In Singapore certain buildings are located on the boundary between 2 districts, and can play an important part in the evolution in an entire area. For instance, the old 13-story Maxwell House, situated at the intersection of the CBD as well as Chinatown. It was built in 1971. Maxwell House was located at the address 20 Maxwell Road for the next 50 years. It was considered to be part of District 1 and also the CBD as a result, making it was part of the Core Central Region (CCR).
On April 20, 2021 Maxwell House was acquired as a bloc through a 40:30/30 joint venture with Chip Eng Seng Corp, SingHaiyi Group and Chuan Investments for $276.8 million. Redeveloped into the brand TMW Maxwell TMW Maxwell, the building can be accessed via Tras Street, a quieter street with a side that is lined by shops and houses that lie just from on the Maxwell Road thoroughfare.
The new address change in the 31st Tras Street and the orientation of the building place TMW Maxwell in Chinatown in District 2. This means it’s now located in the Rest of Central Region (RCR).
Hillock Green Lentor Central mrt offer direct access to the Thomson-East Coast Line via covered walkways.
Despite the fact that the property was not eligible for CBD Incentive Scheme or Strategic Development Incentive Scheme, the committee for collective sale from the previous Maxwell House had obtained an Outline Planning Permission to increase the plot ratio from 4.3 to 5.6. This means that TMW Maxwell enjoys a 30% rise in plot ratio and has the gross floor area (GFA) that is at least 233,987 square feet.
“When this group sale site [formerly Maxwell Housestarted and we began to think about the idea of a vertical garden amid the concrete jungle and how we could help make working from home enjoyable for our customers,” says Raymond Chia who is the Group CEO of Chip Eng Seng.
URA believes that this is “a crucial connection point that connects with the Conservation Area of Club Street and Ann Siang Hill to the Tras Street-Tanjong Pgar Conservation area” according to Michael Ng, executive director of CEL Development, the property part of Chip Eng Seng.
URA even enlisted the design advisory panel (DAP) consisting of a group of architects who analyzed the design. “The DAP looked at the aesthetics of the project and how it blends into the CBD,” says Peter Wee the general manager of marketing and business development for CEL Development. “Getting the planning permit and the written permission was a lengthy process.”
Flexible spaces, vertical gardens
The 20-story TMW Maxwell was developed by the renowned Singapore-based architect business Formwerkz Architects. The mixed-use project will comprise 11 commercial units from the basement up to the third floor, and 324 housing units from the fourth to the 20th floor. The mixed-use development has 99-year lease that runs from April 2023. It is expected to be completed by the beginning of 2027.
The commercial units – made up between retail as well as F&B within the upper level of the property comprise approximately twenty% in the GFA. These F&B units on each level will be facing the pedestrian walkway. There is a linkway through the block for pedestrians to walk along Tras Street.
Landscape designer Compound Collaborative has designed the public space as an “outdoor living space” with comfortable seating areas, including the amphitheatre seating area that extends from the basement level to the third floor. “This is an important central point for URA because they’re looking to revitalize this stretch of Tanjong Pagar and Tras Street,” says Ng.
From the fourth through 20th levels is a collection of gardens that are vertically stacked that offer amenities including lounges, pools, an observation deck, and peaceful places to study, read or meditate. They are available exclusive to residents and go up to the roof which has more amenities which include eating areas, a clubhouse, fitness center and a 25-meter infinity lap pool, with a jacuzzi and lounge chairs, and aqua seats.
The majority of% of the apartments in TMW Maxwell comprise studios, with dimensions ranging from 476.3 to 479.4 square feet. They’re designed as “flip/switch models” with rooms that can be altered according to the requirements of the inhabitants, such as a moveable walk-in wardrobe that has a pull-out work space to a queen-sized Murphy bed that is a part of a sofa with a pull-out table for dining on the counter in the kitchen, as well as a concealed outdoor table with a pull-out which is a perfect spot to enjoy wines on a calm evening.
Justin Quek, deputy CEO of OrangeTee & Tie, sees the switch and flip studios as “fresh innovative, exciting that is relevant for their population who will be awed by the concept of live-work-play that is a part of the vibrant neighborhood of Tanjong Pagar”.
The flip/switch model “is perfect for people who don’t necessarily want to spend a lot of time at home, but enjoy the flexibility of rooms that can be used for work at home or for entertaining” according to Quek. “This is balanced by having the spaces sized efficiently so that prices are more affordable.”
Another 21% of the units are one-bedroom and one-bedroom-plus-study, ranging from 510 to 567 sq ft. Five lofts with one bedroom that range from 843 to 870 square feet. 2 bedroom and 2-bedroom dual-key units that have dimensions ranging from 792 to 860 sq ft comprise fifteen% percent of units.
“At TMW Maxwell, we have developed a live-work-play idea that is designed to meet the needs of people who prefer to be in cities,” says Chip Eng Seng’s Chia. “People who work from home might not be able to stay in their home for the entire day. To get a break from the monotony you can visit one of the tranquil corners within the vertical gardens or the seating areas with a landscape down the hall.”
Around 85% of the units at TMW Maxwell will cost between $1.5 million to $2 million. Prices start at $3,188 per square foot.
Marcus Chua, CEO of ERA Singapore, says TMW’s pricing “is in the optimal point” as 37.2 % of the residential transactions this year were within the $1.5 million to $2 million price range.
“With mostly one-bedroom and studio units with prices that range from $1.5 million to $2.5 million TMW will be focusing its efforts on an investment of quantum magnitude,” says Ismail Gafoor who is the PropNex’s CEO. PropNex.
Peter Wee, CEL Development’s general director of marketing and business development believes that young professionals working in the CBD are the primary market. “They love living close to their workplaces because the development is close to Tanjong Pagar, Robinson Road and Cecil Street,” he states. “It’s located across the street to the F&B and bars in Ann Siang Hill, Club Street and Chinatown.”
Maxwell Food Centre is located directly across the street. In the near future, there’ll be F&B choices on some of the upper floors at TMW Maxwell. Chia’s Chip Eng Seng Chia shares that instead leasing the eleven commercial buildings in one title in a strata, Chip Eng Seng will be overseeing the retail as well as F&B tenants. “We would like to ensure that there is an appropriate mixture in F&B as well as retail” Chip Eng Seng says.
TMW Maxwell is just a 2 minute walk across the road from Maxwell MRT Station (Thomson-East Coast Line). From there, it’s only 1 MRT stop away to Shenton Way. Tanjong Pagar MRT Station (East-West Line) is also walking distance. Raffles Place being just one MRT stop away, and City Hall two stops away.
Its position at the boundary with the CBD is a major draw, says Gafoor of PropNex. “It’s not located in the middle of the CBD since it’s right across the street from the Maxwell Food Centre, with Chinatown close by,” he adds. “TMW offers the ideal of both worlds. It will be a popular choice for young couples and singles who enjoy the convenience of a work-live-play model and the convenience of not having to travel far to work in the city.”
Alongside the locals Gafoor anticipates TMW Maxwell to also draw permanent residents as well as international visitors from five nations that have an agreement for free trade with Singapore. They can benefit from the buyer’s stamp duty reduction Gafoor says. The five countries are US, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
Upcoming developments nearby
Chia’s Chip Eng Seng Chia is aware of upcoming projects that are planned in the area. Soon after the joint venture partners bought the previously-owned Maxwell House, the 351-unit One Bernam was officially launched in the early part of May 2021. While the median price for One Bernam is $2,528 psf and units located on at the top of 24th floors have been offered for prices ranging from $3000 to $3340 per square foot since September of last year according to caveats filed. As of now, 54.4% of the units at One Bernam have been taken up.
The next step is the opening of 246 units at Newport Residences (redevelopment from the old Fuji Xerox Towers) located on Anson Road, part of an open-hold development which includes office buildings, serviced apartments and retail.
There’s also the 215-unit Skywater Residences. It is the possibility of a range of one-to four-bedroom units that are situated on the top floors of Singapore’s next tallest building, with 63 storeys and 305 metres high. The tower is being developed as an expansion of the AXA Tower located at 8. Shenton Way by Alibaba and Perennial Holdings in a 50:50 joint venture. Chip Eng Seng and SingHaiyi purchased 21% part of PRE13 which is the subsidiary of Perennial Holdings which owns its 50% part within AXA Tower. Skywater Residences is designed as an ultra-luxury residence.
Malaysian company IOI Properties will develop a new residential development of 748 units, Marina View Residences which will include a luxurious hotel located at Marina View. The development is situated on an site close to Shenton Way MRT Station that the developer won as the sole bidder in the government land sale auction worth $1.508 billion in September 2021.
In the latter part of June, Chinese developer Kingsford Group was awarded the bid for the site located at Marina Gardens Lane by submitting the most expensive price that was $1.034 billion ($1,402 per square foot for plot ratio) in conjunction in partnership with Obsidian Development and Polarix Cultural & Science Park Investment. It is a 99-year leasehold site comprising 131,805 square feet is zoned for residential and commercial on the first level and is able to be transformed into a 790-unit residential development with 8,073 square feet of commercial space.
But, Chip Eng Seng’s Chia is adamant about his product. “This idea is available at TMW can’t be replicated elsewhere and everywhere else,” he says.
Apart from couples who are single and dink (dual earnings, with no children) families, Mark Yip, CEO of Huttons Asia, sees TMW appealing to investors seeking to tap into the rental demand from professionals who work located in the CBD. Yip believes investors will appreciate the dual-key units. “The dimensions and the mix of units are designed to appeal to the local market and are expected to receive a positive reaction,” he adds.
TMW Maxwell presents “a good investment” in District 2 for investors, as per the ERA’s Chu. “District 2 is home to the second highest rent at $7.34 per month, psf for two-bedroom and one-bedroom condominium units, which is lower than District 6, which is the High Street, Beach Road zone,” he says.
Based on lease and sale transactions that have occurred in the Tanjong Pagar-CBD region this area is very popular among young professionals, says OrangeTee’s Quek.