History of Sembawang

Sembawang is located in the North region of Singapore and is bounded by the Straits of Johor to the North and Mandai to the South. Sembawang was a former Nee Soon Rubber estate and British naval base during the colonial era. In 1968, the British handed over the naval base to the Singapore government. Since then, the naval base has been converted for military use and has become a port-of-call and a headquarter for the America military forces since 1992. To cater to Singapore’s increasing population, Sembawang has transformed since 1996 into a rustic yet bustling housing estate called Sembawang New Town. The housing estate is now served by Sembawang MRT station as part of the Woodlands MRT Extension.

What’s in Sembawang

Although considered a new housing estate, Sembawang boasts plenty of amenities that will appeal to the young and old. At the heart of the estate is Sun Plaza which is located just next to Sembawang MRT station. The mall was recently refurbished and features over 170 stores offering a wide variety of food and beverage, entertainment and banking options all under one roof. Some of its anchor tenants include NTUC Fairprice and McDonald’s.

Further down at Canberra Road is Sembawang Mart which comprises a wet market, supermarket, food court and retail shops. Upgraded in October 2010, Sembawang Mart also offers childcare, kindergarten and tuition facilities.

The great thing about living in Sembawang is that it oozes a rich blend of the old and the new thanks to its rich history as a former plantation estate and a British naval base. Named after the Sembawang tree, you can explore Sembawang Park where the namesake tree can still be found today. Developed in the 1970s, the park is rich in fauna, flora and bird species, making it a perfect escape for nature lovers. You can also explore one of Singapore’s natural beaches here, go camping or enjoy a day at the family-friendly playground.

For lifestyle options and a little bit of history, look no further than the conserved Neo-Classical bungalow called Beaulieu House which serves Western cuisine, Chinese seafood and local delights. Located within the park, Beaulieu House was granted conservation status by the Urban Redevelopment Authority in 2005.

Another charming attraction that can be found here is Admiralty House which now houses a private school. Located at Old Nelson Road, this English cottage-looking bungalow was built in 1939 and once served as the residence for the Commodore Superintendent of the Royal Navy Dockyard. Admiralty House was gazetted as a national monument in 2002.

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Sembawang in the next 10 years

Under the Sembawang Master Plan 2018, Sembawang is set to be transformed into a vibrant neighbourhood with a new MRT station, an integrated transport corridor, an integrated hub, new housing estates and job opportunities closer to home.

Canberra MRT station, which is located between the Sembawang and Yishun MRT stations, will open at the end of 2019 and provide enhanced connectivity to the rest of the island via the North South MRT Line. Next to it will be Canberra Plaza which will also be opened during the same period. Designed as a ‘New Generation Neighbourhood Centre’, Canberra Plaza will be designed as an urban jungle with pockets of gardens, trails and water play park for residents of all ages to enjoy. There will also be a wide range of amenities on offer.

Come 2020, more exciting facilities will await residents with the opening of Sembawang integrated hub. Called Bukit Canberra, it will feature a hawker centre, indoor and outdoor sports facilities, a polyclinic, a senior care centre, green spaces for community farming and lifestyle-related amenities for the entire community to enjoy.

To bring jobs closer to home, the JTC Food Hub @ Senoko has been planned to cluster small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from the food sector within a seven-storey hub. This will not only support innovation in Singapore’s food industry but also provide local job opportunities.

Get the Guru View

Sembawang may seem like a far-flung area for some but it boasts a blend of the old and new that many will find it hard to resist. After all, where else in Singapore can you still find charming colonial buildings, enjoy access to the great outdoors, parks and beaches yet live a stone throw’s away from two MRT stations? All this is set to become even more exciting with the opening of Bukit Canberra integrated hub, Canberra Plaza, Canberra MRT station and the JTC Food Hub @ Senoko. As such, Sembawang will appeal to home buyers from all walks of life as it will be planned as a liveable and self-sufficient township with easy access to amenities such as schools, community facilities and parks.