Over the course of many decades, Lucky Plaza has proven to one of the most enduring of Orchard Road shopping malls, even if it lacks the glamour of newer establishments on the famous shopping belt.
Lucky Plaza opened its doors in 1978 and immediately became a resounding success. In the 70s and 80s, it made a name for itself as one of the first multi-storey, air-conditioned shopping malls not just in Singapore but the world, attracting a wealthy clientele who came from far and wide to shop at its many luxury boutiques.
As times changed and newer, more modern malls supplanted it, Lucky Plaza reinvented itself as a Filipino enclave. Before the COVID-19 pandemic emptied out its corridors, Lucky Plaza was a vibrant meeting point not only for Filipinos living in Singapore, but also others attracted to the unpretentious atmosphere and the affordable dining options and beauty salons.
But unbeknownst to many, Lucky Plaza is actually a mixed use development, with the shopping mall making up just one part of the building. Rising above the retail area is a residential block of freehold apartments that many do not know exists.
Lucky Plaza – the heart of Singapore’s Filipino community
Today, the dated-looking building housing Lucky Plaza is best known as a meeting place for Singapore’s Filipino community. It is now filled with businesses catering to this group of people, including eateries serving up Filipino cuisine, beauty salons, shops selling snacks and inexpensive clothing, and remittance services.
Located on Orchard Road not far from the intersection with Scotts Road, Lucky Plaza has an enviable location. Long before newer malls such as TripleOne Somerset or Orchard Central existed, Lucky Plaza was already in the thick of the action. It is surrounded by some of Orchard Road’s most established malls, with Wisma Atria and Ngee Ann City sitting just across the road, and Paragon and Tang Plaza right next door.
Prior to COVID-19, the mall would come to life every weekend as Filipinos gathered to share a meal, get a haircut, shop and socialise. While there are Filipino eateries in various parts of Singapore, Lucky Plaza is home to some of the oldest and most authentic. Beauty salons are also a common feature at the mall, perhaps due to the fact that until the last decade, the majority of the Filipino community in Singapore was female.
Unfortunately, Lucky Plaza has been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. From 29 August 2020, Lucky Plaza and Burmese enclave Peninsula Plaza have been slapped with entry restrictions that have decimated traffic. On weekends, visitors are only allowed entry according to the last digit on their IC or foreign IC numbers. Those whose IC numbers end in even digits are allowed entry on different days from those whose numbers end in odd digits.
The restrictions have dramatically reduced foot traffic and caused merchants at the mall to submit an appeal to the authorities to relax the rules.
While the lack of visitors might be disastrous for Lucky Plaza’s merchants, life goes on for the residents of Lucky Plaza Apartments.
Lucky Plaza Apartments – A Hidden Gem?
Lucky Plaza Apartments consist of a single 30-storey apartment block rising above the shopping mall. Developed by Far East Organisation and completed in 1981, the 88 freehold apartment units do not look impressive from the outside but actually enjoy an excellent location on prime land.
The mall’s heyday might be over, but its unassuming image might ironically help to lower prices of freehold units in what is one of Singapore’s most attractive locations.
In addition to two-, three- four- and five-bedroom units, the development also houses studio units.
The sale price range is currently about $1,900,000 to $6,300,000, which translates to a per square foot price of about $2,178 to $3,818.
PropertyGuru currently has several listings for 872 square foot 2-bedroom units going for $1,900,000 to $1,988,888, which translates to about $2,178 to $2,280 per square foot.
A sizeable number of owners are currently renting out their units. Rents range from $1,000 to $7,000. Our current listings indicate that rents for 2-bedroom units are in the $3,000 to $4,000 range.
Compared to similar residential properties on Orchard Road, many units at Lucky Plaza Apartments actually quite undervalued, as per square foot sale prices of over $2,500 are common for both leasehold and freehold private apartments in the area.
While the whole of Orchard Road is considered highly desirable prime land, Lucky Plaza’s location is particularly strategic. It is located just a stone’s throw from an underground entryway leading directly to Orchard MRT. Its position close to the major intersection of Orchard Road and Scotts Road/Patterson Road boosts accessibility even further.
Unsurprisingly, residents enjoy an abundance of shopping and dining options, with multiple supermarkets and mini marts located within Lucky Plaza itself. Neighbouring malls such as Ngee Ann City, Paragon and Scotts Square also have their own supermarkets. The Orchard branch of the national library is located about 12 minutes’ walk away at Orchard Gateway.
Related article: Is It Ideal to Live Near Malls in Singapore?
Should You Consider A Home at Lucky Plaza?
Compared to newer, glitzier malls on Orchard Road, Lucky Plaza does not have the most modern appearance. It also happens to be a budget mall surrounded by upmarket establishments. As such, the development’s residential space, Lucky Plaza Apartments, might be overlooked by prospective buyers.
Upon closer inspection, however, Lucky Plaza Apartments actually enjoy an excellent profile, with a particularly unbeatable location, located just a stone’s throw from Orchard MRT and smack in the heart of Singapore’s most important shopping district.
The freehold status of the residences is also a draw for buyers who wish to opt for property whose value will be preserved over many generations.
While not exactly a bargain, units at Lucky Plaza Apartments are actually quite attractively priced compared to other freehold properties in the same area.
In summary, Lucky Plaza is an excellent choice for those who don’t mind a slightly older property without the shared facilities of luxury condo developments in exchange for being able to own freehold property on Orchard Road.
Interested in buying or renting a home in the heart of Orchard Road? Browse Lucky Plaza Apartments on PropertyGuru.
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