Inspired by the Japanese concept of ‘forest bathing”, Verdale is tucked away in lush greenery and comes with smart storage solutions. But how does this project fare? Here’s our review.
City Development Limited (CDL) has long held a foothold in the property industry since 1963. CDL has developed more than 36,000 luxurious homes and owns close to 7.2 million square feet of commercial, retail, residential and hotel space locally and globally.
Project Name: South Beach Residences
Address: 38 Beach Rd
Type: Mixed development
Site area: approx. 37, 6295 sqft
Tenure: 99-year leasehold
Configuration: 190 residential units
Unit types: 88, 2-bedrooms (968 – 1647 sqft)
61, 3-bedrooms (1,733 – 2,260 sqft)
35, 4-bedrooms (2,282 – 2,627 sqft)
3, 3-bedroom penthouse (3,581 – 5,048 sqft)
2, 4-bedroom penthouse (4,127 – 5,629 sqft)
1, 5-bedroom penthouse (5,768 sqft)
TOP: Dec 2015
With no showflat currently available for viewing, this section will only be filled in after CDL officially launches the residential component of their mixed development.
There are many developments – existing and upcoming – that benefit from being in good locations. Good locations can be summed up as having a decent mix of amenities and public transportation within five to 10 minutes of walking from the project.
Satisfying this rather lenient criteria is CDL and IOI’s Group newest project, South Beach Residences.
Built on land purchased for $1.69 billion in 2007 with an estimated construction cost of $3 billion, the absolutely massive mixed development is punctuated with two towers called the North and South towers.
The 34-storey North Tower has 500, 000 sqft of Grade A office spaces where two of its biggest tenants are Boeing and Facebook, the latter of which is also its anchor tenant.
The 45-storey South Tower is home to South Beach, a luxury hotel.
South Beach Residences is in the South Tower, from the 23rd level to the 45th. At this height, most residents will get a good view of the Singapore CBD skyline and Marina Bay.
The south-west facing units face a prominent heritage landmark, the War Memorial, with the Central Business District (CBD) far behind.
As a heritage site, there’s little reason to fear that the land around it – green space with the Memorial in the middle- will ever be redeveloped.
As such, expect stacks with this for a view to be priced much higher.
But views are hardly the most significant thing about the location, despite the development having quite an impressive serving of it. Amenities are just as important.
Directly across from South Beach along Nicoll Highway is Suntec City.
Spanning five towers of offices and retail outlets, including restaurants, pubs, bars, grocery stores, a cinema and shops, Suntec is like a small town onto itself. South Beach and Suntec will be connected, both under and above ground.
While Suntec City already offers a smorgasbord of shopping and dining options, South Beach Residences will have its own retail outlets. 37,000 sqft of space have been set aside for this purpose.
South Beach is also within walking distance to Esplanade (a new entrance/exit is being built next to the development) and City Hall MRT with the latter being an interchange along the east-west line that connects to the north south line toward Orchard in the north or Marina Bay and Marina South Pier in the south.
Esplanade MRT is on the Circle Line and one stop from Promenade Station Interchange which is connected to the Downtown Line and either goes up toward Bugis Interchange (which will be further expanded to connect to Rochor and Little India), or toward Chinatown Interchange.
Esplanade Station is also a stop away from Bras Basah and two stops from Dhoby Gaut Interchange which has trains that travel on the north-south, north-east and circle lines.
City Hall MRT station is past Raffles City and about a 10 minute walk away. The quickest way to get there is to walk toward the War Memorial along Nicoll Highway, then make a right at Stamford Road and walk straight. The station is underground and next to St. Andrew’s Cathedral.
Alternatively, Esplanade MRT station, as well as Suntec City is connected with City Hall via City Link, an underground pedestrian pathway filled to the brim with even more shops and eateries. It’s not necessarily quicker, since it’s a snaking path, but it is sheltered and air-conditioned.
During wet weather, this pedestrian path is a longer but dryer option.
By virtue of all the amenities and transportation available, South Beach is in a prime location. There are many more past Suntec and City Hall that are within walking distance from South Beach.
Nightlife too is present here, with several bars, pubs and even clubs within walking distance (Marina Square and Mandarin Oriental). And if you don’t want to walk, there are some clubs in South Beach itself.
Clarke Quay may be a short train ride away, but there’s hardly a reason to visit a watering hole there when many bars catering to a working and professional crowd sit so close to South Beach.
Travelling to and fro South Beach is doubly convenient with a good selection of buses that go either east toward Bedok or central, the CBD and further. About two minutes from the office tower and past the overhead bridge that links to Suntec City is a bus stop with buses going east, toward Marine Parade and beyond.
Bus 10 goes to Tampines Interchange and 14 goes toward Bedok Interchange. Buses 16 and 196 go toward Marine Terrace though their last stops are at Bedok Interchange. 70 and 70M go to Yio Chu Kang Terrace and 196e ends up at Hua Xin Centre.
On the opposite side, 10 goes toward Kent Ridge Terrace, 14 to Clementi Interchange, 16, which passes City Hall MRT station, Dhoby Gaut MRT station and Orchard MRT station stops finally at Bukit Merah Interchange.
70 goes to Shenton Way, 70M to Yio Chu Kang Terrace and 196 heads in the direction of the Esplanade and Financial Centre along Raffles and Collyer Quay before finishing up at Clementi Interchange.
As for schools, since this is the heart of town, there aren’t going to be conventional neighbourhood schools around. There are however, a few tertiary institutes in the area. SMU (Singapore Management University) is just after Raffles City, about three to four bus stops away.
Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts is in Beach Road/Bugis, between Bencoolen and Waterloo Street. The other schools are international schools, most of which are located in Orchard.
However, since there are several buses and MRT stations so close by, travelling to schools in the east is not terribly inconvenient, just a little time-consuming. Travel time, depending on distance and time of the day will vary but should take around an hour at the most.
Changi Airport is about 30 minutes away. Frequent flyers can get on the train at City Hall and ride the east-west line eastward toward Tanah Merah, and change trains to get to Changi Airport.
Sometime in 2014, CDL, South Beach Residences’ developer, turned down an offer of $26 million for one of its penthouses citing imperfect timing to launch the project. It did not wish to sell any unit until market conditions were suitable.
This was news picked up and reported by Straits Time in 2015 and since then, South Beach Residences have yet to launch its units, despite the rest of the development achieving TOP in December of 2015 and its hotel already running.
Its office tower has also been seeing tenants move in as early as January of 2015 which leaves the residential component waiting in the wings.
Early indicative prices in 2011 was revealed to be at an insane $4,000 psf which puts a 1-bedroom 968 sqft unit at an approximate $3.8 million. Compared with DUO Residences which is in the vicinity of Beach Road/Bugis whose psf ranges from $1,922 to $2,322, it’s difficult to see how CDL intends to move its units especially with cooling measures in place and the already sluggish luxury market.
South Beach Residences is furthermore not freehold but has no residential competition in its immediate vicinity. Median rental for Beach Road according to URA is 4.31% which is expected of property in this general area but the high psf may in fact countermand the positive rental yield.
The media have reported interest by foreign buyers – interest that have been tampered by the requisite 15% upfront payment.
Without the cooling measures and policies that make it harder for foreigners to invest in Singapore, South Beach Residences may in fact have already been on the market and with sales moving steadily, but the reality now is that at $4,000 psf with the existing restrictions in place, it will likely prove difficult and slow unless the psf is adjusted to more acceptable levels.
And since CDL has stated that they are in no rush to launch as they would prefer to wait for when market conditions are right, there’s no indications as to what constitutes these ‘conditions’.
Presumably, once the Annual Budget is revealed by the local government on March 24th, these ‘conditions’ might become clearer.
South Beach Residences looks great on paper and even better in person. Its design has been considered edgy and cutting-edge by architects and designers alike.
The development’s green features and atypical design choices such as a 7m by 6.5m video wall with animated graphics in the lobby sets it apart from the sea of cookie-cutter developments all over the island.
The project also sports a microclimatic canopy that will harvest rainwater while cells built into the canopy will convert solar energy into electricity.
This canopy further ensures ample ventilation without the need of air-conditioning and it performs this task admirably.
When you leave the punishing heat of the windless exterior for the sheltered walkways of South Beach, the ambient temperature goes down almost immediately, with cool breezes that seem to come from nowhere.
The ‘living walls’ of greenery that line the pillars separating each retail outlet also contributes to the cooler temperature.
South Beach is a good-looking development, with riveting post-modern architecture blending in nicely with the four gazetted military buildings that have been retrofitted with new doors and cleaned up but otherwise retaining their original look.
It feels like it is its own ecosystem; like a small town protected from the outside by a dome, or in this case, a canopy.
Doing something different from the competition will draw attention to the development, even if its prices are out of the budget of most locals. The upside is that with only 190 residential units available, the gap to close is a lot smaller.
In fact, it is its retail space, dubbed South Beach Avenue that faces more competition than the Residences.
With Suntec City across the road from South Beach Residences, Raffles City behind it, Peninsula Plaza at Dhoby Gaut and Orchard Road and Somerset after that, there will be stiff competition where retail is concerned.
South Beach Residences beats out those competition by sheer aesthetics though. It towers over the much older-looking Suntec City and overlooks the War Memorial down the road. In the distance, the CBD glimmers in the sunlight like a mirage.
With such a grand view of the CBD and Singapore Skyline, it’s hard to not be excited for what South Beach Residences will bring to an aging but otherwise popular district.