The Pines club may be redeveloped next year

Published on Sep 06, 2012

By Daryl Chin

WELL-KNOWN country club The Pines may be redeveloped as early as next year.

And in two to three years' time, a condominium could rise up in its place, with the club's facilities integrated on site, analysts said.

An application to re-zone the club, which sits on prime land in Stevens Road, was recently submitted to the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

But plans to redevelop the 400,000 sq ft club have in fact been made, according to a notice posted on the club's website.

First to go will be the tennis courts and a members' carpark in March next year.

Other construction projects are also planned for the freehold site, though this will depend on government approval and business viability, the notice said.

Club operations will cease by the end of next year.

As an interim measure, members will be offered places at the Laguna National Golf and Country Club in Changi.

Motoring tycoon Peter Kwee, who owns both clubs, declined comment when asked about the redevelopment project.

Property analysts, however, said the project could mean two things - it could retain its status quo as a country club.

Or, the club, currently zoned for sports and recreation use, could be turned into a mixed development - meaning the private club could be housed with a condo or office space.

Head of research at property consultancy SLP International, Mr Nicholas Mak, said: "Going by its surrounding high-rise residential developments, a part of the club could be turned into something similar... The sales of the residential units or office space will help fund the redevelopment."

PropNex chief executive Mohamed Ismail said that with the club's location, the "highest value for the plot would be for a residential or a mixed development".

Condos near The Pines have fetched handsome prices this year. This ranged from $1,515 per sq ft (psf) for Chelsea Gardens, to $2,433 psf for a unit at Three Balmoral.

Club members were resigned when asked about the redevelopment yesterday. Many heard about it after a dialogue was held last month.

Membership prices for the club have plummeted in recent years. Members said they paid as much as $32,000 in the 1990s, but a recent online advertisement touted a membership subscription for $6,500, which included the $4,000 transfer fee.

They estimate that the club has about 1,500 members.

"The club has been languishing and losing members for a while. So it's perhaps more of a business decision than anything else," said businessman James Tan, 55.

Laboratory manager Jinny Wong, 40, said: "Laguna is too far for me. If this goes through, I'll have to reconsider my membership."

The Pines Club, formerly known as The Pinetree Club, was sold to Mr Kwee in 2002 for about $100 million. The former owner, Mr Chng Heng Tiu, had defaulted on a debt for which the property was collateral.

[email protected]