On November 13, 2018, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) of Singapore put over 7200 flats for sale. While most of these are Build-To-Order (BTO) units, the rest are Balance Flats. Of the said number as many as 1,620 are units in Plantation Grove, Plantation District. Plantation is one of five developing housing districts in the upcoming town of Tengah.
Tengah, an agrarian locality that has served as a military training ground in the past, is being built up to become one of Singapore’s most eco-friendly new towns. It has earned the distinction of being the ”first forest town” of Singapore. It is also the first planned township in over two decades.
The entire town has been designed using green architecture, making Tengah Singapore’s first township based on sustainable technology. As Singapore’s first smart HDB town, Tengah will have a tow-center, which promises to be cent percent car-free. Among its many smart features, the town is set to have an energy and resource-conserving urban water harvesting system. This will be collecting rainwater mainly for the purposes of irrigation and cleaning of public areas.
The current plan of Tengah allots about 2000 square meters specifically for building community gardens. These are in addition to internal community parks already part of individual housing projects. The town blueprint also allocates a sizable area to be cultivated into fruit tree plantations and vegetable farms.
The Housing and Development Board hopes this will help promote local farmers markets and encourage residents to grow their own produce. They hope this will also encourage educational use of the outdoors in the form of open-air classrooms. HDB aims to revive the “kampung spirit” as part of its long-term vision for Tengah. Most playgrounds have also been designed thematically in keeping with the town’s green vision of showcasing and sustaining its heritage.
The district of Plantation has a land area of 90ha. It will have around 10,000 residential flats by the time of completion. A 700-meter long and 40-meter wide farm-way will run through the entire layout of the district. The farm-way is designed with quadrangular open areas at regular intervals along its length. These will double up as community areas for amenities, eateries, recreation, and shops.
In terms of commuting convenience, the district layout also features bus stops situated within 300 meters of most residential areas. A path for cycling and a path for pedestrians will be laid out alongside every road in the district. All parks will feature wide shared paths for cycling and walking.
Authorities are also planting a “forest fringe” of about fifteen to twenty meters width around the outer boundaries of the district so that a scenic view and clean ambiance is available for all.
In terms of its geographical location, Plantation district lies in the southernmost part of Tengah. It is conveniently accessible by the Bukit Batok Road and the Pan-Island Expressway. In addition, two MRT stations along the Jurong Regional Line (projected to start operating in 2026) will be within commuting distance of Plantation. The upcoming Jurong Innovation District is also located nearby.
Potential buyers of the BTO flats in Plantation Grove have the option of choosing a centralized cooling system for their flats instead of making their personal air-system arrangements. This is the first time this option has been made available in any HDB estate. In addition, every residential unit will be equipped with additional sockets, data and power points. This is to encourage and facilitate the day-to-day use of smart home devices.
Since the districts in Tengah are currently non-mature estates, the flats are available at a very affordable range. However, the developmental scope of the town promises a quick rise in estate value in the near future and is drawing the attention of investors. Authorities are estimating an average of at least three applicants per available flat during this first phase of booking.
The price range for the currently available BTO units varies from $101,000 to over $472,000 (not considering grants) depending on location, size and amenities available. Buyers have an option to choose from two-room Flexi, three-room, four-room, five-room, and HDB 3Gen flats. The units available for sale also include BTO flats in Sengkang, Yishun, Sembawang, and Tampines. Balance Flats in Bukit Batok, Clementi, and Bishan are also available for sale.
Buyers of these flats have the added benefit of not having to wait too long to move into their new homes. The usual waiting time for completion of flats in mature estates can run up to four years or longer. The current batch of flats, by comparison, is projected to be ready within the next two to three years.
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