Shunfu Ville Sale Suffers Setback
Not for the first time, a collective sale has hit a stumbling block, after a small number of residents of the Shunfu Ville estate raised objections and opposed the sale. Two subsequent mediation attempts failed to reach an agreement forcing the Strata Titles Board to order the collective-sale committee to halt proceedings, and the dispute is now headed for the high court.
The Bishan estate, bought by Chinese developer Qingjian Realty for $638 million in May, is the third largest en bloc sale in Singapore, and was the first for almost a year, but now residents and the developer alike fear that the issue could drag on for months if not longer until a satisfactory solution is found.
In line with the requirements, more than 82% of the 358 residents agreed to the sale, with each looking to make on average $1.782 million if and when the sale does finally go ahead. It is understood that 5 residents have now raised objections – something they are legally allowed to do even after the sale has been agreed, if they feel they will face financial loss. These objections are believed to range from a downright refusal to move to expectations of a larger pay out.
This is the latest in a growing number of en bloc sales that have stalled for various reasons after the initial deal has been agreed. It is not just a frustrating development for residents who have been forced to put future plans on hold, but also a potentially expensive one. They will have to foot the bill for legal fees (thought to be in the region of $1500 each) and to make matters worse, the estate- built 30 years ago by the Housing and Urban Development Company and only privatised in 2013, is in dire need of repair. Many of the lifts and ceilings are in a treacherous state, and if the issue drags on too long, it is feared expensive repair bills will result.
Industry experts say that the case could go either way, and if the high court does find that any of the residents do in fact face financial losses from the sale, then they will have no alternative but to turn the application down. What implications that will have on further proposed collective sales, can only be guessed at, but it will not only be Qingjian and the Shunfu Ville Estate residents who will be keeping a keen eye on developments at the court in the coming weeks and months.
That is not the only hurdle for the developers however. Qingjian had initially planned to build more than 1,000 homes on the 408,927 sq ft site, in a project incorporating towers of up to 36 storeys. Those plans have been thrown out by the Urban Redevelopment Authority however, stating that due to its proximity to the MacRitchie Reservoir, the development could not go higher than 23 floors, to ensure the vista of the park isn’t ruined. In a statement, Li Jun, the developer’s general manager, said that such restrictions were something that they had been prepared for and that they would comply with the URA guidelines.
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