Beach Road’s changing skyline

From Guoco Midtown and Shaw Towers to the new residential developments at Tan Quee Lan Street and Middle Road, the Beach Road-Rochor Road area is set for a massive renewal

For the past four decades, those driving along Nicoll Highway from Singapore’s East Coast to the CBD have been treated to the landmarks defining Beach Road’s skyline: first, the Golden Mile Complex and Tower, a relic of the 1970s; followed by the 1990s modernist architecture of The Concourse, designed by the late American architect, Paul Rudolph, and the knife-edged triangular towers of The Gateway by the legendary American-Chinese architect I M Pei who turns 102 this year.
In recent years, the skyline has been enhanced by the addition of two multi-billion-dollar integrated developments designed by star architectural firms of the current era, namely DUO by Buro Ole Scheeren, and South Beach by Foster and Partners.
DUO, an integrated development by M+S, completed in Dec 2016, was designed by Buro Ole Scheeren (Credit: M+S)
“The stretch of Beach Road from Ophir Road and Rochor Road onwards has changed a lot,” says Cheng Hsing Yao, group managing director of listed property group GuocoLand Singapore. “But the eastern stretch of Beach Road is still quite old.”
GuocoLand is developing Guoco Midtown, a new integrated development at the junction of Beach Road and Bras Basah Road. Adjacent to Guoco Midtown is Shaw Tower, which will be redeveloped. A commercial tower built on a site sold in the government land sales (GLS) programme in 1970, Shaw Tower is a redevelopment of the former Alhambra and Marlboro theatres, and also where the original Satay Club at Hoi How Road was located. The 34-storey tower contains offices from the 11th to the top floor, carpark lots from the second to 10th floors and a retail podium with two cinemas. Shaw Tower is owned by Shaw Foundation, which was established in Singapore in 1957.


The new commercial development that will replace the existing Shaw Tower will be predominantly office with a total net lettable area of 222,700 sq ft. “The redevelopment of Shaw Tower is overdue,” says Christine Li, head of research for Singapore and Southeast Asia at Cushman & Wakefield (C&W).