[UPDATE] Golden Mile Complex: Test case for collective sale and conservation

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/ EdgeProp Singapore
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November 30, 2021 5:20 PM SGT
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Golden Mile Complex - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
The Golden Mile Complex has been conserved and will now be put up for collective sale (Photo: Darren Soh)
SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - The 48-year-old Golden Mile Complex had faced an existential crisis since October 2017, when the owners of the strata-titled, mixed-use development first put the building up for collective sale. However, its fate was decided when it was gazetted for conservation this October. This makes Golden Mile Complex the first large-scale, strata-titled development in Singapore to be conserved.
More exciting times lie ahead for Golden Mile Complex as it makes its second collective sale attempt as a conserved building. “Golden Mile Complex is a national icon that has shaped the visual character of our built landscape,” says Swee Shou Fern, executive director of investment advisory, Edmund Tie, the exclusive marketing agency handling the collective sale. “It presents an exceptional opportunity for developers to rejuvenate, reimagine and repurpose a national landmark into a vibrant destination integrating work, live and play elements.”
Golden Mile Complex was significant as it was the first mixed-use development built on the site of the first government land sale in 1967, one year after the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) was formed. The "Golden Mile" is the strip of land between Nicoll Highway and Beach Road. It was planned by URA as a “high-rise spine” fronting Kallang Basin.
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View from the 12th floor apartment - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
View from the 12th floor apartment of Ponno Kalastree at Golden Mile Complex (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
It was the view of Kallang Basin that convinced Ponno Kalastree, managing director of security firm Mainguard International, to purchase his 2,200 sq ft apartment on the 12th floor of Golden Mile Complex 30 years ago. “The view was different then,” says Kalastree. “I used to see Tanjong Rhu shipyard.”
Today, his living-room balcony offers a picturesque view of Kallang Basin, with the Singapore Sports Hub, Singapore Indoor Stadium, condominiums of Tanjong Rhu and Singapore Flyer on the horizon. He can even enjoy the fireworks on National Day from his living room. “The view is fantastic,” adds Kalastree. “It is relaxing, especially in the evenings, when it’s very breezy and the lights are on.” Kalastree will sometimes have friends over, and they will help themselves to drinks at his bar before sitting down to enjoy a nice chit-chat and the vista.

City location

Another advantage of Golden Mile Complex is its location at 5001 Beach Road, just a five-minute drive to the CBD, Raffles Place and Marina Bay. It's also just outside the ERP (electronic road pricing) gantry and just 400m from the Nicoll Highway MRT station on the Circle Line. For Kalastree, the office is just a walk down four flights of steps to the eighth floor, where he runs his security business from two strata office units that he owns. “I just walk downstairs to my office,” he says. “So, I can work seven days a week and not work from home.”
Ponno Kalastree at his 2,200 sq ft apartment - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Ponno Kalastree at his 2,200 sq ft apartment, where his office is just four flights down on the eighth floor, where he owns two strata office units and he can 'work seven days a week' (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
In fact, several owners of shops and office units at Golden Mile Complex also own apartments there. Golden Mile Complex was a pioneer in the “work, live, play” concept, with a total of 718 strata units, made up of 411 retail shops, 227 offices, 68 apartments, four carpark lots and a swimming pool, which takes up one strata title.
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Prominently located along Beach Road, Golden Mile Complex commands dual frontage along Beach Road and Nicoll Highway with panoramic city and sea views. The building is strategically positioned just outside the gateway to the city centre.
There are communal facilities within the building too, such as a recreation deck on Level 9. The swimming pool which is no longer in use, sits above a three-storey carpark block located adjacent to the main building to be conserved. This is where the developer can build a new tower of about 30-storey high, says Edmund Tie’s Swee. “The new tower facing Nicoll Highway will enjoy panoramic views of Tanjong Rhu and Marina Bay,” she comments.
A new 30-storey tower can be built at the disused swimming pool - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
A new 30-storey tower can be built at the disused swimming pool, where the developer can alienate the adjacent state land to have a bigger site (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

‘Forward-looking’

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to conserve and restore a piece of Singapore’s history,” says Chan Hui Min, director and board member at DP Architects, who is an advocate of sustainable design practices.
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Conservation can enhance the asset, adds Chan. “Golden Mile Complex is an opportunity for architects to build on a brand,” she adds. “Not only do you reduce carbon footprint by conserving and retrofitting instead of tearing down a building, you are also able to add value and do your part towards a more sustainable environment.”
Designed by Gan Eng Oon, William Lim and Tay Kheng Soon of DP Architects, formerly known as Design Partnership, Golden Mile Complex is representative of the Brutalist architecture popular in the 1960s. Considered one of the finest examples of Brutalist architecture, signature building features of Golden Mile Complex include “terraced” floor slabs, slanted beams, towering columns and “floating” staggered staircases – all of which are immediately recognisable and “instagrammable”, says Edmund Tie's Swee.
Cheng Hsing Yao, CEO of GuocoLand, and an architect by training, fully supports the conservation of Golden Mile Complex. “We should do more to conserve buildings and landmarks built in that era,” he says. “We are a nation that was born in 1965. These buildings that were built in the late 60s and 70s were very forward-looking from an architectural perspective. We had just gained independence, and within five to 10 years, we were able to build such high-rise buildings with interesting concepts. It’s a good reminder that we have always been very forward-looking.”
GOLDEN MILE COMPLEX RESIDENTIAL COMMON AREAS - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Signature building features such as the slanted beams and towering columns at the atrium of the ninth floor recreational deck and badminton court with views towards Beach Road (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

Renewed appreciation

Examples of Brutalist-era buildings that have been conserved in other major cities include the Barbican estate, The Brunswick Centre, Camden Town Hall Annexe and Trellick Tower in London. In Hong Kong, there is Murray Building; and in Sweden, At Six hotel in Stockholm.
“There has been a renewed appreciation of Brutalist architecture, with its characteristic monumental structures made of off-form concrete without being plastered over, and minimalist construction instead of decorative design,” says DP Architects’ Chan.
Edmund Tie’s Swee says these buildings enjoy “a luxury or ‘limited edition’ status as one is not able to replicate a 50-year-old building with a story to tell”. She has become a Brutalist design enthusiast since working closely with URA on the collective sale and conservation of Golden Mile Complex over the past three years. “Such buildings are sought-after by investors who are drawn to properties of high aesthetic appeal and architectural significance,” she says.
Golden Mile Complex is zoned for commercial use under the URA Master Plan 2019. Hence, it is not subjected to additional buyer’s stamp duty and there is no restriction to foreign ownership. (Find Singapore commercial properties with our commercial directory)
The site has a land area of approximately 1.3ha, with a 99-year lease from Aug 4, 1969. Golden Mile Complex is 16 storeys with a basement level.
GOLDEN MILE COMPLEX RETAIL ATRIUMS - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Atrium at the retail level of Golden Mile Complex (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

Developer incentives

URA has offered a suite of incentives to potential buyers, such as bonus floor area equivalent to one-third increase over the existing development intensity.
Golden Mile Complex has an existing gross floor area (GFA) of 56,000 sq m (602,784 sq ft). With the bonus floor area, and alienation of part of the adjoining State Land to enlarge the site, the maximum potential GFA could be increased to 81,000 sq m (871,884 sq ft).
Besides bonus floor area, URA is also offering the developer a full tax waiver for the conserved floor area. The developer will also be given a partial tax waiver for the floor area of the new 30-storey tower that can be built adjacent to the conserved block. Developers will have the flexibility to extend the site boundary by alienating the adjoining state land.
The lease on the site can be renewed to a fresh 99-year lease, subject to formal approval from relevant authorities.
Developers will also have flexibility in the mix of commercial, residential and hotel uses. The commercial component including office space can make up to 51% of the total space at Golden Mile Complex, says Edmund Tie's Swee.
With these incentives, the development potential of Golden Mile Complex is increased with conservation, notes Swee.
"The incentive package is unique to Golden Mile Complex, as its conservation is the first of its kind, another pioneering endeavour,” Desmond Lee, Minister for National Development, had said during the announcement of Golden Mile Complex’s conservation status. “We hope that developers will consider the potential of the site, alongside our vision to rejuvenate a national icon.”
Chan Hui Min of DP Architects - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Chan Hui Min of DP Architects, the architectural firm that designed Golden Mile Complex back in the late 60s. The building was completed in 1973, and is a landmark along Beach Road today (Credit: DP Architects)

Restoration of a landmark

Golden Mile Complex will be put up for collective sale a second time, with the tender closing on February 28, 2022. The reserve price remains at $800 million. Depending on the proposed use and the mix, the indicative land rate works out to approximately $1,350 psf per plot ratio (ppr), including differential premium and lease upgrading premium, notes Swee.
Beach Road is bookended by Golden Mile Complex and the upcoming Guoco Midtown. Other landmarks designed by international architects have sprung up over the decades.
The Concourse, conceived in the 1970s and completed in the 1980s, was designed by the late American architect Paul Rudolph; the knife-edged office towers of The Gateway by the late IM Pei were completed in 1990; Parkview Square, completed in 2002, is known locally as “Gotham building” because of its Art Deco architecture by American architect James Adams; South Beach, completed in 2016, was designed by Foster + Partners; and the latest, Duo, by German architect Ole Schereen, was completed in 2017.
However, the former Shaw Towers, built in 1975, will be demolished to make way for a new commercial building.
Kalastree is excited about the conservation status of Golden Mile Complex, as he will now be part of Singapore’s first conservation and collective sale exercise. And if the exercise is successful, he will be one of the beneficiaries who will also get to witness the reincarnation of a Singapore icon.
Swee Shou Fern of Edmund Tie - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Swee Shou Fern of Edmund Tie, who's handling the collective sale of the building which has now been gazetted for sale (Credit: Edmund Tie)

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