Midtown Modern: Living in a forest in the midst of the city

By Cecilia Chow and Charlene Chin / EdgeProp Singapore | March 3, 2021 5:30 PM SGT
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SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Singapore-listed property group GuocoLand has steered away from the tried and tested at its upcoming high-end condo, Midtown Modern, at Tan Quee Lan Street. Instead of developing predominantly small apartments, the 558-unit Midtown Modern will have a wide spectrum of one- to four-bedroom apartments, with sizes ranging from 409 to 1,808 sq ft, and two penthouses of 3,272 and 3,520 sq ft each.
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Scale model of the twin 30-storey residential towers of Midtown Modern sitting on top of a retail podium, with an underground link to Guoco Midtown and Bugis MRT Interchange Station (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)
“We believe there will be demand from the affluent, and we must therefore have large sized apartments to cater for them,” says Cheng Hsing Yao, group managing director of GuocoLand Singapore, who is one of the nine Nominated Members of Parliament appointed in January.
A single-person household could still want a big three- or four-bedroom apartment, as one of the bedrooms can be turned into a hobby room. “It’s a different lifestyle,” he says.
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One-bedroom apartments at Midtown Modern range from 409 to 474 sq ft (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)

Family-oriented, great connectivity

Large apartments will also appeal to families with children attending secondary schools or tertiary institutions. “Midtown Modern will break with convention and be one of the first family-oriented residential developments in the CBD,” notes Dora Chng, GuocoLand Singapore general manager (residential).
“We have a unique circumstance,” adds Cheng. “Midtown Modern sits on top of the Bugis MRT Interchange Station, and is linked to the Downtown Line and East-West Line. Top schools such as Anglo-Chinese School, Singapore Chinese Girls’ School and National Junior College are just a train ride away.” Given the direct connection to Bugis MRT Interchange Station, job centres such as the CBD, Marina Bay, one-north, the science parks and Changi Business Park are easily accessible too.
An underground link will bring residents to GuocoLand’s Guoco Midtown, the $2.4 billion integrated mixed-use development on the opposite side of Beach Road. It includes 770,000 sq ft of Grade-A office space, a business and social networking club, as well as three retail villages with different offerings and concepts. Midtown Modern is part of the Guoco Midtown integrated, mixed-use development. Located in District 7, it is part of the Core Central Region.
Tapping into Guoco Midtown’s network of underpasses and sheltered walkways, residents can access many shopping malls, offices, and two other MRT lines — the North-South and Circle Lines at City Hall MRT Interchange Station.
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Within a five- to 10-minute walk, homeowners can access seven million sq ft of offices, over three million sq ft of shopping and F&B spaces, and 10 five-star hotels, according to GuocoLand. Other amenities nearby include the National Library, Raffles Hospital, National Gallery Singapore, National Museum of Singapore, and the Kampong Glam heritage area.
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Two-bedroom apartments at Midtown Modern range from 592 to 721 sq ft (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)

‘Wilder, more authentic’

Midtown Modern’s landscaping is another point of difference. Deviating from the trimmed, manicured approach of most residential developments, Midtown Modern has adopted the concept of “a forest in the middle of the city”, says Cheng. A total of 186 species of trees and shrubs will be planted across a 1ha garden at Midtown Modern.
As a whole, Guoco Midtown will feature 30 gardens and landscaped areas across 3.8ha. “Guoco Midtown is an example of how nature and man-made structures can have a symbiotic relationship,” notes Cheng.
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Chia Jui Siang, partner at Ortus Design, is the appointed landscape architect for Midtown Modern.
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Four-bedroom units are from 1,432 to 1,808 sq ft for the largest four-bedroom premium (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)
Besides the forest-like gardens, Midtown Modern will have full condominium facilities including a 50m lap pool, an estuary pool, a tennis court, children’s play area, clubhouses with function rooms and a tea pavilion, according to GuocoLand’s Chng.
The design architects for the twin, 30-storey residential towers of Midtown Modern, which sit on top of a retail podium, are ADDP Architects and IPLI Architects. The duo collaborated in the design of GuocoLand’s 450-unit Martin Modern too. The development at Martin Place is scheduled for completion sometime in the middle of this year.
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Four-bedroom units come with wet and dry kitchens (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)

Upwards of $2,400 psf

Midtown Modern will preview on the weekend of March 6 and 7. Prices range from $1.1 million ($2,689 psf), for a 409 sq ft, one-bedroom unit, to $14.98 million ($4,256 psf) for the bigger penthouse of 3,520 sq ft. In terms of psf prices, they start from $2,400, and go well above $4,000 psf for the penthouses, given that there are only two. The appointed joint marketing agencies for the project are ERA Realty Network, Huttons Asia, OrangeTee & Tie, PropNex Realty and SRI.
The sheer amount of lush greenery that the developer is putting into the project is what struck Eugene Lim, ERA key executive officer. “For city centre projects, this is very rare,” he says. Another feature is “the clever design and well thought, efficient layout of the units”, he adds.
According to Lim, property buyers are increasingly discerning, and they look out for differentiation in terms of quality, design and lifestyle features, especially those who are looking for a home. “They will appreciate the offerings at Midtown Modern,” he adds.
Midtown Modern is the second residential development within Guoco Midtown. The first is Midtown Bay, which was launched in late 2019. The 219 apartments are designed as “home offices”, with predominantly one- and two-bedroom apartments sized from 409 to 775 sq ft, as well as two- and three-bedroom duplexes of 1,023 to 1,324 sq ft.
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Three-bedroom units range from 904 to 1,066 sq ft (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)
About 61 units (28%) at Midtown Bay have been taken up since the project was previewed in late 2019. Units sold averaged $2,932 psf, based on caveats lodged as at March 2. However, the highest psf price achieved was for a 484 sq ft, one-bedder on the 24th floor of the 33-storey Midtown Bay. It fetched $1.88 million ($3,879 psf), according to a caveat lodged in October 2019.
“Midtown Bay and Midtown Modern are sufficiently differentiated to appeal to different groups of buyers,” says Wong Siew Ying, PropNex head of research and content. “Midtown Bay appears to be positioned more as a business home, targeting professionals, entrepreneurs and investors. Meanwhile, Midtown Modern — which has larger four-bedroom units — will be more attractive to families which are drawn to the convenience of modern downtown living; as well as the facilities and lush greenery at Midtown Modern.”
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Common bedrooms are big enough for a queen-sized bed, while master bedrooms can easily fit a kingsized bed (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)

Lifestyle choices

The pandemic has changed the way people live and work, notes Wong. For many home buyers, a home is more than just a roof over their heads. “It reflects their lifestyle choices, their personality and the values they hold dear,” she adds.
According to Dominic Lee, PropNex head of luxury team, all his appointment slots for the upcoming weekend preview of Midtown Modern have been filled. “Interest has been very strong,” he says. Lee believes both Midtown Modern and Midtown Bay will appeal to investors as well as owner-occupiers. “The oneand two-bedroom apartments are projected to have rental yields of about 3.6% to 4%, which is very good,” he adds.
Ong Choon Fah, CEO of Edmund Tie, believes that besides families with adult children, and investors, the area appeals to the DINKS (double income, no kids) and PMEBs (professionals, managers, executives and businessmen). The retirees and empty-nesters make up another pool of potential buyers, notes Ong. “They no longer want to maintain a big house, and prefer to move to an apartment in the city, where it’s more convenient, especially with the MRT interchange just downstairs,” she adds. “They can choose to hunker down in their apartment if they want peace and tranquillity; and if they want to see people, they can just go downstairs, where there are shops, eateries, or where they can catch a performance.”
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Cheng: The [Guoco Midtown] mixed-use development has all the characteristics of a midtown; and will eventually be associated with innovative companies, high-end housing, and interesting retail and F&B tenants (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)

Gentrification

The whole stretch of Beach Road — from South Beach to Shaw Towers, Guoco Midtown and Duo — is being gentrified, says Ong. “It’s a culturally rich, diverse and vibrant neighbourhood: There’s entertainment, night life, and a lot of cafes, eateries and hotpot restaurants,” she adds.
Prospective home buyers will also consider the future growth potential of the locale, says PropNex’s Wong. “Midtown Modern is part of the ongoing transformation in the Beach Road, Rochor Road and Ophir Road area.”
When all the upcoming developments are up and ready, Wong reckons “the Beach Road/ Ophir-Rochor Corridor will become an exciting and vibrant live-work-play destination, a new focal point in the city”.
The government’s plan is to develop the nearby Kampong Bugis into a new sustainable waterfront residential precinct. This will also add value to the Beach Road/OphirRochor area in the future, notes Wong.
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Chng: Midtown Modern will break with convention and be one of the first family-oriented residential developments in the CBD (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)
GuocoLand’s Cheng wants to create a “Midtown identity”. He says: “The [Guoco Midtown] mixed-use development has all the characteristics of a midtown; and will eventually be associated with innovative companies, high-end housing, interesting retail and F&B tenants.”
Indeed, Midtown Modern should not be seen as just another project. “It is part of a larger integrated development where you can live, work, play all in one place,” says Lee Sze Teck, director of research at Huttons Asia. “It is envisaged as a City of the Future — future trends in living and working are all here, at Midtown.”

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