Friday, August 21, 2009

New condo to get walkway to MRT station

Beach Road private housing project could set new property trend

HOW'S this for a condominium's selling point: Near MRT station. Complete with all-weather walkway.

The new Concourse Skyline in Beach Road could be the first private housing project to have an overhead bridge linking it to Singapore's mass transit system.

Other condo projects are likely to follow, in what could be an emerging trend.

Once it is completed, residents of the 99-year lease Concourse Skyline, being built on a demolished wing of the Concourse complex, will need to walk only about 200m to the Circle Line's rebuilt (and relocated) Nicoll Highway station due to open next year.

The 360-unit condo, developed by listed property group Hong Fok at an estimated $200 million, is expected to be ready by 2013.

Concourse Skyline's unique addition arose from rather unusual circumstances. The original Nicoll Highway station, which was much nearer to the Concourse, would have had an underground link to the former Concourse wing. But when the uncompleted station collapsed, killing four workers in a 2004 construction accident, plans for the underground link were scrapped.

A dispute then ensued between the Land Transport Authority and Hong Fok. Neither party would comment on this, but The Straits Times understands it partly involved the condo developer wanting direct access to the new station. The issue was settled last year, resulting in the overhead residential link.

Why not an underground connection?

'The new Concourse development is no longer a commercial space, and the new MRT station is much farther away,' explained Hong Fok director S.E. Cheong.

The project will be carried out in three stages, the first being the overhead bridge spanning Nicoll Highway. It was completed recently.

Construction of the second stage that links the overhead bridge to the MRT station, complete with lifts and escalators, is under way.

Once the Concourse Skyway nears completion, the final segment joining the condo to the bridge will be built by Hong Fok. Access to this segment will be through a secured doorway, passable only to residents.

Hong Fok had already included the linkway in publicity materials for the condo. The project was launched last year just as the impact of the world financial crisis hit Singapore. Units were then priced at between $1,500 and $1,800 per sq ft. Mr Cheong said yesterday 140 units have been sold.

City Developments' massive $2.5 billion South Beach project - also in Beach Road and targeted to be up by 2016 - will also have mass transit links. A spokesman said the 3.5ha commercial-and-residential project will have underground links to both Circle Line and Downtown Line stations, as well as to CityLink Mall that connects to the City Hall station and Raffles City Shopping Centre.

Source: Straits Times, 21 Aug 2009

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