AA set to quit River Valley site

AA set to quit River Valley site
The move to sell is prompted by the need to expand its activities, especially its vehicle breakdown services, said the AAS.

SINGAPORE - A landmark on River Valley Road - the AA Centre - is set to change hands.

An offer of $61.8 million has been made for the site, which has been the headquarters of the Automobile Association of Singapore (AAS) since 1967.

But the offer from Starlite Land Development, a subsidiary of listed property giant Far East Organisation, is well below the indicative price that the AAS set in June when it sought expressions of interest.

It was expecting $90 million to $100 million for the building, which sits on a 33,751 sq ft freehold plot in the prime district.

AAS members will decide on Jan 9, at an extraordinary general meeting, whether to accept the offer. The potential sale, however, does not include the residential units that occupy the top seven floors of the 14-storey building.

The owners of the 24 apartments and four penthouses have put them up for sale separately.

Their target price is about $2,000 per sq ft (psf).

The AAS sold these apartments to finance the redevelopment of its headquarters in 1984.

Its latest sale plan, however, was prompted by the need to expand its activities, especially its vehicle breakdown services, AAS chief executive Lee Wai Mun told The Straits Times.

"When we acquired this place in the 1960s, the scale of our operation was not as it is now," he said. "We need to expand to serve our 83,000 members better."

To stay put would require it to spend a sizeable sum on refurbishment, he added. Also, it cannot expand its automotive-related activities as the area is zoned for residential purposes.

A "couple of possible locations" have been identified but Mr Lee said the AAS was not ready to disclose them. He said Starlite's offer was the highest among the five parties that expressed interest.

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