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The Pines will not return to Stevens Road site; members to move to Laguna golf club and resort

[SINGAPORE] Members of well-known club The Pines will not return to its newly redeveloped Stevens Road site. Instead, they will have to use the facilities at the Laguna National Golf & Country Club and its upcoming Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore resort near Changi Airport.

The club management said in a letter seen by The Straits Times on Monday (Oct 30) that the decision was made after it could not secure a club lease at its former site at 30, Stevens Road.

As a show of "appreciation and dedication", it will extend the current 30-year membership - due to expire in 2032 - by eight years to 2040.

Dusit Thani Laguna, which is part of a joint venture deal inked between developer Oxley Gems and Bangkok-based hospitality giant Dusit International, is expected to be ready in the second half of next year (2018).

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In March 2013, The Pines management sold its 198,889 sq ft site in Stevens Road to Oxley Gems to be made over into a hotel and commercial development. It promised members there will be a new members-only clubhouse at the site and The Pines was demolished in November 2013.

But in the latest letter, the club management said that "the parties were unable to to come to an agreement on the terms and conditions for a club lease".

It had been in negotiation with Oxley Gems to "continue the club's presence" at Stevens Road but the redevelopment had been "challenging due to a myriad of factors".

"We had to consider the space allocation for the clubhouse and its facilities, restaurants, recreational and lifestyle amenities, carpark, accessibility/ security, and most importantly, the financial viability of the operations," the letter said.

Members who decide to transfer their club membership to the new luxury golf resort in the two years after it opens will have their transfer and administration fees waived, said The Pines management.

About 1,300 members will be affected.

It is understood that some members have yet to receive the letter, which was mailed to their residential address on Friday (Oct 27), although the word on the club's future has began to spread among them.

A long-time member in his 60s, who declined to be named, said that while he was not surprised by the announcement, it is "not acceptable" for those like him, who had joined the club for the convenience of its close proximity to Orchard Road.

Their suspicions were raised at the start of the year when the two hotels - Novotel Singapore on Stevens and Mercure Singapore - on Stevens Road neared completion, but no clubhouse was built. Novotel Singapore on Stevens began operations in early October.

Members also received a brochure with the letter, which boasted special rates for golf access and hotel rooms for The Pines members. Other facilities at the 208-room Dusit Thani Laguna include an all-day dining restaurant, swimming pool and spa.

THE STRAITS TIMES

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