One Pearl Bank replaces the previous Pearl Bank Apartments, a high-rise private residential building on Pearl’s Hill in Outram. It was, to me, a historically iconic building and I was extremely disappointed to have to see Pearl Bank Apartments go. Collective sales or en bloc sales, while they rejuvenate the city, causes us to lose significantly unique architecture. In place of Pearl Bank Apartments, Capitaland will develop One Pearl Bank and according to its shape, it seems like the developer is trying to recreate the unique cylindrical-shaped horse-shoe architecture.
Here are some other interesting facts about Pearl Bank Apartments before diving into the review proper:
Pearl Bank Apartments was the first Government land sale site launched for private residential development back in 1969.
Back in 1976, Pearl Bank Apartments was the tallest residential building in Singapore at 113 meters tall. Also, back then, with 280 units, it had the highest density of apartments for private residential development.
The owners had initially planned to gazette the building for conservation and to increase its gross floor area. If successful, they planned to sell the extra development quantum to a developer to build a second apartment block on top of their five-storey carpark. With the proceeds, they could then retrofit the old building. However, the plan failed as they failed to obtain the required approval from the owners.
Details about the development
One Pearl Bank is a 99-year development by Capitaland. It will be developed on the site of the former Pearl Bank Apartments which Capitaland acquired through a collective sale exercise back in February 2018. Pearl Bank Apartments was sold to Capitaland for SGD$728 million through a private treaty collective sale or about SGD$1,515 per square foot per plot ratio after factoring in an upgrading premium of approximately SGD$201 million to top up the lease to 99-years. Sitting on a land area of 82,376 square feet of land, Pearl Bank Apartments consisted of 288 units and in its place One Pearl Bank will consist of 774 residential units ranging from studio apartments to 4 bedrooms and penthouses. There will be two 39-storey residential blocks with 4 levels of basement car parks. There will be 620 car park lots and 5 handicapped lots.
Here is the unit mix of One Pearl Bank:
Studio 140 units
1 bedroom and 1 bedroom + study 175 units
2 bedroom 280 units
3 bedroom 140 units
4 bedroom 35 units
Penthouse 4 units
Where is the development located?
One Pearl Bank is located along Pearl Bank. It is situated next to Pearl’s Hill City Park and it is next to Outram Park MRT Station. If you are travelling along Outram Road, you should turn in at Outram Park which will lead you to Pearl Bank.
According to Google Maps, it will take you about 6 minutes to walk to Outram MRT Station and the shortest distance travelled would be 450 metres. The actual distance may be slightly shorter as exit A of the MRT station is located right next to the bus stop. You can refer to the location map above as the map below does not indicate the walk to exit A.
There are two bus stops from which you can catch a bus from. The first would be next to exit A of Outram MRT Station. This bus stop is just a short walk down from One Pearl Bank and the walk should take about 6 minutes. The buses available are 33, 63, 75, 121, 122, 174, 174e, 851 and 970.
The other bus stop would be the one along Eu Tong Sen Street. This is actually the nearer bus stop. Not that the previous one is far. Eu Tong Sen Street is headed in the direction of Chinatown, Bugis and Raffles Place so if you were travelling towards the business district via bus, this would be the bus stop to walk to. The services at this bus stop include 54, 124, 143, 147, 147e, 166, 190, 851, 851e, 970, CT8 and CT18.
Here is the Master Plan from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) showing the land around the area. The ones in beige are residential plots. There are three other residential plots close to One Pearl Bank. There is also a white site with a plot ratio of 5.6 just above Outram Park MRT Station.
Travelling to Raffles Place MRT Station would take about 4 minutes over 2 stations. It will cost SGD$0.83.
Travelling to Orchard MRT Station would take about 9 minutes over 5 stations. You would have to make changes to get to the North-South MRT Line. It will cost SGD$1.03.
It would be good to point out that the Thomson-East Coast MRT Line will also have a station at Outram Park. This would mean that Outram Park will be the interchange of three MRT lines, the East-West Line, the North-East Line and the Thomson-East Coast Line. Getting to both the east and west of Singapore should be rather straightforward as the East-West Line leads to Jurong and Changi. The Thomson-East Coast Line will link commuters from this area to the north of Singapore as well as the East Coast area.
The drive from One Pearl Bank to Raffles Place will take 9 minutes and the distance covered is about 2.6 kilometres. I did this query on Google Maps at about 9 pm in the evening so traffic conditions were optimal. However, even during peak hours, this is a very short drive and it should not take too much longer than 9 minutes to get to Raffles Place.
The drive from One Pearl Bank to Orchard Road, the area around Orchard ION, would take about 9 minutes and the distance travelled would be about 3.5 kilometres. Once again I do not expect peak hour traffic to add too much time to my result which was from a search done at about 9 pm in the evening.
The selling points of the development
Out of all the new project launches in recent months, I do not think there is a better development in terms of connectivity. I do think that being so close to Outram MRT Station and thus being at the interchange of three MRT lines is a huge selling point. Travelling to the east and west of Singapore is a breeze as Outram is essentially in the middle of the East-West MRT Line. It would be difficult to picture it now but when comparing between different projects, buyers have to consider future connectivity as well. The Thomson-East Coast Line will connect the North, Central and East of Singapore and I do think that this is a huge plus.
I do believe in the Greater Southern Waterfront rejuvenation plans by the government. The redevelopment area is just south of One Pearl Bank. In time to come, there will be more demand for housing in the area as the business district will be expanded to engulf the current Keppel port area.
There is a huge catchment area when it comes to demand for housing. Just across the road is the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) and just around the corner is Singapore’s Central Business District. If you are looking to buy to rent and if you were to follow market rental rates when looking for a tenant, it should be rather easy in getting your property rented out.
There is a huge draw when it comes to a developer like Capitaland. Contrary to belief, there are developers in Singapore who do not complete their projects on time or do not complete their projects at all. Capitaland is a massive developer and they build exemplary developments and one cannot discount the fact that you will be getting a premium product when buying a Capitaland project. More so when they have to develop something iconic to replace Pearl Bank Apartments.
Possible bad points about the development
There will be loads of construction around this area as the area will constantly be developed. As mentioned earlier in this review, there are other plots of land around One Pearl Bank that are zoned as residential plots and there is a white site just above Outram MRT Station. Congestion will be a problem but then you do have to expect some degree of congestion if you are looking to live in an area like Outram. The common wisdom would be to not drive and commute via the MRT if travelling in the city centre.
My thoughts about the development
I am personally extremely sad that Pearl Bank Apartments had to make way for One Pearl Bank. I do think that the loss of such an iconic architecture only proves my thinking that Singapore is losing its soul and character in our quest for continued developmental progress. From the viewpoint of the developer, it was a huge opportunity to redevelop the property and this, in my opinion, is an iconic plot of land and judging by the initial artist’s impressions and renders, it will look impressive when completed. Out of all the residential plots of land in this area, I do think that this one is the most ideal. It sits on elevated land and has easy access to both Outram Road and Chin Swee Road.
I do appreciate that Capitaland is trying to somewhat recreate the original shape of Pearl Bank Apartments. Capitaland engaged Serie+Multiply to design the development and One Pearl Bank at 178 metres tall will be the tallest residential development in the Outram-Chinatown area. Capitaland does put in a great deal of effort in designing iconic developments, think Sky Habitat, d’Leedon, The Interlace and The Orchard Residences, and One Pearl Bank, to me, is their most iconic development.
One Pearl Bank
This is not cheap. Studio units start from about SGD$970,000. Prices are in excess of SGD$2,500 per square foot. But then when some units in developments like The Woodleigh Residences are going for around SGD$2,000 per square foot, this represents a 30+ per cent premium over such developments with much poorer locational qualities. Moreover, Capitaland developments have never come cheap. Think Sky Habitat and how it set a new benchmark for condominium prices in Bishan.
The best of all I’ve reviewed so far.
Capitaland is perhaps one of the best developers you can purchase a property from. Their portfolio of developments in Singapore is very impressive. They developed Bedor Residences, Cairnhill Nine, d’Leedon, Marine Blue, Sky Habitat, Sky Vue, The Interlace, The Orchard Residences and Victoria Park Villas. Just run through the list and you will understand that you are dealing with a developer with one of the most exceptional track record.
p.s. Disclaimer: I am a licensed real estate salesperson at the point of writing this review. My real estate agency is the marketing agency for One Pearl Bank. Buyers can approach me to purchase One Pearl Bank and I will earn a commission from the developer. My reason for writing this review is to share my personal view about the developments not as a real estate salesperson but in the neutral context of a buyer and hopefully share some insight to help buyers make a more informed buying decision.
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