People’s Park Complex being studied for conservation, may impact collective sale, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

People’s Park Complex being studied for conservation, may impact collective sale

People’s Park Complex, built in the 1970s as South-east Asia’s first multi-use complex, may be proposed for conservation in view of its high heritage significance, said the urban planning authorities.

The move was welcomed by heritage groups, which have urged that the building be saved, but it may impact a second attempt at a collective sale launched by its owners in March 2023.

A spokesperson for the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) told The Straits Times on Dec 21 it has informed the property’s management corporation strata title and collective sales committee’s representatives that URA had assessed the building to be of high heritage significance.

The collective sale effort should take into account the ongoing conservation study and its findings, which have yet to be concluded, said URA.

Mr Lim Fang Hua, chairman of the People’s Park Complex collective sale committee, said it would proceed with its plans for sale, which include an asking price of $1.3 billion. It said it received the notice from URA in November and many details remained to be ironed out.  

“However, we don’t foresee a big impact on our sale,” he said, adding that close to half of the unit owners have given consent for the sale.

People’s Park Complex launched a first attempt at a collective sale in 2018 at the same asking price, but failed to obtain the required consent of 80 per cent of the unit owners. There are 391 commercial units, 278 residences and a carpark.

A decision to gazette the building would have an impact on its attempt to be sold, said Mr Govinda Singh, Colliers’ executive director and head of hotels and leisure and real estate advisory, citing the example of Golden Mile Complex.

The multi-use complex in Beach Road was gazetted for conservation in October 2021 after it had launched a collective sale. It was sold in 2022 for $700 million to a consortium comprising Perennial Holdings, Sino Land and Far East Organization.

This was $100 million less than the original $800 million reserve price. The first attempt to sell the complex at a reserve price of $800 million in 2019 ended with no bids.

URA stepped in with incentives to make development options for Golden Mile Complex more attractive to buyers concerned about the constraints imposed by conservation rules.

The incentives included allowing developers to build a new tower block about 30 storeys high beside the main conserved building. Tax incentives were also provided, lowering development costs.

Mr Singh said: “It would be interesting to see what incentives URA will be prepared to offer, if any, to support a successful outcome (for People’s Park Complex).” He added that buyers would expect a discount on pricing.

People’s Park Complex has 44 years left on its lease.

Mr Koh Seow Chuan, 84, who was part of the design team, told ST that People’s Park Complex was the first major building to reflect Singapore’s spirit of nation-building after independence.

“We always felt that the building should be conserved because of its historical significance,” he added. “It will take much time and costs to do so. We will be glad to offer our ideas for the conservation.”