The luxury, 77-unit, 3 Orchard By-The-Park was completed in 2017
YTL Land & Development’s luxury condo, 3 Orchard By-The-Park, walked away with the most awards for a completed development at the EdgeProp Singapore Excellence Awards 2019, which was held at a gala dinner at the JW Marriott Singapore on Oct 18. It swept up five awards across multiple categories: Design Excellence, Top Residential Development, Top Boutique Development, Top Luxury Development and People’s Choice.
It was a ringing endorsement for the project designed by Italian architect and designer, Antonio Citterio, of Milan-based design firm, Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel & Partners. Citterio is famous for his designs of Bvlgari Hotels and Resorts in Milan, London, Bali, Beijing and Shanghai. It marked Citterio’s first residential development in Singapore, and his maiden high-rise project in Southeast Asia.
For YTL Land & Development, 3 Orchard By-The-Park’s multiple wins further validate the confidence of the executive chairman of YTL Group of Companies, Francis Yeoh, in Orchard Boulevard over a decade ago. He had purchased the former Westwood Apartments en bloc for $435 million ($2,525 psf per plot ratio) in November 2007.
“It was the first en bloc sale of a residential development with an Orchard Boulevard address,” relates Joseph Yeoh, son of Francis Yeoh and vice president of YTL Land & Development. The purchase of Westwood Apartments set a new benchmark for en bloc sales in terms of psf ppr price that remained unbroken for 11 years. It wasn’t until the sale of Park House to Hong Kong-listed Shun Tak Holdings for $375.5 million in June 2018 that a new record price of $2,910 psf ppr was established.
Yeoh (left) receiving the award for Design Excellence at EdgeProp Singapore Excellence Awards on Oct 18
‘Rare and coveted freehold address’
There are only five developments today that can truly boast of having an Orchard Boulevard address. “This makes it especially rare and coveted,” says Yeoh.
The tree-lined Orchard Boulevard, which stretches from Orchard Link to Grange Road, has always been considered the most exclusive address for high net-worth home buyers. “This is especially so for foreigners who are familiar with, and fond of, the famous Orchard Road shopping belt,” says Yeoh.
What’s more, it is near Singapore’s “embassy row” – with the Australian High Commission, British High Commission, Embassy of the United States of America and Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the vicinity. “For foreigners, safety and security is a top priority,” adds Yeoh.
Being near Singapore Botanic Gardens, which was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014, is another key attribute. In fact, Citterio’s vision and inspiration for a lush, tropical garden within 3 Orchard By-The-Park came from the Singapore Botanic Gardens. He designed the project as three 25-storey towers, named Wilderness, Wood and Water, to incorporate the elements of nature.
Record penthouse deals
When it was completed in 2017, the 77-unit, 3 Orchard By-The-Park joined the league of landmarks along Orchard Boulevard, such as Four Seasons Hotel, The Orchard Residences sitting atop ION Orchard shopping mall and Camden Medical Centre.
Yeoh points out that until recently, there had been a dearth of new, luxury residential offerings along Orchard Boulevard for more than a decade. The wave of big-ticket property purchases that took place across several new luxury projects in the Orchard Boulevard neighbourhood were capped by the sale of the two duplex penthouses at 3 Orchard By-The-Park.
The smaller of the two penthouses spans 6,555 sq ft, and fetched $31.5 million ($4,805 psf) in June. It was a new high in both absolute and psf price terms for 3 Orchard By-The-Park. The penthouse was sold fully-furnished with interior design by SuMisura.
Meanwhile, the bigger of the two penthouses occupies 6,900 sq ft, and the bare unit was sold for $32 million ($4,636 psf) in September. Both penthouse buyers are said to be from China. Wealthy Chinese nationals have been snapping up luxury units in Singapore’s prime districts at record prices.
The living room of the 6,555 sq ft penthouse that was sold fully furnished with interior design by SuMisura
Revival of interest in Orchard Boulevard
Previewed in 3Q2018, about 20 units have been sold at 3 Orchard By-The-Park, with more units under negotiation. Excluding the penthouses, typical units sold so far have averaged $3,526psf. This means that the penthouses achieved a 33.8% premium over the average sale price of typical units in the project.
“The prices achieved are well supported by land values,” notes Yeoh. “Buyers appreciate the rarity of these luxury penthouses as very few are available for sale along Orchard Boulevard.”
Yeoh reckons it was the completion of 3 Orchard By-The-Park in 2017 that had triggered the wave of record land prices along Orchard Boulevard, namely the government land sale of the Cuscaden Road site next door, which was sold for $410 million or $2,377 psf ppr in April 2018; followed by the en bloc sale of the former Park House for $375 million or $2,910 psf ppr two months later.
“Collectively we have ‘revived’ Orchard Boulevard to be top-of-mind for luxury home buyers, and have set new benchmark prices,” adds Yeoh. “We are pleased to have led this ‘revival’.”
Rejuvenation of Orchard Road
YTL Land & Development has always taken a long-term view of all its investments, says Yeoh. For instance, the purchase of the former Westwood Apartments was followed by the purchase of two iconic malls on the Orchard Road strip – Wisma Atria and Ngee Ann City – which were injected into Starhill Global REIT in 2008.
In January 2019, the government announced plans to rejuvenate the Orchard Road precinct including the Tanglin area. This helped revive interest in the Orchard Boulevard neighbourhood.
Another bonus came in the form of the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) first announced in August 2014. For residents of 3 Orchard By-The-Park, it means there will be a new MRT station located just across the road. One stop away, the existing Orchard MRT Station will be upgraded to an interchange station for the TEL and North-South Line.
When it opens in 2021, the new Orchard Boulevard MRT Station is likely to enhance the value and appeal of the property among both owner-occupiers and investors, given its proximity, points out Yeoh.
After being dormant for much of the past decade, with few property transactions, prices of luxury projects along Orchard Boulevard have crossed $5,000 psf this year, back to levels seen in the pre-Global Financial Crisis era in 2007, says Yeoh.
This article appeared in The EdgeProp Pullout Issue 907 (Nov 11, 2019) of The Edge Singapore.
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