HISTORIC Alkaff Mansion has been leased to the little-known food and beverage firm LES, which submitted the highest bid in the April tender.
The company, formed in February, beat nine other bidders with its winning offer of $79,251 rent a month. This was almost double the next bid, from property developer and hotel operator Fragrance Group, and three times the Singapore Land Authority's (SLA) guide of $28,100.
Other bidders for the Telok Blangah Green property, near Mount Faber, included Bakerzin Holdings and Timbre 2.
LES can use the site as a restaurant, art gallery, spa or museum and will lease the property for an initial period of three years. The tenancy can be renewed for another two terms of three years each.
An SLA spokesman said yesterday: 'LES met our tender evaluation criteria which include compliance with tender terms and conditions, financial strength and the track record.'
The main shareholders of LES include LHN Lifestyle, a property investment arm of LHN Group, Mr Kenji Tanaka Salz, an American with a listed residence in Doha, and Mr Gabriele Piegaia, a Singapore permanent resident.
The company is expected to release details of its proposed use for the property on Monday.
According to its website, LHN Group leases unused and under-utilised spaces from government agencies, commercial corporations and finance companies. It then renovates them into industrial land and buildings, warehouses, offices or residential premises.
The company also provides services such as marketing, subleasing and management of these converted properties.
Its lifestyle portfolio lists properties at 23A/B Turnhouse Road and 102 Upper Aljunied Road.
Alkaff Mansion, once a popular wedding venue, has been vacant since late 2003. It was designated a conservation building in June 2005.
It was built by Yemeni businessman Syed Abdul Rahman Alkaff as a family retreat in the 1920s and has a land area of 8,984 sq m and an approximate gross floor area of 1,220 sq m.
Alkaff Mansion was once leased from the Singapore Tourism Board and turned into a dining and entertainment hub after a $5 million makeover in 1990 by tycoon Ong Beng Seng's Hotel Properties.
The economic downturn in 2001 and the outbreak of Sars in 2003 hit its business and it eventually closed in 2003.
Source: Straits Times, 19 Jun 2010