June 15, 2007


Owner's plans to redevelop unlikely to save Oasis building

Company pleads to be allowed to remain but Oasis tenants are resigned to their fate

By Maria Almenoar

FRUITLESS EFFORT: The building's owners say they have spent considerable amount and effort in their plans to avoid becoming a 'rusty neighbour' and would have filled in with the revamp of the area. -- ST FILE PHOTO

THE company which owns the Oasis building in Kallang - slated to be torn down for the proposed Sports Hub - is appealing that it be allowed to remain.

Although the building is 38 years old, major redevelopment plans have already been drawn up to ensure that the site keeps pace with its new surroundings, the company said.

It added that the authorities were aware of their plans when they announced on Wednesday that the land would be acquired.

The building, home to three restaurants and two bars, is owned by Oasis Holdings, which was acquired by LPG retail company Union Energy earlier this year.

Company spokesman Alice Teo told The Straits Times yesterday that Oasis had 'spent a considerable amount and effort' in putting its new development plans in place.

Without disclosing details, she said in an e-mail that 'rather than be a rusty neighbour', the development would have grown with the revamp of the area.

She added that the proposals were submitted to the relevant authorities months ago.

Two 'big operators' who had placed tenancy deposits are 'definitely backing off' following Wednesday's announcement, she said.

'We hope to be given a chance to prove our contributions toward the same tourism goals,' said Ms Teo.

Their chances appear slim as the 5,413 sq m site has been secured under the Land Acquisition Act and the three groups bidding for the Sports Hub project have been given an extra seven months to resubmit their plans.

The 35ha Sports Hub, expected to cost up to $800 million, will include a new National Stadium, indoor aquatic centre and multi- purpose arena, when ready by 2011.

One consolation for Oasis is that the site is the first piece of private property acquired since the law was amended this year to pay owners the prevailing market rates for their land.

Before this change, compensation was based on the value of the land at a given date in the past.

Also, it was based on what the land could be used for and the total floor area of buildings that could be built on it.

In previous land acquisitions for public use, owners felt that their compensation fell short of the market rate.

In the meantime, Oasis' tenants are resigned to their fate.

Mr Roger Yue, manager of Thai Village Restaurant, said: 'It's no use appealing to the authorities...we just have to move on.'

The restaurant, which has three other outlets in Singapore, will retain its 45 employees.

No Signboard Seafood, situated in an arm of the building which extends into the waters of the Kallang Basin, will redeploy its 50 workers to other restaurants.

But employees at the Oasis Taiwan Porridge restaurant are faced with an uncertain future.

The restaurant does not have any branches and has been in the building for 34 years.

Manager Eddie Chew said: 'We spent money renovating the interior and on advertising. Now, we really don't know where we are going to go.'

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