|Project:||One Pearl Bank|
|Address:||1 Pearl Bank|
|Tenure:||99-year leasehold from 2019|
|No. of Units:||774|
|Site Area:||82,376 sqft|
One cannot begin to talk about One Pearl Bank without a short history of its predecessor, Pearl Bank Apartments. Dominating the skyline since its completion in 1976, it was the tallest (and densest) residential building in Singapore back in its day with 272 units. Compare that to the 774 units here at One Pearl Bank and you will realise how much denser city living has become 45 years later.
It was also the first residential city-core project launched as part of URA’s Sale of Sites Programme back in 1969 in a bid to intensify land use and rejuvenate the Central Area.
The Master Plan for the Marina Bay precinct would totally fit into the same playbook and shows how forward-looking Singapore leaders have been since the very beginning.
Pearl Bank Apartments (1976) was the brainchild of Tan Cheng Siong of Archurban Architects & Planners and its horseshoe-shaped design was in part the result of privacy considerations. Don’t take my word for it, you can read the interview Mr. Tan gave right here. Interestingly, long before the likes of Pinnacle@Duxton, Pearl Bank Apartments of 1976 already had a Sky Terrace on the 28th floor – boasting views of Pearl’s Hill City Park, a remarkable feat then I’m sure.
Instead of dwelling on the past, let’s fast forward to today. First owners who bought their units at $130,000 back in the 1970s were definitely laughing to the bank when the en-bloc sale went through in 2018, reaping anywhere from $1.8m to $4.9m.
While there were calls to conserve the old Pearl Bank Apartments, let’s face it – despite its significance and that tinge of nostalgia, the building’s maintenance was poor and falling apart. I’m glad that they decided on the current design of One Pearl Bank – one that pays tribute to the architecture of the original building albeit with a modern take on it (it is visually stunning, as I’d show you later on).
Officially launched back in July 2019, One Pearl Bank saw about 20% of its units snapped up during its launch weekend at an average price of $2,400 psf. There are some who have baulked at the prices, but with sales everywhere else moving quite briskly – would this be a good time to revisit One Pearl Bank?
I’ll explore that later, but first, let’s dive straight into what facilities One Pearl Bank has to offer!
One Pearl Bank Insider Tour
First up, let’s talk design – arguably the most attractive part of One Pearl Bank and one that might split public opinion. It’s a tribute to its roots with a modern take – this new development is made up of 2 arc-shaped 39-storey towers comprising 774 units. In the words of Capitaland, “the slender, curved facades create a light and airy effect, providing ample space for residents and onlookers to look out and through the towers to admire the stunning views atop the hill”. The 2 towers will be linked by the Sky Oculus on the 39th floor, which is one of 3 sky facilities – more on that later.
If you haven’t yet visited the showflat, you might be taken aback at just how big the model actually is. Visually speaking, it is very impressive to look at. The developers have done a great job in showcasing how the future structure would look like.
Personally, I’m a fan. They’ve managed to retain that iconic curvature of the building, yet it definitely looks more futurisitic. It’s one of those things that you’d either love or hate (just like the old Pearl Bank Apartments), but there’s no denying that it is a very unique structure that is a breath of fresh air.
In a world’s first, One Pearl Bank will feature sky allotment gardens on the edge of each tower to support urban farming and promote community bonding. There will be 1 on each tower on every 4 floors, totalling 18 gardens with 200 plots for residents to showcase their green fingers. Looking at the artist impressions by Capitaland, these sky allotment gardens look impressive as they cantilever from the edges and is a stamp of approval for urban farming.
If you are a fan of green spaces in your home, this will undoubtedly be a draw. Whether you choose to be on the same level as the allotment garden, or from units facing it, the explosion of greenery from each would naturally be a pleasant sight.
The developers are doing their part too, by committing over 600,000 sqft of space to greenery – over 500 trees across 35 species and 135,000 shrubs, plants and flowers will be planted throughout the development. The consistent theme to integrating nature into One Pearl Bank continues to the residential units themselves too, with most units featuring a planter in the balcony for a stunningly green façade for curious drivers looking from afar.
Perched atop Pearl’s Hill, One Pearl Bank will have the distinct honour of being the only development with the Pearl Bank address. Something I have always appreciated is the exclusive use of a road and it’s very much the case here – located just off Outram Road, the uphill path leading to the development will be solely for One Pearl Bank’s residents.
You’ll understand if you pay a visit to the showflat. The drive in does feel quite special indeed.
The drop-off point itself is a rather plain-looking one for a development of this stature. I certainly don’t get a sense of how iconic it actually is. And considering how you have 774 units here, it could get quite busy during rush hour as it isn’t a terribly big space.
In terms of basement parking, there will be 4 levels of it and 620 lots, catering to 80% of units here. Bearing in mind that One Pearl Bank is just opposite Outram MRT and with almost 80% of units being 2 Bedrooms or smaller, this number of carpark lots should be sufficient.
Before coming to the facilities proper, you might also notice that the residential units are elevated from the ground. It’s 21m or ~7 storeys to be exact, making the 2nd floor unit effectively an 8th floor one and in the words of Capitaland themselves, designed to leverage on Pearl Hill’s sloping typography. Just adds to that premium status that One Pearl Bank offers!
I’ve always liked this setup because not only does it provide buyers with some views even if you buy the lowest floor, it gives a certain degree of privacy to the residents both in the unit and to those using the common facilities as well.
Speaking of Pearl’s Hill, there is a side gate located at the North end of the development along the Labyrinth Trail that leads you directly to Pearl’s Hill City Park. I’m not going to sugarcoat this but the park is quite a secluded and ulu one for now. I do think that with the completion of The Landmark and One Pearl Bank, more will be done to spruce up the park. This is very much in line with URA’s commitment to the Hill-to-Hill Connection, where one will be able to get from Pearl’s Hill City Park to Fort Canning Park, with plans to extend it all the way through Orchard to Botanic Gardens. Exciting times one must say!
Whichever way you look at it, you can see the commitment to green living here – even if you are located almost smack bang in the middle of the city.
There is also another side gate to the development at the South end at the intersection of Outram Park Road and Pearl’s Bank. This zig-zagged ramp will lead you directly to Outram Park MRT’s Thomson East-Coast Line in just over a minute. It really can’t get much more convenient than this. Do note though that this walkway wouldn’t be sheltered – for that you’d have to go by the side gate via the drop-off point. A practical but less pretty looking route during rainy days!
Now onto the main facilities, and I will start with the ones on the 1st floor. Overall, I do get the sense that the facilities here are quite closely packed and a testament to what high-density living is like.
That aside, it’s from here too that you can see just how lush and thick the planned landscaping is going to be around the development. If I didn’t know any better, I would have guessed that this was a project located in the Bukit Panjang area, rather than one located in the city!
In terms of pools, there isn’t a great selection here, to be frank – there’s the main 50m lap pool and a kid’s pool close by. Considering how there are 774 units here, I would say that this is probably insufficient. I won’t be surprised if competition for pool space on weekends gets intense. Compare that to One Pearl Bank’s closest competitor The Landmark, where its one 50m lap pool is shared among just half the number of units to One Pearl Bank.
It’s a tradeoff you have to think about if you are considering between the two – more exclusitivity and privacy? or more convenient location but more dense living.
Even though One Pearl Bank has an abundance of small unit types, they did at least try to put some effort into catering to the young ones among the residents. They do have a kid’s pool with a small play lawn just beside it.
I don’t expect too many families with young kids to be considering a project such as this anyway, so this isn’t a strong selling point to me.
The development’s strong suit will probably lie in its wide array of dining pavilions. On the 1st floor alone, you have an air-conditioned function room to host your family and friends. If you’re thinking of breaking a sweat instead, there are 3 sheltered Outdoor Pavilions on the 1st floor alone, with plenty more found on the 3 floors of sky facilities.
Located closer to the Labyrinth Trail is also where a small playground is located. If you have pets, there’s even a small Pets Park here at One Pearl Bank as well.
It’s probably not going to be a very well-utilised facility anyway, given there’s the whole expanse of Pearl’s Hill City Park to play with just next to the development.
So while the grounds may be a little dense for my liking, it’s the immediate surroundings of One Pearl Bank that could be a winner for others. There aren’t too many developments in Singapore that can boast to be bearly completely surrounded by a park yet be located so centrally.
Plus, because of the lack of any tall buildings in your immediate area, you don’t get neighbouring condos peering into your compound. In that sense, it is like a private oasis – save for your own neighbours in the development itself. Do note though, that there is another residential plot (in fact, where the showflat currently is located) next door, so it wouldn’t be as exclusive as it may seem today.
On Level 14 of the North facing tower is where you will find Prive Terrace. Here, you get views of Pearl’s Hill City Park with The Landmark, State Courts and the Chin Swee Road / Jalan Kukoh flats close by as well. In the distance, you will also be able to catch a glimpse of Orchard.
In terms of actual practical facilities, I’m afraid there’s nothing that stands out in particular to me. There’s an Outdoor Lounge, Yoga Deck, Exercise Lawn, and Meditation Corner here so no specific dining areas to speak of. They are more of social spaces to enjoy the views I would say.
As for the Social Terrace on the South facing tower on Level 18, the name speaks for itself. Before that, the views here are towards the CBD with (really) pocket sea views in the distance. Your immediate views will be towards the Keong Saik / Neil Road low-rise shophouses so it’s safe to say that the unblocked view will be here to stay for a long time. You will also get to see the CBD skyline of Tanjong Pagar / Shenton Way / Raffles Place in the distance. Facilities wise, there are 2 separate Alfresco Dining spots that allow you to enjoy the views with an Outdoor Lounge, Open Amphitheatre and Entertainment Area as well.
Finally on to the most impressive part of One Pearl Bank’s facilities suite, the Sky Oculus on the 39th floor. Linking both towers with the Sky Bridge, the Sky Oculus will comprise of both indoor and outdoor spaces aimed at maximising the views from both ends.
On that note, the linking of the towers on the rooftop does remind me a little of the one we featured at Amber Park recently. It’s not as spectacular for sure, but I do like that they have facilities here that even residents on the lower floor can enjoy as well.
If you were wondering where the gym is all this while, it’s actually right here on the 39th floor. Just like the lonely 50m pool, I don’t think the size of this gym will fit the needs of an increasingly health conscious CBD employee, who is expected to form the main tenant pool here.
While there’s an overflowing outdoor gym area, presumably without any gym equipment, the indoor Gym just seems small for 774 units. To be able to exercise on the 39th floor and to enjoy those sweeping views is quite enticing, so like the pool below, I expect there to be fierce competition here.
There are 2 more air-conditioned function rooms here on the top floor of One Pearl Bank, designed to take in the sweeping views of the City from the South. There is also a Gourmet Kitchen and Social Lounge with the same views as well.
These are 4 separate indoor areas located side by side so you will be able to book them individually. To top it all off, there are also a couple of Alfresco Dining Areas for those who prefer the outdoors.
You should have noticed a common theme by now. Dining spaces, viewing decks, seating areas, and greenery/landscaping are all well-featured at One Pearl Bank. Whereas main facilities such as the swimming pool, gym, and lack of a tennis court aren’t so generous.
Anyway, enough about the facilities, let’s head straight to the showflat units!
New Launch ReviewsThe Landmark Review: CBD Fringe Living With Great Views By The Park
One Pearl Bank 3 Bedroom – Type D1-a (1,098 sqft) Review
This 3 Bedroom show unit at One Pearl Bank is the smallest one on offer, with the others ranging from 1,152 sqft to 1,281 sqft. For a property that is on the fringes of the Core Central Region, these 3 Bedroom units are larger than usual, especially when an Outside Central Region property like Midwood at Hillview has 3 Bedroom units starting from 893 sqft.
Despite One Pearl Bank having a cylindrical-shaped facade, the overall layout of this unit is still functional with no odd corners. 3 Bedroom units and above are provided with large format porcelain tiles in the common areas and engineered timber flooring in the bedrooms. The ceiling height is 2.8m, which is standard in new launches.
As you step into the unit, there is a bit of a walkway that gives occupants more privacy. As part of the developer’s “Renovation Zero” promise, the timber panelling you see on your left will be provided, including a shoe cabinet and smart doorbell with camera outside your unit.
Along the timber paneling strip is also where you will find a Magic Mirror supplied for every unit – a technologically enabled tablet that allows you to navigate a range of applications. The more practical side of this smart mirror also allows you to grant access to visitors and book condo facilities. I’m impressed by the level of detail that Capitaland has paid in this project – just check out the matching timber Schneider switches and the sleek handles on wardrobes that can be stowed away Tesla-style.
The dining space is decent, but having one end flushed against the kitchen counter does mean you can’t maximise the number of seats to utilise the ends of the table.
As much as this unit is rather regularly shaped, the living and dining areas do expand in width in a slight fan-like shape. This actually becomes advantageous in making the dining area larger. I would say that this is a comfortable dining space for a 3 Bedroom apartment and certainly one that I’d be happy with myself.
I do have to add – while it’s shown to be able to fit 6 people here, do note that the chairs are packed very neatly together. So if your entire family is on the thin side perhaps this might suffice but if not, I do think you will want to consider a bigger dining table.
The kitchen here is also a space I am quite pleased with. Equipped with an Italian made Ernestomeda kitchen system, it comes complete with plenty of cabinets and a generous amount of countertop space.
By the way, they come in an aesthetically pleasing stone-like slab with a matching integrated sink, which you almost never see in any development.
Quality is assured since One Pearl Bank belongs to the rare breed of condos with a branded kitchen set. Appliances here will be supplied by high-end Swiss brand V-Zug and they include the washer/dryer, oven, integrated fridge (which is quite small), built-in glass hood, and induction hob.
All units at One Pearl Bank come with induction hobs so those of you who require an open flame to cook up a storm (literally) might have to look past this. This is also an open concept kitchen with no windows to let out the remnant cooking smells, although you do have the option of installing plexi-glass (at your own cost) to create further segregation should you wish to (the rack that you see is an ID treatment). The larger 3 Bedroom units will have windows in the kitchen for those of you wondering.
I do also especially like that there are smart storage spaces just behind the sink and hob to store away your condiments in addition to a whole rack of multi-tiered storage just beside the integrated fridge as well.
While the useful storage gadgets do not come with the unit, it’s always nice to see additional storage incorporated in the unit.
As expected for larger units, there will also be a utility room and additional w/c here. These spaces are usually used as a helper’s private space or as a storeroom. That said, using it for the former is really not the most ideal since the utility room is only 2.3 sqm of space and comes without a window, making this space a barely liveable one.
As for the living room, what was noticeable from the outset is how wide the wall-to-wall distance is, which is ~3.2m to be exact. This stands out among the sea of new launch condos which struggle to fit a coffee table and TV console. Here, you can see that even with the current setup, there’s still a decent amount of space for friends or kids to just sit around. Sofa space wise is all right length wise and fitting a 3-seater couch should be rather comfortable.
Day and night curtains and LED downlights will be provided by the developers, making it a fuss-free move-in for you or your tenants.
You should note though, that the floor sofa used here is an unusual choice. With the added cushions it does look like a very comfy arrangement – but because it is set low it does have the effect of making the place feel more spacious. So a normal sized sofa might not quite give off that same effect.
Adjacent to the living room is the balcony, which stands at 6.8 sqm. I was mentioning earlier about the good wall-to-wall distance the living room boasts of and it’s very much the same case here although the width is compromised. This means you probably cannot fit a proper dining set alfresco, although you can still have a row of bar stools here to enjoy the city views.
If you haven’t noticed, you will also get 1.5 sqm of planter space here. The developers have promised free plants and soil for those among us desiring to hone our green fingers. I personally like this initiative as it adds to the overall green façade that One Pearl Bank has strived to achieve and can help you to save some money on herbs you need for dinner.
I do think most who are attracted to the type of project that One Pearl Bank is would appreciate such a feature – so it is a welcome move.
I wouldn’t blame you if you thought that this unit here has a perfectly regular layout. Save for that slight slant for the common corridor, the bedrooms here are all squarish without any odd corners.
I’ll start with Bedroom 3, which at 8.5 sqm, is average in the new launch condo market. There’s nothing much to shout about here, as you can see that a single bed fits in nicely. You can enhance the room’s practicality further by building shelves fronting the windows, just as they have done here.
What I don’t like, however, is that you don’t get full length windows here as the a/c ledge is located outside. It’s an issue that plagues the bedroom next door as well (which you’ll see next).
As usual, you will also be provided with a full-height built-in wardrobe that comes with a tracking system to allow you to access items at the top more easily.
As for Bedroom 2, it is of a similar size at 8.4 sqm and they have gone with a Queen sized bed here instead. It’s a typical move by the developers to show that the room can fit a Queen-sized bed, although doing so will just remind you that the bedrooms aren’t really all that big today.
With that in place, you will only have room for a small bedside table, which in this case, has also infringed on the occupier’s ability to access his or her items in the built-in wardrobe. You would probably do better with a single bed instead as it gives you more room to have a decent table at least.
A big gripe I have about this particular 3 Bedroom layout is how both common bedrooms have only half-length windows due to the placement of the aircon ledge. Every other 3 Bedroom layout will have full-length windows for all bedrooms as the aircon ledge is usually strategically placed behind the bathrooms for larger units.
Moving on to the Common Bathroom, which at 5.2 sqm, is also average in the market. In line with what I have been seeing so far in this development, you will find quality brands fitted here – shower set and mixers are from Hansgrohe and wall-hung water closer and basin are from Laufen. You will also get the standard storage cabinets behind the mirror and below your basin.
Since there are no windows in this common bathroom, you will have to rely on mechanical ventilation for this space.
As we head to the Master Bedroom, you will notice that this 14.4 sqm of space feels way more spacious than the 2 other common bedrooms that you have just seen.
The full-length windows also let in more light than the half-length ones, as one might expect.
With a Queen sized bed here, there is sufficient space for 2 small bedside tables and room to walk about. You do also have more space for a small dresser here for practical reasons. All in all, having 14.4 sqm of space is definitely good to have, especially if you have deep enough pockets for it.
As usual, storage space is provided via a 2-panel wardrobe. It will never be enough storage for most people, but that’s just something that you’d have to live with if you are looking at newer condos.
Finally, to the Master Bathroom, which at 5.6 sqm is just that tad bit larger than the Common Bathroom. What is more noticeable, however, is that this bathroom has a darker, more luxe theme. The bespoke integrated vanity counter has that dark marble accented finish, complete with an integrated wall-hung Hansgrohe tap, making this bathroom look sleeker than the other. Of course, things get tricky when the tap actually fails you but let’s hope it’d be years before that happens.
In line with that more premium theme here in the Master Bedroom, there is also an integrated Raindance Rainfall shower system by Hansgrohe, which gives both an aerated rain-like jet as well as a gush jet. Unfortunately, this Master Bathroom, as with the Common Bathroom, does not come with windows as well and will have to rely solely on mechanical ventilation to get rid of its moisture.
As a whole, I do like this 3 Bedroom layout as its pizza-like shape has given the living and dining areas more width and comfort for the occupants. Its Renovation Zero concept with timber panels and curtains coupled with quality furnishings from the likes of V-Zug, Ernestomeda and Hansgrohe also help with its attractiveness. My small gripe would be that the windows in both the Common Bedrooms are half-lengthed and the lack of sufficient windows in either bathroom for effective ventilation.
One Pearl Bank 2 Bedroom – Type C1-a (700 sqft) Review
The 2 Bedroom unit here is the smallest on offer at One Pearl Bank and also the only layout with just 1 Bathroom. The other units range from 743 to 893 sqft and come with 2 Bathrooms instead, which is definitely more practical notwithstanding the slightly steeper price tag. 2 Bedroom units make up 36% of the unit mix here at One Pearl Bank, making it the most predominant unit type.
The upside to this unit is the use of the more efficient dumbbell layout, although the same can be said about the 743 sqft unit. The ceiling height of the unit stands at 2.8m and will be laid out in large format porcelain tiles. Interestingly, the tiles that are used for the 1, 2 and 3 Bedroom show units all have different designs and no, you do not have a choice between them (sadly).
Similar to the 3 Bedroom unit we just reviewed above, the layout of this unit is also shaped like a slice of pizza with the living room widening as you enter. There are layouts where the unit actually gets narrower as you step further in, so be sure to know which layout you prefer.
Capitaland’s “Renovation Zero” concept will include a timber panelled shoe cabinet and smart doorbell at the entrance coupled with a Magic Mirror inside the unit which allows occupants to interact and grant access to visitors outside. Small details but it does enhance the liveability aspects.
Being 700 sqft, I’m glad that there is no wasted space as you enter the unit. You will notice that the overall design has been to clad the walls in timber and this will be part of Capitaland’s provision as well. I am personally a fan of this timber-like vibe and I think it blends well with One Pearl Bank’s overall emphasis on nature in the development.
To the left of the entrance is where you will find a U-shaped kitchen, with countertop space that I would say is commendable for a 2 Bedroom unit. The entire kitchen system will be supplied by Italian designer kitchen brand Ernestomeda and comes with an integrated sink and countertop. If you are observant, you would have noticed that this means that the sink and countertop are made from the same material – engineered tiles to be exact, which is said to be a very durable material.
As for appliances, One Pearl Bank will be supplying them from high-end Swiss brand V-Zug, which has a track record fitting out some of Singapore’s most luxurious homes. Appliances here include a built-in oven, washer dryer, induction hob, a sleek glass range hood, and an integrated fridge. I must say I also appreciate the sleekness of the handles on the integrated fridge as they can be kept away just like those found on a Tesla.
For a more fuss-free move-in experience, Capitaland is also supplying the Studio, 1 Bedroom, and 2 Bedroom units with an integrated swivel table with some additional countertop space above. This will be your de-facto dining table/area given the lack of space to do so anywhere else in the unit. I’d say that this table fits 3 at best (perhaps quite optimistically speaking as well) and wouldn’t fit much food on the table either so I am inclined to say that this is probably one of the downsides of this unit. It’s quite odd too, as the corner can’t really be used for much but to display decorative items – so it isn’t very practical.
Evidently, hosting friends for dinner in your home is probably out of the question as well. The saving grace, of course, is the ability to make use of the abundant dining facilities found throughout the development.
The placement of the unit’s only bathroom is questionable. Not only is it not connected to the Master Bedroom but it is also located beside the Common Bedroom without a jack-and-jill entry. This does mean that the target clientele of this unit is very much quite niche – the lack of solid privacy for occupants is something to seriously consider.
While its placement doesn’t make any sense to me, I can’t fault its quality fittings here. You get an integrated basin mixer and a Raindance Rainfall shower system from Hansgrohe, which gives both an aerated rain-like jet as well as a gush jet. There is also the wall-hung water closet by Swiss brand Laufen and storage cabinets behind the mirror. It does not come with a window so it relies entirely on mechanical ventilation – which is never the best as having a proper window.
Coming back to the living room space, you will notice that the odd placement of the bathroom beside the common bedroom has made the area meant for the TV console slightly tighter than usual. Even though the unit reaches its widest point in the living room, this space can still be described as compact at least.
With a small 2-3 seater couch and a coffee table, you will notice that there is barely room to walk, much less to say fit in a proper TV console. Plus the wall being oft-centre from the couch could drive those who are OCD about keeping things neat crazy. Of course, let’s not forget that One Pearl Bank is an expensive development so every additional sqft adds to your cost. It’s not CBD living without a compact unit right?
What’s more commendable is the balcony area that is 6.5 sqm alone with an additional 1.7 sqm for the planter. This is a big space on paper for a unit of just 700 sqft and I do secretly wish more of it was dedicated to the indoor area instead.
As with the 3 Bedroom unit, this balcony is more ‘long than wide’ and extends all the way to the Master Bedroom. Its narrow width means that you can’t actually have a proper dining set here, although the cocoon swing chair as shown here fits in just right. Realistically, you can probably fit some compact outdoor furniture like a table for 2 to enjoy a peaceful night with city views that will be the envy of many. The planter space will also be great for those with green fingers to show off their talent (plus a nicer view from the bedroom!)
The Common Bedroom is sized at 8.5 sqm, which is average in the market. The developers have done this room up as a study cum bedroom of sorts, with a small table and a sofa bed. I believe the kiddy carpet they have placed here is the size of a Queen sized bed and while it can fit in the room, I’d say that this is probably not the most ideal from a practicality standpoint. It will simply take up too much space and you would do better having a single bed and leaving room for a small table instead.
Besides the size, the developers will also provide the standard full-length built-in wardrobe which comes with a tracking system that allows you to better reach for items at the very top.
Interestingly, you will notice that instead of the typical engineered timber flooring for the bedrooms, the 2 Bedroom unit here shares the same large format porcelain tiles found in the common areas. By comparison, the 3 Bedroom unit has engineered timber floors for its bedrooms.
Finally to the Master Bedroom, which at 12.6 sqm is decently sized for a 2 Bedroom unit. Perhaps this is where all the space went to (besides the balcony of course). The full length 2 panel built-in wardrobe is flush against the wall, making this room feel more spacious and I just wish that more developers would actually do this.
It does feel strangely spacious, perhaps because of the lack of an attached bathroom. Just check out that generous bedside table beside the wardrobe and that can potentially be a space for your dresser to get ready for work. A Queen-sized bed would fit well in this room.
You do have full-length windows looking out to the planter and the balcony, so I must say if this is the unit you are going for, please do try to keep your plants blossoming and alive – that view will be extra rewarding in the mornings.
One Pearl Bank 1 Bedroom – Type B1-a (570sqft) Review
At 570 sqft, this is the largest 1 Bedroom unit here at One Pearl Bank. It is also one of the larger pure play 1 Bedroom units in the new launch market, where units are typically in the mid 400+ sqft range. As expected from a CBD fringe development, 1 Bedroom units make up 23% of the total unit mix, with Studios making up an additional 18%. Studios are sized at 431 sqft and 1 Bedrooms start from 527 sqft.
There has been some uncertainty about the fan/pizza? shape design, but more on that later.
The previous 2 show units I reviewed had layouts that ‘opened up’ as you ventured deeper into the living room. On the other hand, this unit here narrows as you walk in. In general, these are basically your 2 options for units here at One Pearl Bank given its arc-shaped façade.
As mentioned earlier, the interesting thing is how the porcelain tiles are different for the 1, 2 and 3 Bedroom units and the ones here in the 1 Bedroom have that retro, terrazzo like look. These tiles extend all the way to both the bathroom and the bedroom, which I find is one of a kind as developers tend to go with different materials for the bedroom and bathroom. It’s personal preference but I do like how the interior designers have done up the entire unit with an overall retro theme.
Once you step in, you will find the open concept kitchen immediately in front of you. The timber paneling on the walls will come included and behind 1 of them is where you will find an integrated fridge. The fridge, along with other appliances such as the oven, induction hob, glass range hood, and washer dryer comes from high-end Swiss brand V-Zug, who made their foray into the Singapore market by opening a sales gallery here back in 2018.
I like the exterior appearance of these, they have a sleek look and do look very premium indeed.
The entire kitchen system will be supplied by Ernestomeda, an Italian designer kitchen brand. You might have noticed that the countertop and sink just looks.. different from the usual showflat and you’re not wrong – instead of the usual, you have a bespoke kitchen counter where the sink and counter are both made from the same material – engineered tiles, which is said to be durable and easy to maintain.
I’m a bit torn at this counter layout, however. While the L-shape definitely gives more space, the end of the counter is so short (it dropsoff onto the dining table) that it might not be so practical. The dining table is an interesting one though..
Due to its smaller unit size, the 1 Bedroom unit, as with the Studio and 2 Bedroom units, will come with an integrated swivel table that will serve as your dining set. As one might expect, it’s not going to be a huge table but it does an okay job serving 3 people (don’t expect to have a 5-course meal here). If you so require, there is some additional space to actually place a table that could fit up to 4, as they have done here with that retro-looking kopitiam marble-top table.
Let me show you the table in action.
This is the normal mode, where you can just about seat 2 people. Because it isn’t exactly placed in the middle, you can see the person sitting on the far end will have to sit slightly ajar as the kitchen counter will block your natural placement of your elbows.
So there is a lever just underneath that you can use to swivel the table further out. This allows you to use the full surface of the table.
Yes, you can seat 3, but I do think this is just about comfortable enough for 2 people to have a proper meal.
It’s a useful function to have as it does allow you to stow away a part of the table to give more space to walk. But if you do eat at home a lot and require more space, you will have to seriously think if this would be adequate for you.
As I mentioned earlier, this particular layout narrows as you enter the unit, hence creating a little nook just opposite the end of the kitchen counter. They have made use of this space quite well by making it into a little study, complete with shelves and a table. Alternatively, you could build in some storage spaces here, especially if the unit is meant for your own stay.
You could also entertain the option of placing a bigger dining area here instead if you eat in a lot – it does seem like the right area to incorporate some bench seating.
On the right, you’d see a smart mirror hung on the wall. This will be included in every single unit and allows you to access tools like visitor management, weather forecast, reading the news, or watching videos on youtube. I gotta say though, I like the idea, but I don’t think I’d use it very much.
In line with that whole retro vibes the interior designers have gone with here, they have placed a 2 seater Chesterfield sofa set here in the living room. It does fit in quite nicely with the terrazzo-like tiles provided here. I do find that the distance from the TV console is quite decent, perhaps due to the unit’s larger than average size. Even though they do not have a coffee table, they have managed to fit a small TV console here – but there’s a reason for that.
So instead of a TV set here they have chosen to showcase a short-throw projector. Note that this isn’t actually included, but it does give you a good idea of a cosy living room set up – which I do like.
Just beside the living room is where you will find the 4.5 sqm balcony, which should be more than comfortable for a 1 Bedroom unit. Studio units do not come with a balcony. This balcony is slightly more squarish than the other units reviewed earlier and that gives you the option of either going with the more chill vibe of having a bar counter with stools or a more playful one with a swing chair.
Moving on to the only bedroom of the unit, which is sized at 11.7 sqm (in line with the average in the market). You will notice that the terrazzo-like extends from the living areas to the bedroom. You might love that seamless integration or loathe the lack of differentiation and well, that’s really up to personal preference.
Fitting in a Queen sized bed would be quite comfortable although you will have to find some room to place your dresser should you require one. Do also notice that the windows are only half-length because of the aircon ledge that is placed just outside. The room also comes standard with a 2-panel full-length wardrobe that is complete with LED lighting as well.
You would notice by now though, of one glaring omission.
Disappointingly, this 1 Bedroom unit does not come ensuite and I blame the odd-shaped layout for this. Instead, the occupant will have to walk out to the bathroom which is by the entrance instead. It’s not the end of the world, but it is slightly more inconvenient – I daresay that 99% of the population would prefer to have an attached bathroom instead.
At 5.1 sqm, there’s nothing to complain about its size and you will notice that the floor and wall tiles are the very same ones found throughout the unit.
Even the sink looks exactly the same as the one found in the kitchen (which is definitely something unique). You do get top-quality fittings such as an integrated basin mixer and Raindance Rainfall shower system by Hansgrohe and a wall-hung water closet from Laufen. There are also storage spaces found below the sink and behind the mirror to store away your toiletries easily. As the bathroom comes without a window, you will have to rely entirely on mechanical ventilation.
One Pearl Bank Location Review
It may sound like an exaggeration but I’m going to say it anyway – the location of One Pearl Bank is unbeatable – or ranks among the very top at least. While it is not directly connected to the MRT like Midtown Modern or Sengkang Grand Residences, having Outram Park MRT a minute walk away (from the side gate) isn’t too shabby either. If you take the route from One Pearl Bank’s main entrance, the route will be sheltered throughout and should take you ~3 minutes. Considering how Outram Park will be an interchange with 3 MRT lines (East-West, North-East, and the upcoming Thomson-East Coast) and among the most central, living just a minute away is a dream come true for those who don’t own a car. Outram Park will be 1 of only 3 MRT stations with 3 lines, with the others being Dhoby Ghaut and Marina Bay.
Besides its MRT connectivity, you will also find yourself surrounded by many other options should you choose to take a short drive or a relaxing stroll. You have the CBD close by, so for those who fancy a sweaty walk home from work – this is always an option over the MRT. Otherwise, you can also look forward to the nightlife of Robertson Quay or the simple local fare at Tiong Bahru and the many Chinatown hawker centres (People’s Park, Smith Street, Maxwell, Hong Lim) close by.
Nature is also a point that the developers were keen to emphasise. One of the side gates leads to Pearl’s Hill City Park, which I expect to be rejuvenated after / when The Landmark and One Pearl Bank are being built. The park is one of the last remnants of greenery left in the Chinatown area. Otherwise, you also have the option of Fort Canning Park, which will be slightly further away.
You see, living at One Pearl Bank is not just about its central location but also about its rich heritage. Being at the heart of Chinatown means immersing yourself in an area where many of our forefathers once settled but have since transformed into an area popular with both locals and tourists alike. That was true for me at least as my grandfather operated his tailor shop in a dilapidated Pagoda Street shophouse up till the 1990s and those very same shophouses are now worth north of $15m. In fact, the very building that One Pearl Bank replaces was an icon in its day and it is set to be a landmark of its own in this area.
|School||Distance From Condo (& Est. Walking Time)|
|Cantonment Primary School||1km, 15 min|
|River Valley Primary School||2.0km, 25 mins|
|Zhangde Primary School||2.1km, 27 mins|
|CHIJ (Kellock)||2.6km, 34 mins|
|Outram Secondary School||0.7km, 10 mins|
|Gan Eng Seng School||2.7km, 35 mins|
As you can see, you don’t have too many options in terms of schools, with just Cantonment Primary School within that desired 1 KM radius. That said, that is a common problem with many condos in the CBD region – so it’s not as if it’s something that One Pearl Bank is guilty of.
|Bus Station||Buses Serviced||Distance From Condo (& Est. Walking Time)|
|Outram Pk StnID: 06029||33, 63, 75, 121, 122, 174, 174e, 851, 970||350m, 4 mins|
|Opp Outram Pk Stn ID: 06011||33, 63, 63A, 75, 121, 122, 174, 174e, 851, 970||450m, 6 mins|
Nearest MRT: Outram Park MRT (50m, 1 min walk)
|Key Destinations||Distance From Condo (Average Time at Peak Hour  Drive Time)|
|CBD (Raffles Place)||3.0 km, 11 mins|
|Orchard Road||3.4 km, 13 mins|
|Suntec City||3.8 km, 13 mins|
|Changi Airport||22.8 km, 24 mins|
|Tuas Port (By 2040)||36.1 km, 47 mins|
|Paya Lebar Quarters/Airbase (By 2030)||12.4 km, 18 mins|
|Mediapolis (and surroundings)||7.0 km, 12 mins|
|Mapletree Business City||7.1 km, 14 mins|
|Tuas Checkpoint||26.0 km, 28 mins|
|Woodlands Checkpoint||29.8 km, 33 mins|
|Jurong Cluster (JCube)||14.0 km, 21 mins|
|Woodlands Cluster (Causeway Point)||27.1 km, 32 mins|
|HarbourFront Cluster (Vivo City)||3.6 km, 11 mins|
|Punggol Cluster (Waterway Point)||21.2 km, 27 mins|
Immediate Road Exits: 1 – Outram Park leading to Outram Road directly opposite SGH. From there, you can hit the CTE and MCE within a short distance.
The Developer Team
Capitaland is one of Singapore’s most recognisable companies despite only having only 20 years of history. It was created from the merger of 2 of Singapore’s largest property companies – Pidemco Land with $8.2bn of assets and DBS Land with $7.5bn of assets – back in 2000. Today, Capitaland manages a portfolio of $137.7bn, a remarkable near 10-fold increase in a short span of ~20 years. These days, it is no longer the most active player in the Singapore residential market as its portfolio spans commercial, retail, business parks, industrial and logistics among others. Nevertheless, they are still behind some of the most iconic developments in town – Orchard Residences, Sky Habitat, d’Leedon and The Interlace come to mind with One Pearl Bank and Canninghill Piers set to join the fold when completed.
One Pearl Bank is a joint venture between homegrown Multiply Architects and London-based Serie Architects.
Multiply Architects was founded by Yap Mong Lin back in 2007. They started with projects such as an extension to Movenpick Hotel Sentosa (hospitality), LUMOS (residential) and Mahabodhi Monastery at Bukit Timah (civic) before venturing into larger projects such as the conservation of CHIJMES and reconstruction of Chinatown Point. They embarked on a partnership with London-based Serie Architects since 2013 and worked collaboratively on projects such as the new State Courts, NUS School of Design & Environment and Oasis Terrace, a MOH integrated development in Punggol.
Development Site Plan
At a site area of 82,376 square feet, it’s quite an irregularly-shaped piece of land at One Pearl Bank. With 774 units it is also definitely a dense one. An easy and direct comparison would be with The Landmark (just nearby). It’s a little smaller at 72,118 square feet and has nearly half the number of units as well (396 units).
So space within the grounds isn’t something that is class leading here, although Pearl’s Hill Park does wrap around the development – meaning you do have open grounds to gallop around for exercise or to walk your dog.
Where the site is maximised is through the different terraces on the 14th, 18th and 39th floor. Let’s also not forget the allotment gardens every 4th level as well.
The Prive Terrace on the 14th floor is more for those who are looking to exercise and indulge in Yoga, where as the 18th floor is more of an entertainment space, with a lounge, dining and entertainment area. Finally the highlight is really the Sky Oculus on the 39th floor. It is through here that you have the gym, dining, and lounge areas. You could even use it for short evening walks – and the real advantage here has to be the sweeping views over the city.
|Unit Type||Size||No. of Units|
|1BR||527 – 570 sqft||175|
|2BR||700 – 893 sqft||280|
|3BR||1,098 – 1,281 sqft||140|
|4BR||1,399 – 1,432 sqft||35|
|Penthouse||2,626 – 2,788 sqft||4|
It comes as no surprise that One Pearl Bank, being a CCR property, has a unit mix that is highly concentrated on the smaller units meant for investors. 77% of units here are 2 Bedrooms or smaller, with 40% being 1 Bedroom and Studio units. This is very much the same tune sung at the nearby The Landmark, which is further from Outram Park MRT but boasts of more regular unit layouts.
The arc-shaped towers of One Pearl Bank are designed to maximise the frontage and views from each unit. The exceptions to that would be stacks 19 and 20, which I personally feel have the least ideal views of all. The upside is of course, a less premium price tag as well. In general, there are 2 views to One Pearl Bank – North and South facing, both of which get more stunning as you go up the floors so it will come down to your personal preference.
The North facing units (Stacks 8 to 18) are where you will get views of Pearl’s Hill City Park with The Landmark, State Courts and the Chin Swee Road / Jalan Kukoh flats close by. If you are someone who appreciates more of a greenery view, especially in the hustle and bustle of the CBD fringe, this view is for you.
As for the South facing units (Stacks 1 to 7 and to an extent, Stacks 21 and 22), the views here are towards the CBD with (really) pocket sea views in the distance. Your immediate views will be towards the low-rise Keong Saik / Neil Road shophouses so your unblocked view will be here to stay. If you work in the CBD of Tanjong Pagar, Raffles Place or Shenton Way, you will be able to see your office in the distance as well.
Afternoon west sun analysis
The most afternoon sun would be felt by stacks 6, 7, 10, 11, 21, 22 and 19, 20. None of them are west facing though, so the effects of the afternoon sun will only be felt towards the middle or end of the year.
Naturally, the coolest stacks are those that have the more east-facing orientation. As none of them are perfectly facing the east, it also doesn’t get too much morning sun which can also be quite hot.
If you are considering One Pearl Bank, you will undoubtedly compare it against its neighbouring developments. So here is how it stacks up!
|One Pearl Bank||774||$2,435||2024||99 Years|
|The Landmark||396||$2,192||2025||99 Years|
|Avenue South Residences||1,072||$2,172||2023||99 Years|
With the exception of Sky Everton, which is Freehold and in District 2, the other developments chosen for comparison here are in District 3 and 99 years lease. One Pearl Bank’s immediate competition comes from The Landmark, which has an average psf of exactly 10% lesser as of now. If psf and quantum are of particular concern to you, then there’s no doubt The Landmark offers you a cheaper entry. However, One Pearl Bank stands out because of its iconic architecture and closer proximity to Outram Park MRT (3 minutes vs ~7 minutes). One Pearl Bank will also retain its title as the tallest residential building in the Outram / Chinatown district, making it the more prominent development around.
As for Avenue South Residences, prices have inched up quite a bit from their average launch price of $1,980 psf. From where I come from, One Pearl Bank’s 11% premium over Avenue South at current prices is a no-brainer as the former simply offers a more superior location, with Outram Park MRT being a 17 minute walk from the latter while waiting for Cantonment MRT to be completed. +1 to One Pearl Bank here.
For Riviere, it is situated along the Singapore River and was once home to the Zouk nightclub which I’m sure many of you are all too familiar with. I think the general consensus among our team is that it’s been priced quite steeply from the beginning and hence suffered from poorer sales for the most part. +1 to One Pearl Bank here.
Sky Everton was a sell-out success in its day and initially transacted at an average of $2,550 psf, with current prices clearly having inched up as well. It’s not difficult to see why this project sold so well. It is a freehold project at a price that used to be on par with One Pearl Bank. Facilities wise are impressive as well, with a tennis court and 3 swimming pools for just 262 units. The only downside of course is that at the time of writing in July 2021, most choice units have been sold.
But as usual, let’s dive deeper into the comparisons.
Let’s start our analysis by taking a broad view of the resale options around the area. I’ll be looking at the 2-bedroom variety since it offers the most choice at One Pearl Bank.
|Craig Place||99 Yrs From 1997||$1,040,000||$1,350,000||No Data||No Data|
|Dorsett Residences||99 Yrs From 2007||$966,000||$1,405,000||No Data||No Data|
|Eng Hoon Mansions||Freehold||No Data||$1,856,667||No Data||No Data|
|People’s Park Complex||99 Yrs From 1968||$484,333||No Data||$974,429||$1,143,000|
|Spottiswoode 18||Freehold||$825,073||$1,319,160||No Data||No Data|
|Spottiswoode Residences||Freehold||$1,247,600||$1,707,000||No Data||No Data|
|Spottiswoode Suites||Freehold||$1,047,500||$1,239,000||$1,500,000||No Data|
|The Beacon*||99 Yrs From 2004||No Data||$1,500,000||$2,100,444||No Data|
|One Pearl Bank**||99 Yrs From 2019||$1,333,318||$1,768,024||$2,713,125||$3,390,167|
Source: Squarefoot Research. Resale data is taken from June 2020 – June 2021 (incomplete).
*Only 1 transaction of a 2-bedroom was taken into consideration here. While there are other 2-bedrooms, they are of a +study variety and are not taken into account here.
** One Pearl Bank has a studio unit variety that has transacted for an average of $1,086,789.
A quick look at the data would immediately show you that One Pearl Bank is indeed one of the (if not THE) most expensive developments in this area in terms of quantum. The only more expensive development is Eng Hoon Mansions which is both freehold and has a much larger unit size compared to One Pearl Bank – and that makes sense.
It is even more expensive than its freehold peers located in the Spottiswoode area, which I will explore soon.
So now that we know where OPB stands in terms of quantum (pretty high), where does it stand in terms of $PSF?
In terms of $PSF, One Pearl Bank ranks as the most expensive in the area compared to resale condos around. That’s no surprise as the developer Capitaland purchased the land at S$728 million with an additional top-up of the lease for S$201.4 million, putting the cost alone at $1,515 psf ppr.
Judging from both quantum and $PSF, One Pearl Bank is considered very high-priced.
What about rental?
As this is a CBD fringe project located right next to the SGH campus that is undergoing transformation, buyers would expect there to be rental demand from patients needing long-term care or medical professionals who want to stay close to their workplace.
Here’s what the rental per month looks like in surrounding developments:
|Craig Place||$2,772||$3,221||No Data||No Data|
|Dorsett Residences||$2,988||$4,139||No Data||No Data|
|Eng Hoon Mansions||No Data||$5,050||$3,700||No Data|
|People’s Park Complex||$1,833||No Data||$3,029||$3,425|
|Spottiswoode 18||$2,321||$3,608||No Data||No Data|
|Spottiswoode Residences||$2,852||$3,860||$6,700||No Data|
|Spottiswoode Suites||$2,486||$3,203||$3,850||No Data|
|The Beacon||No Data||$3,918||$4,950||No Data|
Source: Squarefoot Research. Data is taken from January 2021 – June 2021 (incomplete).
Here are their respective yields:
|Craig Place||99 Yrs From 1997||3.20%||2.86%||No Data||No Data|
|Dorsett Residences||99 Yrs From 2007||3.71%||3.53%||No Data||No Data|
|Eng Hoon Mansions||Freehold||No Data||3.26%||No Data||No Data|
|People’s Park Complex||99 Yrs From 1968||4.54%||No Data||No Data||4.22%|
|Spottiswoode 18||Freehold||3.38%||3.28%||No Data||No Data|
|Spottiswoode Residences||Freehold||2.74%||2.71%||No Data||No Data|
|Spottiswoode Suites||Freehold||2.85%||3.10%||No Data||No Data|
|The Beacon||99 Yrs From 2004||No Data||3.13%||3.77%||No Data|
Source: Squarefoot Research. Yields are calculated based on rental data above divided by transaction prices for their respective bedroom type from June 2020 – June 2021 (incomplete).
There isn’t anything out of the ordinary here, with leasehold transactions ranging from 2.86% – 3.53% in yields. 2.86% is on the lower end – for leasehold developments, you should expect at least 3% in rental returns.
So with One Pearl Bank having one of the highest costs in terms of quantum and the highest in terms of $PSF, is it worth considering a unit here?
Update (02 July 2021): Capitaland has recently reduced the price for some of the 2 and 3-bedroom units:
|Type||New Discounted Units||New Discounted Price||Nearby Sold Units||Nearby Sold Price||Size||Discount (Quantum)||Discount (%)|
|2 Bedroom||24-11||$1,850,000||27-11||$2,243,000||893 sqft||$393,000||17.52%|
|2 Bedroom||24-22||$1,850,000||19-22||$2,170,000||893 sqft||$320,000||14.75%|
|3 Bedroom||14-01||$2,650,000||12-01||$2,811,000||1098 sqft||$161,000||5.73%|
|3 Bedroom||24-08||$2,800,000||23-08||$2,961,000||1281 sqft||$161,000||5.44%|
|2 Bedroom||24-06||$1,800,000||23-06||$1,905,000||743 sqft||$105,000||5.51%|
|3 Bedroom||14-07||$2,650,000||16-07||$2,754,000||1216 sqft||$104,000||3.78%|
|2 Bedroom||34-04||$1,800,000||33-04||$1,882,000||700 sqft||$82,000||4.36%|
|2 Bedroom||34-19||$1,950,000||29-19||$2,015,000||840 sqft||$65,000||3.23%|
|2 Bedroom||24-05||$1,750,000||23-05||$1,795,000||700 sqft||$45,000||2.51%|
|2 Bedroom||34-15||$1,850,000||30-15||$1,856,000||700 sqft||$6,000||0.32%|
|2 Bedroom||34-16||$1,850,000||23-16||$1,833,000||700 sqft||-$17,000||-0.93%|
|3 Bedroom||24-12||$2,750,000||18-12||$2,715,000||1152 sqft||-$35,000||-1.29%|
Source: Transaction data taken from 99.co on 01/07 & current promo pricelist.
Do note that Stacked does not guarantee the prices, availability and completeness of this table. For more information, you can reach us directly at email@example.com
Just by comparing with the nearest transacted unit, the discounts on offer are quite significant, and I would expect to see some strong interest since these buyers would have a much higher profit margin compared to their nearby neighbours, putting them at an advantage should they choose to sell later on.
If you look at the discounted units on offer, however, you’ll notice a pattern – all of them include at least a “4”. They’re on levels 14, 24, and 34. Due to superstition, some people may find it to be unlucky to own a home with a “4” inside, so again this could work to your advantage if you do not fall into that category – though your pool of buyers later on might!
The biggest discount here goes to a 24th floor 893 sqft unit, with a discount of 17.52% from a similar unit just 3 floors above. It’s even cheaper than the unit 5 floors below on level 19 which sold for $188,000 more!
Even for those that cost more, you can see that these are for much higher floors – one being just $17,000 for 11 floors higher. Considering how every floor jump is around $8,000 – $10,000, this discount is really significant!
Moving forward with the pricing analysis, I will be looking at the 2-bedroom units taking into account the transaction averages so far, as these are still lower than the discounted prices.
Before proceeding to compare it with other project’s 2-bedroom units, let’s see what the 2-bedroom at One Pearl Bank looks like.
2 Bed 1 Bath (700 sqft)
This is the 700 sqft 2-bedroom unit layout at One Pearl Bank which has gone for an average of $1,672,572 based on all transactions so far. Based on the discounted pricing today, a 2-bedroom unit on the 24th floor goes for $1.75m which is still more than the average, but this is because more of the lower-floor units were sold first.
700 sqft is quite sizable for a 2-bedroom unit. Moreover, it has an efficient dumbbell layout that does away with a corridor, so the space is more efficient.
As with all the other units in One Pearl Bank, it has a fan shape, meaning that the unit becomes wider towards the end, allowing for more sunlight.
Unfortunately, this also means that the living/dining area is a rather strange shape. A clear shortcoming would be the awkwardness in trying to place a dining table here.
The 700 sqft unit also does not come with an ensuite master bathroom. This means that the master bedroom is special only in that it is slightly bigger and it does not have an air-conditioning ledge outside. It does not provide more privacy as most master bedrooms would.
2 Bed 2 Bath (743 sqft)
This is the 743 sqft 2-bedroom unit layout at One Pearl Bank which has gone for an average of $1,848,852 based on all transactions so far. It is 10.5% higher in price than the 2-bedroom 1-bathroom layout. What you do get is another bathroom that is connected to the master bedroom, but a kitchen that is more open (no opportunity to enclose it).
Compared to: Dorsett Residences
The closest resale development to One Pearl Bank is Dorsett Residences. This development sits at the junction of New Bridge Road and Cantonment Road. Dorsett Residences is actually slightly more convenient since it’s just beside the road, meaning access to the MRT is quicker. However, the access to the MRT would not make much of a difference since One Pearl Bank is also relatively close to the MRT.
Dorsett Residences is also 10 years older in terms of tenure. There are only 68 units here, making it quite a boutique (and exclusive) development. As such, it does not have an extensive set of facilities (only a pool, gym and spa) unlike One Pearl Bank, but its facilities are certainly enough for the number of units here.
Now here’s what the 2-bedroom unit at Dorsett Residences looks like:
The last 2-bedroom at Dorsett Residences was last transacted in October 2020 for $1.43M on the 6th floor. The last transacted 2-bedroom at One Pearl Bank on the same 6th floor went for $1.78M which puts it at about a 20% discount.
This particular transacted unit faces the “Heritage View” (heritage shophouses behind), so it is quieter compared to facing the main road, however we wouldn’t say it’s quiet given the nightlife activities here.
In terms of layout, Dorsett Residences is a good regular shape with an efficient dumbbell layout as well. It opens up right into the DB Box rather than the living area, so there is some level of privacy here.
However, it does face the shortcoming of having a decent dining table somewhere, as the layout suggests using part of the kitchen countertop as the dining area. Both bathrooms also do not come with natural ventilation, just as with One Pearl Bank.
While the 20% difference sounds big, the choice here isn’t so clear, especially if you could afford both. This 20% could be worth paying for simply because it’s situated in a quieter enclave atop a hill, has more facilities and boasts a better view (with the greenery all around). It also does not front a main road.
In terms of rental, as a tenant, going for One Pearl Bank would make more sense. It’s close enough to the MRT/SGH campus, but not too close such that it receives the disamenities of convenience. Coupled with a more extensive facility/newer age, I would expect it to command a higher rental amount. That being said, it does command a much higher price. For One Pearl Bank to match its 3.52% yield, the 2-bedroom 2-bathroom unit here must fetch a rental amount of $5,221 per month (using the 6th storey transaction as a reference).
This rental amount is 26% more than what landlords the 2-bedroom unit at Dorsett Residences receives. As such, I do think that tenants would not be too willing to reward One Pearl Bank landlords with such a high rental amount – though this remains to be seen.
Next, let’s take a look at the freehold Spottiswoode cluster.
This cluster is of interest due to the relatively competitive quantum. Moreover, due to the freehold nature of the tenure, the Spottiswoode condos would have safer long-term upside potential compared to leasehold properties like One Pearl Bank.
It’s also just 3-minutes from the upcoming Cantonment MRT (scheduled to open 2024/25) and within walking distance to Outram Park MRT and the SGH cluster.
Given its lower $PSF and quantum, how does the 2-bedroom really compare to One Pearl Bank’s 2-bedroom unit?
Compared to: Spottiswoode Residences
I am looking at Spottiswoode Residences given that it has a similar-sized 2-bedroom unit to One Pearl Bank that is also more affordable. The 2 bedroom 2 bathroom unit here comes in at 797 sqft, which is 54 sqft larger:
As you can see, the 797 sqft 2-bedroom unit on the 17th floor went for $1.568M. The 17th floor 743 sqft unit for One Pearl Bank went for $1.78M (also the same as the 6th floor unit) on 24 April 2021, meaning that the larger freehold Spottiswoode Residences trades around 12% cheaper.
Is this 12% discount worth it? Here’s what the floor plan looks like:
The positives to this unit is that it does not have much of a wasted entranceway. It also has a pretty regular layout with a decent area for a dining table (unlike One Pearl Bank’s layout). The unit also comes with a household shelter to store things, always an overlooked area in new developments.
The downsides are the large planter and bay window space which buyers pay for, but usually cannot utilise. Both bathrooms do come with natural ventilation, and you don’t quite pay for an aircon ledge here since it’s on the balcony.
To give you a better sense of the space, here is a resale unit view for this particular unit’s size:
Despite the bay window and planter area, the 12% discount is quite an attractive offering compared to One Pearl Bank for the purpose of long-term ownership, whether it’s for own stay or rental.
This is due to its attractive location just minutes away from 2 MRT stations and extensive condo facilities. It’s also situated in a quiet enclave right next to a park.
Of course, it would be older by about 10 years once One Pearl Bank is completed, but with its lower quantum and convenient location, this freehold development would likely be more favoured in the longer-run as One Pearl Bank gets older.
Its lower quantum now also means more upside potential relative to One Pearl Bank, assuming One Pearl Bank’s prices stay put.
Finally, one downside to staying in the Spottiswoode area is the lack of amenities around. Now I know that this is a central location, but the immediate vicinity does lack a proper supermarket and hawker center:
Close by is a Cheers outlet and a 7 11 convenience store. Beyond that, there’s really not much else. One Pearl Bank, on the other hand, is close to the Chinatown enclave with hawker centers and supermarkets around.
So while developments here are more affordable and are freehold in nature, buyers in this locale will have to put up with lesser convenience.
Compared to Eng Hoon Mansions
I would like to look at Eng Hoon Mansions given it is one of the lowest in terms of $PSF in the area.
Eng Hoon Mansions is about a 7-8 minute walk way to Outram Park MRT. It’s actually situated in the Tiong Bahru cluster where the Pre-War SIT flats are located.
Naturally with a lower $PSF, something has to give.
First, units at Eng Hoon Mansions are huge. The latest transaction for a 2-bedroom was for a 1,593 sqft unit that went for $2.03M. For this amount of money, you could already pay for the biggest 2-bedroom unit at One Pearl Bank and still have some leftover.
Next, Eng Hoon Mansions has only 19 units – and if that isn’t big enough of a hint, it does not support any facilities beyond an underground carpark.
The consideration for any buyer is obvious: if you want to stay in a big unit in a private residence in a convenient locale, this is it – but you’ll have to forgo facilities, and also a much better view than you can get with a taller development. Otherwise, you’ll be looking at a much bigger 4-bedroom unit at One Pearl Bank which traded on average at $3.39M (and it’s still smaller!).
Compared to new launch: The Landmark
When it comes to buying a new launch, the main question is whether or not you should purchase One Pearl Bank, or the new launch opposite it – The Landmark (we did a full review here).
Before jumping into comparing between both 2-bedroom units, here’s a look at how they compare in terms of quantum:
As you can see, One Pearl Bank is significantly more expensive than The Landmark for the 1 and 2-bedroom units. The gap closes for the 3-bedroom units.
Here’s what it looks like in terms of $PSF:
The story is similar here – it has a higher $PSF based on transactions so far between both developments, with a very marginal gap for the 3-bedroom unit.
So how does the 2-bedroom here fare?
Here’s a look at the 678 sqft unit at The Landmark. Based on historical transactions, the 678 sqft unit has gone for $1,491,274. But let’s take a look at 2 units on the same level for a fairer comparison – on the 15th floor.
Looking at One Pearl Bank, a 15th floor unit transacted for $1.763M. A 15th floor unit at The Landmark went for just $1.613M.
That translates to over $150,000 difference in price, with The Landmark being more affordable. $PSF-wise, however, they’re about the same, with The Landmark costing a bit more here.
If you’re looking to purchase a discounted unit with this view, you can look at #24-06 at a price of $1,800,000 (as of 2 July 2021). The highest stack 08 unit at The Landmark sold so far was on the 20th floor for $1,670,000 which is still less compared to One Pearl Bank.
What are their views like?
Stack 08 at The Landmark faces Pearl’s Hill City Park which is basically unblocked greenery views towards the CBD with Heritage shophouses in sight, as well as some pocket sea view.
Stack 06 in One Pearl Bank faces the south-west direction towards Outram Park MRT – beyond that, there are some high-rise HDBs in site (Cantonment Towers) and the sea lies beyond that.
Views-wise, I think it’s fair to say that both are pretty attractive. The Landmark does have more greenery frontage which is likely to remain since it’s a park which is why I have a slight preference for that.
Next, let’s compare their floor plans:
On paper, in terms of livable space, One Pearl Bank has slightly more than The Landmark. However, if we take a look again at the layout of the dining area, I would argue that some discount has to be applied to the livable space there – meaning that both would more or less have the same amount of liveable space.
That being said, The One Pearl Bank layout does allow the dining to be converted into a countertop space as well, which is a positive. The bedrooms are also bigger than the ones at The Landmark, with the Master Bedroom even allowing space for a sort of “walk-in wardrobe” – a rarity for a 2-bedroom unit.
Personally, however, I would prefer a more regular layout. It allows for better separation of the kitchen and dining, and the couch/TV wouldn’t need to be slanted too.
Considering how One Pearl Bank is only more expensive in this particular instance due to its size, The Landmark does seem like a better consideration as it has a regular layout and is still quite a functional 2-bedroom unit – so it may not be worth paying for more space.
Finally, we’ll touch on 3 important points to note about The Landmark:
- It’s situated along the CTE (partially-underground though)
- The surrounding area is not exactly considered charming to many
- It is further from the MRT compared to One Pearl Bank
These negative factors could explain why One Pearl Bank trades at a higher $PSF compared to The Landmark.
However, in the case of the 2-bedroom unit, the positioning along the CTE isn’t too big of a concern.
If you are able to overlook the vicinity and can afford to walk a little bit more to the MRT, then saving on the $150,000 could be worth it.
More importantly, if you’re looking at having the good south-facing view, The Landmark would be preferred here given the protected view since the park is right in front of it.
Note that One Pearl Bank has a White Site with a plot ratio of 6.3 with an MRT located there. Chances are good that a mixed-use development (shops and the like) could be built on this site, and it would be integrated with an MRT too, making it a very valuable plot of land.
As much as I’d like to say one development is better over another, I think that in One Pearl Bank’s case, it’s a tough one.
Compared to resale developments around, it is one of the most convenient in terms of public transport, and it comes with full-fledged condo facilities and good views. It’s also nearby lots of amenities, unlike the Spottiswoode enclave.
And compared to The Landmark – it may be pricier, but again, you’re paying for its location right next to Outram MRT and the greenery surrounding it.
Moreover, it’s not located right next to the expressway. And as a final point, ironically as it seems given the condo’s name “The Landmark”, One Pearl Bank is the more iconic development with a unique architecture.
As to whether it’s worth paying the premium over The Landmark, it just boils down to your personal preferences when it comes to the negative pointers highlighted above.
Finally, and probably what is most pertinent now – should you get the discounted units?
I think it’s quite an attractive offering if, based on all other factors, One Pearl Bank remains a go-to new launch for you. So if the price was the only stopping point so far, these discounted units may just be what you’ve been looking for.
There are 3 development plans in the vicinity of One Pearl Bank and set to bring greater vibrancy to this area. While it is difficult to quantify the exact investment upside these developments will bring to One Pearl Bank, it would certainly bring about better connectivity and accessibility to the area.
- Greater Southern Waterfront (GSW)
Without threatening to sound like a broken recorder, there is no doubt that the GSW represents huge potential, with plans to stretch the coastline from Gardens by the Bay East to Pasir Panjang to 30km. With a total of 2,000 hectares of land, it will be 6 times the size of Marina Bay. PM Lee Hsien Loong has said that the mammoth GSW project will involve recreation, residential and commercial properties. One Pearl Bank, being at the fringes of this transformation, is expected to be a beneficiary as more attention and focus will turn to the increased liveability of CBD fringe properties.
- SGH Transformation
In 2016, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong revealed a 20-year SGH Campus Masterplan (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-vlV2T8-G4&feature=emb_logo) that will “triple the space for patient care and develop stronger capabilities by integrating medical care, research and education” and essentially revamp the current SGH layout which was completed in 1981. Several parts of the project have been completed, including the Academia building in 2013 and Outram Community Hospital in 2019 but many more are still in the works, including the new National Cancer Centre, A&E Block and National Dental Centre among others. The new SGH Complex will be developed in Phase 2, which is expected to take place in 2026. The hope is that with the SGH transformation in place, there will be greater demand from healthcare professionals for properties near the hospital.
- Neighbouring White Sites / Residential Developments
If you have a look at the latest URA Masterplan, you will notice that there are several land plots in the vicinity of One Pearl Bank that has been earmarked “Residential”. Several of them have lower plot ratios (3.5 vs 7.2 for One Pearl Bank) hence we do not expect views to be severely impacted. What’s more exciting however, is the White site that is located at the Outram MRT itself, which is just across from One Pearl Bank. The trend in recent years has been to build shopping centres and private apartments above MRT stations so I won’t be surprised if this eventually becomes the case. Of course, till then, all of this remains pure speculation on my part. The renewed interest in the area going forward will only bode well for One Pearl Bank.
- Rail Corridor
The 24km Rail Corridor from Woodlands Train Checkpoint to Tanjong Pagar Railway Station is set to bring about greater accessibility for the adventurous living around these areas, including residents of One Pearl Bank. It will cut through the Bukit Timah stretch, where the Bukit Timah Railway Station will be revitalised to provide spaces for the community. With this in place, sporty residents of One Pearl Bank can look forward to a scenic ride or jog around the rest of the island.
What we like
- Iconic architecture
- Close to park/greenery
- Immediate walking distance to 3 MRT lines
What we don’t like
- –Odd-shaped layouts
- –Some units are a little impractical – very dependent on individual lifestyle
I have no doubt that One Pearl Bank would be the iconic development of the Outram / Chinatown area for many years to come, just as it was so back in 1976. Beyond its architectural brilliance, its transport convenience is also unbeatable, with 3 MRT lines close by. It is also close to the CBD but yet boasts of nature (at Pearl Hill’s City Park) and everyday conveniences (at Chinatown) close by.
Personally, it’s a love-hate relationship with One Pearl Bank’s architecture. On the one hand, it has an amazing, modern arc-shaped façade, enhanced by its extensive use of greenery. On the other hand, the odd shaped layouts especially in some units make One Pearl Bank an impractical choice. Moreover, while dining facilities come adequate, I do find that facilities meant to encourage a healthy lifestyle (pool, gym) are slightly lacking.
One Pearl Bank stands out as a development with great views, good connectivity, and lots of green spaces. Its Renovation Zero concept and use of quality fittings also help investors with the renting process significantly. As mentioned earlier, there are Star Buys for larger units. They start from just below $2,200 psf for low floor units, which I personally think makes them worth a look. However, the prices are undoubtedly steep for smaller units, especially for those on higher floors, so you must truly love what you are getting at One Pearl Bank before committing to a purchase.
What this means for you
You might like One Pearl Bank if you:
• Appreciate the convenience & heritage of Outram Park:
Minutes walk from 3 MRT lines makes this exceptionally convenient. Doesn’t hurt to be located in Singapore’s largest historical district either.
• Desire a fuss-free move-in:
Renovation Zero means you don’t have to fret over the little stuff – the lights and curtains are included. Branded and aesthetically pleasing fittings also help to go a long way.
You may not like One Pearl Bank if you:
• Dislike odd-shaped layouts:
credit to the architects for trying to make the units here as functional as possible but there’s a limit to how much they could do with the arc-shaped façade of One Pearl Bank.
• Have a strict budget:
If you place convenience as a top priority, it’s hard to look past One Pearl Bank. But if you are on a stricter budget, there are more affordable options around.