Saturday, January 19, 2008

The “Cool Dome” design

The “Cool Dome” design, submitted by the Singapore Sports Hub consortium, will be Singapore’s next iconic structure.

Singapore Sports Hub Group’s proposal

The Singapore government on Saturday revealed the consortium as its preferred bidder for the Singapore Sports Hub project.

The consortium beats two other bids.

The winning team’s strong programming line-up gave it the upper hand over their rivals.

These were the “Horse shoe shaped design” submitted by the Singapore Gold consortium and the “wrapped-Stadium design” submitted by the Alpine Mayreder.

The new sports hub will be completed by end 2011 and will cost some S$1.2 billion. - CNA/ir

Source : Channel NewsAsia - 19 Jan 2008

The majority owners of Regent Garden, a 31-unit development in West Coast Road, are trying to back out of a deal with Allgreen Properties

Majority owners go to court claiming collective sale price undervalues site

ANOTHER collective sale dispute is brewing, but this time, those locking horns with the developer are the majority owners. Usually, the minority owners are the ones who take the lead in contesting such sales.

The majority owners of Regent Garden, a 31-unit development in West Coast Road, are trying to back out of a deal with Allgreen Properties .

Quite often, collective sale disputes have been triggered by unhappiness on the part of minority owners, as with the ongoing Horizon Towers case.

The Regent Garden owners inked a sales agreement in April last year to sell their property to mainboard-listed Allgreen for $34 million.

However, in a statement from Allgreen to the Singapore Exchange yesterday, the company disclosed that the majority owners are asking the High Court to release them from the agreement.

Alternatively, the owners want to get damages of between $5.7 million and $6.685 million from Allgreen.

Allgreen said in the same announcement that it intends to ‘vigorously contest this action, and the claims and allegations made by the majority vendors’. The firm maintains that the deal remains valid and binding at the original sale price of $34 million.

Allgreen has also gone to the High Court, to ask it to order the majority owners to complete the transaction by Feb 28.

According to documents seen by The Straits Times, the majority owners, who own 25 of the 31 units, signed the deal last April. By November, the minority owners had agreed to the deal and withdrawn the objections they had filed with the Strata Titles Board.

However, the majority owners, through their lawyers, wrote to Allgreen last month, claiming the sale price of $34 million was a ‘mutual fundamental mistake’.

It arose because the sale proceeds assumed a development charge payable of $7.2 million when the owners had expected a charge of only $950,000. So the sale price was at ‘a gross undervalue’.

The minority owners also appear to have been paid extra. But the majority owners say Allgreen has refused to give them these details.

To this, Allgreen points out that its bid of $34 million was the highest among all the bids. It was also $4 million higher than the reserve sale price.

It disagrees that a mistake was made. It says the sales committee had made a conscious decision not to obtain the actual baseline plot ratio - which affects the development charge - from the Urban Redevelopment Authority before the deal was struck.

According to Allgreen, it had even offered a floating sale price, which would be subject to the development charge, but the sales committee wanted to fix the price - in order to be guaranteed certainty of sale.

Only later did the majority owners ask a property consultancy to put together a valuation report using the actual baseline plot ratio. This resulted in a higher valuation of Regent Garden.

Allgreen says such assertions are ‘nothing more than belated attempts to rewrite the bargain in the hope of extracting a higher price for Regent Garden’.

Source : Straits Times - 19 Jan 2008

STB power to hear all objections

SINGAPORE has seen several ugly en bloc tussles but this is a first. The majority owners, having agreed to sell their condominium, are now suing the buyers.

A group of 25 at the 31-unit Regent Garden is alleging that developer Allgreen Properties has breached the sale and purchase agreement by grossly undervaluing the condominium.

The owners filed a claim last Monday with the High Court to declare that they are no longer bound by the agreement, which saw the condominium sold for $34 million last April.

On Friday, Allgreen struck back. It announced that it will “vigorously contest this action and the claims and allegations made by the majority vendors”, and has applied for a court order to force the majority owners to complete the transaction.

According to court documents obtained by Today, the dispute centres on two issues. The majority owners, represented by Senior Counsel Molly Lim, allege that Allgreen had overstated the development charge by more than $6 million, thereby depressing the sale price by that sum.

They also claim the developer gave “disproportionately high” proceeds to the six erstwhile minority owners to secure full consent. The latter have since agreed to the sale and have applied to withdraw their objections, set to be heard Jan 30 by the Strata Titles Board (STB).

Now it is the majority owners who want to be heard by the STB, which an experienced en bloc lawyer, who declined to be named, said puts the STB in an “interesting” position.

The law now gives STB power to hear all objections, but the Regent agreement was signed before the legislative change.

According to Knight Frank managing director Tan Tiong Cheng, he has “never come across a case where the majority owners sought to rely on the fluctuation in the development baseline gross floor area to renege on their agreement with the developer”.

“It is also my experience that it is not uncommon for the developer to contribute to the payment of a premium to minority owners in order to procure their consent to the collective sale,” he said in a court document.

Bernard and Rada Law Corporation associate director M Kumaran, who oversees his firm’s en bloc cases, said the majority owners would have a case if the buyers had misrepresented the development charges.

“This sort of matter has been taken up to court but not in the context of en bloc sales,” he said.

Source : Weekend Today - 19 Jan 2008