Why church inked Buona Vista mega-property deal
By Nur Dianah Suhaimi
16 Sep 2007

– 60-year rental: $343m
– A place of its own: $280m

TO HEAR Deacon Matthew Kang talk, it makes sense for a church to go into property development.

The church in question is the 23-year-old charismatic New Creation Church. Its Sunday services at Suntec City Mall draw long lines of worshippers that snake round the block.

The property in question, announced last week, is a $660-million lifestyle hub in Buona Vista. The church’s business arm, Rock Productions, is partnering property giant CapitaLand to develop the site.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Mr Kang, one of the directors of Rock Productions, explained why the church decided to turn property developer in such a big way – the company’s investment in the project comes up to $280 million.

Every month, the church pays Suntec City $477,000 to rent the 1,400-seat auditorium, where it holds its services, and a convention hall to accommodate the spillover of worshippers. Its congregation is 16,000-strong.

Mr Kang, a full-time director of financial services at insurance company Manulife Financial, said the rental would add up to $343 million in 60 years’ time.

It thus makes economic sense to invest $280 million in developing its share of the 60-year lease Buona Vista site, which consists of an auditorium, an amphitheatre, an outdoor theatre, two ballrooms and a rooftop function area.

The restaurants, shops, wine bars and dance clubs will be developed by CapitaLand.