Finland Gardens en bloc sale called off

Developer, majority owners back down.

After a string of legal tussles, the Finland Gardens en bloc sale has been called off.

Lawyers for residents opposing its sale said a High Court appeal ended yesterday when the majority owners in the 48-unit condo withdrew their petition.

Joint-venture developers Sing Holdings and Eastern Summer have also backed off. The duo had thought they successfully bought the East Coast Terrace site in 2006. Both sides will pay the legal costs incurred during the court proceedings.

Mrs Valerie Chia, one of the minority of eight owners against the sale, was over the moon. “I haven’t spoken to any of the majority owners, but I think they should be happy now the case is over, because if they sell now, they will fetch a better price that that offered during the collective sale.”

The 47-year-old clinic manager opposed the sale because she had bought her four-bedroom apartment in 1996 for $1.22 million. The $1.268 million offered during the collective sale meant she would have lost out after taking costs into account.

“In our area, we can easily get $700 to $800 per square foot, whereas the collective sale would have given me $504 per square foot,” she explained.

This decision means all owners are now free to sell their apartments at a higher price.

This turn of events closes a long-running dispute that made headlines last November when the Strata Titles Board threw out the en bloc sale after eight owners called the sale “rushed” and not conducted in “good faith”.

Lawyers for those against the sale also argued that there was no 80-per-cent majority, as three owners backing the sale did not agree on the $49-million agreed price.

Mr Donald Han, managing director of real estate consultants Cushman and Wakefield, observed that the Finland Gardens episode implied that no en bloc process is absolute. Minority owners now know “they can contest the en bloc process as the courts will reward the outcome based on a merit basis.”

Source : Today – 22 Apr 2008

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