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Keeping Zouk at Jiak Kim St not optimising economic value: Analysts

The "Save Zouk" petition has garnered over 20,000 signatures as of Monday (23 June), but property analysts say keeping the nightspot at the site may not fully maximise its economic value. 

SINGAPORE: The #SaveZouk petition has garnered over 20,000 signatures as of Monday (23 June), from supporters who are hoping that the 23-year-old night spot can continue to operate at its current location at Jiak Kim Street.

However, some property analysts say that having a nightspot at the site may not fully maximise its economic value.

"Based on the new masterplan, where Zouk is located is meant for more intense real estate development. Residential development with commercial space on the first floor, the plot ratio is rather high, it has been increased from 2.8 to 3.5 which means potentially, that location can be developed into a 36-storey condominium with commercial space on the ground floor," said Executive Director of SLP International Property Consultants, Mr Nicholas Mak.

Zouk has said that it intends to shut at the end of this year as it is unable to get a confirmation on the lease extension.

Responding to queries from Channel NewsAsia, the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) which manages the site says that Zouk has been granted multiple lease extensions on its current site, and its lease was last extended for another six months, to the end of this year. SLA adds that government agencies have been working closely with Zouk since 2007 to assist them with relocation by identifying alternative location.

One potential site offered during a discussion was the former People's Association Headquarters at old Kallang Airport, an option which Zouk has reportedly not taken up, said the SLA.

With the strong branding that Zouk has built up over the years, some experts say its name will likely transcend its location. It has successfully held events like 'Zouk Out' off its current premises, not to mention the nightspot Zouk at Kuala Lumpur, which is also popular.

They add that relocation may not be all bad - especially if it means having more parking spaces and a chance to upgrade.

"Zouk at its current state is getting a little rough at the edges, a bit old. Perhaps it may be good if a new location became available, but the condition for their being there or the price cannot be too difficult to sustain a brand like that and I think it is important that Singapore sustains its iconic brands," said Mr Samuel Seow, Managing Director of Samuel Seow Law Corporation.

SLA says state properties are typically rented out for a fixed term of up to three years. This could go up to 6 or 9 years if the planning authority allows a longer tenure.

It adds that typically when a tenancy ends, and if there are no development plans for the land, the site will be made available via a public tender to give others a fair and equal opportunity to bid for the property.

Apart from the Zouk site, SLA also manages other state properties like Dempsey Hill. They are among some 5,000 state properties under SLA currently. 

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