After the lease expires, RTC will be developed for housing

After the expiration of Raffles Town Club’s lease in October 2026, this prime plot in Bukit Timah will be developed for residential purposes.

The club membership prices could fall further if the developer’s interest in the site increases.

RTC memberships sold for S$28,000. The club opened its doors in 2000. On the secondary market, they are being sold for S$7,000-S$8,000.

The lease for the RTC site at 1 Plymouth Avenue expires in 2026. This parcel is one of only a few 99-year leasehold sites available on Bukit Timah Road. It will be in high demand due to its proximity to the Botanic Gardens, an MRT Station, and popular schools.

Nearby schools include Singapore Chinese Girls’ school, Anglo-Chinese, Nanyang Primary, and St Joseph’s Institution.

The winning bid for the land could be over S$1,500 psf per plot ratio if the site was put up for sale today. If the project is leased for 99 years, it’s likely that finished units will sell above S$3,000 per square foot when they are completed.

At a private preview held on November 18, condo units in the new Watten House freehold project were sold for an average of S$3,230 per square foot. The District 10 condominium, near Tan Kah Kee MRT, was sold by UOL Group and Singapore Land Group at a 57 percent rate, or 102 units out of 180.

In a statement released on Monday (20 Nov), the Singapore Land Authority and Urban Redevelopment Authority stated that this move is in line Singapore’s goal of redeveloping as many brownfield sites as possible in order to meet future land demand, including for housing.

The redevelopment will help to meet future housing needs and “enhance” the residential character of the area. The transport infrastructure will allow future residents to have easy access to the city, as well as the rest of the island.

Raffles Town Club issued a statement to the Business Times in which it stated that its management would continue to provide its services to members who can enjoy club facilities up until October 2026, when the lease expires.

RTC can continue to operate until the lease expires. After that, the club will have to return the land back to the state. SLA has said that it will work closely together with the club to return the land.

Europa Holdings won the bid in 1996 for S$100,000,000 for the sports and recreation zoned site.

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Over the past two decades, several lengthy legal proceedings have been brought against its founding members.

In 2000, 5,000 club members sued its shareholders for breaching contract and misrepresentation. The club owners claimed that they had misrepresented RTC as a “prestigious city club” when in fact it only had 19,000 members. They sued for a refund on their S$28,000 in membership fees and won the case in 2005.

The lawsuit revealed that the membership fee was falling, among other things.

According to documents seen by BT, the price of membership dropped from S$28, 000 in May 2000 to S$16, 000 the following month. According to court documents seen by BT, the price dropped to S$13,000 at the end of December 2000. It continued to fall to S$7.300 in October 2003.

Although it is not clear when the club stopped offering memberships, they are still available on the second-hand market.

Carousell shows that RTC memberships have been offered for as little as S$7,000-S$8,000 as recently as 3 months ago.

In 2008, Chinese investor Lin Jian Wei, and Singaporean businesswoman Margaret Tung who took over RTC in 2001, filed a S$130-million claim against the four founding members.

The club, Lin, and Tung argued that four of the founders siphoned away the funds by paying directors’ fees as well as fees for management to a firm externally owned or beneficially owned by the men.

The claim was dismissed in November 2012 after billionaire Peter Lim, along with the other three founders of RTC, won an appeal.

SLA and URA stated that if the club wishes to continue operating after the lease expires it will be openly tasked by government agencies with finding suitable state properties.

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