SINGAPORE – Food and beverage tenants at Gillman Barracks have expressed concern about having to give up their spaces after the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) on Tuesday (May 24) launched tenders for their sites.
Creamier Handcrafted Ice Cream and Coffee, Masons and Handlebar wish to remain at the arts cluster off Alexandra Road after their leases expire early next year.
The owners of the F&B establishments told The Straits Times that the tenders were a blow, coming just after business started to pick up when Covid-19 restrictions were eased last month.
Two out of six F&B tenants – Naked Finn and BurgerLabo, both owned by Mr Tan Ken Loon under the Naked Finn Group (NFG) – were given direct tenancy.
Five other sites – 5A, 8, 9A and 10 Lock Road, and 45 Malan Road – were launched for tender on Tuesday. The results of the tenders are expected to be announced on Sept 30.
Four sites are occupied by Creamier, Masons, Handlebar and Hopscotch. The block at 9A Lock Road used to house Timbre @ Gillman and is currently vacant.
Mr Rob Coldman, 58, owner of Verve Holdings, which runs Mason’s restaurant, said: “I’m happy for Naked Finn and BurgerLabo, but I’m shocked that the rest of us have to retender.”
He added that the company borrowed close to $ 2 million to cover Masons’ operational costs over the past two years.
“We saw it as a worthwhile investment as Masons has been at Gillman Barracks since 2012, so this came as a blow as we thought we’d been through the worst.”
Creamier co-founder Khoh Wan Chin, 46, said she had requested direct tenancy but was told that if there were interested bidders for the site, it would be put up for tender.
“We love the location even though we knew setting up shop there in 2016 was challenging due to low footfall. Covid-19 restrictions have also affected business,” she said.
“We worked hard to let people know about our outlet in Gillman Barracks – it took us about three years to get a stable weekend crowd. All tenants should have been given the same treatment.”
Handlebar founder Jan Pek, 53, said she was disappointed as the company had forked out about $ 1.5 million, taking a year and a half for renovation works before moving in about six years ago.
She said: “The business already suffered over the past two years because of the pandemic. Every month, we are losing at least $ 100,000. If we do not get the tender, all our efforts over the past six years have been wasted.”