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1. Written by News on 24-05-2009 17:15
 
 
Gillman Heights sale finally completed
THE $548 million sale of Gillman Heights Condominium to Ankerite Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of CapitaLand, was completed yesterday, the developer said in a statement. Ankerite will redevelop the site into a condominium with about 1,000 apartments. 
 
The sale was not completed by the previous deadline of May 15, leading to some speculation that the collective sale might be off. But lawyers for the buyers and sellers quickly clarified that they were looking at the new deadline of May 22 instead. 
 
The sale of the 99-year-leasehold estate on Alexandra Road dragged on for two years since the deal was first inked in 2007. The sale of Gillman Heights finally got the go-ahead this February after the Court of Appeal dismissed a last-ditch plea by minority owners to overturn the deal. 
 
But last week, last-minute hurdles emerged. 
 
One sticking point was the transfer of $750,000 from the management corporation’s (MCST) management fund to the sinking fund in August 2007 and March 2008, which was discovered during the due diligence exercise. 
 
The lawyers for the buyers wanted the transfer reversed. That issue, and a separate suit by a local contractor against the MCST, were both eventually resolved – clearing the way for the sale to go through. 
 
Earlier reports had indicated that owners of the estate’s 607 units stood to receive between $870,000 and $950,000 for their apartments.
 
2. Written by News on 10-02-2009 12:49
 
 
En bloc sale to proceed
The Court of Appeal yesterday dismissed an appeal by the minority owners of Gillman Heights to stop the collective sale of the property. 
 
CapitaLand, Hotel Properties and two private funds agreed to buy the property in 2007 for $548 million. But a group of minority owners have been fighting the sale since it was approved by the Strata Titles Board (STB) that year. 
 
In a last-ditch attempt to block the sale, the minority owners went to the Court of Appeal to try to overturn a High Court ruling that allowed the sale to go ahead. 
 
The main issue has been the level of consent needed for the sale to go ahead. Currently, 80 per cent consent is needed if a development is more than 10 years old, and 90 per cent consent if it is less than that. 
 
The minority owners argued that because Gillman Heights obtained its certificate of statutory completion only in 2002, it needed 90 per cent consent - which the buyers did not have. 
 
However, the judges ruled yesterday that only 80 per cent is required - which means the sale can go through.
 
3. Written by News on 04-02-2009 12:23
 
 
Final bid by 10 owners to end transactio
A LAST-DITCH attempt by 10 minority owners of units in former HUDC estate Gillman Heights to stop its collective sale was heard by the Court of Appeal yesterday. 
 
This appeal is the last recourse for the owners who have fought the $548 million sale at every turn since it was approved by the Strata Titles Board (STB) in 2007. Some owners had appealed against STB’s decision previously in the High Court, but this was dismissed by Justice Choo Han Teck last June. 
 
The fate of the 607-unit, 99-year leasehold estate at Alexandra Road will be sealed today, as the judges are due to make a ruling at 4.30pm. 
 
Senior Counsel Michael Hwang, engaged by law firm Tan Chin Hoe & Co to act for the 10 minority owners, argued yesterday that collective sale laws introduced in 1999 by Parliament had not been intended to cover HUDC estates. 
 
Another point of contention at the hearing was the date used to calculate the age of the development. This determines if the estate needed an 80 or 90 per cent level of consent to be sold en bloc. 
 
Currently, 80 per cent is needed if the development is more than 10 years old, 90 per cent if it is less than that. 
 
Mr Hwang argued in the packed courtroom that because Gillman Heights obtained its certificate of statutory completion only in 2002, it needed 90 per cent. Currently, about 87.54 per cent of owners have signed the collective sale agreement. 
 
Representing the majority owners, Mr Quek Mong Hua of Lee & Lee said, however, that it was an ‘indisputable fact’ that Gillman Heights was completed in 1984, making it more than 22 years old in 2007. 
 
Senior Counsel Andre Yeap of Rajah & Tann, acting for the purchasers - CapitaLand, Hotel Properties and two private funds - argued that as homes in HUDC estates, upon privatisation, become strata-titled units, they are covered by the 1999 laws on collective sales. 
 
Analysts that The Straits Times spoke to said the $548 million price tag is ‘more attractive now than before’ given the current market situation. 
 
Owners stand to reap about $870,000 to $950,000 per unit from the sale. Chesterton Suntec International’s Mr Colin Tan said that the current market favours the sellers, while buyers CapitaLand might have to put redevelopment plans on hold. 
 
For some owners at the estate, however, it was never a question of money. One said at the earlier High Court hearing: ‘The price was never our problem…You can’t find another place like this.’
 
4. Written by News on 21-04-2008 13:17
 
 
NUS played critical role in En Bloc sale
I REFER to Mr Nicholas Kong’s response on behalf of the National University of Singapore (’NUS: No conflict of interest in property deal’, April 2). We minority owners - who have no wish to hawk our homes - of Gillman Heights in which estate NUS, by virtue of its 50 per cent ownership (303 units out of a total of 607), is the Goliath, wish to share our experience in the collective sale of Gillman Heights and, in particular, the critical role played by NUS. 
 
The owners were relieved by NUS’ reassurance at an owners’ meeting on Feb 18, 2006 that it would refrain from casting its vote unless the ‘majority’ of individual owners decided to sell. We assumed, in the case of a collective sale, majority must be at least 80 per cent, or 90 per cent, depending on the legal age of the estate, but definitely not 51 per cent. 
 
Just over 32 per cent (or around 65 per cent of owners of the 304 units) chose to sell. The owners assumed that that should put paid to the collective sale. However, the sales committee left us in suspense. In June 2006, it announced that NUS had decided to join the sellers. With NUS’ 50 per cent, the total percentage jumped to 82.7 per cent. 
 
In May last year, we learnt that Hotel Properties Ltd and two private funds had taken up stakes in the buyer of Gillman Heights, Ankerite, a subsidiary of CapitaLand. CapitaLand would retain a 50 per cent ownership of Ankerite. However, owners of the two funds were not identified. 
 
Only during the High Court appeal in March this year was it revealed that NUS owns one of the private funds. It has a 16 per cent stake in Ankerite. The Strata Titles Board did not have this material information during its hearing of objections in September and October last year and before it issued its ruling in December. Thus, it could not be aware of NUS’ direct financial interest in Ankerite at earlier mediation sessions held in June and July last year. 
 
Mr Kong asserts: ‘The financial interests of the university are aligned with those of the Gillman Heights owners seeking the best sale price for their units.’ In 2006, after the individual owners had made their choice and before the June announcement that NUS would sell, much was going on while the owners were kept in the dark. It belatedly come to light that the delays had much to do with NUS’ ’suggestions’ that the reserve price be slashed by a hefty 20 per cent (a letter to this effect, dated May 16, 2006, was sent by NUS to the chairman of the Gillman Heights sales committee). Was that NUS’ idea of ‘aligning’ its financial interests with those of the owners? 
 
Lam Seng Ming and three other owners
 
5. Written by News on 17-03-2008 14:57
 
 
Some owners fight on for their homes
22 minority owners in bid to overturn sale; they simply don’t want to move 
 
A GROUP of owners at Gillman Heights Condominium is fighting hard to stop the $548 million sale of the property, despite reports that hint at a market slowdown. 
 
The deal was struck when the market was in full flight in February last year - but now, such deals to sell en bloc have dried up. 
 
The 22 minority owners are trying to overturn the collective sale of their estate to CapitaLand, Hotel Properties (HPL) and two private funds. 
 
They are appealing on various grounds, including the way the sale process was conducted, how the former HUDC estate’s age was calculated and how the price was achieved. 
 
Three other groups, representing 18 owners, are also in court. One is made up of eight owners from four units who want to know if a supplementary deal to extend the original collective sale agreement is valid. They face legal action from the buyers for alleged breach of contract. 
 
The Strata Titles Board (STB) approved the sale of the 607-unit, 99-year leasehold estate late last year. The sale was inked in February last year at $363 per sq ft (psf) of potential gross floor area. 
 
Owners stand to reap $870,000 to $950,000 per unit - then 40 to 55 per cent above the levels they would have got in an individual sale.
 
6. Written by News on 21-02-2008 17:52
 
 
CapitaLand, HPL sue eight owners
CapitaLand and Hotel Properties, which have agreed to buy the 607-unit Gillman Heights Condominium in Alexandra Road for $548 million, are claiming the eight home owners are breaching their contractual obligations. 
 
The eight owners, who together own four units, had filed an application to the High Court last Monday. They want to know if a supplementary deal to the original collective sale agreement is valid. 
 
The eight owners being sued said they, and some others, signed the first deal but not the supplementary one.
 
7. Written by News on 17-01-2008 18:39
 
 
Another bid to stop sale
A GROUP of minority owners at the Gillman Heights condominium is making another bid to stop the $548 million collective sale of the huge estate in Alexandra Road. 
 
They filed a High Court appeal yesterday against last month’s decision by the Strata Titles Board (STB) to approve the sale to CapitaLand and other parties. 
 
Among other things, the 22 disgruntled owners are appealing on the grounds that the sale of Gillman Heights should require consent from 90 per cent of owners, rather than the usual 80 per cent.
 
8. Written by News on 24-12-2007 16:15
 
 
STB nod for en bloc sale
The Strata Titles Board (STB) had given the green light for the en bloc sale of Gillman Heights Condominium.  
 
Gillman Heights was sold in February for $548 million, or $19 million above the property’s reserve price, to a joint venture formed by CapitaLand, HPL subsidiary HPL Orchard Place Pte Ltd, and two private funds. 
 
Gillman Heights, on Alexandra Road, covers an area of 836,432 square feet and is a 99-year leasehold site. It has a 2.1 plot ratio. 
 
CapitaLand plans to turn the site into a distinctive residential landmark, with about 1,200 homes.
 

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