Sunday, February 28, 2010

Copthorne Orchid to go ahead with condo plans

Tenants had heard it before: The Copthorne Orchid Hotel would be torn down for a condominium.

So there was a sense of deja vu when they learnt from reading The Straits Times last Monday that the 440-room hotel in Dunearn Road would go.

In 2005, City Developments Ltd (CDL) had said it planned to turn the hotel’s site into a condominium. But that did not happen.

CDL owns hotelier Millennium & Copthorne (M&C), which operates the Copthorne Orchid Hotel.

But its latest announcement seems to be for real. A CDL spokesman told The Sunday Times it wants to launch the condominium project as early as this July.

The property developer has not decided on a firm date to put the 150 units of the project on sale as it ‘had just obtained provisional permission to redevelop’.

Depending on how well the condominium sells and existing tenancy obligations, the building may be torn down only next year or later.

M&C held back its plans in 2005 ‘as there was a projected shortage of hotel rooms’, its spokesman said.

But its recent announcement was not good news to its tenants – one of which has been leasing space in the hotel for 35 years.

Madam Anne Lee, 52, owner of Anne Salon, was upset that the hotel withheld such important information as she renewed her lease just three months ago.

‘They must tell us so we can start looking for another landlord,’ said Madam Lee, who has been running her salon there since 1975.

Nice Express, which operates its Singapore-Kuala Lumpur express bus service from the hotel, was also not informed about the plans.

Mr Charles Lawrence, 56, operations and sales supervisor at Nice’s Singapore office, said: ‘I do not know whether to move or stay.’

This comes at a bad time for Nice as it spent $100,000 last year to renovate its office at the hotel.

When asked why tenants were not informed, an M&C spokesman said: ‘We have not sent out any notices as there is no firm date yet.

‘The terms of the tenancy agreement contain a three-month notice clause. We have sufficient time on hand to serve proper and timely notice to all our tenants.’

Source: Sunday Times, 28 Feb 2010

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