UOL’s focus on sustainable design pays off

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/ EdgeProp Singapore
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October 30, 2020 6:00 AM SGT
SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Singapore-listed property developer, UOL Group, won the Top Developer award at the EdgeProp Excellence Awards 2020. This is the second consecutive year that it has won the award, on top of multiple awards for its various projects, from Top Development and Design Excellence for The Clement Canopy to Landscape Excellence for Principal Garden, Top Luxury Development and Showflat Excellence for Meyer House as well as People’s Choice Award for Avenue South Residence.
Liam - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Liam: Our formula for success has always been to focus on the sustainability aspects in all our projects (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Besides such accolades, UOL Group’s Parkroyal Collection Pickering recently gained recognition from 94-year-old English broadcaster and naturalist, Sir David Attenborough, who posted a picture of the five-star hotel on Facebook on October 15, with the caption, “This is an urban forest. An eco-building in Singapore”.
Liam Wee Sin, group CEO of UOL Group, says, “Our formula for success has always been to focus on the sustainability aspects in all our projects”. The magic ingredient, notes Liam, is the ability to “assemble good design minds that can collaborate and produce something truly outstanding. It’s this combination of architecture, interior design and landscape design that makes our products stand out.”
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PARKROYAL COLLECTION - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
The 367-room hotel incorporates energy-saving features throughout the building, and boasts Singapore’s first “zero-energy sky gardens” powered by solar energy panels (Photo: UOL Group)

Identifying the right site

The design process starts with “consciously identifying sites” that best bring out the various design and sustainability attributes of a project. Liam points to The Tre Ver, its 729-unit condominium located at Potong Pasir Avenue 1.
With award-winning architectural firm, WOHA as the design architect, The Tre Ver emphasises biophilic design and capitalises on the 220m long river frontage along Kallang River. In just over two years since the project was launched in August 2018, only four units are available for sale as at Oct 26.
In January 2017, UOL purchased a site on Amber Road, which had been leased to a landscaping and nursery operator for 30 years. The new development, the 139-unit, freehold Amber 45, recently obtained Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP). To date, 126 units (91%) have been sold since the project was first launched in May 2018.
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Tre Ver - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
The 729-unit The Tre Ver has only less than five units available, two years after its launch (Photo; UOL Group)
UOL is in the midst of fully fitting-out and furnishing some of the remaining units at Amber 45 to give homeowners an option, for those who prefer to purchase units lock, stock and barrel.
At Meyer House, the 56-unit, ultra-luxury development on Meyer Road, construction is likewise well underway, with the project targeted for completion by 2Q2021. “People need to see the completed project to appreciate the space and the greenery,” says Liam.
Meyer House is jointly developed with sister company Kheng Leong Co, a private, family-owned property group controlled by banker tycoon, Wee Cho Yaw. The project introduces large-format, luxury residences with dedicated private lifts and landscaped grounds inspired by “an English garden”, says Liam. The project once again features WOHA as the design architect, in collaboration with Yabu Pushelberg as the interior designer (famous for its design of the Park Hyatt and Four Seasons hotels in New York) and German firm, Ramboll Studio Dresiseitl as the landscape designer.
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Clavon at Clementi Avenue 1 - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Artist's impression of the upcoming 640-unit Clavon at Clementi Avenue 1, that is likely to preview soon (Picture: UOL Group)
The upcoming residential project, the 640-unit Clavon at Clementi Avenue 1, will feature twin high-rise residential towers sitting on extensive landscaped grounds on the 178,066 sq ft site. Landscape design has become increasingly important for homeowners, especially those living in high-rise projects, notes Liam.
At Avenue South Residence, Liam believes the project’s high-rise towers will appeal to those who appreciate water views, a front row seat to witness the transformation of the skyline with the upcoming Greater Southern Waterfront, and proximity to the Rail Corridor, a 24km green corridor.
The latest residential development site acquired by UOL is on Canberra Drive in March. The site was purchased for $270.2 million, jointly with UIC and Kheng Leong. UOL intends to develop a low-rise, 450-unit project that will appeal to homebuyers in the northern suburb, given its location near Canberra MRT station as well as amenities such as Sembawang Shopping Centre, Sun Plaza and Sembawang Primary School.
London city skyline - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
View of the London city skyline from One Sky Residences at the 41-storey One Bishopsgate, London (Photo: UOL Group)

Residences in gateway cities

The residential market has been the most resilient, not just in Singapore but in other gateway cities as well, notes Liam. UOL launched its maiden residential project in London, Sky Residences at One Bishopsgate last November. Close to 30% of the 160-unit development have been sold since.
Sky Residences spans the top half of the 41-storey One Bishopsgate, while the lower half houses UOL’s maiden Pan Pacific hotel in the UK. Yabu Pushelberg was the interior designer for the hotel and London-based PLP Architecture was the design architect.
Residential sales have also picked up strongly in China, which was the first to be hit by Covid-19, and seems to have recovered from the fallout, observes Liam. In Shanghai, UOL’s luxury residential project, the 398-unit Park Eleven has also seen brisk sales. The project is jointly developed by UOL, UIC and Kheng Leong and is part of a mixed-use development with commercial components located within Changfeng Ecology Commercial District.
 - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
After a $45 million refurbishment, the new Parkroyal Collection Marina Bay is scheduled to open its doors in December (Picture: UOL Group)

Eco-friendly hotels

No doubt, the most disrupted sector has been the hospitality sector due to travel restrictions and border closings. In January, UOL and its hotel subsidiary, Pan Pacific Hotels Group, had launched the new Parkroyal Collection Hotels & Resorts as a hotel brand that epitomises iconic design, eco-friendliness and sustainable practices.
Included in the brand is former Marina Mandarin which was closed for a $45 million renovation at the start of the year. It will soft open in December as the new 575-room Parkroyal Collection Marina Bay. It will have an atrium garden and possibly, an urban farm with farm-to-table concept at the rooftop, says Liam.
The Parkroyal on Pickering was also rebranded Parkroyal Collection Pickering at the start of the year. The 367-room hotel incorporates energy-saving features throughout the building, and boasts Singapore’s first “zero-energy sky gardens” powered by solar energy panels. Last year, it was also recognised as one of the world’s ’50 most influential tall buildings of the last 50 years’ by the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.
Pan Pacific Orchard - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Pan Pacific Orchard is expected to open its doors sometime in 2Q2021 (Photo: UOL Group)
Another hotel that is likely to set new benchmarks in sustainable design is the Pan Pacific Orchard, which is set to open its doors in 2Q2021. In July, UOL secured a $120 million three-year term green loan partially to fund the redevelopment of the new 347-room hotel.
Designed by WOHA, the new hotel will have a biophilic design, eco-friendly features and three curated sky gardens. The sky gardens will also be self-sustaining, deploying rainwater harvesting and solar cells to light up the gardens and power the irrigation system.
Beyond zero-energy sky gardens, the building is also looking at “zero-waste”, says Liam. “Our aspiration is also to contribute to the rejuvenation of Orchard Road through the Pan Pacific Orchard and our other buildings.”