‘Villa in the sky’ at Marina Bay Residences for $111.11 mil

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/ EdgeProp Singapore
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May 27, 2022 9:00 AM SGT
The existing triplex penthouse with a 270-degree view of Marina Bay (Photo: Tristar Properties)
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SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Last September, a 4,489 sq ft, five-bedroom penthouse on the 51st floor of Marina Bay Residences was sold for $19.35 million ($4,311 psf). The buyer is not a foreigner but a Singaporean who purchased the property in trust for his son, Reign Kong, an infant and Singapore citizen, according to a property title search.
The psf price paid for the penthouse is the highest at Marina Bay Residences in over a decade. The only time that transaction prices reached such levels was in April 2011 when a 2,368 sq ft, four-bedroom unit on the 46th floor changed hands in a sub-sale for $10.343 million ($4,368 psf).
The penthouse had been part of a collection of five penthouses spanning the 50th to 55th floors of Marina Bay Residences that had been put up for sale by the owners last February for $138 million, with Tristar Properties as the exclusive marketing agency.
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View of Marina Bay - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
View of Marina Bay from the existing 11,012 sq ft triplex penthouse on the 53rd floor of Marina Bay Residences (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Following the divestment of the 51st floor penthouse which was brokered by Tristar, the portfolio has undergone a reshuffle. The 50th floor penthouse directly below, which had also been part of the original portfolio, is now up for sale as a solo unit. The five-bedroom penthouse is slightly smaller at 4,478 sq ft and carries a price tag of $19.3 million ($4,310 psf), according to Tristar, which is marketing it too.
After the reshuffle, the new collection of penthouses will now comprise three penthouses on the 52nd floor (two duplexes and a simplex) as well as the 11,012 sq ft, triplex penthouse across the 53rd to 55th floors.
“The result is a super penthouse of 23,263 sq ft, about the size of eight tennis courts at the pinnacle of Marina Bay Residences,” says Tristar associate director Edwin Yip. “It will enjoy 270-degree views of Marina Bay and the Singapore skyline.”
Formal Living - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Rendering of the formal living room on the 53rd floor of the reconfigured space at the 53rd floor of Marina Bay Residences (Credit: Studio iF)

Shift in demand

Over the past two years, the needs of the ultra-high net-worth individuals (UHNWI) seeking homes have also evolved because of the pandemic, observes Yip. “They want to have work, live, play components within their own home,” he adds. “They want to be able to hold business meetings, entertain their clients within their own home, without disturbing the rest of the family.”
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To better visualise the space, Tristar collaborated with Gwen Tan, co-founder of Singapore-based Formwerkz Architecture, who is also the founder and principal designer of its interior design arm, Studio iF. Tan worked on the existing plans of the four penthouses and reconfigured them into a “villa in the sky”, with different zones for work, enteertainment, wellness and family living.
Studio iF has been involved in residential projects from Good Class Bungalows (GCBs) to luxury apartments and penthouses in Singapore as well as luxury residences, private clubhouses and boutique hotels in China. Tan’s experience working with her clients in North Asia, especially China, has given her an insight into their lifestyles and habits.
Marina Bay Residences view - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
View of Marina Bay and the Singapore skyline from the super penthouse of Marina Bay Residences (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
“The ultra-rich Chinese are always looking for a better piece of real estate to buy, and sometimes, they have multiple homes in the same city,” she notes. “And they can stay in a different home every few days of the week.”
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In China, there is no limit in terms of the size or grandeur of homes, says Tan. By comparison, even the GCBs appear small and the typical condominium and apartment sizes in Singapore “seem tiny” to them, she adds.

Different zones across 23,000 sq ft

With over 23,000 sq ft at Marina Bay Residences, Tan is able to make use of the generous floor plates. For example, the 53rd floor has been designated as the “key entertainment area as well as the informal dining room,” says Tan. There is a karaoke room and private cinema, a wellness spa, foot massage and sky lounge. The private office is also on this level. It is adjacent to the boardroom, cigar or entertainment room, whiskey lounge and one of two wine cellars. The second wine cellar is between the informal and formal dining rooms as well as accessible from both.
Informal Dining - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Rendering of the informal dining room on the 53rd floor with a view of Marina Bay (Credit: Studio iF)
“Guests can enjoy pre-dinner cocktails and the view of Marina Bay from both the formal living room and formal dining area,” says Tan. “They can access the penthouse from the 53rd level without disturbing the rest of the family who will have their own private entrance on this level.”
Spa spaces have been created within the entertainment area too. “One of the criteria for Chinese clients is to have wellness facilities, so they can pamper themselves and their guests while talking business,” according to Tan. Hence, she has created an indoor spa and foot massage, opening out to a landscaped garden and outdoor jacuzzi to cater to the desire for both indoor and outdoor spaces.
The space on the 54th floor has been turned into a “party deck”, with a rooftop bar and lounge, which opens out to an alfresco dining area on one side, and a swimming pool and landscaped garden on the other. The swimming pool will feature a digital water curtain that acts as a projection screen for movies, and the lights on display can be changed depending on the occasion. A staircase from the 54th floor leads to the observation deck on the 55th floor, which Tan has envisioned as a rooftop gym.
Roof Bar Lounge - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Rooftop bar and lounge on the 54th floor (Credit: Studio iF)

Master suite with secret vault

There will be eight spacious en suite bedrooms, including two junior master suites, a guest suite, and a palatial master suite of close to 2,000 sq ft, which is equivalent to the size of a typical four-bedroom apartment. While one of the junior master suites is on the 53rd floor, the rest of the en suite bedrooms — including the guest suite and master bedroom — are on the 52nd floor.
The master suite has its own private lounge for entertaining guests. Besides the study and the bedroom, the suite has a spacious master bathroom. It doesn’t just have the requisite “his” and “hers” vanity top, but individual shower area, water closet and walk-in wardrobe. Sitting between the two walk-in wardrobes is a vault with fingerprint access. Designed like an inner sanctum, the vault has display shelves and storage spaces and compartments for handbags, watches, jewellery and other valuables.
The 52nd floor is the family’s private zone, with its own dining area, living room and family lounge, tea room and landscaped deck to enjoy the views. A new internal staircase has been created to link the 52nd floor to the 53rd floor. There is private lift access on every level too. The back of house services, including helpers’ quarters, and laundry and utility areas, are located on the 52nd level. However, the help staff will have their own set of lifts and staircase to the upper floors.
MASTER BEDROOM - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Rendering of the master bedroom with mood lighting (Credit: Studio iF)

‘Nine 1’s’

To replicate the design of the penthouse based on Studio iF’s concept would cost an estimated $11 million. “This is considered an extensive renovation, and it will be completed sooner than rebuilding a home,” says Tan. She estimates a timeframe of about 12 months from start to finish.
According to Tristar’s Yip, it is cheaper than redeveloping a new GCB too. Today, the cost of building a new GCB using premium materials is at least $1,000 psf, and that would mean having to spend more than $23 million if one were to build a GCB of a similar size. This is because the overall cost of materials and labour has gone up and the global supply chain has also been disrupted.
Meanwhile, the price tag on the collection of penthouses is said to be “nine 1s” or $111,111,111. Based on the total strata area of 23,263 sq ft, it works out to about $4,776 psf.
MASTER WALK IN WARDROBE - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
One half of the his and hers walk-in wardrobe (Credit: Studio iF)
The penthouse collection will appeal to those who prize the 270-degree unblocked views of Marina Bay and the Singapore skyline. “At that height, you’re at the pinnacle, above all the other buildings, enjoy unparalleled views and complete privacy,” says Yip.
Based on the profile of potential buyers who viewed the Marina Bay Residences penthouse collection to date, about 78% were from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, with another 11% from Indonesia and Malaysia, and 5% from India. Other nationalities including Japan, Korea, Europe, the US and the Middle East make up the rest. Singaporeans make up at least 1% of the buyer profile.
While UHNWI made up 72% of the interested parties, another 23% were family offices and 5% investment funds, according to Tristar. “We are seeing more of the new rich, the family offices,” says Yip. “They place a greater priority on views over the lease tenure of the property, even among the Singaporeans in this category.”
CASUAL DINING - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
The casual dining room for the family on the 52nd floor with new staircase leading to the 53rd floor (Credit: Studio iF)

Singaporeans among the biggest penthouse buyers

He points to the simplex penthouse on the 51st floor of Marina Bay Residences that was sold last September, where the buyer is a Singaporean. “He’s one of the new rich, self-made entrepreneurs who didn’t want to buy a GCB,” says Yip. “He liked the views and the location. He had been renting a unit there for several years, and even got married and started a family. He felt it was time to buy a unit there as the feng shui has been good for him.”
Indeed, Singaporeans number among the buyers of large penthouses in new condominium projects in recent years. For instance, the 8,956 sq ft super penthouse at the 696-unit CanningHill Piers at Clarke Quay was purchased by a Singapore citizen and entrepreneur for $48 million ($5,360 psf) on the first weekend of launch last November. The 558-unit condominium at Tan Quee Lan Street off Beach Road was launched in May last year and the biggest penthouse of 3,520 sq ft was sold on the first weekend of launch for $14.8 million ($4,213 psf). The buyer is also said to be a Singaporean. Both CanningHill Piers and Midtown Modern are 99-year leasehold properties.
CIGAR LOUNGE - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
The cigar lounge at the entertainment zone on the 53rd floor of the 23,263 sq ft penthouse (Credit: Studio iF)
Likewise, the 428-unit Marina Bay Residences, which is part of the Marina Bay Financial Centre integrated development, has a lease of 99 years. Launched in December 2006, all 428 units were sold within three days at an average price of $1,850 psf. Excluding the recent sale of the penthouse at $4,311 psf, the average price of typical units sold at Marina Bay Residences is $2,338 psf, based on transactions from September 2021 to date. Completed in 2010, Marina Bay Residences has 82 years left on its lease from 2005.
One of the biggest penthouses sold to date is the super penthouse of 21,108 sq ft at Wallich Residence that fetched $62 million ($2,937 psf) in October 2020. The buyer, Indonesian-born, Chinese American business magnate Leo Kuoguan had purchased it from British billionaire entrepreneur James Dyson, who paid $73.8 million for it the year before. It is a 99-year leasehold triplex on the topmost levels of Singapore’s tallest tower at 64 storeys and 290m in height.
At Les Maisons Nassim, the biggest penthouse of 12,077 sq ft fetched $75 million ($6,210 psf) in October last year. The exclusive Les Maisons Nassim is a freehold, low-rise block with just 14 units. At the 54-unit, freehold Park Nova on the corner of Tomlinson Road and Orchard Boulevard, the two biggest penthouses were among the first to be sold on the first day of launch in May 2021. The biggest of 5,899 sq ft went for $34.438 million ($5,838 psf) and the second biggest of 4,499 sq ft, fetched $26.026 million ($5,784 psf). The buyers are believed to be mainland Chinese.
MASTER WALK IN WARDROBE - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
The vault is designed as 'a secret room within a room' with fingerprint access and display shelves for handbag, jewellery, watches and other accessories (Credit: Studio iF)

Integrated home

“Pre-Covid, the wealthy foreigners were looking at unit sizes of 3,000 to 5,000 sq ft,” says Tristar’s Yip. “Since the pandemic, they are looking at even larger unit sizes of 10,000 sq ft to 20,000 sq ft. We are reconfiguring these penthouses at Marina Bay Residences to cater to that demand.”
Besides the views, the design details put in by Studio iF makes a difference too, Yip points out. For instance, the walk-in wardrobe is not just a walk-in wardrobe in the master suite. “It’s a walk-in wardrobe with a view,” says Studio iF’s Tan. “And the vault is like a secret room within a room.” The entire 23,263 sq ft space can be customised to suit the owner’s needs, she adds.
After reconfiguration, the penthouses at Marina Bay Residences will be transformed into a home integrated with an office, entertainment, wellness and recreational areas, to cater to the lifestyle of the future owner, adds Tan.
Marina Bay Residences Landlens - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Source: EdgeProp Landlens

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