The pioneering bid by the owners of Gilstead Court Condominium to do away with a broker and run the $150 million collective sale process themselves took a further step last week when the tender closed.
At least one bid was submitted before the tender for the freehold estate near Novena and Newton MRT stations closed last Monday, The Straits Times understands.
The do-it-yourself approach has never been tried before but owners wanted to avoid the rows and court cases that so often seem to follow en bloc deals.
A statement on a website set up for the tender said that such deals often end up with the marketing agent and committee negotiating a price while the owners are left in the dark.
"This opaque way of conducting a sale tends to give rise to conflicts and disharmony among owners," it added.
The process began when a sales committee of seven residents was elected in April 2008. Since then it has garnered backing for a deal from 43 owners of the 48 units at Gilstead Court, allowing it to launch the tender last month.
Former Supreme Court judge Warren Khoo is the executive committee's secretary and personally drafted the terms and conditions of the tender and the collective sales agreement.
Under the terms drawn up by Mr Khoo, no member of the sale committee has the authority to negotiate a sale with bidders.
That bars private negotiations between developers and the committee, so the successful bid will be selected from the tender box.
The agreement states that "the sale committee is not bound to accept the highest or any tender; nor is it obliged to provide any reason for the non-acceptance of a tender".
It also specified that sellers and developers cannot make "ex-gratia" preferential payments to incentivise reluctant owners.
The owners were very clear about what they wanted: Offers above the reserve price of $150 million for the estate while stating that "expressions of interest or offers to negotiate terms will not be entertained".
Although no lawyers have been engaged to oversee the tender, solicitors will be appointed to assist with the conveyancing, "for technical if not for other reasons", the committee added.
The committee's price guide of at least $150 million seems reasonable, said Savills Singapore research head Alan Cheong, "given its attractive location".
However, he added that the development's five-storey height restriction could be a drawback.
The guide price of $150 million takes into consideration that no development charge will be levied for the development of the site up to a maximum gross floor area of 116,238 sq ft, said the committee.
The reserve price works out to be about $1,290 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr). Transactions at the nearby Buckley Classique over the past year have ranged from $1,728 psf to $2,300 psf.
Resale prices at Morimasa Gardens and Residences @ Evelyn over the past two years were between $1,375 psf and $1,889 psf.
Gilstead Court has a land area of 75,479 sq ft.
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