The Pines won't return to Stevens Road

The site was sold to developer Oxley Gems, with the promise of a members-only clubhouse integrated into the new development.
The site was sold to developer Oxley Gems, with the promise of a members-only clubhouse integrated into the new development.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

'Unable to reach agreement' with developer, club wants members to use Changi facilities

Members of well-known club The Pines will not return to its newly redeveloped Stevens Road site. Instead, they will have to use the facilities at the Laguna National Golf & Country Club and its upcoming Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore resort near Changi Airport.

The club management said in a letter seen by The Straits Times yesterday that the decision was made after it could not secure a club lease at its former site at 30, Stevens Road.

As a show of "appreciation and dedication", it will extend the current 30-year membership - due to expire in 2032 - by eight years to 2040.

A long-time member in his 60s, who declined to be named, said that while he is not surprised by the announcement, it is "not acceptable" for those like him, who had joined the club for the convenience of its close proximity to Orchard Road.

In March 2013, The Pines management sold the 198,889 sq ft site in Stevens Road to Oxley Gems to be redeveloped into a hotel and commercial development.

It promised members that there will be a members-only clubhouse integrated into the new development, and The Pines was demolished in November 2013.

But in the latest letter, the club management said that "the parties were unable to come to an agreement on the terms and conditions for a club lease".

A long-time member in his 60s said that while he is not surprised by the announcement, it is "not acceptable" for those like him, who had joined the club for the convenience of its close proximity to Orchard Road.

It had been in negotiation with Oxley Gems to "continue the club's presence" in Stevens Road but the redevelopment had been "challenging due to a myriad of factors".

"We had to consider the space allocation for the clubhouse and its facilities, restaurants, recreational and lifestyle amenities, carpark, accessibility/security and, most importantly, the financial viability of the operations," the letter said.

Members who decide to transfer their club membership to the new luxury golf resort in the two years after it opens will have their transfer and administration fees waived, said The Pines management.

Dusit Thani Laguna, which is part of a joint venture deal inked between Laguna Hospitality and Bangkok-based hospitality giant Dusit International, is expected to be ready in the second half of next year.

About 1,300 members will be affected.

It is understood that some members have yet to receive the letter, which was mailed to their residential address last Friday, although the word on the club's future has began to spread among them.

Members, who mostly chose the club for its location, had their suspicions raised at the start of the year when the two hotels - Novotel Singapore on Stevens and Mercure Singapore - in Stevens Road neared completion, but no clubhouse was built. Novotel Singapore on Stevens began operations early this month.

Previously, some members have said that they would consider taking legal action if the terms were unfavourable.


Correction note: An earlier version of the story said Dusit Thani Laguna is part of a joint venture deal inked between Oxley Gems and Dusit International. This in incorrect. It should be between Laguna Hospitality and Dusit International. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2017, with the headline 'The Pines won't return to Stevens Road'. Print Edition | Subscribe