No further lease extensions in Turf City, SLA reiterates

Lease ends in 15 months; govt agencies to help tenants relocate

With just 15 months left before the lease on Turf City's site runs out, the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) told tenants on Friday that there will be no further extensions.

The lease has been extended twice to give tenants time to prepare to move out.

SLA said government agencies will help affected tenants with their plans to move.

The confirmation was given after the Land Transport Authority's announcement on Tuesday named Turf City as a location for one of the six MRT stations to be built in the second phase of the Cross Island Line (CRL). The new station is expected to be situated in the area currently occupied by the rugby field and netball courts in Turf City.

When operational in 2032, CRL phase two is expected to benefit more than 40,000 households.

SLA has 15 tenancy contracts in Turf City. Tenants include childcare providers and eateries. The leases are subdivided for operators in the various trades.

According to SLA, several government agencies are helping tenants work out transition plans, including sharing information on available sites for tenders, with the affected businesses.

The Straits Times understands that SLA wants to reach out to not only its direct tenants but also their sub-tenants.

Some operators are still hoping for a further lease extension.

One of them is Mr Joshua Goh, the owner of used car dealership New Creation Enterprise, which began operating at the Car Mall in Turf City in 2021. He said he would start looking for a new location only after September 2023, "just in case" things change.

Other tenants have moved out. Sources said as many as 20 car dealerships shuttered a year ago, when SLA announced that the Dec 31, 2023 deadline was final.

While some of these units have been taken up by newcomers, others remain empty.

Some businesses claimed that they were not officially told about the final deadline.

Ready Let's Go by Kaleidoscope, which provides early intervention programmes for children, sees around 250 children each week. The centre's spokesman said it would not have taken up more space and invested in renovations if it had known earlier the lease could not be extended beyond 2023.

Turf City was initially due to be returned to the state at the end of 2020, but two successive 18-month extensions were granted. The final one extended the deadline from June 2022 to Dec 31, 2023.

SLA said the tenancy extensions were given to "allow more time for tenants to firm up their transition and winding-down plans".

The Turf City site was marked out for future residential use in the Government's Master Plan 1988.

Details on how the area will be developed have not been announced. But SLA said detailed technical studies such as environmental and heritage studies are already being carried out.

"Agencies will engage relevant stakeholders to share more about the plans for the site and seek their feedback when ready."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 24, 2022, with the headline No further lease extensions in Turf City, SLA reiterates. Subscribe