Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Alkaff Mansion draws F&B play

Singapore PR Piegaia Gabriele in top bid of $79,251 per month

NINE parties have submitted bids in a state tender to lease the former Alkaff Mansion, with the majority proposing food & beverage use for the landmark property.

They have offered to pay monthly rentals ranging from $3,009 to $79,251 for the property at Telok Blangah Hill.

The top bidder is LES Pte Ltd. A search with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority shows that the company’s shareholders are Salz Kenji Tanaka, an American whose registered address is the Four Seasons Hotel Doha in Qatar; and Piegaia Gabriele, a Singapore permanent resident.

Industry observers note that the executive sous chef of Tuscan restaurant Palio at Hotel Michael at Resorts World Sentosa is Gabriele Piegaia. When contacted by BT yesterday, however, Mr Piegaia insisted that he was not that LES shareholder.

The second-highest bidder is listed Fragrance Group, with a monthly rent offer of $41,300. Its finance director, P Aravindan, says that the group’s proposal involves operating a restaurant at the site to complement its existing hotel business. Fragrance has a chain of 20 hotels around Singapore, charging room rates of about $70 to $180 per night. Its other main business is real estate.

In selecting the winning bid, SLA will consider among other factors, the tendered price, concepts, proposed uses, track record and financial health of the bidders, an SLA spokeswoman said. ‘We aim to announce the results before end-June, 2010,’ she added.

Other bidders include Bakerzin Holdings, Villa Pte Ltd and Timbre 2 Pte Ltd.

Villa – set up by Andrew Seow and Robin Greatbatch – is currently master tenant at Gillman Village Blocks 9 and 10. A related company, The Villa Bali Pte Ltd, runs Little Bali at Gillman Village comprising Villa Bali garden restaurant and bar, Warung Frangipani foodcourt, and a Chinese seafood restaurant named Bali Seafood.

Mr Greatbatch, managing director of Villa, told BT yesterday that the group hoped to relocate Villa Bali to Alkaff Mansion as its master lease with SLA at Gillman Village runs out later this year and will not be renewed. The government has earmarked the Gillman Village site to be developed into an arts cluster.

Timbre 2’s shareholders include Ublues Group, which runs F&B, music venues, electronic ticketing and other businesses.

Ublues operates Timbre outlets – a live music, restaurant and bar concept – at four locations including The Arts House and Substation and will soon operate three new concepts at Studio M Hotel in the Mohamed Sultan area.

‘Our proposed concept for Alkaff Mansion includes F&B and an art gallery,’ Ublues Group managing director Edward Chia told BT yesterday.

The remaining bidders are Sarika Connoisseur Cafe Pte Ltd, Wei Wen, Mark Ko Teong Hoon and Sofkar Sg Pte Ltd. Sofkar’s activities include motion picture, video and TV programme production.

The former Alkaff Mansion, which has conservation status, can be used for the following – F&B/restaurant, art gallery, wellness/spa facilities, and museum. When the tender was launched last month, SLA had said that the guide rent is $28,100 per month and that it would issue an initial tenancy term of three years, renewable for a further two terms of three years each.

The two-storey property has been empty since former tenant Hotel Properties Ltd returned it to the Singapore Tourism Board in 2004, when its 15-year lease expired.

The property has a land area of 96,699 square feet and a gross floor area of 13,142 sq ft. An outdoor refreshment area (up to 969 sq ft) may be allowed subject to evaluation.

Source: Business Times, 7 Apr 2010

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