Monday, May 18, 2009

Gillman Heights en-bloc deal is on

GILLMAN Heights owners can heave a sigh of relief now that the estate's buyers Ankerite have confirmed that the group will go ahead with the purchase of the development.

Property giant CapitaLand, majority shareholder of Ankerite, told The Straits Times in a statement last night that 'lawyers of both parties are working towards May 22 to complete the purchase of the site'.

Its latest move follows a report in The Straits Times over the weekend that Ankerite had failed to complete the sale by its due date, last Friday.

This caused anxiety amongst some owners at the 607-unit estate in Alexandra Road, who feared that the buyers got cold feet, as some owners had committed to buying other properties.

Earlier reports indicated that owners stood to get between $870,000 and $950,000 for their units.
The sale - first inked in early 2007 for a record $548 million at the height of the property market boom - has been dogged by controversy as minority owners fought at every turn to overturn the sale.

It was finally thought to be a done deal in February after the Court of Appeal dismissed a last-ditch plea by minority owners to reverse the transaction.

However, just two weeks before the sale completion date, on April 30, Ankerite raised some issues. Two points of contention were: a sum of $750,000 transferred out of the estate management fund; and separate monies allocated for a lawsuit against the estate's management corporation (MCST) by a contractor who built the estate's clubhouse and swimming pool in 2002.
MCST members said these issues were raised 'at the last minute', but Ankerite clarified yesterday that it took time to carry out the 'due diligence process' and access to relevant documents was granted by the MCST only on Apr 23 and Apr 24.

Ankerite said the sales committee lawyers Lee and Lee notified them that these issues were resolved on the afternoon of May 15 - the sale completion date. However, Rajah and Tann wanted proof that the outstanding lawsuit had been settled, and only received a copy of the settlement agreement on Saturday, May 16.

'With this settlement agreement...the lawyers are working to complete the purchase as soon as possible,' said Ankerite's lawyers.

MCST chairman Kok Chong Weng said he was glad to hear a date has been set to complete the deal, but added that residents might be looking at options to see if any compensation can be claimed for the delay.

Meanwhile, chief executive of CapitaLand Residential's Singapore operations Patricia Chia said in a statement yesterday that 'going forward, we are looking at presenting our other projects such as the proposed development at the Gillman Heights Condominium site at the appropriate time'.

Source: Straits Times, 18 May 2009

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