Rock Productions, the business arm of Singapore-based megachurch New Creation Church (NCC), is set to buy The Star Vista from developer CapitaLand at a price of S$296 million.
NCC is currently the anchor tenant of the Buona Vista integrated development and uses the mall’s 5,000-seat auditorium for worship services. In 2016, NCC Senior Pastor Joseph Prince revealed that the church paid S$460 million for The Star Performing Arts Centre, that is located within the mall.
CapitaLand said this week that the sale is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year and that the selling price for the mall is about 13 per cent higher than the S$262 million The Star Vista was valued at at the end of June. CapitaLand is expected to make about S$145 million in net proceeds and about S$32 million in net gain through the sale.
NCC told Channel NewsAsia that it decided to buy the mall after CapitaLand informed it that a sale process had been initiated and the mall had attracted parties interested to make an acquisition.
Church council chairman, deacon Yong Chee Ram, said: “Given that The Star Vista and The Star PAC are inextricably linked, our immediate objective of acquiring The Star Vista is both to protect the interest of the church and to preserve the good experience for all who come to The Star PAC.”
He added: “The Star Vista is expected to generate healthy returns for Rock Productions.”
In July this year, NCC said that it never desired or intended to go into business. An NCC spokesman explained that the church ventured into business to establish a permanent place of worship after years of moving from hotel to hotel to hold its services.
The spokesman told the Straits Times that “It was never our desire nor intention to get into business…Over the years, these entities were set up primarily to benefit and meet the needs of our congregation, and to help the community.”
The spokesman said that the church established Rock Productions, which was able to build, lease and operate the Rock Auditorium in Suntec City to house the congregation, since land allocated for religious use was too small to accommodate the expanding congregation.
The Rock Auditorium, however, soon grew too small for the congregation which moved to The Star Performing Arts Centre in 2012. On average, about 34,000 worshippers joined NCC’s Sunday Services last year at The Star.
Today, NCC owns Daystar Child Development Centre, and a subsidiary, Rock Productions – which owns The Star Performing Arts Centre, Shine Auditorium, Rock Gifts & Book Centre and Omega Tours & Travel, which primarily provides tour packages to Israel. Rock Productions also runs Shine Auditorium at Shaw Tower, which is used for its youth services.
The church earned a hefty S$143 million income last year, with some S$122 million, or about 85 per cent of earnings from tithes and offerings from the congregation. NCC has funds and reserves of S$633 million, which is set aside to be used for future needs and to advance its vision and mission.