[UPDATE] Golden Mile Complex to be conserved

By EdgeProp Team / EdgeProp Singapore | October 10, 2020 9:20 PM SGT
SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) announced on Oct 9 that Golden Mile Complex will be proposed for conservation in view of its historical and architectural significance. Completed in 1973, the 16-storey mixed-use development was built on one of the earliest government sale (GLS) sites on the newly reclaimed Beach Road, coined as the “Golden Mile”, hence its name.
Golden Mile Complex was “one of the first large mixed-use development in Singapore that integrated commercial, recreational and residential uses in a single building, creating a liveable and compact urban development (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
A redevelopment of the former Woh Hup Complex by Singapura Developments, a unit of Woh Hup (which was acquired by City Developments in 1981), the project was designed by Gan Eng Oon, William Lim, and Tay Kheng Soon from the home-grown firm Design Partnership (now DP Architects). The Brutalist style, popular in the 1950s to 70s, adapted to Singapore’s architectural vernacular and was structurally ambitious, with its terraced floor slabs, slanted beams, towering columns and “floating” staggered staircases. The terraced profile of the residential units facing Nicoll Highway means that residents have unblocked views of Kallang Basin as well as enjoy natural light and natural ventilation.
Golden Mile Complex was “one of the first large mixed-use development in Singapore that integrated commercial, recreational and residential uses in a single building, creating a liveable and compact urban development”, says in URA in its release.
As such, URA proposes to conserve the main building with its signature terraced profile atop the podium block as key features to be retained. “There are opportunities to adapt the building for new uses, restore and transform it and the Beach Road precinct into a more vibrant destination where more people can appreciate its rich heritage,” according to URA in its release.
Golden Mile Complex has a total of 411 strata-titled shops, 226 offices and 68 residential units, with 99-year leases dating back from 1969. The property currently sits on a land area of 1.3 ha and is zoned for commercial use under the URA Master Plan 2014. The development has dual frontage along Beach Road and Nicoll Highway.
While there is strong support for the historical and architectural merits of Golden Mile Complex, building owners raised concerns over how conservation requirements could impact plans for a collective sale. Developers also cited uncertainties surrounding the local property market’s reception to purchasing a large-scale, strata titled conserved development – which would be the first sale of its kind in Singapore.
To overcome these challenges, URA and relevant authorities are prepared to offer incentives to the building owners and prospective buyer-developers should the conserved building be sold. Incentives include bonus floor area, allowing the building of an additional 30-storey tower within the existing site, a partial development charge waiver on the additional floor area, adjustment of the site boundary to be more regular, the option to top up the lease on the land to 99 years, and the flexibility to adapt the building to a mix of possible uses, says URA.
The total gross plot ratio for the site will be 5.6, a one-third increase over the existing development intensity. The development charge waiver will be capped at 10% of the market value of the entire development; or 10% of the estimated land value of the entire development, based on the development charge rates of Sept 2020, depending on the approved mix of uses.
The last collective sale attempt by the owners of Golden Mile Complex was in March 2019, with Edmund Tie as the marketing agency. The price tag was $800 million then. Edmund Tie had indicated then that the complex’s main building was subject to conservation. The site has the potential to be developed into an integrated development with retail, office, residential, serviced apartments and hotel components.