Notice to move was too short

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Some tenants unhappy with time given, while others have already vacated the site

Some tenants at Katong Village are up in arms after they were informed last month by the landlord that they have to move out by the end of October.

Last year, the 0.82-hectare site was placed on the Government Land Sales programme Reserve List and was one of two sites – along with one at Jurong Town Hall Road – earmarked for hotel development. According to an Urban Redevelopment Authority document, it is estimated to yield 3,690 sq m of commercial space and 600 hotel rooms.

Madam Kee Hoong Siew, owner of Award Music Studio, lamented the short notice that failed to take into account the disruption to her business.

She added: “They gave us the impression that this was a heritage area which won’t be touched.”

Mdm Kee was also unhappy that she had to reinstate the space when she vacates. She said: “Why do we have to spend thousands of dollars to reinstate this place if they’re going to tear down everything anyway?”

Mr Chia C H, the manager of Cafe d’Manila, said the eatery will be moving out by the end of this month. “There’s no point in extending the contract anyway. Four months won’t make a difference, might as well move now,” he added.

Katong Village, along East Coast Road, was the site of the former Joo Chiat Police Station until 1987. In 1999, the Crescendas Group took over the vacant site and turned the conserved building – which was built in 1928 – into a food and entertainment hub.

When contacted, an employee of the management company confirmed that Katong Village will be handed back to the authorities and its tenants have to vacate by Oct 31.

Mr Simon Song, the restaurant manager of Old Hong Kong Tea House, which occupies the former police station, told TODAY he understands that, while the building where his restaurant is housed will be preserved, the others will be torn down.

He said that the restaurant – which has been operating at the site for six years – may be required to vacate for renovation works. But he added that he is still waiting for notification from the authorities.

When TODAY visited Katong Village yesterday, several of the tenants had already moved out. Fallen leaves remained uncleared and plants at the car park had not been trimmed.

Mr Lai Wee Kiat, 69, who frequents the Katong area, welcomed the redevelopment in place of what he described as a “waste of space”.

“It’s such a big piece of land … with land being so scarce nowadays, it should be redeveloped so that there is better use for it,” he said.

Source : Today – 2012 Jun 18

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