Pearls Centre owners seek higher payout for relocation

They hope collective sale potential will be considered as en bloc process has begun

Pearls Centre's property owners, displeased by the sudden news of relocation, have asked the authorities for more compensation, in particular taking into account its potential en bloc value.

The 23-storey, 99-year leasehold residential and commercial building in Chinatown had set up a collective sale committee about three months ago.

A valuer was to start work when the announcement came last Wednesday that the 43-year-old building would be acquired for the building of underground tunnels for the Thomson MRT Line.

The occupants of the 44 residential units and 199 shops there have two years to move out.

Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC Indranee Rajah has asked the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) to look into the matter.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Pearls Centre residents and its management committee on Saturday, she said: "The fact that an en bloc process has started, it means that there was an increase in expectations of the price.

"But if it's just figures tossed in the air, obviously you can't say it represents market value."

She added that if the acquisition of the property by the SLA had taken place three months earlier, the collective sale issue would not have come up, "but, that said, this is the scenario and one must deal with it as it is".