The Lanai: Review

By The Folks @PropTalk - March 28, 2011 1 Comment
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District:   23
Location:   Hillview Avenue
Developers:   Far East Organization
Tenure:   999-year Leasehold
No. of Blocks:   3 (6 towers of 10-storey each)
No. of Units:   214
No. of Parking Lots:   244
Expected TOP:   2014
Art1

The wife and I are not deliberately targeting Far East projects. But it just so happened that we were in Upper Bukit Timah last Saturday morning and decided to check out THE LANAI – a new project by Far East Organization located on Hillview Avenue.
Location Plan

THE LANAI was first previewed back in October 2010, at an initial price of $1,290psf. The project resides on a 123,000sqft site that Far East bought from a unit of Cerebos Pacific back in 1996, which Cerebos was using for manufacturing previously. Towers A1 and C were the first two released, and units in both towers are fully sold.

We were told that Tower A3 was just released for sale, but we counted at least 21 of the 38 units in this tower already taken up as of Saturday.

THE LANAI offers a range of 2- to 4-bedroom units. And surprisingly, there are no penthouses in this project. The typical sizes of each unit types are:
• 2-Bedroom (73 units): 947 – 1151sqft
• 2+Study (35 units): 1044 & 1076sqft
• 3-Bedroom (76 units): 1109 – 1453sqft
• 3+Study (20 units): 1302 & 1561sqft
• 4-Bedroom (10 units ): 1378 – 1615sqft

Facility-wise, THE LANAI supposedly follows a “Hawaiian Theme” and the facilities are located in 3 separate zones within the development

• The Water Court – this is located at the centre of the development and is where you find all the different “themed” pools.
• The Atoll – This is located between Towers B & C, where you will find the sun deck, cabana and dining pavilion.
• Sport & Fitness – This is located at the far corner of the development, next to Tower A3. Here you will find the gym and tennis court.

However, the impression we get is a lack of “wow” factor as far as the facility offering goes – you get what is expected of a full-facility condo, but that’s about it.
Site Plan

For parking, you actually get more parking lots than units - 244 versus 214, with a combination of ground level and basement parking.

There are 2 showflat types on display at the sales gallery
• A 1109sqft, 3-bedroom unit (Type C2)
• A 1378sqft, 4-bedroom unit (Type D2)

Before we proceed with our review of the 4-bedroom unit, it may be worthwhile to note that Type D2 is actually not found in Tower A3. The 4-bedder type available is Type D1, which is 1308sqft. We will explain the difference between Type D1 and D2 in due course.

4-Brm FP

As you enter the main door, a passageway leads you into the living/dining area. However, it is merely a living room to us, as the small rectangular space will hardly allow you to fit a regular sofa set AND a dining table comfortably. The dining table in the showflat is actually pushed to the balcony area (for obvious reasons). We were told that the living/dining area of both the 3- and 4-bedder is of similar size.
  Living
 
The living/dining area comes with large 90cm x 90cm marble-slab floors, which is a pleasant surprise. Far East has also provided two colour options for you to choose from - you can either opt for the cream-coloured (as displayed in the 4-bedder showflat) or the white-coloured marble (as per what you see in the 3-bedder showflat). In addition, you also get a ceiling height of 2.9m.
Marble (Cream)Marble (White)

The wet and dry kitchens form an L-shape with each other, and we reckon many buyers will end up using the "dry" kitchen top as the dining table. In addition to the nice looking cabinets (with anti-slam drawers) found in both the dry and wet kitchens, Far East has upped their ante here by providing an extensive range of kitchen appliances. So other than the "Bosch" hood/hob/oven, you also get a 2-door refrigerator, a wine fridge, coffee maker and separate washer & dryer.
Kitchens

The yard area is small but functional - we like the idea of the additional sink (for hand-washing of small items) and cupboard underneath (for storing your washing detergent etc).

Yard

The home shelter is definitely too small for a standard single bed, so you either have to find a bed that fits or adopt the Far East method of a customized "stored away/pull-down" bed (as per the showflat) if you intend to house your domestic helper in here.
Home Shelter

The wife and I are impressed with the common bathroom - It is beautifully furnished with marble walls/floors and "Kohler" bathroom fittings (including a square-shaped tap), and even comes with separate toilet and shower cubicles. 
C.Bath

It is in the common bedroom #4 that one will see the diffference between the D1 and D2 unit types. The size of bedroom #4 in the showflat is actually what you will get for the D2 variant. For the D1 variant, you get a room that is about 3/4 the size - so Type D1 is more like a 3+Study unit.
C.Bedroom4

The wife spotted an oddity in the other two common bedrooms. The supposed "Queen" bed in each room looked a tad small and after doing another take, she realized that it is more a "Super Single" rather than a standard "Queen" bed. And if you are anything more than 1.5m tall and try to sleep in the exact orientation as shown in the photo, your feet will probably be sticking out in mid-air! So yes, the common bedrooms are too small for our liking and come with bay-windows too.
C.Bedroom3

The master bedroom is decent in size (comparative to the other bedrooms) and comes with timber-strip flooring (as per all the other bedrooms). And the "King" bed in here is of standard size - yes, the wife did check!
Master Bedroom

The master bathroom is again very beautifully furnished, much like what you will find in most 5-star hotels. We understand you can opt for concrete wall partition instead of glass (if you are shy), and the bathroom comes with a long-bath plus adjacant standing shower stall. The wardrobe provided is not really sufficient but extremely eye-pleasing, although those who cannot keep their clothes tidy may have a problem with the see-through cupboard doors.
Master Bath

Pricing wise, Far East is currently giving about 11% discount off their list price for THE LANAI. On top of that, a “furniture offset” of 2% on the unit purchase price is also given upon TOP of the project.

And now for the shocker – the current price for the 3- and 4-bedders, after all discounts, is in excess of $1430psf. And this is for a project in District 23!

Here is a sample of “nett” prices for units still available as our last Saturday:
• #02-11 (1302sqft, 4-Bedroom) -   $1,871,044 or $1437psf
• #04-11 (1302sqft, 4-Bedroom) -   $1,897,776 or $1457psf
• #06-12 (1109sqft, 3-Bedroom) -   $1,604,081 or $1446psf
Key Plan

As a comparison, below are the latest transacted prices for similar-sized units at developments nearby to THE LANAI:
Hilltop Grove (99-year, TOP 2003, 1238sqft):   $723psf (Jan 2011)
Hillview Residence (999-year, TOP 2003, 1238sqft):   $759psf (Feb 2011)
The Amston (999-year, TOP 1998, 1313sqft):   $647psf (October 2010)

What we like:
• Owners can certainly be proud of the quality of furnishing for their units at THE LANAI. Then again, why would anyone expect less for the kind of money he be shelling?

What we dislike:
• The exorbitant price, the small unit sizes and the “run of the mill” facility offering. Need we say more?

• The main road that The LANAI faces, i.e. Hillview Avenue, is quite a busy road throughout the day. Thus units facing the main road (#16, #17, #18, #20 & #21) will likely bear the brunt of the traffic noise.

THE LANAI is supposedly surrounded by the magnificent panorama of greenery, with Bukit Timah Nature Reserves on one side and Bukit Batok Nature Park on the other. But from what we can see, the actual site is actually surrounded by buildings on most sides, with very little greenery view to speak of. And seriously, the wife and I are not particularly impressed by the “view” of the surrounding.
Vicinity Photo

• The nearest MRT station (i.e. the upcoming Hillview Station on the future Downtown Line 2 to be completed in 2015) is about 1-km away. So not exactly a stroll especially on a hot humid (or worse, rainy) day.

• The only primary school that we know of that is within 1-km of THE LANAI is Lianhua Primary, which (pardon our ignorance) we never heard of until we do our research for this review.

In summary, the wife and I have nothing much good to say about THE LANAI. We must admit to being surprised by the supposed good take-up rate for this project. But then again, quite a number of units were previously sold via a bulk purchase (possibly by some investment funds) and not anywhere near the $1430psf that the project is asking now. Although we were told that the project is “open to offers” (meaning developer is willing to listen to offers less than $1430psf), we will rather take our chances on, say, The Cascadia (a freehold project along Bukit Timah Road and District 21) that is currently transacting at $1400+psf.
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1 comment to ''The Lanai: Review"

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  1. Condo prices going down.no need to waste time.

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