New Creation Church (NCC) has bought The Star Vista mall for around $300 million "to protect the interest of the church".
The mega church, which boasted 31,000 members in 2016, said yesterday that it bought the property from CapitaLand after it got wind that the developer was in talks with other potential buyers.
The church had owned only The Star Performing Arts Centre, a 5,000-seat concert venue in the mall that it also uses for its services. It will now own the entire building after its business arm Rock Productions sealed the $296 million deal.
"While we had expressed our hope that CapitaLand would remain as the owner and operator of the retail space, we understood that CapitaLand had also initiated a sale process for The Star Vista," the church said.
NCC council chairman Yong Chee Ram said part of the reason for the purchase was to pre-empt the unpredictability of the mall next to Buona Vista MRT interchange going to another buyer.
"Given that The Star Vista and The Star (Performing Arts Centre) are inextricably linked, our immediate objective... is both to protect the interest of the church and to preserve the good experience for all," he added.
NCC said it is exploring possibilities for CapitaLand to continue operating and managing the mall on its behalf.
The independent church began in a flat in Holland Drive in 1983. Today, it has service venues across the island.
It completed its $500 million payment for The Star Performing Arts Centre in 2016. The church said this was done largely with contributions from members, including a landmark day in 2010 when it raised $21.1 million.
CapitaLand said the handover is expected to be completed by the year end, generating net proceeds of about $145 million.