In Conversation with Hsing Yao, Group MD of GuocoLand
Does the recent pandemic change the way GuocoLand designs or develops their upcoming projects?
We spoke to Mr Cheng Hsing Yao, Group Managing Director of GuocoLand about the company’s latest integrated mixed-use development, Guoco Midtown, which will give rise to Singapore's future-ready Midtown District to find out more. Let’s get to it!
1. How does GuocoLand envision what a City of the Future encompass?
We use the triple bottom line sustainability framework as our guide. Our developments aim to maximise the positive impact on social, environment and economic fronts.
The upcoming Guoco Midtown in the Bugis-Beach Road area will be one of the largest projects ever with a lot of uses - primarily including premium Grade A offices, 3 retail clusters and 2 residential developments (Midtown Bay and Midtown Modern).
There will be approximately 3.2ha (equivalent of 5 soccer fields) of landscape areas, comprising more than 20 concept gardens and public spaces. On the social front, there will be events like exercise classes and more that everybody can join in. We place strong emphasis on greenery and wellness while catering to the flexibility of businesses, integrating residential and retail components.
Our efforts have also led us to be accorded the title of Green Mark Champion at this year’s BCA Awards for our contributions to Singapore’s sustainability development goals.
2. How will the transformation of Bugis compare to mainstream hotspots like District 9/10 (Orchard)?
The Orchard area is definitely known for its shopping belt. In contrast, the entire District 7 is going to be diverse in culture with a lot new projects, changes in Bras Basah and conservation at Kampong Glam. The National Museum of Singapore and Singapore Management University (SMU) are also in the vicinity.
I believe that different business sectors such as IT and Finance will be looking at setting up their offices in this area, plus new residents will be very attracted to Bugis for its vibrancy, accessibility to retail, food and transport.
3. How will Guoco Midtown stand out from other developments that are incorporating post-Covid new norms and 'WFH' concepts or similar ideas of large unit sizes and some commercial aspects?
For us, the project was conceived before Covid-19 with the emergent trends of lifestyles (live, work and play), targeting at how our future lifestyles will evolve. This meant planning the whole development as a district on its own with high quality products that are built to last.
One of Guoco Midtown’s residential components, Midtown Bay, was designed with the modern-day user’s perspective and experience in mind. With its layout, the homeowner has the flexibility to convert parts of the unit to a work or storage space and still have plenty of room for living and entertaining. The areas for living and dining are comfortably spaced out as I strongly believe that part and parcel of living a good life is happiness at home and with good relationships.
4. How would Midtown Modern positioning be different Midtown Bay? Are there any distinctive characteristics between the 2 residential developments?
Midtown Bay is positioned as a home-office hybrid, where residents also enjoy exclusive membership to our Network Hub. There are 219 units of 1 to 3-bedroom options with the two-storey duplex units designed for three possible setups – residential, dual key and home office. Getting around the island is also a breeze with direct links to Bugis MRT Interchange and Suntec City.
On the other hand, Midtown Modern is a residence designed more for families who want to buy for owner-occupation. There will be a large garden with various facilities not available in other CBD projects.
5. With this pandemic, how will office rental and commercial spaces be affected?
There will still be a demand for office space in future. While working from home has its benefits, people need places for collaboration and creation. In addition, our Government is attracting many foreign corporates to set up offices here. We also provide flexibility for businesses through the flexible leasing concept which will enable higher density and efficiency.
For the 3 retail villages, there will be different themes for each of them. For the first one, it will be at Midtown Modern with a more casual concept on the street level. The cluster next to the offices will have more high-end retail offerings while the one at Midtown House – the conservation building that was formerly the Old Beach Road Police Station – will feature signature restaurants.
In summary, we believe that a good location, great environment and quality design will instill greater confidence in businesses and investors, and excite office workers.
Comments reproduced with permission from developer.
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