Like most of Singapore, Simpang Bedok has seen its fair share of redevelopment. Still, its traditional charm has survived, making the estate an interesting blend of the old and the new. We visit the area to find out more.
By Cheryl Marie Tay
It may not be a large estate like Tampines or Bedok, but the eastside gem known as Simpang Bedok has long been a popular haunt, thanks in no small part to the many gastronomic delights in the area. After all, Singaporeans are known for their love of all kinds of food, and there is certainly no shortage of relevant options here.
That aside, the estate does have its quiet, peaceful charm, what with its old landed homes and a variety of cafés and restaurants, as well as an abundance of trees and other greenery. People walking their dogs or having relaxing meals with their families and friends is not an uncommon sight, especially on weekends.
Still, as it is with a large majority of areas in Singapore, Simpang Bedok has seen its fair share of changes, as well as new developments.
Something old, something new
Though Simpang Bedok is well known for its many private landed homes, such as those along Jalan Chempaka Kuning and Jalan Pari Burong, several condominium projects have popped up over the years. Developments such as The Glades, Casa Merah, Optima @ Tanah Merah, East Meadows and Stratford Court are located in the area, all within close proximity — some even walking distance — to Tanah Merah MRT station.
Even more recently, Simpang Bedok has seen the rise of East Village, a four-storey freehold mixed development by World Class Land that consists of 90 residential and 108 commercial units. Among its commercial units are Cold Storage, a varied selection of restaurants and cafés such as Hong Kong Street Family Restaurant and Sarah’s The Pancake Café, a wide range of retail stores such as Fit Nation and Vine Florist & Gifts, and service providers such as Specialist Nail Centre and Nuffield Dental Simpang Bedok, to name but a few tenants.
Its residential units, on the other hand, come with full condo facilities, such as barbecue pits, a playground, swimming pool, lounge, indoor gym, jogging track, and three themed gardens.
Shane Julian Valerio, Senior Realty Adviser at Knight Frank Property Network, says: “With East Village establishing its presence, residents within the vicinity will not have to travel far to buy their necessities. Dubbed the ‘Holland Village of the East’ with its modern architecture, it is also within walking distance to Tanah Merah MRT station. Those who drive will be pleased to know that East Village is only a few minutes’ drive from major expressways such as the PIE and TPE.”
The way to a Singaporean heart
Of course, all Singaporeans know that any estate worth living in must be an estate worth eating in, and Simpang Bedok does not disappoint in this regard. The Bedok Marketplace, initially called Kampung @ Simpang Bedok, reopened late last year after a spate of teething problems in its first year of operations in 2013. Its second wave seems to be going well so far, with a large variety of dishes being sold, from yakitori and ramen to sambal stingray and Vietnamese cuisine.
At the same time, the old classics are still going strong. Spize, which is open from 12pm to 2am on weekdays and 12pm to 3am on weekends, is a huge favourite, especially among the late-night, post party crowd. It is not uncommon to see inebriated diners who live in the East drunkenly feasting on late-night snacks here before heading home. Known for its impressive array of food and beverage options, Spize’s menu includes Malay, Indian, Thai and Mediterranean cuisine, alongside an extensive selection of drinks and desserts.
There are also many restaurants and cafés in Simpang Bedok, including Mad Jack, Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh, Tang Tea House Hong Kong Café, and Mahamoodiya Restaurant.
An ever-changing landscape
While East Village is considered a major recent development in Simpang Bedok, there are other upcoming projects to look out for, such as the newly transformed Bedok Town Centre, which will feature a new shopping mall and condo, integrated with Bedok Town Plaza (together with a new sports stadium), the revamped bus interchange, and a multi-storey car park.
Needless to say, updated transport modes are also in the pipeline. Four new MRT stations are to open on the Downtown Line by 2017: Bedok Reservoir, Bedok Town Park, Kaki Bukit, and Tampines West. Students in the area considering their university options also have an additional choice in terms of convenience — the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) moved from its previous campus in Dover to its current campus in Changi last year.
At the same time, in line with keeping Singapore a clean and green city even amid the ongoing infrastructural improvements and developments in the country, an Outdoor Corridor connecting Bedok Reservoir Park and East Coast Park will be enhanced with a cycling network, new facilities and street signage along pedestrian paths, as well as a heritage trail with an information panel at historic spots.
A healthy market
When it comes to buying and selling property in Simpang Bedok, it seems boldness is key. Valerio advises: “Instead of waiting to buy real estate, buy real estate and wait. Houses in the area, including East Village, are within close proximity to Changi Business Park, the Expo, Changi City Point and Changi Airport, so there’s a good tenant pool, which bodes well for rental yield.
“For the homeowners looking to sell, if the achievable sale price will make them a profit, they can use those funds for their next purchase. That said, all homeowners are different, and their reasons for selling differ as well. At the end of the day, all decisions must be practical and informed.”