The historic Tudor-style Sloane Court Hotel and a small adjoining plot in Balmoral Road, belonging to the children of the late Chiam Heng Luan, is being sold for $80.5 million for redevelopment into a condominium.
The two-storey hotel, one of the last vestiges of a bygone colonial era, sits on prime District 10 land flanked by swanky freehold condo developments such as the Volari@Balmoral.
It is likely the 32-room hotel, which was built in 1960 by Mr Chiam, a Hainan-born go-getter, will be torn down early next year. That may also mean the end of its restaurant, The Berkeley, which is known for its Hainanese pork chop and Chicken Maryland.
Singapore-listed construction and engineering firm Tiong Seng Holdings and civil engineer Ocean Sky International are buying the sites, which have a combined area of about 3,617.9 sq m (38,943 sq ft) and are zoned residential with a gross plot ratio of 1.6.
Mr Lim Geok Hwee, chief operating officer of Tiong Seng Properties, the real estate arm of Tiong Seng, told The Straits Times yesterday that the site will be redeveloped into a 12-storey, 80-unit condominium with units averaging 700 sq ft.
Real estate consultancy ZACD Group's executive director Nicholas Mak noted that the sale of the hotel "marks the end of a landmark in Balmoral Road". The hotel's owners had resisted selling it for redevelopment in past collective sale market booms over the last two decades.
Mr Mak said that the units could be launched at above $2,500 per sq ft after late next year.
When The Straits Times visited the hotel yesterday, a staff member was surprised by news of the proposed sale.
She said many of the 10-plus workers there were long-time staff, including a chambermaid in her 70s. "At our age, who is going to hire us?" she asked.
Sloane founder Mr Chiam, also a co-owner of the former Mitre Hotel at 145, Killiney Road, won a court battle in 2007 to have his cousin Chiam Heng Hsien evicted from Mitre so that it could be sold.
Tiong Seng, through its wholly owned subsidiary Yuan Ching Development, has a 60 per cent interest in the joint venture TSky Development, while Ocean Sky holds the remaining 40 per cent stake through its unit Arctic Sky Investment. The proposed acquisition is conditional upon the approval of the shareholders of the vendors of the sites.
The $80.5 million price tag excludes development charges, which could be around $20 million.
This will be the second joint venture project Tiong Seng has entered into with Ocean Sky. Their first acquisition was for two freehold sites in Jervois Road for $21 million, which they plan to develop into a 21-apartment project.