THE GREENWICH (Review... finally!)

By The Folks @PropTalk - September 17, 2010 No Comments
District:   28
Location:   Seletar Road/ Yio Chu Kang Road
Tenure:   99-years wef 21 December 2009
Developer:   Far East Organization
Site Area:   226,044sqft
Development Type:   Condominium consisting of 12 towers of 5-storey each, with commercial component
No. of Units:   319
No. of Parking Lots:   324
Expected TOP:   31 December 2013

This one is long overdue, as the wife and I have visited the sales gallery of THE GREENWICH two Sundays ago. However, we were unable to post our review till now – due to a combination of the rigorous demand of our “day” jobs and some vacation time we have decided to take this week.

Here are some things that you may have already heard about THE GREENWICH:
• Over 65% of the units are already sold to date.

• Phase 2 was officially launched to the public last weekend. It had sold out 174 units in its Phase 1 launch previously.

• The average transacted price for the Phase 2 units sold so far is around $1,065psf.

• There are a total of 150 “SOHO” apartments available within this project – these are basically 1-bedroom Loft units.

• One of the main selling features of THE GREENWICH is the extremely high ceiling height for each unit – these ranges from the standard 3.35-metre up to a whopping 4.75-metre for units on the ground level.

• The commercial component, Greenwich V, is a 45,000sqft retail podium that will offer amenities like supermarket, F&B outlets and even clinics and hair salons. The development is slated to become the next “Holland Village” of the North.

The sales gallery is on the actual site of the project, which is located at the junction of Seletar and Yio Chu Kang Road. But the future “main entrance” into THE GREENWICH is via Seletar Road. The plot that houses the “condominium” portion of this mixed project is actually rather small (approx. 180,000sqft) and forms an L-shaped that wraps around the commercial plot (Greenwich V).

In terms of unit types, THE GREENWICH offers a combination of 1- to 3-bedrooms. The sizes available for each unit type are:
• 1-Bedroom:  603 – 731sqft
• 2-Bedroom:  900 – 1152sqft
• 3-Bedroom (Compact):  1076 – 1323sqft
• 3-Bedroom (Standard):  1225 – 1509sqft

The typical 3-bedroom (compact) is 1076sqft while the 3-bedroom (standard) unit is 1225sqft. So for those seeking bigger-sized or 4-bedroom units, THE GREENWICH is probably not for you.

Facilities wise, one can expect to find in THE GREENWICH all the “bells and whistles” associated with a full-facility condominium. There is quite a lot of “water” (i.e. swimming pools/Jacuzzi) within the project, which covers most of the space on the ground level not occupied by the tower blocks. Of notable interests are the rooftop tennis court (above Tower D1 & D2) and floating dining pavilion.
Site Plan

There are a total of 324 parking lots (inclusive of handicapped lots) available for the 319 units, which is rather typical of new projects these days.

The 2 showflats on display are
• 1076sqft, 3-Bedroom (Compact)
• 624sqft, 1-bedroom Loft

1076sqft, 3-Bedroom (Compact)
3-Bedroom (Compact)

As you enter the main door, a short walkway leads you into the living/dining room. This is a rather small rectangular area, so you probably need small furniture should you decide to put both a dining table and sofa set in here. The area comes with 60cm x 30cm marble-slab floors and either 4.25m (ground level) or 3.35m (2nd – 5th levels) ceiling height.

The unit comes with a dry kitchen, which the wife and I felt it can ill afford given the small unit size. The dry kitchen has its own sink and many owners will probably use the solid-surfaced worktop as a dining table. Full height storage cabinets are found behind the worktop, which also houses the “Ariston” microwave/coffee machine and “Samsung” fridge – these come standard with the unit.

And if still prefer a separate dining table but find the living/dining room too small, another option is to move the dining table out into the balcony. The space here is so big (especially relative to the living/dining area) that you can easily fit a rectangular dining table that sits 6.

The wet kitchen is a rectangular strip, with an L-shaped kitchen worktop. It comes with “De Lizia” hob/hood/oven and top/bottom storage cabinets.

The “yard area” is actually just a small extension from the wet kitchen, so forget about hanging your laundry up to dry here. But we liked the idea of a dedicated (separate) sink that is build on top of the washing-machine. There is also a tiny home shelter/maid’s room, but no bathroom.

The common bathroom is good sized and comes with marble floors and ceramic-tile walls.

For the common bedrooms, one is pretty decent sized and this is probably because of the fact that there are no bay windows to content with.

The other so-called “Compact” bedroom is almost square-shaped and small (thus the name). However, the developer is quite clever with its design in here by building a “bunk-bed” on top of the wardrobe – this comes standard with each unit and is possible because of the 3.35m ceiling height. Both bedrooms have timber-strip flooring.

The master bedroom actually felt quite spacious, but the master bathroom is rather small. However, it is the design of the master bathroom that takes the cake:
• You have an option of either a full wall (for the more modest/conservative) or “bottom-half wall/top-half glass” partition between the bathroom and bedroom

• Marbled floors and walls with handsome looking bathroom furnishings and fittings

• A sunken bath with overhead “rain-shower”

It would not be an exaggeration to say that the master bathroom is really the centrepiece of the whole apartment unit. You will probably look forward to take that daily shower (or two).

624sqft, 1-Bedroom Loft
This is one of those SOHO units that the marketing agents for THE GREENWICH have been raving about. And the wife and I cannot help but agree with them this time around - we actually quite liked the unit layout.

Everything is self-contained within the 600+sqf of space and yet the unit does not feel as tiny as we have expected. Maybe the high ceiling has something to do with this.

The home shelter is located right next to the main door as you enter the unit, while the bathroom (only one) is across from the shelter. The bathroom comes with the same sort of furnishing/fittings (sunken bath and rain shower inclusive) as the master bathroom of the 3-bedder unit.

A kitchenette is found beneath the bedroom loft platform – this is equipped with all the kitchen appliances as per the 3-bedder, minus the yard area. The wife and I reckon that one would not be expected to do much heavy-duty cooking here.

The living (or work) area actually felt quite spacious and a set of well-designed stairs (with some functional storage spaces incorporated) lead you up to the bedroom loft. However, we do have one reservation with the loft platform – the floor to ceiling height is only 1.35 metres. This means that most people will not be able to stand upright in your own “bedroom” of your loft unit. But other than this, there is really little else we can find fault with the loft unit.

Pricing wise, here are the selling prices (after discount) for units that were available 2 weeks ago:
• #03-23, 603sqft 1-Bedroom Loft (Pool facing) -  $829,000 or $1375psf
• #04-20, 603sqft 1-Bedroom Loft (Greenwich V facing) -  $811,000 or $1345psf
• #02-53, 1076sqft 3-Bedroom Compact (Pool facing) -  $1,260,000 or $1171psf

The monthly maintenance for the 1- and 2-bedders is expected to be around $268, while for the 3-bedder is about $313.

The wife and I were told that we can expect a rental return of about 4% for units in THE GREENWICH, while the Loft units can be rented out for at least $3.3K a month. How the agents can come up with such rental projections for a development that will only be ready for occupation in 2014, we will never know.

What we like:
• It is quite obvious that Far East has put in quite a fair bit of thoughts to the design of the units in THE GREENWICH. And we were rather impressed with the quality of the furnishings and fittings provided. Then again, you would expect good quality since you are putting good money on it... $1100 - $1300+ sqft for a leasehold project in the North?

• Did we tell you that we really liked the Loft unit? But alas, it will be quite a stretch trying to fit a family of three into a 600+sqft unit.

• THE GREENWICH is located within the vicinity of the upcoming Seletar Aerospace Park and near to the Ang Mo Kio business cluster. And if the idea of the area around THE GREENWICH/Greenwich V becoming the “Holland Village of the North” does really takes off, one can expect good rental demand and returns – and the 4% return projected may not be that far-fetched. However, this is still a big IF… at the moment.

What we dislike:
• The units in THE GREENWICH are too small for our liking, and probably so for those with a family and looking to buy for “own-stay”. So the development is more suited as a bachelor/bachelorette’s pad or for DINKs, but mostly for rental investments.

• The wife has pointed out a slight design flaw in the wet kitchen of the 3-bedder showflat – the oven is positioned only inches above the kitchen floor and is too low for comfort for most users.

• Main access to the City/CDB area is via the CTE, which by now some of you may already know that it is a dirty word in our 3-letter vocabulary. Although we been told that the traffic situation along the CTE is already greatly improved – thanks to the numerous ERP gantries – but our personal experiences so far have indicated otherwise.

In summary, the wife and I cannot deny that THE GREENWICH looks to be a quality project. However, we believe that it is again an “acquired” taste, i.e. buyers will probably be those who are (a) used to living in or (b) with workplace around the Northern part of Singapore. But to the rest of us (yours truly included), the location is just … far. The point is probably exemplified by the fact that during our brief 30 minutes or so visit to the sales gallery that day, we came across two sets of buyers

• One retired couple who wants to sell off their landed property in the Yio Chu Kang area and move into a smaller condo unit in THE GREENWICH

• Another couple currently living around the vicinity who has bought a Loft unit in THE GREENWICH for their son, as they want him to have his own pad but nearby to where the rest of the family is staying.

No Comment to " THE GREENWICH (Review... finally!) "