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Grange Heights, condo in 40-year dispute over Orchard Road access, gets nod for collective sale

30 Aug, 2018

Over 80% of owners agree to sell condo that was in 40-year spat over Orchard Road access

Grange Heights, the condominium that was embroiled in a 40-year dispute with a developer next door over the right of way across an 883 sq m strip of land, is "going en bloc".

Its management committee chairman, Mr Rustom Ghadiali, said on Wednesday (Aug 29) that more than the requisite 80 per cent of owners have agreed to sell the property.

He said a meeting was convened on Tuesday evening for owners of the 120 units in the three-block development in the Grange Road area.

At the meeting, legal counsel from Rajah & Tann as well as Colliers International staff, who are the marketing agents for the collective sale, explained the process and clarified concerns, said Mr Ghadiali.

"The flats are getting old, we are getting old and we need to move elsewhere into single-storey flats where there is no need to walk up the stairs," said the 83-year-old veteran chairman.

Mr Ghadiali had steered the residents through a protracted slew of lawsuits that involved land-owning neighbour Lee Tat Development over right of way to Orchard Road through the developer's land.

Grange Heights was denied right of way to Orchard Road through Grange Road in 2008. The apex court recently ended the legal battle over compensation claims.

A Colliers International spokesman said yesterday: "The sale process is ongoing, and we will provide further details when the development is due to be launched for collective sale via tender."

Given the land area of some 136,000 sq ft, and a 2.8 plot ratio, the freehold site stands to get a maximum gross floor area of 382,700 sq ft, on which a 36-storey condominium building could stand.

Industry players say the sale of the prime district land could enter the "big-ticket billion-dollar club", given that the 99-year leasehold Horizon Towers in the area has set a reserve price of $1.1 billion for its collective sale, which has a deadline of next month.

Grange Heights had previously sought to be sold en bloc in 2007, but a last-minute pullout saw the approving majority drop below the requisite 80 per cent, said Mr Ghadiali.

Veteran property analyst Ku Swee Yong said the proposed Grange Heights collective sale could face some challenges, such as the fallout from recent cooling measures in the market.

"But that should not detract and may be outweighed by the site's outstanding advantages, given its proximity to the Orchard Road area.

"At the end of the day, there will be a good outcome if buyers and sellers manage expectations well and achieve what both want."

"This time, it is not possible, as the rules have been changed since then and there can be no withdrawals after the five-day cooling-off period, which is over now for us," he added.

Adapted from TheStraitTimes, August 30, 2018