That is the gist of a plan by owners of the historic Pearl Bank Apartments – and they have won tentative backing from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).
The URA sees merit in conserving the horseshoe-shaped project in Outram, at 38 storeys the tallest residential building here when built in 1976.
It is also prepared to consider supporting some increase in gross floor area (GFA), in line with the management committee’s plan.
The owners want a conservation order for the building and propose that the GFA limit be lifted so a new residential block can be added. If they get the approvals, they then hope to entice a developer to rejuvenate the building.
The committee has called an extraordinary general meeting with owners tomorrow to seek consent from subsidiary proprietors.
A URA spokesman said that as the proposal affects the entire development and interests of subsidiary proprietors, all of them must be aware of the plan and agree. But she also said it “welcomes the ground-up initiative by the management committee to conserve Pearl Bank Apartments as there are merits for its conservation”.
“When the distinctive horseshoe-shaped building was completed in 1976, it was the tallest residential building in Singapore and had the highest density for residential development,” she told The Straits Times.
The conservation bid was set in motion last month, when owners representing about 45 per cent of overall share value voted to submit the application for voluntary conservation and redevelopment to the URA. More than 98 per cent were in favour.
The committee said in the letter to owners that it received a positive reply from the URA, as the authority is prepared to consider a maximum 15 per cent increase in GFA over and above the existing approved GFA of 55,102 sq m. This is subject to a cap of 430 units in all, including the 280-unit existing block, it said.
Under the plan, drawn up by the firm of Mr Tan Cheng Siong, who designed the original block, a 27-storey residential block may be built on the area now occupied by a five-storey carpark.
It will have a rooftop garden, a swimming pool and a bridge to the existing block’s 28th-floor common space. The owners will also ask the Singapore Land Authority to extend the 99-year lease.
The bid for conservation and redevelopment comes after three attempts at a collective sale from 2007 to 2011 – with no takers, owing to the high asking price.