Jurong Country Club may appeal for higher compensation

BIG GAP: The club is concerned about the gulf between the two figures and understandably some members have expressed their disappointment. - A JURONG COUNTRY CLUB SPOKESMAN, on the Singapore Land Authority's compensation award of $89.8 million for it
BIG GAP: The club is concerned about the gulf between the two figures and understandably some members have expressed their disappointment. - A JURONG COUNTRY CLUB SPOKESMAN, on the Singapore Land Authority's compensation award of $89.8 million for its 67ha site (above), well below the club's own valuation of $168 million.

Government's valuation of land to be acquired for high-speed rail link is far lower than club's

Jurong Country Club (JCC) members are studying the compensation being awarded by the Government, which is acquiring the site, and are seeking advice on whether to appeal, The Straits Times has learnt.

This comes on the back of news last week that the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) has awarded a compensation amount of $89.8 million for JCC's 67ha site.

The amount is just over half the club's own valuation of $168 million.

The country club is being acquired as a site for the terminal of the high-speed rail link between Singapore and Malaysia.

"JCC was paid the market value of the acquired land, which took into account improvements that were made to the property and remaining tenure of the land," an SLA spokesman told The Sunday Times.

The valuation was determined by private valuers appointed by SLA, as in the Land Acquisition Act.

The Government will make an advance payment of 20 per cent to the club, with the balance paid when it takes possession of the site.

However, JCC yesterday said it believes its claim of $168 million "reflects the true value of the club".

It was based on the valuation carried out with the help of property agent Knight Frank.

"The club is concerned about the gulf between the two figures and understandably some members have expressed their disappointment," a club spokesman said.

A valuer, however, told The Sunday Times that "such a big discrepancy is common and depends on assumptions made".

The club is also getting advice on lodging an appeal and will be calling an extraordinary general meeting of all members in a few weeks' time.

It has 28 days to do so.

Land compensation awards for clubs are being closely watched. Tanah Merah Country Club was notified last year that it will have some of its land acquired for the extension of Changi Airport. The club's members are being compensated.

Over at JCC, the spokesman said: "Distribution of the compensation will be dealt with at a later stage."

The club has 2,700 members, with 60 per cent of them holding golf memberships.

Golf club membership broker Fion Phua of Tee-Up Marketing Enterprise noted that prior to SLA's announcement in May that it would acquire the site, JCC membership was trading at $43,000.

JCC subsequently froze trading in its memberships although it has since allowed trading in terms of a year's worth of membership. This has not met with much demand, she said.

Mr Tan Keng Chiam, head of valuation advisory services at property consultancy JLL, noted that there are typically two ways of valuing a club's site. One would be the cost approach, which involves a summation of the value of the land and the value of the building.

The other is the income approach, which considers a club's revenue streams - such as from membership sales and subscription fees, and operations such as restaurants and gaming rooms - and stripping out operations expenses. A capitalisation rate is then applied to that net income.

"The figures from these two methods should not be very far apart," said Mr Tan, who has valued clubs before and was previously on the SLA's panel of valuers.

As for the difference in the two valuation figures arrived at for JCC, he said it is common to have figures that are wide apart.

"Each valuer will have different assumptions and it's a matter of testing these assumptions... These could be on, for example, the speed the club depreciates at," said Mr Tan.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 13, 2015, with the headline 'Jurong Country Club may appeal for higher compensation'. Print Edition | Subscribe