Chinese temple with columbarium in Sengkang to cost $20 million

Building a temple with a columbarium in Sengkang will cost developer Life Corporation almost $20 million, according to documents filed by the company.

The land tender bid cost $5 million and the construction itself will cost $15 million.

The Housing Board (HDB) launched the tender for the site in Fernvale Link, which was awarded to a Singapore company, Eternal Pure Land, last July.

The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Life Corporation, which is listed on the Australian stock exchange.

Life Corporation is an Australian company which was originally set up as a cord blood banking company named Cordlife in 2001.

In 2013, Life Corporation sold off Cordlife and re-established itself under its current name, with a new focus on funeral services.

To that end, it acquired Singapore Funeral Services, which provides funeral and casket services, in December 2013 for $8 million, according to its annual report last year.

Life Corporation's chairman, Mr Kam Yuen, said in the report that "the private columbarium business will complement (its) existing funeral services".

Life Corporation chief executive Simon Hoo has said there will be no funeral services at the Sengkang site.

For the financial year ended June 30, 2014, the company reported a net loss of A$2.6 million (S$2.8 million), up 61 per cent from its A$1.6 million loss in 2013.

Data from the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority shows Eternal Pure Land was registered on June 12 - 16 days after the tender was put up - for the "sales of bereavement products and services".

Its winning bid was $5.2 million, according to tender documents on the HDB website, almost three times as much as the lowest one.

The two other bidders, Peng Hong Association and Xing Guang Maitreya Society, bid $4 million and $1.8 million respectively.

lesterh@sph.com.sg