Tuesday, March 30, 2010

CHC’s New Building… continued

So much has been said, and so much speculated about our impending move to Suntec Singapore.


Sometimes I wonder… would there be as much commotion, if say we announced that we had bought a stake in Singapore Expo instead? I mean, the model’s the same – ownership & license, such that our rental expenses would be defrayed by the dividends and profits we earned. Both are commercial venues which continue to be well-utilized by other conventions and events and meetings.

Maybe it is because I am accounts trained that I find great financial sense in this move? But then again, Nic who is non-accounts trained, can see the logic behind this move the same way I do.

It is a long-term, self-sustaining model. As tenants, we are not subject to the fluctuating building management costs the way an owner would be. And as stakeholders, we are also not committing to be involved in the daily operations, and yet still enjoying the returns on our investment.

We are in this for the long haul.

Paying rental for the next 30, 40 years. Not an amount to be scoffed at. As opposed to finding a solution to stem this expense. Of course, the “traditional” way would be to buy a plot of land and build, but come on, to build a 10-12,000 seater hall? Another mega church in town embarked on a 5,000 seater project, which would cost them $500 million.

Or should we settle for a smaller hall?

Sure. If you are willing to walk a few weekends in our shoes, and in that of our volunteers. At our Jurong West premise, before we moved out we were running 6 English services. SIX. Starting from Friday evenings to Sunday late afternoons. And this is excluding the Children, Chinese, Dialect, JAMs services as well. I am not involved in the running of the services, but as I manage the reception counter, I can tell you… it was a pain. When we had bigger-scale events, services ran up to 9 a weekend! We literally camped at the church! It was super-crazy! Our poor volunteers, who had school or work in the weekdays spent hours and days simply running services all weekend.

So a smaller hall just will not do. Some ask about multiple halls. But this would also burst our constructions costs and manpower, to run and maintain numerous church buildings.

But to me, I think the main bone of contention is the fact that the church signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement, and the fact the entire project would cost us an estimated $310million.

What’s a Non-Disclosure Agreement? Something that is common in the commercial world. Be it for tenders or deals that might prove to be sticky once the details are divulged. Why did we sign the NDA? I think this question should be better posed to Suntec – why did they want us to sign this agreement? Haha! I’ve seen some pretty lame requests on forums, asking that the church rescind on its NDA, or that “certain” details be leaked out, or asking if “so-and-so” and “such-and-such” is covered by the NDA.

Which makes me wonder… Have they read an NDA before? And looked through its clauses? A standard NDA would usually state that confidential information (which should not and cannot be disclosed) is ALL and ANY information with regards to the deal at hand, that the party would not have known if not for the fact it is privy to this deal. It is not a matter of stating what is confidential. It is a catch-all clause. So to me, to ask for details like “How much is CHC’s stake in Suntec?” and “How much rental is CHC paying?” is pretty straightforward. It simply falls under the NDA. But of course this gave rise to conspiracy-theorists.

Nonetheless, I am uber-proud of the church, and of
Pastor Kong and the rest of the pastors. No, not that they are infallible. But that even in their mistakes or weaknesses, they are strong men of God, and never one to shy from their convictions, and people who fear God and not just men’s opinions…

So looking forward to Suntec in March 2011! :) It is a dream we collectively had as a church for the past 5 years… It wasn’t come into abruptly or “unbeknownst” to the members… This is what we’ve been praying for all this time!!!


adam said...

awesome post~! suntec here we come~!!!!

Jerb said...

I super agree with you! This deal is really worth celebrating for us church mbrs! Can't wait to mooooove!!! :)