Despair over disrepair

PHOTO: Despair over disrepair

In 1997, she had bought a condominium unit at Singapore Gardens in Anxi County, China, for her parents to retire in.

But her father died before the condominium project was finished, so they left it alone.

Years later, they were shocked to find it in a state of disrepair and with faeces everywhere.

It was in such bad shape that the China authorities want to demolish the buildings and are trying to locate Singaporean owners. The administrative officer, who wanted to be known only as Ms Bai, had paid $43,000 for her unit.

In 2007, when Ms Bai and some of her family members and friends went to look at the unit, she got a shock.

First, the keys she received when she bought the place could not unlock the main door.

"We managed to open the door by slotting a credit card near the lock," Ms Bai said.

"The place was supposed to be locked yet in there, we found debris from renovations next door and human excrement everywhere."

It was the first time she had seen the flat.

When her father died, she did not see the point of going there. The unit was locked up and she thought there would not be any problems.

Ms Bai said: "But it was in a bad state of disrepair. The floor of the lobby looked like it had been hacked. The buildings looked old and neglected, like they were about to be demolished."

It was because of this bad state that the Governor of Fengcheng Town in Anxi County of China wanted to demolish and rebuild the residential project.

To do so, his government had to locate the owners and offer them cash compensation or a flat-for-flat deal.

An advertisement was placed in Singapore newspapers last week, looking for 12 Singaporean owners who had not claimed their units when the announcement was made on Oct 15.

The New Paper contacted a Mr Xie listed in the advertisement, who said that friends and relatives of those listed had been in contact with his office in Singapore, but he declined to give details.

Singapore Gardens is a residential and commercial development by real estate developer Dragon Land, which used to be owned by former People's Action Party Member of Parliament Peh Chin Hua. He sold his shares to Keppel Land in 2005 and left the company.

The Singapore Gardens project was touted as a runaway success, with 500 units sold out in just two weeks.

Ms Bai was once offered $35,000, but she declined to sell because the offer was too low. Her flat is now rented out for 500 yuan (S$102) a month.

She has opted for the flat-for-flat deal.

"There's a five-star hotel and shopping centre being built next to it, with an underground rail. So it makes sense for me to hold on to the flat."

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