeting his mistress there.

For whatever purpose the hotel was used, it was certainly affordable. In the 1950s, the daily rate was $15; from 1985, $70 a day or $50 for four hours.

This got you an air-conditioned room with two single beds, a small refrigerator, an attached bathroom and a television set. Occupancy hovered at between 80 and 90 per cent despite the lack of a pool, spa or jacuzzi.

It is not known why the annual licence with the Hotels Licensing Board was not renewed, and the hotel shut its doors.

On Dec 1 last year, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) gave the building conservation status under the Conservation Initiated by Private Owners scheme, which started in 1991.

This means it cannot be demolished and renovations must be approved by URA.

When The Straits Times visited, a woman on the premises would say only that the place was now private property.

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