Thursday, June 26, 2008

High Court Dismisses Appeal Against Gillman Heights Sale

Source : The Straits Times, June 26, 2008

THE High Court has dismissed an appeal by owners objecting to the collective sale of Gillman Heights Condominium, which means the $548 million sale can go ahead.

MOVING ON: CapitaLand can now proceed to complete its $548 million purchase of the Alexandra Road condo, unless the objecting owners take their case to the Court of Appeal. Yesterday, the High Court rejected all eight objections raised against the collective sale.

CapitaLand, the lead buyer of the 99-year leasehold Alexandra Road site, can now proceed to complete the deal, provided the objecting owners do not appeal against the High Court's decision.

Yesterday, about three months after the case was heard, Justice Choo Han Teck rejected all eight objections raised by the minority owners.

Among their contentions was a claim that the Strata Titles Board (STB) had made a mistake granting the order approving the sale, as the minimum consent rules did not apply to Gillman Heights, a former HUDC estate.

The judge said the requisite majority consent does apply to privatised estates such as Gillman Heights. For instance, the level of consent required is pegged to the age of the building, rather than the temporary occupation permit or certificate of statutory completion dates - neither of which applies to former HUDC estates.

The owners also objected to the fact that the link between the buyer and the National University of Singapore (NUS) - which owns 303 of the 607 units - was not disclosed to the STB, which approved the sale late last year.

NUS had taken a 15 per cent stake in the buyer Ankerite, whose other shareholders are CapitaLand, Hotel Properties and a private fund, after it agreed to the sale.

Justice Choo said he was not persuaded that the STB should hear the parties again on this issue.

He said there was no bad faith in this case, as the sale price was $20 million above the reserve level. The price works out to $363 per sq ft of potential gross floor area.

A minority owner, who wanted to be known only as Mr Kok, said he was still digesting the decision.

'We will have to discuss among themselves and with our lawyer to see whether we should take the case to the Court of Appeal.'

Yesterday, CapitaLand said it looked forward to developing the site into an 'innovative' residential project with about 1,200 homes.

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