May 2, 2009 Saturday

What's that condo called again?

The latest condos have fancy names that people cannot pronounce or are misnomers

By tay suan chiang

Home buyers may be drooling over the latest stylish new condominiums, but once they move in, they might face a tongue-twisting time.

That is because developers sure have got creative in the latest condo name game.

But it could translate to a word puzzle once hapless home owners move in and give directions to visitors.

Telling a well-travelled friend to 'Take me to the Caspian' might have him wondering why you want to suddenly go around the world to the Caspian Sea in Russia.

But no, you would be meaning Caspian Condominium near Singapore's Lakeside.

And be careful if you ask the friend to 'Come and visit me at Double Bay this afternoon'.

He might assume you have moved to Australia as Double Bay is the name of a famous, ultra-expensive suburb in Sydney.

But you are really closer to home, at Double Bay Residences at Simei on the east coast.

E-mail someone to visit you at The Arte, and your visitor might find that his taxi driver has taken him to an art gallery.

Worse, if you were a smartie and asked for somewhere art-ee, you might find yourself at the MRT.

For the record, the 336-unit The Arte condo in Thomson Road is pronounced as 'art'. The 'e' is silent.

Condo names come and go in waves of fashion, and where once monickers with @ in them or the word One were 'in', the latest trend is for fancy, posh-sounding names.

Developers say a well-chosen name can complement and enhance the development and helps to brand and define its positioning.

A spokesman for City Developments (CDL), developer of The Arte, says 'arte' is Italian for art and that the name is a 'fitting reflection of the unique visual statement that the iconic design of the residence makes, which elevates architectural aesthetics to a work of art'.

However, one potential buyer, housewife Tammy Tan, 37, finds the chi-chi names confusing.

Ms Tan, who viewed The Arte's showflat last month, asks: 'Is it meant to be called 'art' or 'art-ay'?'.

In addition to mispronunciations, there are misnomers.

The latest condominium project to be launched in Simei is Double Bay Residences, which oddly enough is located in an area where not a single bay is in sight.

Developer UOL Group says the 646-unit project was named after Sydney's Double Bay because it has similar attributes.

The Double Bay residential suburb is in the east of Sydney near the city's commercial centre and near Bondi Beach.

UOL says that like the Australian suburb, Double Bay Residences is in the eastern part of Singapore, near the Changi Business Park commercial district and the beach at East Coast Park.

The property developer has other projects with more apt names: Newton Suites in Newton Road and Duchess Residences in Duchess Road.

As for Caspian, a condominium in Boon Lay Way, a spokesman for developer Frasers Centrepoint Homes says the name was inspired by the Caspian Sea.

This is the largest lake in the world, which borders Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan and Iran.

'It is surrounded by several islands, some of which hold significant geopolitical and economic importance,' says the spokesman.

She adds: 'Our project was similarly named because of its strategic location in the Jurong Lake District, which is an upcoming business, leisure and educational hub that promises home buyers a quality and vibrant lifestyle.'

According to CDL's representative, various factors such as a project's neighbourhood, views and architectural theme are considered in coming up with a name.

The Frasers Centrepoint spokesman says names chosen should be 'tasteful, can be pronounced easily and have no negative societal or religious connotations'.

Still, not everyone is attracted to a project just because of its name.

'The right location, price and size of the apartment are still more important than the name,' says financial consultant Tommy Lim, 35, who is looking for a house.

Big And Cheap Condominium, anyone?

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