At the EdgeProp Singapore Excellence Awards this year, the project that tipped the scales and won the most awards was Tanjong Pagar Centre. The $3.2 billion integrated project was developed by Singapore-listed GuocoLand, controlled by one of Malaysia’s richest tycoons, Quek Leng Chan.
Tanjong Pagar Centre won an award for Integrated Development Excellence while the 223-room Sofitel Singapore City Centre garnered the Hotel Development Excellence award. Meanwhile, the project’s residential component, Wallich Residence, scooped four awards for Design Excellence, Landscape Excellence, Innovation Excellence and Top Development for a completed project in the Central Region.
Tanjong Pagar Centre comprises a 64-storey skyscraper containing Wallich Residence and Guoco Tower, and the 20-storey Sofitel City Centre
The panel of judges was impressed by the “vertical city” concept that combined premium office space with a hotel, retail component, urban park and luxury residences to create a 1.7 million sq ft landmark. The design architect for Tanjong Pagar Centre was international architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), which also designed the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, considered the world’s tallest building.
Tanjong Pagar Centre is SOM’s most ambitious project in Singapore so far. “I was impressed by SOM’s design — the way they incorporated the urban park for community events and yet retained the exclusivity of the residences,” says Quek Tse Kwang, co-founder and director of Singapore-based RT+Q architectural studio, who was one of the judges.
Designed with sustainability in mind, Tanjong Pagar Centre won the Building and Construction Authority’s Green Mark (Platinum) and prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) CS Platinum awards. In addition, Wallich Residence was awarded the BCA Green Mark GoldPlus certification.
Tallest tower in Singapore
Completed last year, Tanjong Pagar Centre, at 290m, is Singapore’s tallest building. The office component, Guoco Tower, occupies the first 38 floors and the 181-unit Wallich Residence, a luxury residential component, the 39th to 64th floors.
Guoco Tower has 890,000 sq ft of Grade-A office space and is close to 100% leased. Tenants include tech, media and financial institutions such as Amadeus, Dentsu Aegis Network and DNB Asia. Serviced office operator Regus is also a tenant and offers both serviced and co-working office space in its premises.
About 10,000 people pass through Guoco Tower daily: 8,000 work there and 2,000 are visitors. The lobby has a state-of-the-art security and smart lift system operated by Hitachi Elevator. Each lift has a capacity of 25 passengers and goes directly to the high floors without requiring passengers to transfer to another lift, as commonly seen in many of the older high-rise office towers in the CBD. “It’s important that the office lift lobby not only looks impressive but has the infrastructure in place to handle the traffic,” says Valerie Wong, general manager — commercial at GuocoLand (Singapore).
The driveway of the office tower is prominently located on Wallich Street. Wallich Residence and Sofitel Singapore City Centre have their own dedicated entrance driveway and drop-off point from Peck Seah Street, which is a quieter street fronting the conservation shophouses.
Seamless integration, shared services
The office, residential and hotel components of Tanjong Pagar Centre are connected to a six-level retail podium with three basement levels and three levels above ground. Basement 3 is a car park, while Basement 2 is the main hub of connectivity underground. A 52m extension was added to seamlessly link the Tanjong Pagar MRT station to Tanjong Pagar Centre. Residents of Wallich Residence have direct access to Basement 2. There are also lifts and escalators leading from Basement 2 to the first-level entrance of Sofitel hotel and the Guoco Tower office lobby.
The office, residential and hotel components of Tanjong Pagar Centre are connected to a six-level retail podium with three basement levels and three levels above ground
Also at Basement 2 are F&B outlets and shops. As there is heavy commuter traffic here, many of the F&B outlets have takeaway counters for customers to place and collect their orders, says Wong. There is a wide selection of restaurants, cafés and shops at Basement 1 to Level 3. They include restaurants such as Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew Cuisine; Chalong, which features charcoal grilled meats; and Kuro Maguro Japanese restaurant.
Although the retail space occupies a floor area of just 140,000 sq ft, it is a very important component, says Wong. “It acts as a back-of-house access for the service staff from the hotel to the office block or the residential tower, as it’s seamlessly connected to all of them.”
For instance, residents of Wallich Residence can engage Sofitel Singapore City Centre housekeeping staff to handle their housekeeping and laundry needs. Room service and butler service are available not just to hotel guests but also residents of Wallich Residence upon request.
Hotel guests at Sofitel Singapore City Centre will have access to Virgin Active’s 30,000 sq ft gym and its 24-hour club on the sixth level of the retail podium, which offers high-altitude training, salt therapy and a 30m outdoor swimming pool. “Being part of an integrated vertical city means services can be shared,” says GuocoLand’s Wong.
Urban park, event space
The retail podium fronts a 150,000 sq ft urban park that has a 30,000 sq ft event space called the “City Room”, featuring a glass canopy intefrated with a light and sound system as well as ceiling fans — ideal for events and concerts.
The urban park replaces the public park that used to be on the site. The urban park was designed as a community space for the 300,000 people working in the Tanjong Pagar neighbourhood. “We have made a commitment to hold events at the urban park three times a week,” says Wong. “They range from fitness and health to lifestyle, and crafts and fashion.” Partners include the Health Promotion Board, Singapore Cancer Society, Singapore Airlines and Tanjong Pagar Centre’s tenants such as Virgin Active and East Japan Railway Co (JR East).
The 150,000 sq ft urban park and the 30,000 sq ft glass-canopied 'City Room' are the hub of activity at Tanjong Pagar Centre
For instance, Virgin Active conducts free classes at the urban park, while the Health Promotion Board holds free exercise sessions at the rooftop. JR East held a Tokyo Summer event over four days in June outside its Japan Rail Café fronting the urban park. Activities included sampling of Japanese street food, beer and sports.
“Tanjong Pagar Centre has done a great job curating the space with activities on weekdays and weekends,” says Ong Choon Fah, CEO of Edmund Tie & Co and one of the judges.
SOM designed Tanjong Pagar Centre to be environmentally responsive: The urban park fronts the Tanjong Pagar conservation area with its low-rise shophouses, which is on a more human scale, says Wong. On the other hand, the 64-storey skyscraper at Tanjong Pagar Centre is set against the backdrop of other high-rise towers in the vicinity, she adds.
Luxury business hotel
The Sofitel Singapore City Centre at Tanjong Pagar Centre is the third Sofitel in the city state. Positioned as a luxury business hotel, it is considered the flagship Sofitel in Singapore, as it has a comprehensive suite of facilities, including 20,000 sq ft of meeting space, a 600 sq m ballroom and 223 rooms.
The heart of the hotel is located on the fifth floor. Its signature restaurant, Racines (French for “roots”) has a cuisine that reflects both the French pedigree of Sofitel as well as the heritage of Singapore. The bar at Sofitel, 1864, is named after the year the Tanjong Pagar Dock Co was founded. Besides the restaurant, there are also the Club Millésime lounge and the Coffea coffee bar, which features a range of Nespresso coffees.
The Sofitel Singapore City Centre at Tanjong Pagar Centre is the third Sofitel in the city state. Positioned as a luxury business hotel, it is considered the flagship Sofitel in Singapore
The hotel rooms are luxurious, with typical ones starting from 38 sq m (409 sq ft) and rates from $430 a night. All rooms come with Bose sound system, smart TV, Nespresso coffee machine with a selection of coffee, and TWG tea. A writing desk in the corner is equipped with writing paraphernalia, including a colouring book for relaxation.
The biggest suite is the Joaquim Suite. At 152 sq m (1,636 sq ft), it comes with its own living room and lounge area, a dining room that can seat 10 and a palatial bathroom with a free-standing bathtub.
The lobby of Wallich Residence was designed to make residents feel as though they are arriving home to a plush hotel. They are welcomed by uniformed staff and provided with 24-hour concierge service. They can entertain guests in the lobby lounge if they do not wish to bring them up to their apartment.
From the lobby on the first level, residents will be whisked up one of the high-speed elevators to the 39th floor, which houses facilities exclusive to them such as an outdoor infinity swimming pool that offers unobstructed 270° views of the sea and city. On this level are two function rooms, equipped with kitchen facilities for those who want to hold private dining events. The rooms can be opened up to create a space for 100 guests for a cocktail party.
On the 52nd level are facilities such as meeting rooms, a boardroom with en suite pantry area as well as a formal function room. Other facilities include a theatrette, sky terraces and an observatory deck on the 62nd level.
Units at Wallich Residence are a mix of one- to four-bedroom apartments that start from 614 to 2,034 sq ft. There are also four penthouses of 3,509 sq ft each and a super penthouse of 21,108 sq ft.
All the units have a north-south orientation and unobstructed views, says Dora Chng, general manager — residential at GuocoLand (Singapore). They feature top-end finishing and fittings such as marble flooring from the Middle East; full Gaggenau kitchen appliances, including dishwasher and double-door integrated refrigerator and freezer; and full-marble bathrooms with a smart TV in the master bathroom. For the four-bedroom units and penthouses, the master bathroom comes with a steam bath.
Units at Wallich Residence are priced from $3,000 psf. A four-bedroom penthouse on the 58th floor was sold in June for $16 million, or a record-smashing $4,560 psf. The unit was able to achieve that price because of the views it offered: Every room had a 180° seaview, according to GuocoLand.
So far, at least three units at Wallich Residence have crossed the $4,000 psf threshold, setting a new benchmark for prices in the Tanjong Pagar-Marina Bay area.
“The units at Wallich Residence are well themed and targeted at businessmen and high-net-worth individuals,” says ET&Co’s Ong. “The fact that it’s a mixed-use scheme means that the hotel can provide services for the residents such as concierge service.”
RT+Q’s Quek agrees. “Wallich Residence is an outstanding luxury residential project in the business district. The project deserves the awards it received. As a whole, Tanjong Pagar Centre has really gentrified the Tanjong Pagar area and turned it into a desirable CBD address.”
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