With the sleazy massage joints banished earlier this year, The Adelphi in Coleman Street is set to burnish its owners' list with new intellectual heft - the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL).
The Academy is buying 8,751 sq ft of office space on the eighth floor of the premises for some $20.7 million. The space is equivalent in size to almost eight five-room Housing Board flats.
Located in the heart of the civic district, The Adelphi is bordered by the National Gallery, the Supreme Court building and St Andrew's Cathedral. Constructed in 1991, the 10-storey building with a basement has offices on six floors.
SAL - which is headed by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and whose membership of over 10,000 from the legal fraternity includes the Attorney-General and the Bench - is the promotion and development agency for Singapore's legal industry.
The Academy announced yesterday on its website that it expects to complete the deal by December and move its office and administrative outfit in the new financial year.
The purchase will enable SAL to convert a part of its current rented space in the Supreme Court into training rooms and meeting facilities to better accommodate its programmes and services.
The Chief Justice who gave a "heads-up" about the "exciting changes" during the Academy's annual appreciation dinner last month, said its work had expanded over the years and will continue to grow.
It is also looking at ways to better serve the needs of different segments of the legal community.
The purchase was made after a thorough review of available properties, and was approved by the SAL senate on the recommendation of the executive board.
The Chief Justice added that the purchase would diversify part of SAL's investment assets into real estate at a time of volatility in other investment markets.
"The move will enable the Academy to house its operational units at its own premises instead of paying rent to the Supreme Court," he said.
Real estate consultant Nicholas Mak said weightage in selecting the site would have been based on industry need. Being located next to the Supreme Court, The Adelphi would be convenient for lawyers.
The property was in the news earlier in the week when The Straits Times reported that the massage parlours in its basement were gone following an extensive police raid at the strata-titled building over six days in June.
The police said at least 13 illegal massage establishments had been closed down.
Following the raid, The Adelphi's tenancy mix now consists mainly of offices as well as audio-visual and beauty care stores. New cafes have also started moving in.