Pearl Bank En Bloc 2018 Sold for $728 million to CapitaLand

Pearl Bank En Bloc Sold to CapitaLand for S$728 million

It may have been a long journey since 2007 when owners of Pearl Bank Apartments first tried to sell their property collectively, but they have now had their wish.

CapitaLand has acquired the historic property, and although the developer has bought the site through a private treaty, Pearl Bank’s reserve price has remained unchanged at S$728 million.

As such, individual owners will receive the cash they had anticipated in their fourth en bloc sales attempt.

The success of the sale of the 37-storey apartment was announced on Feb 13 by Colliers International who served as the property marketing agent. Colliers also disclosed that the sale price has resulted to the land cost being S$1,515 psf ppr, inclusive of S$201m meant to cover lease upgrading premium.

Luckily for the developer, there is no development charge involved.

The Pearl Bank site that holds the horse-shoe shaped historic building is situated at Outram Park, and its size is 82,376 square feet. Its location within the country’s central region makes it prime for development, and as Lim Ming Yan who is President and Group Chief Executive Officer of CapitaLand says, the site is a rare gem.

She says her firm looks forward to redeveloping the property to produce a development that will also be an architectural icon, re-invigorating the region with its unique design.

She projects a development that will blend modern aesthetics with heritage aspects, hence reflecting Chinatown’s multifaceted culture. She has lauded the transport connectivity in the area, and added that the site lies where business and cultural districts merge.

It’s All Smiles for Pearl Bank Owners

Singapore’s en bloc flame is still flaring. The owners of the 288 units that make up Pearl Bank Apartments – 280 residential and eight commercial units – are glad their 48yr old property has found a buyer.

Their individual units range in size from 1,323 sq ft to 3,993 sq ft for apartments, and 700 sq ft to 5,630 sq ft for commercial units, matching the plot ratio of 7.5.

Since the owners are going to receive cash commensurate with their individual unit sizes, they are expected to receive amounts ranging from S$1.8m to S$4.9m and S$1.2m to S$6.9m for residential and commercial units respectively.

The property’s 99-yr lease took effect in June 1970, the reason it requires upgrading.

Pearl Bank Apartments owners have been holding their breath since the launch of their latest public tender in November 16, 2017, and even after the expiry of the one-month life of the tender.

Not only have they been bitten three times before, but this time round the government introduced a requirement that can be considered an extraneous variable in the Pearl Bank sales attempt equation.

On November 13, 2017, the Urban Redevelopment Authority stipulated that such a site be subjected to pre-application feasibility study, which has to do with assessing the impact any new development would have on its neighbourhood.

Pearl Bank’s collective sales committee chairman, Mr. Alex Poh, says the requirement was a setback to the whole process, as interested developers held back as they pondered over the implications of that legal requirement.

According to CapitaLand’s spokesperson, the developer plans on launching the new redevelopment by June 2019, and anticipates completion to be in early 2023.

By this time, the Thomson-East Coast line will, hopefully, have been opened. The reason the developer was able to negotiate for acquisition of Pearl Bank even after December 19 was that there is usually a 10-week window of opportunity after expiry of the tender period, during which parties can negotiate and agree privately on a sales deal.

According to Mr. Poh, property owners had at some point toyed with the idea of letting the building remain as a historic monument, but they later realized the cost of conserving it would be too much for them, especially taking into account the structure of the building and enhancement work that would be involved.

He also contends the anticipated redevelopment on the site is in line with the overall efforts being made to upgrade Outram, of which fellow property owners are supportive.

CapitaLand Plans to Develop a High-rise Residential Property

Elsewhere, CapitaLand has indicated if relevant permission is granted, they are going to construct a high-rise residential property with 800 units and a range of communal social facilities.

The idea, according to CapitaLand, is to enhance community spirit as well as celebrate the unique heritage of the area.

According to Tang Wei Leng, Managing Director at Colliers International, the developer is likely to put the price of new apartments at about S$2.5m; a price she says would be relatively affordable considering the site is in a prime location.

She says the site has great advantages, such as being at the fringe of Singapore’s Central Business District and having amazing connectivity.

What Attracted the buyer to Pearl Bank Site
  • Central Business District is only few minutes’ drive away
  • This famous property is very close to Top Attractions Marina Bay Sands
  • There are many feeder bus services to the area
  • There are several educational and training institutions around, including Outram Secondary School, Marketing Institute of Singapore, Inspiration Design School and Raffles Academy
  • Pearl Bank is very near to Singapore General Hospital
  • It is 10min drive to the busy Orchard Road shopping centre
  • Eu Tong Sen street, which has numerous eateries and nice restaurants, is within walking distance
  • Less than ½km away are the NE3 Outram Park, EW16 Outram Park, and NE4 Chinatown MRT stations
  • This En Bloc property simply has everything what a Developer wants: this site is near MRT station, Medical Centres, Numerous attractions, Top famous schools, shopping malls and eateries.
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