Property developers in Singapore and Malaysia offer discerning buyers premium living experiences in the region’s sought-after locations.
December 6, 2019
Developers continue to redefine the Singapore city skyline.
Despite global economic headwinds, there is value to be found in Asia’s real estate sector if one knows where to look.
In terms of individual markets, Singapore’s residential market continues to be a safe haven for foreign buyers seeking not just profits, but also capital preservation. Looking to capitalize on this trend, developers are rolling out ultraluxury developments that cater to the region’s wealthy in some of Singapore’s most prestigious neighborhoods.
For instance, the upcoming 3 Orchard By-The-Park is a short stroll away from the UNESCO World Heritage site, Singapore Botanic Gardens, while luxury boutiques, five-star hotels, embassies and Michelin-starred eateries of the premier Orchard Road belt are just minutes away. Launched by the YTL Group, the development features the signature touch of world-renowned architect Antonio Citterio.
Meanwhile, Frasers Property is offering homebuyers a rare riverfront living experience along the historical Singapore River. When completed, the Rivière will form part of a highly attractive cluster of waterfront developments as well as food and beverage and lifestyle outlets.
Innovative players such as Guocoland are transforming the city-state’s central business district. The developer is behind iconic properties such as Singapore’s tallest building, Guoco Tower, a unique 5-in-1 integrated development located in the heart of the CBD.
Reflecting their global ambitions, Singapore’s real estate developers are extending their footprint abroad as well. For instance, Pontiac Land Group is part of the development team behind the upcoming 53 West 53 skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan in New York City. The 82-story building is designed by famed French architect Jean Nouvel.
Malaysia is also well-positioned for growth. The residential property market in the country recorded a higher value of transactions in the first nine months of the year for the primary market compared with the whole of 2018, according to international real estate federation FIABCI. Malaysia’s National Housing Policy 2.0, which was launched by the Housing and Local Government Ministry at the start of the year, has helped address affordability issues and boost demand in the housing market.
One company that has capitalized on this potential is UEM Sunrise Berhad, a leading property developer in Malaysia. UEM Sunrise has posted an uptick in revenue over the past few years and appears to be on track for another year of growth in 2019.
In the face of an uncertain and evolving landscape, there are bright spots to be found in the region’s real estate market for discerning buyers with an eye for value and quality.
Rivière: Prime Riverfront Living in Singapore
With increasing demand for luxury waterside residences, Frasers Property’s latest development delivers with a stunning architectural design, bespoke services and unparalleled lifestyle experience.
Whether it’s the Thames in London or Huangpu River in Shanghai, there has been a rising tide of demand in recent years for upscale waterfront properties along the world’s great waterways. According to Knight Frank’s Global Waterfront Report 2019, discerning buyers are being drawn to such developments because of the lifestyle and amenities that come with a home by the river.
This trend has flowed into Singapore as well, where the supply of such units is scarce. Analysts note properties along the Singapore River in particular will see strong demand because of its historic status and central location.
Drawing inspiration from Singapore River and its surrounds, upcoming luxury residential development Rivière seeks to meet this wave of demand by offering home buyers and investors an exhilarating riverfront lifestyle.
The Rivière is nestled amid three conservation warehouses and serviced apartments. The precinct sits next to the Singapore River, the lifeblood that helped fuel the city’s transformation into the modern metropolis it is today. The development’s two stunning residential towers rise 36 storys above the historic waterway; it is a stunning architectural marvel designed by award-winning architecture firm SCDA.
Developed by global real estate group Frasers Property, Rivière offers 1- to 4-bedroom units that range from 560 to 2,002 square feet. All units boast highly liveable layouts peppered with meticulously crafted details as well as branded fittings and furnishings.
When completed, Rivière will form part of a highly attractive cluster of waterfront developments. The three completely restored warehouses located next to the development will be transformed into a stylish lifestyle destination that will feature riverside bistros, friendly grocers and even a culinary school for the community.
“While enjoying a sophisticated, lively and convenient lifestyle by the heart of Singapore’s historic and eminent river, residents here can also indulge in nature, serenity and absolute privacy. The experience of living here is one of utmost discernment and understated luxury,” says Christopher Tang, CEO of Frasers Property Singapore.
Exclusive Enclave in the Heart of Singapore
The Rivière offers the privacy of an exclusive sanctuary in downtown Singapore, close to the city’s prime business and lifestyle neighborhoods. Located in the upmarket but tranquil Robertson Quay, the Rivière is adjacent to the exciting entertainment offerings of Clarke Quay and Roberson Quay. Residents can catch up with friends over brunch at one of the many trendy cafés nearby, indulge in a romantic dinner by the water, or paint the town red on a night out with drinks and live music.
Singapore’s Central Business District and its premier lifestyle precinct, Marina Bay, also lie close to the Rivière. Here, one can take in a diverse range of cultural activities, from viewing the artworks of the National Gallery and the Asian Civilisations Museum, or catching a performance at world-class venues such as the Esplanade or the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall. For some high-end retail therapy, residents will be able to reach the premier shopping belt of Orchard Road in five minutes by car.
With its numerous connectivity options, getting to any point in Singapore from the Rivière will be a breeze. The upcoming Great World City MRT station and shopping mall will be just three minutes away on foot, and will connect directly to Orchard, Shenton Way, Marina Bay and Gardens by the Bay.
Meanwhile, the Fort Canning MRT station is also minutes by road from Rivière. There, residents can connect directly to the Downtown Core, Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Befitting a riverfront home, a river taxi also stops just by the residences, connecting all the way to the Esplanade via Clarke Quay and Boat Quay.
SCDA’s renowned principal architect Soo K. Chan and his team used the different qualities, states and nature of water as their inspiration for Rivière’s design. The residential towers are raised elegantly on structural stilts, framed by intimate gardens and sensuous water pavilions.
From the waters of the gently flowing river to the beautifully landscaped gardens within, Rivière is designed with nature in mind. A promenade that sits right at the development’s doorstep is the perfect spot for taking in the river’s beauty and energy.
SCDA’s ability to craft such an architectural marvel is unsurprising, as it has been widely recognized for its extensive portfolio that encompasses luxury residences, hospitality and cultural institutions from around the world. Among other accolades, the firm has won the President’s Design Award, the RIBA Award, the SIA Architectural Design Awards and prizes from the World Architecture Festival.
Homes for All Tastes
The Rivière has been designed for those who have a taste for understated luxury. Each unit features a refined material palette of large marble slabs, and are equipped with kitchens and appliances from high-end brands Poggenpohl and Gaggenau. Buyers can choose from a selection of different layouts to suit their lifestyles, from chic 1-bedroom suites to 3 and 4-bedroom units that come with their own private lifts. Residents will also be able to take advantage of a suite of bespoke services to cater to their everyday needs, from concierge to housekeeping and laundry services.
For those seeking a truly luxurious waterfront living experience in the heart of Singapore, the Rivière ticks all the right boxes.
3 Orchard-By-The-Park: Luxury Living Inspired by Nature
Award-winning developer YTL Land blends green technologies with the craftmanship of world-renowed architect Antonio Citterio for a masterpiece in design.
In the heart of Singapore’s prestigious District 10 lies 3 Orchard By-The-Park, an ultraluxury freehold development comprising 77 exclusive residences spread across three stunning 25-storey towers.
Nestled amid the leafy tranquillity of Orchard Boulevard, the condominium is located next to an upcoming Orchard Boulevard MRT station and is a short stroll away from a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Meanwhile, the luxury boutiques, five-star hotels, embassies and Michelin-starred eateries of Orchard Road are mere minutes away.
Surrounded by lush landscape gardens with extensive species of flora and fauna, residents will be shielded from the city’s bustle in the midst of their own urban oasis. Indeed, the development is inspired by the Botanic Gardens, and features an Orchid Corner with exclusive Vanda YTL and Vanda Bocelli orchids.
Designed by Masters, Built as Masterpieces
Designed by world-renowned architect Antonio Citterio, the creation of 3 Orchard By-The-Park is guided by developer YTL’s motto: “Designed by Masters, Built as Masterpieces.”
“We select the world’s best masters or maestros of design and architecture to partner with us to craft and build the most outstanding homes, which we can truly call masterpieces,” says Tan Sri (Sir) Francis Yeoh, Executive Chairman of YTL Corporation. Like priceless works of art, these masterpieces can be passed down from generation to generation as treasured family heirlooms.
“For our first-ever luxury apartment project in Singapore, we wanted a true master of design who could holistically design the architecture and interior design of the entire development as one masterpiece where residents can experience his timeless signature aesthetics throughout every aspect of the living environment.”
Citterio is an interior designer and lifestyle product designer for premium furniture brands such as B&B Italia and Flexform, and luxury brands like Hermes. He has also created kitchen systems for Arclinea, bath and sanitary fittings for Axor, and lighting solutions for Flos. Furthermore, he has designed world-class hotels and resorts, including the Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts in Bali, Milan, Shanghai and Beijing as well as the Barvikha Hotel & Spa in Moscow.
From exteriors to interiors, 3 Orchard By-The-Park is the first residential development in Southeast Asia to be designed holistically by Citterio, and it will serve as a platform to showcase his signature architecture and interiors with uniquely designed fittings and finishings by this celebrated artisan.
Says Yeoh: “For a long time, we have admired Antonio Citterio’s masterworks of timeless elegant design. His renowned architecture and interior design of Bvlgari Hotels and Resorts in Milan, London, Bali, Beijing and Shanghai is truly masterful. He demonstrates a deep appreciation of luxury living at its best.”
An Italian-Inspired Creation
The signature touch of Antonio Citterio can be found in every aspect of 3 Orchard By-The- Park. Each “villa-in-the-sky” residence is characterized by interiors with generous proportions and highly versatile layouts, and opens up to spectacular views of the surrounding greenery.
Through a rigorous selection process, superior materials and premium fittings were chosen to deliver the highest levels of quality and durability. Even the cabinets and kitchen timber panels were exquisitely handcrafted to reflect the designer’s desired level of excellence.
Each home will come with Citterio’s specially designed Arclinea lifestyle kitchen system and a boiserie feature wall, while others will feature furniture and furnishings from Giorgio Armani’s Armani Casa, all ready for the move in.
Much thought has also gone into the communal spaces and facilities surrounding each home. To unwind, residents can lounge by the infinity-edge pool, exercise in the gym with Citterio-designed Technogym equipment, or entertain guests in the private dining room or alfresco dining area. At the private library lounge fully furnished by Citterio, residents will be able to feast on delicacies from food emporium Jones the Grocer.
Underpinning all facets of the development is a commitment to sustainability, which has long been a cornerstone of the YTL Group. 3 Orchard By-The-Park has embraced this ethos by leveraging green technologies that resulted in the development achieving the BCA Green Mark Gold Plus Award.
Says Citterio: “At 3 Orchard By-The-Park, I have created a design experience that harmonizes all the elements.”
GuocoLand: Driving Growth through Innovation and Insight
The company’s distinctive developments continue to lead the industry with original design and unique lifestyle offerings.
Innovation is the key to any modern economy, both in terms of unlocking productivity and long-term growth as well as ensuring the success and sustainability of business.
One Singapore headquarted company that has long understood the value of innovation is award-winning property developer GuocoLand. Founded in 1976, GuocoLand is today one of the most prominent property companies listed on the Main Board of the Singapore Exchange, while its parent company, Guoco Group Limited, is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
With properties in Singapore, Malaysia, China and Vietnam, GuocoLand is renowned for blending innovative design with a keen insight into the latest lifestyle trends to create developments that are as distinctive as they are sought after.
A Strikingly Different Development
GuocoLand sees innovation as a source for inspiration. A case in point is Singapore’s tallest building, Guoco Tower in Tanjong Pagar. GuocoLand has combined Grade-A office space, luxury residences, a hotel, a lifestyle mall and a 150,000-square-foot urban park for a unique five-in-one integrated development that is the first of its kind in Singapore.
In particular, the residential component of Guoco Tower—Wallich Residence—is strikingly different. While most mixed-use complexes reserve the upper levels for hotels or viewing platforms, Wallich Residence occupies Guoco Tower’s top 25 floors, offering residents unrivalled city and sea views as well as a high degree of privacy.
With just 181 units, Wallich Residence has significantly fewer apartments than one would expect in a residential development of this size, giving residents greater opportunities to enjoy the facilities. It sits above Tanjong Pagar MRT station, offering convenient access and connectivity with the rest of the city.
A New Vision for Work and Play
Innovation also lies at the heart of GuocoLand’s latest project, the forthcoming Guoco Midtown, a mixed-use development that is rejuvenating the Beach Road district. Featuring a floor area of more than 950,000 square feet, including 770,000 square feet of Grade-A office space, the development will also feature 219 residential units, innovative public and retail areas, and the former Beach Road Police Station—a three-story conservation building constructed in 1934 that has been meticulously restored.
Connecting the office areas of City Hall, Marina Centre and Bugis, Guoco Midtown is the final piece of the jigsaw that will complete the transformation of Beach Road, providing a one-of-a-kind hub for working, living and entertaining.
Redefining the way that landlords partner with office tenants, Guoco Midtown is setting aside 15% of its office area as adaptable spaces that will give tenants the flexibility to expand or contract their teams without having to move or renovate their main offices. The complex will also include facilities designed to support more agile ways of working, from networking lounges and collaborative workspaces to rooms for training and townhall meetings. There will also be two floors of “innovation laboratories,” which will host cutting-edge startups.
Reflecting the growing preference for workplaces that provide opportunities for fitness and leisure, Guoco Midtown also offers comprehensive recreational facilities, including a 40-meter swimming pool, outdoor gym, sky plaza, jogging circuit, rest pods and snooze areas. In total, the complex features 10 different plazas and gardens, comprising 170,000 square feet of landscape and public spaces and more than 34,000 square feet of vertical greenery, to provide a variety of spaces that will foster and enhance community street life.
This will be complemented by Midtown Bay, the development’s residential component, which promises a new concept of luxury city living across 219 unique residences.
Green Living Reimagined
Located in the highly sought-after District 9 within the coveted lifestyle enclave of Robertson Quay, Martin Modern is another GuocoLand development that offers a unique way of living for its residents. Inspired by Good Class Bungalows—rare freehold landed properties in the city-state—and the Botanic Gardens, Martin Modern has reserved more than 80% of its land area for a three-level botanic garden and arboretum that is home to more than 200 species of plants and 50 species of trees, including many that are indigenous to Singapore.
As well as enjoying their own private green oasis in the city, occupants of the 450 residential units that are spread across two 30-story towers, can also explore 15 different spaces within the complex, including a party lawn, a forest trail, a maze and two rooftop gardens offering panoramic views of the city skyline, Marina Bay and the Singapore River.
Back to the Future
Demonstrating that looking to the future can mean embracing the past, the newly launched Meyer Mansion on Meyer Road brings District 9 luxury to seafront living. The freehold condominium draws inspiration from the prestigious seafront mansions built by successful businessmen in the 1800s, and combines the warm nostalgia of a bygone age with contemporary design and amenities.
Residents pass through a grand arrival court that recalls colonial mansion houses, and facilities include the grand lawn, a 40-meter swimming pool and a poolside clubhouse. As with Martin Modern, 80% of the land area at Meyer Mansion is dedicated to green spaces with generous gardens surrounding the 200 residential units, many of which enjoy unobstructed sea views from their expansive floor-to-ceiling windows that are at least three meters in height.
Although GuocoLand’s developments are truly distinctive and utterly individual, they are all ultimately united by the company’s continual drive for innovation and originality, creating not just places to live, work and play, but delivering new and improved lifestyles for an ever-evolving world.
UEM Sunrise: On A Quest To Inspire A Delightful Customer Journey
UEM Sunrise head Anwar Syahrin Abdul Ajib shares the company’s strategies and his secret for success.
UEM Sunrise Berhad, one of the leading property developers in Malaysia, has grown significantly over the past few years and created some of the most iconic and game-changing developments both locally and abroad. It is also the only developer in Malaysia to develop and master-plan Iskandar Puteri, a greenfield city in Johor.
The Kuala Lumpur-based group has increased its revenue every year from 2016 to 2018 and maintained profitability—a feat that not many Malaysian property developers have achieved. It appears to be on track for another year of growth in 2019, after it posted a 65% increase in revenue to US$342.2 million for the first half of the year.
Moreover, UEM Sunrise has a massive landbank of more than 10,000 acres with a potential gross development value of US$19.5 billion, which is expected to sustain the company for the next 25 years.
Nevertheless, its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Anwar Syahrin Abdul Ajib, knows the company can do more, not only domestically but also internationally.
Carrying the National Flag Abroad
Malaysian property developers are no strangers to building quality homes abroad, and most of the large players have a presence in Australia, China, Singapore, U.K., and other markets.
While UEM Sunrise is already known for its quality homes, Anwar Syahrin says it is also important to have deep pockets for a move overseas.
“This business is about having the stamina. You need to have strong shareholders to weather the cycles of a property development. That’s why one of the advantages we have as a GLC [government-linked company] is having strong institutional shareholders behind us, allowing us to carry the Malaysian flag abroad,” Anwar Syahrin says.
Small-scale projects are a good way for the company to build its track record in overseas markets, he says. “If there are opportunities in this region that allow us to do niche developments, we will do that first.”
So far, UEM Sunrise has built a significant presence in Melbourne, Australia, thanks to its Aurora Melbourne Central, a 92-story, mixed development project, and Conservatory, a 42-story residential development that recently sold for US$72.5 million.
The company is now preparing to enter the South African market where it has a 29-acre landholding in Durban, the third-most populous city in the country after Johannesburg and Cape Town. “We are quite close to moving forward into our first launch there,” he adds.
Meanwhile, he notes it is important that the company takes a cautious approach to expanding into other Southeast Asian countries. “There are big property developers in these countries, so you have to pick your battles carefully,” he says.
Secret for Success
For Anwar Syahrin, UEM Sunrise’s success did not come overnight. He believes the key is to always listen to what the market needs and try their best to meet the requirements.
“Building on the strength of our EVE (Exciting, bringing Value and Easy to own) philosophy, we seek to anticipate our customers’ evolving needs. We are committed to conscientiously being of service in creating opportunities for our customers to find their happiness and in doing so, find ours.”
“These include product design and development, taking into account customer feedback through research and injecting sustainability elements, improving customer experience from pre-sales to post-sales, and investing in technology,” he says.
To get that right, he adds that it is vital the company undertakes market analysis. Besides conducting focus groups to understand market needs, it is increasingly looking at leveraging digital technologies to understand its customers better, even setting up a new digital unit to improve how they do things for the core business.
“Even though the team is pushed for revenue and profit growth, they are always reminded to also focus on sustainability elements and key components of the smart living concept,” he says.
Community building is one of the reasons why its Mont’Kiara development in Kuala Lumpur has been a sought-after address by local and overseas buyers over the past two decades, he says.
“Today, people will not just buy houses. They want to live in a place where there are a lot of activities and various amenities are located within walking distance. Hence, we continue to develop close-knit societies through community events, placemaking initiatives, festivals and celebrations in our quest to ensure that each customer journey with us is delightful,” he explains.
Anwar Syahrin says every UEM Sunrise product will have its own “unique value proposition” to address different market needs, citing three of the firm’s developments: Puteri Harbour in Iskandar Puteri, Johor, The Maris @ Desaru in Johor and Solaris Parq in Mont’ Kiara, Kuala Lumpur.
The Puteri Harbour development, an integrated waterfront project with a 13.5-kilometer coastline in Johor Bahru, is now a popular dining, entertainment and holiday destination in Malaysia. It is also home to the Puteri Harbour International Ferry Terminal, which welcomes visitors from Indonesia and Singapore.
The Maris @ Desaru, a US$676 million development located on a 228-acre estate in Desaru, off the coast of Johor that is slated to be launched soon, will comprise resort-style homes.
“This is a big decision for us, as there is no development like this here [in Desaru]. We believe that this will eventually become a very lifestyle-driven destination in Johor,” he says.
The Solaris Parq in Mont’Kiara, Kuala Lumpur, a mixed development, will comprise two 41-story towers of serviced apartments, a 2-acre urban park, offices and a galleria. The development is targeted at single occupants to larger families, as well as entrepreneurs who want to live and work in the same community.
Strengthening Internal Communication
When Anwar Syahrin joined UEM Sunrise in 2014, he saw there was a need for employees to share the same vision for the company. At the time UEM Sunrise, which had been established two years earlier from a merger between UEM Land Bhd and Sunrise Bhd, had yet to break down existing silos between the two firms.
Anwar Syahrin initially had two offices, each belonging to a pre-merged entity. Finding the arrangement unsuitable, he began to take steps to move all employees into one building.
“We need to know each other. We need to break down all these barriers that we have to create a forward-looking, trusting and supportive culture with the intent of helping one another. This way, all of us will then have shared responsibility and accountability through empowerment, encouraging the best in each and every one of us,” he says.
The efforts have been fruitful. In addition to consistently growing its revenue over the past three years, UEM Sunrise has received many accolades that recognize its quality homes and townships. It is one of the largest property developers in the country, with a market capitalization of more than US$821 million.
In some ways, Anwar Syahrin shares a similar mindset with some of the top entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. “I believe that one should be optimistic and courageous, and should always be genuinely interested to continuously learn from past experiences as well as others in order to delight the end-users,” he says.