Outram’s iconic horseshoe-shaped building Pearl Bank Apartments to be torn down after en bloc sale

The iconic Pearl Bank Apartments was Singapore’s tallest and most densely populated condominium when constructed in 1976. Photo: Coconuts Media

Pearl Bank Apartments, a 37-story development in Outram, has been sold via private treaty to CapitaLand for S$728 million, following the close of its collective sale tender on 19 December 2017, marketing agent Colliers International revealed.

The sale price works out to a land cost of around S$1,515 per square foot per plot ratio, after taking into account an upgrading premium of around S$201 million for the lease top-up. No development charge is payable for Pearl Bank Apartments.

Featuring a total of 288 units (280 apartments and eight commercial units), the building has a leasehold tenure of 99 years with effect from June 1970.

When construction was completed in 1976, it was the highest residential building in Singapore at the time, towering at 113m tall. It was also among the first condominium buildings here to have communal amenities such as swimming pools and clubhouses.

Much thought was put into the design of the building, according to The Straits Times — the block’s horse-shoe opening faces west, shading the building from the dreaded afternoon sun. Living rooms and bedrooms are located at the front, providing unobstructed views of the city.

Colliers revealed that apartment owners stand to gain S$1.8 million to S$4.9 million from the successful sale of the development, while owners of commercial units could receive S$1.2 million to S$6.9 million.

A Pearl Bank Apartments resident who spoke to Coconuts Singapore felt “gutted” by the news, as he initially wasn’t sure if the en bloc sale was indeed going through — there have been four collective sale attempts over the past 10 years, after all. According to him, his landlord only heard about the confirmed sale this morning and hasn’t been given a timeline of when the building’s residents will have to vacate the premises.

“While residents of Pearl Bank Apartments had previously explored the idea to conserve Pearl Bank Apartments due to its history and design, recent sentiment has strongly shifted to redevelopment,” said Alex Poh, chairman of Pearl Bank Apartments collective sale committee.

“A deeper analysis of the building structure and the required enhancement work show that conservation would be a costly undertaking and a huge burden for the owners. It is not a viable nor favorable option for the residents,” he noted.

Plans to gazette Pearl Bank Apartments for conservation proved to be unsuccessful, reported ST. Only about 90 percent of its residents backed the proposal — the liaison committee needed 100 percent approval from the owners to do so.

“In addition, the redevelopment of the aging building will also be in line with the ongoing renewal of Outram,” continued Poh. “The future development will enhance the architectural transformation of the area and the owners strongly support the redevelopment of Pearl Bank Apartments.”

CapitaLand intends to redevelop the site into a high-rise residential development comprising around 800 units, subject to certain conditions.


With words by Romesh Navaratnarajah / PropertyGuru

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