COLLECTIVE SALE FEVER

Sim Lim Square forms committee in first attempt

Sim Lim Square, Singapore's gadget central, has taken the first step in its maiden collective sale attempt, with the formation of a sales committee.

The six-storey mall in Rochor Canal Road is trying for a collective sale amid declining footfall in recent years, industry observers say.

Part of that is due to the unsavoury headlines in 2014 over unscrupulous sales tactics by rogue merchants, but online retail and newer malls have also taken their toll on business at Sim Lim Square.

Mr Vikas Gupta, chairman of the mall's collective sales committee, said it is looking to appoint a marketing agent and a lawyer. The 99-year leasehold building with around 500 units was completed in 1983 and has a land area of 7,260 sq m.

ZACD Group executive director Nicholas Mak noted that Sim Lim Square has seen better times.

"Rentals have been dropping, and the owners of these commercial properties may be trying now because they saw the successful conclusion of several residential (collective sales)," he said.

"Some of these malls were built 20 to 30 years ago, and now with the advent of e-commerce, they have lost their lustre, relevance and customer base."

Sim Lim Square could join City Plaza near Paya Lebar MRT station on the collective sale market.

City Plaza, an 18-storey freehold building with 450 units, including 66 apartments, is aiming to form a collective sales committee at a meeting on Nov 1.

Second Chance Properties, which is run by former presidential hopeful Salleh Marican, has 12 units at Sim Lim Square and 22 at City Plaza. Mr Salleh told The Straits Times yesterday that he supports both the efforts to sell en bloc: "Both malls are struggling because of competition from newer malls and online retail.

"The owners should be happy if there is an en bloc opportunity. But be realistic because if you ask too high a price, nobody will pay."

Mr Mak added that mixed-use developments face the challenge of being successful at a collective sale because of a possible mismatch in expectations among apartment owners and commercial unit owners.

Dr Lee Nai Jia, head of research at Edmund Tie & Company, noted that the recent purchase of a prime Beach Road commercial site for $1.622 billion by two GuocoLand units may have encouraged owners at Sim Lim Square to try their luck.

"While Sim Lim Square is close to the land parcel sold, the character of the area at Sim Lim Square remains slightly different," he added.

Grace Leong

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