Macau is no longer a quaint provincial town with colonial vestiges to photograph and discuss. It’s still architecturally notable in many ways, and those same colonial vestiges are very often delicious, but Macau is also now a major gaming hub in a huge region where organised gambling is more often against the law than not. Some of the world’s most prominent hospitality operators now with presences in Macau (Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts, Hard Rock Cafe, Banyan Tree, Galaxy Entertainment, The Hyatt, Four Seasons and Starwood as just a few) have executives in the city, freshly affluent Mainland entrepreneurs who enjoy a game or two of Blackjack and local Macanese who’ve benefitted from the city’s growth are all looking for luxury homes these days. And Macau is still thin in that department.
The Evolution of Leasing
Enter owner and asset manager Sniper Capital and its One Central Macau Tower 6: The Waterside. When Sniper picked up the tower at One Central, there was never any question of redesigning, redecorating and then reselling the apartments; they were always going to be rental properties, with Sniper banking on increasing demand for up-market rentals in Macau. They were right. “Since our initial launch in 2010, we have seen increasing interest in exclusive and world-class accommodation in Macau from senior casino executives, businessmen and in general high net worth individuals,” explains Sniper’s Senior Associate of Asset Management, Karen Lau. “Strong economic growth and rising income levels also consistently support market demand. We believe all these factors will act as significant driving forces of real estate values over the long-term, especially in undervalued markets such as Macau.” As Lau points out general demand continues to push property prices up (an increase of between 10 and 15 percent this year), with rental growth outstripping capital appreciation. “Overall we believe residential properties in Macau possess strong long-term potential.”
At 40 storeys but with only 59 units, The Waterside is clearly hoping to distinguish itself from the smattering of luxury leasing providers operating now. Flats range from approximately 2,200 to 4,700 square feet in two design themes for standard suites — the opulent Classic Collection and the streamlined Contemporary Collection. The eight Sapphire Suites are located on upper floors and focus on elegance and include 24-hour concierge and housekeeping services. Whether it’s bling, straight lines and neutral tones or European-esque court finery you want, The Waterside does its best to deliver. But the jewels in The Waterside’s crown are the top level Emerald Suites, a trio of four-bedroom simplex units measuring 4,700 square feet each, and two three- and four-bedroom duplexes ranging from 4,400 to 4,500 square feet. The Emerald Suites feature floor-to-ceiling windows and private sky terraces and pretty spectacular views of Nam Van and Sai Van lakes.
Living in the Now
“Our focus has been to develop projects that resonate with people seeking tailored quality and comfort,” says Lau. “The Waterside sets a new standard in building quality and property management in Macau, which previously lacked high quality residential developments.” The Waterside’s premium suites were designed by Japanese firm Glamorous’s Yasumichi Morita, recognisable in Hong Kong for the W and Tokyo’s Joel Robuchon among scores of other hotel and residential spaces. Nothing at The Waterside feels forced, and it’s a million miles away from the gold-plated chintz aesthetic that defined luxury even a decade ago. A short trip through the carpark podium takes you directly into One Central’s shopping concourse, where the first door to the street faces the Wynn. It’s surprising because while inside the building it feels as though it could be in tranquil Coloane. But The Waterside is walking distance from all of Macau’s action — shopping, gaming and business. Rental rates range from HK$55,000 to $250,000 per month and there’s currently a waiting list.
The Waterside also features all the amenities and facilities expected of a property like it, and that includes a five-level, nearly 120,000-square foot clubhouse, with indoor and 50-metre outdoor swimming pools, a fully equipped gym, tennis courts, function rooms, terrace space for lounging and comprehensive children’s facilities. Major appliances are by Gaggenau, Franke, Miele, Duravit and Die Dietrich, cookware comes from French manufacturer Staub and toiletries are by UK supplier Sanderson. The flexible leasing includes membership in The Waterside Club, which affords residents exclusive shopping, lifestyle and dining privileges. “Macau is now the world’s dominant gaming destination,” Lau sums up. “The city is also on-track to becoming a global leisure and tourism destination as its non-gaming segments further gain traction in the coming years.” In other words, Sniper is going to have to find a way to get its hands on Tower 5 too.