Zouk club founder eyes sites in town for relocation

Zouk will not be moving to the Singapore Flyer or an Old Kallang Airport site, which had previously been mentioned as possible locations.

Instead, founder Lincoln Cheng said he is "seriously pursuing three existing venues" without revealing more.

He is keeping his cards close to his chest due to non-disclosure agreements he has signed with his potential landlords.

The Straits Times understands that these venues are all in town, and are standalone buildings similar in size to Zouk's current 35,000 sq ft site in Jiak Kim Street.

"Hopefully very soon... before end June, we can wrap this up and sign a proper contract to show to URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority)," said Mr Cheng, 67.

He has up to end-June to show URA that he has found a new home for Zouk, in order for its current lease in Jiak Kim Street to be extended to 2017. Otherwise, it may have to close when its lease expires at the end of this year.

The authorities have said that the club will eventually have to leave its current premises as it is incompatible with the Robertson Quay area, which is likely to see more housing under URA's Master Plan. Zouk was given the June deadline by URA last August.

Mr Cheng initially set his sights on moving to the Flyer. But he said he decided to drop the idea after meetings with the chairman of Straco Corporation, the Flyer's new owner, as the company showed a lack of interest.

The Old Kallang Airport site was a possibility but dropped out of the picture after the Singapore Sports Hub took over the running of the area, he added.

"They don't want a club there. They want something that is related to sports. And they were left with only one small piece of land across the road which is too small for us to build a club," explained Mr Cheng, who said that URA had initially offered him a larger piece of land at the Old Kallang Airport site.

Meanwhile, Zouk will play host to a very different crowd tomorrow. More than 100 low- income senior citizens, aged 70 to nearly 100, from the Tiong Bahru Befrienders Service, will be treated to an eight-course lunch.

The Tiong Bahru Old Folks Reunion Luncheon is part of a Chinese New Year tradition that is into its 20th year.

This year, Zouk will be donating $100,000 towards a one-year meal programme for seniors - double its usual amount.

joycel@sph.com.sg