The Crest (Review)

By The Folks @PropTalk - October 20, 2014 No Comments

Technically this is the second time we have hit the sales gallery of The Crest. The first was back in early August but the sales gallery was closed then and we ended up at Mon Jervois instead. So after reading in the papers that the developers (Wing Tai & Metro Australia Holdings) have reopened the showflats, the wife and I decided to pay another visit to the project last week.

The Crest was first launched (although the developers' spokesperson will probably insist that it was a "preview') back in June. However, sales for this project has been rather lackluster with only 50 units sold to date at a median price of around $1,800psf. This is attributed mainly to the high price-point. So this time around, The Crest is "re-launching" with prices that are supposedly 5 - 10% lower than earlier.

The actual site of The Crest is located at Prince Charles Crescent (also where the sales gallery is at), diagonally across the road from Tanglin View condominium. A consortium comprising of Wing Tai and Metro Australia Holdings (yes, the "Metro" departmental store people) paid $516.3 million for the site back in Sep 2012, which translated to around $960psf ppr.

The Crest is a 99-year leasehold project consisting of 469 units, housed in 3 high-rise towers of 23-storey each in the Active Zone (or "Towers by the Meadow") and 4 low-rise buildings of 5-storey each in the Tranquil Zone (or "Island Villas"). As for unit types, The Crest has the largest number that we have seen in awhile, ranging from 1-bedder to 5-bedroom+Study units. There are also "dual key" and loft units available within the project.

But with the current "re-launch", only units in Tower 105 are opened for sale.

Facilities wise, the offering is quite impressive as one would have expected. These are spread over

·         The ground level - where you find the usual mix of swimming pools, different themed "pavilions" and even a tennis court. But special mention goes to the private onsen (with hot and cold tub) within the clubhouse
·         "The Crest Club" located on the rooftop of Tower 103 - where you find the sky gym, entertainment cum theatrette suit, terrace bar and teppanyaki grill.
·         "The Sky Sanctuaries" on the rooftops of both Tower 101 and 105, with their different "themed gardens".

For those with cars, there are a total of 494 parking lots (inclusive of 7 handicapped-lots) available within the development.

Current expected TOP of The Crest is in mid of 2018. And from what we can see at the site, constructions are already well underway for all 3 Tower blocks.

There are 3 different unit types on display at the sales gallery but the wife and I will stick to our usual 3-bedroom type. This is a 1,270sqft, "dual-key"  apartment.

The first thing that's worthy of note is that this unit type comes with its own private lift. As you exit from the lift, you see three sets of entrances - one leads out to the common lift lobby, the other goes into the "dual key" part of apartment and the last is the entrance into the "main" part of the apartment itself.

The "dual key" part of the unit basically consist of an en suite bedroom with a small balcony. But unlikely the "dual key" that you find in most other projects, this one does not come with a pantry. So it is effectively just a bedroom outside of the "main unit", with a separate entrance for privacy.

The bedroom is very good-sized - it can easily accommodate a King-bed plus a study table and possibly a small TV console too, without you feeling too "cramped" for space.

 
The attached bathroom is also decent-sized and comes fitted with Duravit toilet and wash-basin and Hansgrohe bathroom fittings. And the storage space for your bottle soap and shampoo that is built into the wall of the shower stall is an excellent idea.

As you enter the "main unit", you arrive at the living/dining area. The wife and I are a bit disappointed with the rectangular space catered for this area, which seemed a tad small. But you do get high-quality marble floors and a ceiling height of 3m. The balcony extends out from the living room and is not too big and yet functional enough - which is how we liked it. It comes standard with timber decking, which is a pleasant departure from your run-of-the-mill tiled balcony floors.

 
The kitchen is fairly good-sized as well, and comes with generous amount of cabinet space. But the developers can certainly do better than the Electrolux appliances that are provided, while the wife is not too enthusiastic about the smallish fridge that comes with the apartment.

 
At the end of the kitchen is the yard area - not exactly a big space but should suffice for laundry-ing and probably ironing as well. The utility room is rather small but with some clever design (as demonstrated in the showflat), is spacious enough to be used as a bedroom for your domestic helper. The bathroom across from the utility is basic but adequate.

 
As we come out of the kitchen into the living area, we see the common bathroom before arriving at the bedrooms. The common bathroom is almost an exact replica of the bathroom in the "dual key" bedroom.

The 2 bedrooms in the "main unit" are tucked neatly on one side of the apartment.

The common bedroom is pentagonal but despite the odd-shape, it is probably one of the most spacious common bedroom that we have seen in a long while. The triangular space at the corner of the bedroom actually works in its favor as you can easily convert the space to a study or play area - something that's almost impossible to achieve in the tiny bedrooms found in most new projects these days.

 
And if you think the common bedroom is big, wait till you see the master bedroom! This has almost the exact shape of the former but an enlarged version. This is (again) probably one of the largest master bedroom that we have seen in a 1,200+sqft apartment. 

All bedrooms (including the "dual key") come with "engineered timber" flooring, which is supposed to be highly durable and visually pleasing - the wife and I do not know enough about timber floors to affirm the durability claim but we can certainly attest to the "visually pleasing" bit.

The master bathroom has that "luxurious feel" synonymous with high-end projects. However, it only comes with a shower stall - we reckon something has to give (in terms of space) and the long bath is certainly something that we will happily do without. If only the developers had thrown in a (overhead) rain-shower, it would have made things complete for us.

 
Price-wise, this exact unit on the 10th floor of Tower 105 has already been sold. One unique aspect of The Crest is that given the way that the Towers are constructed, i.e. in the shape of a tree, no two units within the same stack have similar size - the unit layout may be the same but each unit vary slightly in size depending on the exact floor that it is located on.

So a Type 3BR (DK) unit on the 11th floor (which is still available), is 1,335sqft and currently priced at $2,196,000. This translates to around $1,645psf.

And as a comparison, a "standard" 3-bedroom unit (i.e. non "dual key") of similar size on the same floor is priced at $2,268,000 or $1,699psf.

So why is the "standard" 3-bedder more expensive than the "dual key" one? The difference lies in the unit facing - the "dual key" stack faces Alexandra Road while the 3BR stack faces the Good Class Bungalow area and on days when our Indo neighbor decide to take a breather from their "slash and burn" exercise, you can actually see the grounds within Botanic Gardens. For that, you pay the $50+psf extra.


What we like:

1. The 3-bedder in The Crest is the closest to the perfect apartment that the wife and I have seen so far. The apartment definitely felt much larger than the 1,270sqft that it is supposed to be. The wife and I especially loved the spacious bedrooms, which are one of the largest (if not the largest) that we had come across in a long while.

2. Although planter boxes are found on the exterior walls of the bedrooms and common bathroom, these spaces are not charged so you (technically) get them for free. This practice is a nice departure from many of the other projects, where you get charged for everything... including planter boxes that you may not even have access to!

3. The Crest is located next to the Alexandra Linear Park Connector - this is a 1.2km stretch of boardwalk along the Alexandra canal that stretches from Tanglin Road to Delta Road. So for those who enjoy leisurely walks or fishing along the canal's beautified banks, the park connector is a perfect compliment to the facilities available within the development.

4. The Crest is sited off Alexandria Road and yet not too far a walk away. This provide an added measure of exclusivity without sacrificing ease of access to the main road. Owners of units facing Alexandria Road will also be spared the full extent of traffic noise from this main road.

5. Redhill MRT station is supposedly a 6 minutes' walk away from The Crest. There are also plenty of options available when come to food, supermarkets, wet markets within a 1-km radius of the project. And not forgetting Orchard Road and CDB are mere minutes' drive away.

What we do not quite like:

1. The living/dining area in the 3BR (DK), which we find a tad small.

2. The wife and I can only identify one primary school that's within 1-km of The Crest - Gan Eng Seng Primary. For those who do not have primary school-heading kids, this is of little concern. But for those who do, it may be a consideration.


Our parting Shot

Judging from what little that we "do not quite like" about The Crest, you can probably tell that the wife and I are sold on the project. The Crest is definitely one that we are comfortable recommending as a "quality buy". The only (and a deal breaker in our opinion) is with the price - even at the reduced price of $1,600+psf, it will still make The Crest one of the more (if not the most) expensive projects along Alexandria Road. And what is most troubling is the fact that the site adjacent to The Crest was awarded to UOL in April this year... at $821psf ppr! So there is some leeway for UOL to price their upcoming project on this site at a comparatively lower price than The Crest, if push comes to shove.


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