Monday, 23 July 2007

Bringing the fight to the Courts - Futura Condo

I'll be compiling a new series of information that might be useful for minority owners/objectors. They will go under the label - "Going to Court" and will provide details of reasons why objectors are bringing their cases to court or STB for mediation, who are the lawyers representing the minorities, etc.

Now bearing in mind that only one en bloc has been rejected from collective sale by STB, this may be seen by many as a futile gesture or even a waste of time. But one must remember:-

  1. Almost all collective sales nowadays have not reached the full 100% consensus (with many going into expressions of interest because they have not even reached 80%). That means there's a lot of minority owners, people who are not happy with the sale of their homes for whatever reasons.
  2. The news will almost never report objections made by minority owners for every en bloc done. Rather, it'll be the juicy 'news-worthy' ones that make the headlines. Judging by recent reports of the heavy overload of work on the part of the STB, it appears there are increasing objections made for en bloc sales.
  3. Remember the Waterfront View couple that brought their fight all the way to High Court. Even though they lost, the landmark rulings by STB and the Courts on the definition of financial loss clarified the situation for many. The battle now, from what I can see, is on the grounds of what constitutes 'good faith'.
So let's start the ball rolling with the spaceship condo that I liked so much:-

Estate: Futura Condominium, Leonie Hill Road
Stage: STB approved sale 23/5/07, Appeal to Court on 20/7/07 before Justice Woo Bih Li
Party: 7 minority owners represented by Henry Heng Gwee Nam of Tan Peng Chin LLC
Majority Lawyer: Mr Matthew Saw of Lee & Lee
Reason: Deal not done in good faith.
Details: Within 3 hrs on 23/10/06, RP reduced from $291m to $287.3. No land survey conducted; No minutes kept of SC meetings; No owners' meeting called before RP reduction. STB failed to take into account allegation that SC failed to discharge its obligations. Reduced RP was unauthorised.


The Pariah said...

Yeh, the loss of The Futura's spaceship-like condo is NOT ONLY a tragic loss of an architectural statement by the renowned Israeli architect Moshe Safdies BUT ALSO a monumental loss of a piece of Singapore's Modern Architectural Legacy ...

Singapore woke up barely in the nick of time to save our remnants of colonial bungalows and quintessential terrace shophouses ... will we wake up in time before Modern Singapore's Architectural Legacy gets razed in this relentless en bloc frenzy???

Anyone who is sensitive and observant will notice the typical features of apartments built in the 60s-70s with those of 80s-90s era. And those built post-2007 will have much less concrete. This will speak to our future generations of the spat between Singapore and Indonesia over sand ban and granite chip control! This is how Architecture speaks to us if only we listen ...

Sigh ... we read of responsible corporate citizenry by our MNCs and LLCs in sponsoring ballet performances, philharmonic symphonies, etc! I wonder if the Developer-Buyer of The Futura would do service in the name of Singapore's architectural legacy as an erstwhile corporate citizen and refurbish The Futura and then sell it to Singaporeans at a reasonable profit with a condition that this development is not available for future en bloc sale. This is a condition of sale that the new owners must accept.

Maybe MinLaw/MND should consider facilitating such moves to preserve Modern Singapore's History - maybe offer a carrot of DC rebate for such Developer-buyer's next project?

I reckon there is a stratum of Singaporeans who care enough about Singapore's history and legacy to sacrifice their en bloc premium potential under this "what's-in-it-for-me" syndrome.

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Deirdre G

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Anonymous said...

Absolutely correct Pariah. I couldn't have said it better. The strange irony is that although it was built in the 70's it is built absolutely to the right density for the site. One might understand if it were a 4 story apartment block but this is exactly the same height as the new buildings being built next to it...40 years on. That was Moshe Safdies and Singapore planning foresite!
Keep up the campaign to save modern architectural day they will be tourist attractions in themselves.

Anonymous said...

The Futura was designed by veteran Singapore architect Timothy Seow, not Moshe Safdie as I mistakenly wrote.