Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Keen bids for Alkaff Mansion

A NEWLY set up food and beverage company fronted by Italian Gabriele Piegaia has topped the bids for the keenly contested former Alkaff Mansion site.

The two-month-old company, LES, topped the tender with a monthly rent offer of $79,251, which is about three times the Singapore Land Authority’s (SLA) monthly guide rent of $28,100.

Fragrance Group came in second with a monthly offer of $41,300 while Bakerzin Holdings was third with $36,380.

The top three bidders declined to be interviewed.

Perched on top of Telok Blangah Hill Park, Alkaff – a majestic conserved building – has been left vacant since 2003. The SLA recently put it up for lease by tender.

Of the nine bidders, six had offered to pay a monthly rent that is above the guide rent. They included food and beverage players Villa and Timbre 2.

The remaining three offered rents of only $3,009 to $23,431.

Most of the bids came from food and beverage firms, said an SLA spokesman.

LES was incorporated on Feb 1 this year.

A company search showed that it has two shareholders. One is Kenji Tanaka Salz, an American living in Doha and the other is Mr Piegaia, who is a Singapore permanent resident.

There is a well known chef in Singapore by the same name who was previously the executive chef at Senso Ristorante & Bar in Club Street and is currently an executive sous chef at Resorts World Sentosa.

But when contacted at his work place, the 32-year-old chef brushed aside any link to LES, saying: ‘You are mistaken. I am just a cook.’

The former Alkaff Mansion was once a popular wedding venue.

Built in the 1920s as a family retreat by Yemeni businessman Syed Abdul Rahman Alkaff, the building was turned into a dining and entertainment hub in 1990 after a $5 million makeover.

It was popular for a decade, before the economy dipped and hit the business.

Hotel Properties, which had leased the property for 15 years, finally closed it down in 2003.

SLA had said the property, which has a gross floor area of 13,142 sq ft, can be used as a food & beverage outlet, art gallery, wellness/spa facilities or a museum.

It sits on a land area of 96,699 sq ft,

The lease term is for three years with an option to renew for another two three-year terms.

‘In selecting the winning bid, SLA considers among other factors, the tendered price, concepts, proposed uses, track record and financial health of the bidders,’ said the SLA spokesman.

‘In the case of the former Alkaff Mansion, we aim to announce the results before end June 2010.’

Source: Straits Times, 7 Apr 2010

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