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Thread: Private ayes

  1. #1
    mr funny is offline Any complaints please PM me
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    Default Private ayes

    http://www.straitstimes.com/Life%252...ry_335045.html

    February 7, 2009 Saturday

    Private ayes

    The [email protected]' residents are giving the thumbs-up to HDB's first condo-style flats

    By tan yi hui


    Mr Alan Teo (left, with son Chun Yew and with wife Alice Wong) spent $70,000 to renovate his 17th-floor five-room flat which now boasts, among other features, a living room in lavish dark colours and a "black diamond" finish on its walls. -- ST PHOTOS: DESMOND FOO

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    The view is to die for as you stand on the balcony of Mr Alan Teo's new 17th-floor home, gusts of wind whipping your hair.

    Off to the horizon is an unobstructed view of rolling hills and far-off HDB flats that look the size of matchboxes.

    Glancing left and right, you take in the sleek lines of the building that houses Mr Teo's flat. Its smart white paint is a contrast to the brick red of its HDB neighbours.

    This scene is from the highest floor of The [email protected], Singapore's first condo-style public housing built by a private developer - in this case, Sim Lian Land.

    Excited owners took their keys, and gained possession, to the development last month. Nearly all - about 95 per cent - of them did so, says Sim Lian, but the building is still more than half empty as some residents are still getting renovations done.

    Life! toured the swanky building last week and met some of the first residents.

    The building, on 2.1ha of land, is HDB living, luxury-style. It has features you cannot get in normal HDB flats, such as your own glass-panelled private balcony, built-in wardrobes, kitchen cabinets and parquet flooring in the bedrooms.

    Launched in 2006, The Premiere is the Housing Board's first privately developed flat under its Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS). There were two-, four- and five-room flats on offer at prices from $138,000 to $450,000 at that time.

    But unlike a condo, it does not have facilities such as a gym, tennis courts or a swimming pool.

    The Teos got their five-room flat for $428,000 during the launch and count themselves lucky as the project was an instant hit, with 5,914 applications pouring in over just two weeks. Of that number, 1,232 were invited to book a unit after balloting was done, but 121 flats were still not taken up when the deadline expired.

    Sim Lian then informed more than 4,000 remaining applicants that units would be released for walk-in selections and long queues formed.

    Although his flat came with posh fittings, Mr Teo, 46, a director of a bio-tech firm, tells Life! that he spent $70,000 on a face-lift. This included giving the living room a modern look with ceiling mirrors and a wall with a 'black diamond' theme.

    As he shows Life! around his flat, he recalls: 'During the renovations, we had strangers walking into the unit and saying, 'Oh, we just want to have a look'.'

    He says they were probably would-be residents, contractors or curious outsiders. 'I told them, sorry but this is my home. I can't just let anyone in,' he says with a chuckle.

    The family of four had to vacate their previous Tampines flat on Jan 15 as the buyer wanted to move in before Chinese New Year. Since renovations for the new unit were not completed, they stayed at an NTUC chalet in Pasir Ris for 10 days.

    Although they made it into their Premiere unit in time for Chinese New Year, they visited relatives instead because the home was not ready for guests. Mr Teo says: 'We still had a stick in the living room propping up those mirrors on the ceiling.'

    Happy dwellers

    Other eager owners who have moved in include Mr Patrick Lim. The 42-year-old father of three settled his family into The Premiere on Jan 25, just a day before Chinese New Year. His five-room flat cost $407,000 and he spent $15,000 on minor installations and furniture.

    Mr Lim, who is a businessman and has an office five minutes away, says the location is convenient, with everything - from malls to a supermarket to sports facilities - just a stone's throw away.

    He jokes: 'When my friends ask me, 'Does it come with a pool?', I say yes, and open my window to show them our Olympic-sized swimming pool.'

    He is referring to the public Tampines Swimming Complex just across the road.

    Another satisfied resident is Mr Timothy Chao, 42, who works in the shipping business. He got his five-room flat on the fifth floor for $364,000.

    The family of five consider their north-south facing unit 'a good buy', being away from the glare of the afternoon sun in the west.

    'I also like the fact that it's quiet and peaceful on our side since we don't face the central. We'll enjoy it for now,' says Mr Chao. His flat overlooks an empty field, which will be used for residential purposes in the future, say the authorities.

    Announced by the Government in 2005, DBSS products were aimed at meeting the needs of buyers who could not afford private homes when the property market was rising.

    Under the programme, developers are free to design and price the flats as long as they work within the rules of public housing. This means they have to sell the flats to families earning no more than $8,000 a month - the limit for households buying public housing. Other eligibility factors such as family nucleus and priority for first-time buyers also apply.

    There are also slightly higher services and conservancy charges, due to more lifts and precinct facilities such as link buildings and playgrounds.

    So far, three more DBSS projects by other developers have followed, with the fifth one also by Sim Lian Land, to be launched in the second quarter of this year, in Simei Road.

    Other happy Premiere dwellers include newlyweds Muhammad Shahril Rahmat and Suraya Sukiman, both 26, whose four-room unit cost $297,000.

    The couple made their purchase while they were still dating two years ago and got married in August last year, making them eligible for an HDB grant of $30,000.

    Mr Shahril, a finance executive, stayed with his in-laws while waiting to move in because there was no space for the couple in his family's Bedok executive maisonette.

    The couple settled into their lovenest on Jan 24 and Mr Shahril says: 'My entire extended family have visited us and they were all quite surprised by the bathroom fittings and the balcony. Most four-room HDB flats do not come with these.'

    He wants to put grilles at his laundry-drying area for security reasons, but otherwise does not intend to do any major renovations yet due to 'budget constraints'.

    He has spent about $15,000 on painting and lighting, and basic furniture.

    The one remaining feature that his home lacks is a sofa set, which was actually ordered before he collected his keys.

    He says with mock exasperation: 'What to do? First to order, last to arrive.'

    [email protected]

  2. #2
    mr funny is offline Any complaints please PM me
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    Default

    http://www.straitstimes.com/Life%252...ry_335048.html

    February 6, 2009 Friday

    Private and luxe

    What is so 'private' about a privately developed HDB property like The Premiere:

    # Units come with bay windows and picture-frame windows - frames are only along the sides, with an unobstructed glass panel at the centre that is typical of private developments. The generous use of glass and bay windows has a lightbox effect.

    # Open balconys are included for all units. In HDB flats, this feature is mostly limited to five-room units.

    # Each flat comes with built-in floor-to-ceiling wardrobes.

    # Kitchens come with cabinets, cooker hood and a hob - features not found in standard HDB flats.

    # There is tiled flooring for all units for the living room, dining room and kitchen. Similar finishings are the standard only in HDB Premium flats.

    # Bedrooms are fitted with teak parquet floors and air-conditioning.

    # Bathrooms are equipped with water heaters, fittings and mirrors with back-lighting, which are not found in HDB flats.

    # Each unit has a small 'yard' that can be used to hang laundry. This is designed on the inner side of the building and hence, concealed from the public eye.

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