Developers all over the world, but particularly in the Mid and Far East, are racing to build ever higher, bigger and arguably better multipurpose skyscrapers, with affluent homebuyers benefiting from a variety of amenities right on, or more likely under, their doorstep. Rising more than 310m above the city, on Narathiwas Road between Silom and Sathorn in the heart of Bangkok’s business and residential district, MahaNakhon is currently the Thai capital’s tallest building.
Behind the unique pixelated glass facade with a cuboid-surfaced spiral cut into its side, which has become an architectural landmark emblematic of the city’s forward-looking self- confidence, owners of the 200 Ritz-Carlton Residences on levels 23 to 73 enjoy every modern mixed-use convenience.
Beneath them is approximately 10,000 square metres of upmarket shopping and restaurants including the likes of a Dean & Deluca and a L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, as well as the 150-key Edition Hotel, conceived by Ian Schrager and operated by Ritz-Carlton. The hotel provides residents with à la carte concierge service, the better to experience all this amazing city has to offer, as well as a range of spa, sporting and hospitality offerings.
Due to be completed later this year, the homes themselves are divided between two- and three-bedroom apartments on floors 23 to 54, and the rather grander Sky Residences between the 57th and 73rd floors. The latter have either three, four or five bedrooms, some with private terraces, others with gravity-defying glass sky boxes. Atop the entire skyscraper is a terrace and bar with 360 degree views of Bangkok. MahaNakhon means “great metropolis” in Thai, and it would be hard to find a grander multipurpose development anywhere in the world.
New Yorkers, however, might disagree. Manhattan has witnessed any number of fine mixed-use schemes over the past 50 years or so, of which 75 Wall is just the latest exemplar. The 42-storey tower on Wall and Water Streets pairs 346 opulent condos with the award-winning Hyatt-managed Andaz Wall Street Hotel. Masters of the Universe, to whom the apartments will probably appeal, will appreciate the discrete 60-seat Dina Rata restaurant featuring farm-fresh cuisine, as well as the spa, fitness centre and rooftop lounge, not to mention all the concierge, housekeeping and valet laundry services one would associate with a fine hotel.
Nearby Brookfield Place and the forthcoming Westfield World Trade Center take care of all retail therapy needs, and some of Gotham’s favourite eateries, such as Delmonico’s, are within strolling distance. The variously sized condos themselves are suitably plush: wide-planked, white-oak flooring, three-metre-high ceilings with large picture windows looking out over that famous skyline, kitchen appliances by Boffi, Sub-Zero and Liebherr, marbled bathrooms – yadda, yadda, as New Yorkers say. This is a big- ticket affair pitched at anyone who needs a blue-chip Wall Street base.
In contrast to these two very urban developments, the oceanfront Jewel complex on Australia’s Gold Coast, just south of Brisbane, has a rather more sporty feel. Queensland hasn’t figured on the international radar as much as Sydney or Melbourne, but in 2018, the Gold Coast will host the Commonwealth Games, so expect to hear more from this quintessential sun, sea and surf region in coming years.
Jewel’s ethos is essentially recreational, with theme parks, entertainment venues, retail and, of course, the ocean itself at the heart of the AU$1bn Chinese-backed enterprise. The brand-new 169-suite Wanda Vista hotel will be the largest five-star in the region, providing all the facilities, including signature restaurants, that make mixed- use developments such a winning formula. Three grand towers, modelled on smokey quartz crystal shards mined locally, will house 512 apartments, featuring one-, two- and three-bedroom options, in 50 different configurations. Washed driftwood grain floors, marble and onyx give a flavour of the high-spec interiors designed to appeal to both Aussie and international buyers.
This and similar multi-use schemes use modest footprints of land to maximum effect, so as prime sites in recreational and urban locales become scarcer, more will be built. The future has arrived and it’s reaching for the sky.