Netizens upset over closing of Nee Soon South cafe
Nee Soon South cafe ending 12-year tenancy after losing tender
Netizens are riled up over the impending closure of a cafe in Nee Soon South Community Club (CC), after the owners failed to win a new tender.
The People's Association has defended its decision to award the tender to a higher bidder, saying that a public tender for the site was called according to government procurement rules.
The netizens were reacting after author Neil Humphreys (right), who is also a columnist for The New Paper, highlighted on Facebook the situation facing Buddy Hoagies Cafe and Grill- which has been at the site for the last 12 years.
On April 14, the owners lost the public tender to run the food service at the CC and was told that the flagship store would have a month to vacate the place.
Madam Theresa Ng, co-owner of the cafe, told The New Paper: "We were quite shocked at the news because we did not bid a low sum."
She did not think there would be any issue after winning the previous two tenders: "It is not like we are a new shop that has been here for only two years, it has been 12 years in this neighbourhood.
"It is a pity that we have to leave. Gaining the loyal customer base here was not easy."
She said she had even "confirmed" with the CC that she would spend $190,000 on renovations to the kitchen and dining area, and this was part of her tender proposal.
Madam Ng, who is in her 50s, has two other outlets. She would not reveal how much she put in for her bid.
In response to press queries, a spokesman for the People's Association - which runs the CCs - explained that Madam Ng's six-year lease was running out, and a public tender was called according to government procurement rules.
She said: "The current tenant submitted a bid that was significantly lower than the eventual winner.
"The grassroots committee decided to award it to the eventual winner after taking into consideration many factors."
The New Paper understands that fast-food chain KFC put in the winning bid.
The spokesman also explained that CC space is leased to offer useful services to meet the needs of the community.
"Rental income from such leases helps keep community programmes affordable and accessible to all. This also helps support CCs' local social assistance schemes," she added.
Madam Ng appealed to Dr Lee Bee Wah, MP for Nee Soon GRC, for more time to vacate and was given an extra month - till June 15.
On Friday (May 20), undergraduate Bryan Koh and his friend, who wanted to be known only as Miss Lau, both 25, told TNP they went to the cafe after learning online about the impending closure.
When they were in secondary school, they studied there daily until the cafe closed at 10pm.
"This cafe holds many precious memories, I will definitely miss it," said Miss Lau.
Nee Soon resident and frequent patron of the cafe, Toh Sze Min, 13, said she would get her parents to take her to the other Buddy Hoagies outlets at Bukit Timah Shopping Centre and Punggol Waterway Point for her fix of its food.
"(It will be) inconvenient but worth it," said the student.