Eye on Farrer Road: Understated potential

Farrer Road may not be as high-profile as its neighbours, but the developments it has seen in recent years are all set to change that.

by Cheryl Marie Tay

Farrer Road may not be the first area that springs to mind when one talks about prime districts in Singapore, but considering its location, it is actually somewhat surprising that it is not more well-known. After all, its more famous neighbours, Holland Village and the Singapore Botanic Gardens, have long been favourite haunts among tourists, expatriates and locals alike.

In recent years, however, it has gotten its own MRT station (on the Circle Line) and more public attention. Though it does rather often get confused with Farrer Park, which also has its own MRT station (albeit on the North-East Line) and is located near the ever popular Little India, it could not be more different.

An enviable neighbourhood

In reality, Farrer Road is quite an enviable place in which to reside. Its close proximity to the Orchard Road shopping district, numerous nearby amenities and the exclusivity of its location make it an attractive place to live.

There are also many reputable schools nearby, such as Nanyang Primary School, Hwa Chong Institution, National Junior College, to name but a few.

In terms of public transport, the completion of the 16-station Downtown Line Stage 3 (DTL 3) in the first half of 2017 will boost the area’s accessibility, allowing residences to travel with ease between the west and the east.

Furthermore, the completion of the 31-station Thomson-East Coast line (TEL), which will begin operations in 2019, will also have a positive effect on the area, given the close proximity of the Stevens MRT station.

The station serves the largely residential Bukit Timah area, and when the TEL is open, it will be an interchange on the Downtown Line Stage 2 (DTL 2) and TEL.

Illustrious neighbours

As mentioned earlier, Farrer Road is near popular areas such as Holland Village and the Singapore Botanic Gardens. So what do these places have to offer?

Holland Village

A neighbourhood where East meets West, Holland Village is perhaps one of the most beloved estates in Singapore. It has a mix of HDB blocks and private landed homes, and is often filled with both foreigners and locals.

The estate boasts a variety of cafés, restaurants, bars and pubs, where you can get Cantonese, Thai, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Italian, French, Mexican and even Mediterranean cuisine. And if you want delicious local hawker fare, there is the Holland Village Market and Food Centre.

But food aside, there are plenty of activities for all ages in the area. Whether you are interested in yoga, arts and crafts or cooking, there are classes you can attend in Chip Bee Gardens to perfect your skills.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

The Singapore Botanic Gardens enjoys the distinction of being the only tropical garden in the world to have been named a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Site, placing it alongside world renowned sites like Yellowstone National Park, Teotihuacan, Robben Island, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and the Wadden Sea, to name only a fraction of them.

International recognition aside, the Botanic Gardens are a good place to discover and appreciate flora and fauna. It’s not uncommon to see people having picnics there on weekends, but it also has its own cafés and restaurants for visitors to get under the shade, rest their feet and have a hearty meal.

Attractive in its own right

Apart from its neighbouring estates which are frequented by tourists, expats and locals, Farrer Road itself is seeing more life, thanks in no small part to the much-hyped d’Leedon, a 36-storey condominium development with a unique, petering silhouette and a whopping 1,715 units. It was designed by the late Zaha Hadid, an internationally renowned architect who died of a heart attack late last month.

At the same time, the Empress Road Market and Food Centre is nearby, along with other amenities such as Mount Pleasant Animal Medical Centre, Little Oaks Montessori, Serene Centre, two churches, a childcare centre, and several eateries.

Prestige in the park

Farrer Road is situated near a prestigious area, Cluny Park Road. An upper-class enclave dotted with chic eateries and bars and several luxury residential developments, it is near the Botanic Gardens MRT station and the French Embassy in Singapore.

There is also Cluny Court, a mini mall of sorts whose shops include a gift store, spa, Cold Storage, cafés and more. The area is also known for its Good Class Bungalows (GCBs) and other private residences, including Tuan Sing Land’s Cluny Park Residence.

With only 52 units, the condominium project is an exclusive development designed by the award-winning SCDA Architects. It offers residents views of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, and is located near top schools like Hwa Chong Institution, Singapore Chinese Girls’ School and Nanyang Primary School. Residents can get their grocery shopping done at the nearby Cold Storage, and enjoy the food at the various gourmet eateries in the area.

The condo features designer furnishing and fixtures in each of its units, including Poliform Wardrobes, Gaggenau kitchen appliances and Zucchetti kitchen fittings. Among its many facilities are a rooftop infinity pool overlooking the Botanic Gardens, an outdoor grill and lounge area, and ground floor units with their own private terraces and pools.

Wong Xian Yang, Senior Manager of Research and Consultancy at OrangeTee.com, says: “Cluny Park Residence’s close proximity to amenities such as the Sinapore Botanic Gardens and the Botanic Gardens MRT station makes this development attractive.

“Car owners will appreciate that it is close to the PIE. Its current pricing has also factored in current market sentiments, with recent transactions at around $2,577 psf (2015 to 2016 YTD), when initial launch prices were around $3,077 psf in 2013.”

Long-term positivity

It’s no secret that the government’s property cooling measures have resulted in lower prices and muted demand. But as some property experts will tell you, there is only so much the government can do to control prices and demand.

Ultimately, the location, quality and branding of a property are what buyers and investors look out for, and the right time to buy or invest does tend to vary from person to person. So long as Farrer Road and its neighbours continue to draw in the crowds, its long-term potential will remain positive.

Wong says: “The high-end market is still in the doldrums due to the current cooling measures. As such, prices are likely to remain soft in the immediate term. However, over the long term, the area’s relevance and prospects will be buttressed by its excellent location attributes and upcoming transport links.”