The rustic Bottle Tree Park in Yishun will be closed next month as most businesses there said they were not able to come to an agreement on rent with the new operator, Chinese company Fullshare Group.
Located just opposite Yishun Stadium, the park is renowned for its kampung-like atmosphere. Apart from its interestingly shaped bottle trees, the place has ponds for fishing, a seafood restaurant and paintball facilities, among others.
However, all the businesses at the park will have to vacate by August 17.
Kang Weng Sang of Bottle Tree Prawn Pond, said, “$30,000 – it’s not a fixed rate, you have to pay an extra 10 per cent… For example, if 50 people make a booking for prawning, for an hour, you’ll have to pay the operator an extra 10 per cent… This model isn’t very reasonable.”
Neo Kee Huat of Bottle Tree Seafood Restaurant said, “After painstakingly building up the place with its ‘kampung’ feel, it’s all over. Those who are older say this is their second village because you can’t find places like this in Singapore anymore.”
Fullshare Group had put in a bid of $169,000 a month for the seven-hectare piece of land in Yishun, managed by the Singapore Land Authority (SLA). This is more than double the $68,000 the existing operator had put in for the site and 10 times more than the rental which the existing operator has paid before. The park was first opened 10 years ago.
The existing operator said it did not put in a higher bid because it did not want the rustic enclave to become commercialised. “If we bid anything more than this price, we would have to think of how to recoup the money… When we first started, we wanted this place to be affordable,” a spokesperson said.
“A lot of hard work and time were put into transforming this place from a bare land into a place that people like… Of course, I feel sad that whatever we have developed will now have to be passed onto the next tenant,” he added.
Fullshare Group has the rights to lease the park till 2020. It wants to re-develop the place into a resort and recreation centre, to be ready earliest by the end of the year.
Fullshare Group (www.fullsharegroup.com) is an integrated Chinese holding company with businesses covering traditional Chinese medicine, construction projects, real estate development, travel, tourism, new energy, medical equipment, overseas investment, hotel management, resort and health services. Group has more than 30 subsidiaries in 29 Chinese provinces, autonomous regions and Hong Kong SAR. The company is based in Hong Kong.