For an estate still in the making, Bidadari already has properties that are in high public demand; we uncover the plans for this garden oasis.
Since the late 1980s, the Saint Andrew’s School has been located on its 4.18ha site in Potong Pasir.
Once completed in 2020, the approximately 93ha Bidadari estate will be home to some 11,000 residential units, the majority being Housing Board (HDB) flats. The estate will provide new flats for those looking to live around the mature estates of Bishan and Toa Payoh. Situated north of Sennett and Potong Pasir estates, Bidadari – which translates to fairy or angel in Malay – is a former cemetery and is still home to the Mount Vernon Columbarium and some gravesites, including those of some well-known Singaporeans.
These will be cleared by 2017. With notable schools such as Maris Stella High School, Saint Andrew’s Secondary School and Stamford American International School in its vicinity, and flanked by three MRT stations – Woodleigh, Bartley and Potong Pasir – Bidadari homes are in high demand by young parents and expats alike, which will turn the once quiet green enclave into a bustling estate in coming years.
Property investors can look forward to capitalising on rental income following the influx of foreign students looking for lodging near the estate, such as in the Hill Lodge Student Hostel at Mount Vernon.
The bidding exercise for most of the 10,000 HDB residential units on offer made the headlines last year for being oversubscribed. The five-room flats in Alkaff Vista topped the list, and were oversubscribed by more than 23 times – there were 3,517 applicants for just 151 units! This is despite flats in Bidadari being more costly than similarly-sized ones in Fernvale Woods, a HDB project in the non-mature Sengkang estate, which were on offer in the same bidding exercise. A four-room flat in Fernvale Woods was going for at least $252,000 excluding grants, compared with $433,000 for a similar-size flat in Bidadari, according to HDB.
KEEPING THE HERITAGE
Much of the greenery and historical significance of the current Bidadari estate will be here to stay. The 10ha Bidadari Park will recreate the original Alkaff Lake – a Japanese-themed leisure garden and lake that was popular with families on the weekends back in the late 1920s – which was located off MacPherson Road. The park will also feature the first underground service reservoir. The raw water in the Alkaff Lake will be kept separate from the water in the service reservoir, which stores only reserves of drinking water, used to regulate supply and boost water pressure when demand is high. The graves and relics of prolific Singaporeans will be relocated to the park from the current Bidadari Memorial Garden. Getting residents to embrace a greener means of getting around the estate was another consideration. For the first time, the HDB required that there be a minimum of one sheltered bicycle parking space for every six flats. The Bidadari Park, which will be the Green Lung of the estate, will have Green Fingers that reach the estate’s borders, allowing cyclists an easy way to get around.
WE TAKE A LOOK AT THE KEY FEATURES OF PUBLIC HOUSING FLATS IN THE ESTATE AND THE PLANS FOR AMENITIES AND COMMUNAL AREAS.
Alkaff Lake View and Alkaff Court View Offering panoramic views of Alkaff Lake in the due-to-be completed Bidadari Park, these blocks of flats come in a mixture of three- and four-room units with a handful of two-room flexi-flats only at Alkaff Court View. The design and architecture of these flats are made to enhance community bonding. Both flats feature landscaped roofdecks, which will enable residents to hold events and mingle with each other. Construction of Alkaff Lake View is likely to be completed by the end of 2019, and Alkaff Court View by the second quarter of 2020.
Alkaff Vista Situated closer to the Sennett and Potong Pasir housing estates, these flats will be completed earlier, within the third quarter of 2019. Vertical greenery, sky terraces and roof gardens will feature prominently in the exterior design, consisting of 350 units of larger four- to five-room apartments. The unique landscaping around Alkaff Vista is aimed at establishing a park-living theme.
Market Square (integrated development) Situated next to Bidadari Park, this yet-to-be-named mixed use development will be connected to Woodleigh MRT station. It will house a food centre, an air-conditioned underground bus interchange, community facilities and a mix of three- and four-room flats above ground. These flats are set to go on sale in August.
The Bidadari Greenway stretches the length of Bartley Road to Serangoon, and will consist of shops and shelters along the pedestrian and cycling paths. Residents will be able to take a walk down memory lane literally, thanks to the Heritage Walk, which will feature tree-lined boulevards, and include photos and signs that highlight the history of landmarks such as the Bidadari House – once owned by a Sultan of Johor. The National Heritage Board and HDB wants the project to ensure the historical significance of Bidadari is retained even as the estate is redeveloped.
Keeping in step with the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s “A Community in a Garden” vision for the estate, greenery will be a major feature in Bidadari, extending beyond the park, to include the garden-living theme of Alkaff Vista.
The name Alkaff is derived from the prominent and wealthy Arab family of the same name, which built the original Alkaff Lake Gardens in 1929. The first underground service reservoirs in Bidadari Park will be able to hold enough water to fill three Olympicsized pools.
With most of the Build-To- Order flats in the estate already snapped up in the bidding exercise held last November, prospective property buyers can look to private housing options. One example is Bartley Ridge, which is situated in close proximity to Bartley MRT station and Maris Stella High School. Construction on the 868-unit private condominium will likely be completed in 2018. Otherwise, the Botanique at Bartley is a 797-unit private condominium project located close to Nex shopping mall and Bartley MRT station, which makes weekend grocery shopping more convenient and accessible.
Homeowners can head to cafes in the neighbouring Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park 2 on the weekends.
Property investors looking to pocket healthy rental incomes should not overlook the potential of Bidadari. The sheer number of schools located within the estate, especially Stamford American International School, will mean a steady stream of foreign students and expats looking for housing options within close proximity. Private condominiums such as Euro-Asia Park, located off Woodleigh Close, and One Leicester (near Potong Pasir), are popular among foreign students and expats, and fetch $3,000 or more for rental each month (at press time), according to ST Property.
Residents of Bidadari can enjoy cycling along the scenic 7.87km Kallang Park Connector Network.
With its design philosophy, planned infrastructure and amenities, as well as future commercial developments around Woodleigh and Potong Pasir MRT stations, it is likely that the Bidadari estate will remain one of the top choices among prospective property investors and buyers in the future.
Don’t miss part two of our special series on new HDB townships, where we put the spotlight on Tampines North.