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Redeveloped Tanglin Halt could yield 5,000 new homes: Analysts

Property watchers estimate that the public housing estate at Tanglin Halt, earmarked for the Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme, can yield more than 5,000 new homes when redeveloped.

SINGAPORE: Flats in Tanglin Halt were built in early 1960s, and are one of Singapore's oldest. In ten years' time, they will be among 31 blocks at Tanglin Halt Road and Commonwealth Drive that will be cleared under the Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme.

Under the Master Plan 2014, the area has been zoned for mainly residential use. And when redeveloped, analysts say it can yield more than 5,000 homes - 50 per cent more than the current number.

Authorities have not said if the site will be used for private or public housing, but some property watchers say new HDB homes are likely to be built in the vacated area.

"We also have to look at the characteristics of the neighbourhood. If the neighbourhood is predominantly HDB, and there is also strong demand for HDB flats in that area, then perhaps the more suitable type of housing could be HDB," said Mr Nicholas Mak, the Executive Director for Research and Consultancy at SLP International Property Consultants.

"But having said that, I would not exclude the possibility that authorities may reserve one or two land parcels to be developed into private housing," he said.

And if the site is put up for private residential development, analysts estimate that it may cost up to S$900 per square foot, according to bids in recent tenders. But developers will be willing to pay, say analysts, as there are not many sites in mature estates offered under the Government Land Sales programme.

Tanglin Halt's location is another draw. Said Mr Ku Swee Yong, CEO of Century 21 Singapore: "It is a short walk to the Commonwealth MRT station, and a few minutes more to walk to Holland Village. The location is a mature precinct and if you were to develop one or two private residential projects there, you could in theory get people who are upgrading from the older HDB flats into the new private residential units." 

Over at Dawson, five new HDB projects will be built, offering some 3,700 new flats which Tanglin Halt residents will have priority to purchase. 

The new projects will have commercial facilities such as a supermarket and hawker centre. Analysts say this will bring more activity to the estate, but it is likely to remain a residential area. 

"Unless the authorities were to plan to have, let's say, a major shopping mall located near the area, otherwise it will predominantly be a residential area. But for other types of weekend activities, they may go elsewhere," explained Mr Mak. 

The rejuvenation plans also had analysts pointing out possible areas of concern, such as the potential overd evelopment of certain areas, which could affect their original character. "If we were to tear down everything and redevelop it into new things, yes, we would have very nice, new, clean and well-landscaped buildings. But these would be all very high-density, without much character, old-world charm or shared history," said Mr Ku. 

"If we could at least preserve one part of Tanglin Halt, especially the town square which existed since the late 50s and has a lot of history, I think that would actually give the old neighbourhood some identity and focus," he added. 

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