Ghost of Brutalist past: Golden Mile Complex for sale at $800 mil

/ EdgeProp
November 1, 2018 5:56 PM SGT
The tender for the collective sale of Golden Mile Complex will close on Jan 30 (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)
Will Singapore’s Brutalist architecture be a construct of the past? The iconic Golden Mile Complex, built in 1972, was put up for collective sale at the reserve price of $800 million on Oct 30, according to Edmund Tie & Co (ET&Co), which is brokering the sale.
Golden Mile Complex is one of a handful of buildings erected in the 1970s, inspired by the architectural style of using raw concrete for the facade of buildings. Management of other such landmarks — People’s Park Complex, People’s Park Centre and Golden Mile Tower — have also reportedly been in talks to launch their respective developments for collective sale.
Golden Mile Complex boasts dual frontage along Beach Road and Nicoll Highway, occupies 1.3ha of land and is zoned under commercial use in URA’s Master Plan. It is one of Singapore’s first integrated developments and comprises 418 retail shops, 227 office lots, 68 residential units, a car park that accommodates 400 cars and a swimming pool.
The mixed-use development is halfway through its 99-year lease. “In terms of upkeep, it is quite a challenge, and the building should be given a new lease of life,” Ong Choon Fah, CEO of ET&Co, tells EdgeProp Singapore.
The Beach Road area is undergoing rejuvenation. City Developments and IOI Group jointly previewed South Beach Residences on Sept 8 and 9 this year. The 45-storey, 190-unit luxury residential tower and 634-room hotel are part of an integrated development that includes a Grade-A office tower and retail and F&B outlets. In October last year, developer GuocoLand successfully bid for a commercial site on the road for $1.62 billion, which includes the former Beach Road Police Station — a historical landmark mandated by the government to be conserved and restored. Along the same stretch of road, there is also the integrated development DUO, comprising a 56,000 sq ft retail space, the 340-key Andaz Hotel, and a 660-unit residential component, linked directly to Bugis MRT interchange.
As the collective sale of Golden Mile Complex, a large-scale conserved building is “unprecedented”, ET&Co is conducting a “longer tender process to allow interested parties to carry out a detailed study”, says Swee Shou Fern, senior director of investment advisory at ET&Co. The company, on behalf of the Collective Sales Committee (CSC), has also submitted an application to the URA to retain the existing 16-storey building and add an adjoining block.
The URA has said it is open for discussions to facilitate the conservation of the development.
“Many successful developments that integrate older buildings not only manage to optimise the land use efficiency but also leverage on the history of the site to bring value to the sense of place and identity of the development,” says Chan Hui Min, director of DP Architects. The firm, which designed Golden Mile Complex in the early days, has been appointed by the CSC as consultant architect for the development.
The tender for Golden Mile Complex will close next year, on Jan 30.
Meanwhile, Singapore is already losing one of its Brutalist structures. The iconic horseshoe-shaped Pearl Bank Apartments, once the highest residential tower in the country, was sold for $728 million to CapitaLand in February. The developer intends to build an 800-unit, high-rise residential development in its place.