10 minutes with...
ASHISH MANCHHARAM, founder and managing director, 8M Real Estate (8MRE)
What’s the significance behind the name ‘8M’? The ‘8’ in 8M refers to infinity and the stylised ‘M’ represents an open doorway to infinite opportunities.
As a real estate developer, how have you helped to breathe new life into the local F&B and boutique hotel scene? The two business lines require two different visions. For the accommodation strategy, we’re creating a smart and lean alternative stay product by focusing on quality rooms, good design and great value while keeping the operations tight. By using new digital tools like self-check in and keyless entry, we alleviate the reliance on the front desk, allowing our hosts to better focus on the guest. As landlords, we strive to keep up the momentum in Singapore’s thriving F&B scene by creating ideal spaces for talented restaurateurs, focusing on infrastructure, location and physical curation, so that they can concentrate on finding quality manpower.
Some of our most successful and notable projects include historic enclaves like Ann Siang Hill, Gemmil Lane, Amoy Street, Hong Kong Street and Tanjong Pagar Road.
Does your affinity for shophouses stem from having grown up in one?
Yes. I grew up in a shophouse, my family has been investing in shophouses and working at them for years, so they not only hold sentimental value for me, but also capture my creative and business imagination. I get very excited thinking about the unlocked potential of a new conservation project. The planning and design phase is very challenging and rewarding. Creating a fresh, functional and inspiring product out of something fundamentally old while respecting the integrity of the space is something I’m incredibly passionate about.
What do you look for when adding a conservation property to your portfolio? Location, location, location. I love walking the streets of Singapore because prices aside, we need the right supporting infrastructure too. We know every corner of the areas we invest in, and that’s the key to our success. Whether an MRT currently exists or is in the pipeline, is an important factor in our decision making process. With this laser-sharp focus and on-the-ground expertise, we make meticulously informed investment decisions. Our properties are always within five minutes of transportation hubs, so that we can concentrate on the Downtown Core where people live, work and play.
What’s your weakness when it comes to food?
As a true Singaporean foodie, my comfort foods are straight from the hawker centre – chicken rice and carrot cake.