• Christopher Chitty
  • 23 March 2016

Far East Organization is the largest property developer in Singapore and have developed over 500 properties in Singapore, especially in the Orchard Road area. It is the only developer in the world to have won eight FIABCI Prix d’Excellence Awards, which is considered the highest honour in international real estate.

Project Name: Bijou

Address: Pasir Panjang, Jalan Mat Jambol

Type: Integrated/Mixed development

Site area: approx. 39,596 sqft

Tenure: Freehold

District: 05

Configuration: 120 units & 15 commercial spaces in a 5-storey development

Unit types: 4, 1-bedroom SOHO (506 sqft)

90, 2-bedroom Compact SOHO (550 – 721 sqft)

24, 2-bedroom DK SOHO with attic (743 – 807 sqft)

2, 4-bedroom DK SOHO (1,147 – 1,217 sqft)

Parking lots: 120 residential, 20 commercial & 3 handicap

Expected TOP: 2019

Project Details

The Bijou showflat is located in the West Coast, opposite Far East Organisation’s other upcoming project; SeaHill. As a mixed development, it will have shops, including a grocery store. The management of the shops will be handled by Far East, as is often the case with other developments from them.

Bijou 3D model grocery store

Bijou 3D model grocery store

As for the showunits, two are available for viewing, one is a 53 sqm 1-bedroom SOHO and the other is the 71 sqm 2-bedroom with attic. Before delving into the units proper, here are a few things that are consistent with all units:

  • all units come with marble and wood flooring and buyers can choose the type from a list
  • all appliances are by Bosch and everything, including washing machine and fridge are provided
  • Fridges are not built-in to make it easier for owners to change/maintain when necessary

1-bedroom SOHO (52 sqm): For a studio apartment, a 52 sqm (570 sqft) unit can often times look small and cramped, but not so for Bijou’s 1-bedroom unit. With a ceiling height of 3.3m for the living room, and a ‘study platform’ built above the kitchen, the unit is as spacious as it looks.

1BR SoHo living room

1BR SoHo living room

The ID (interior design) full length mirror next to the couch accentuates the space by adding some perceived depth. When done right, like it was here, harmless mirror trickery enhances the look of a unit.

It’s a decent addition and serves as a suggestion for owners wanting to add a little bit more to an already move-in ready unit. As a single bedroom unit, the SOHO (Small Office Home Office), layout with the ‘study platform’ is unobtrusive at best.

Most developments tend to allocate a yard space for the study room but Bijou separates both without cutting corners but making the most of all the space provided, especially horizontally.

1-bedroom SOHO Kitchen and study platform

1-bedroom SOHO Kitchen and study platform

There is a study room, which given its generous size, could double up as a second, smaller bedroom instead. Or it could even be converted into a large walk-in wardrobe. This room is on the left after entering from the main door.

The kitchen is on the right upon entering with the staircase to the platform just view of the door.

The platform is sturdy and quite wide. A small work table can fit comfortably including a chair. You could even throw some bean bags and turn this into a cosy relaxation corner. Regardless, it’s spacious enough and has its own plug points so it can be used as a full study deck or anything for that matter.

The actual study room and master bedroom are connected by a common bathroom.

1-bedroom SOHO master bedroom and shared bathroom

1-bedroom SOHO master bedroom and shared bathroom

The bathroom is rectangular shaped with the counter and sink on one side of the wall with a full length mirror – hidden by the pillar when viewed from either rooms – and the shower area and toilet on the opposite side.

This layout keeps everything streamlined and accessible. The ample walk through space is a nice inclusion, as it is an excellent use of the unit’s layout.

Bathrooms like these are ideal and serve as a standard to be met. The layout is neat and as a result, makes the bathroom commodious. A good looking bathroom is crucial to the overall aesthetics of a unit in this unit, it’s well executed.

1-bedroom SOHO common bathroom

1-bedroom SOHO common bathroom

The master bedroom is what you’d expect of a master bedroom. It is large certainly, and can accommodate a king size bed with ample walk space.

However, this leaves a small space for the built-in wardrobe, which feels a bit lacking. Given that the room is big enough for two side tables to take up space at either ends of the bed, the small wardrobe sticks out.

An argument can be made that this is after all a 1-bedroom apartment and fortunately the room does come bare so the owner can extend the wardrobe. For the purpose of the showunit however, it is likely this has to do with the layout of this showunit as a large pillar where the window is, takes up big amount of space.

1-bedroom SOHO master bedroom

1-bedroom SOHO master bedroom

However, if this unit type is occupied by a single or a couple, then the study room is large enough to be converted into a walk-in closet. Its connection to the shared bathroom furthers this possibility.

Add that there’s already a built-in study platform, you won’t be compromising on space should you choose to convert the study room into a closet.

The master bedroom has a door leading straight to the living room so however the owner wishes to renovate, the connectivity is already present. It is after all, more costly to break down walls than it is to put them up.

Thus the space available that allows you to customise according to your preferences nicely negates the slight negatives that are a consequences of this particular layout.

2-bedroom with attic (71 sqm): Dual Key (DK) units are quite common in mid to high density projects and typically follow a simple style. DK units tend to look like studio apartments of varying sizes and while usable, they normally look tacked on then part of the overall look. Some appear almost like afterthoughts.

The DK units in Bijou however are rather grand. All DK units in Bijou are duplex apartments, with a quaint addition that gives it what Far East Organization calls its attic.

2-bedroom DK

2-bedroom DK

The showunit separated both floors with the first floor as the main living area and the second as the master bedroom and attached kitchen. From the main entrance, a right turn brings you to the bathroom (which is beautifully done) and a left leads you up the stairs to the second level.

2-bedroom DK first floor bathroom

2-bedroom DK first floor bathroom

The living and dining area is after the front door and bathroom. The kitchen is well spaced out, with the fridge and oven flushed with the wall on one end and the preparation area with sink against the opposite wall.

A small dining table that sits four takes up residence in the middle but does not intrude into the living area. It does make moving around the kitchen a little harder however, given the tighter width but overall, it’s a minor issue.

 2-bedroom DK kitchen

2-bedroom DK kitchen

With a compact kitchen like this, the ‘living area’ can fit a king size bed with a small TV console against the far wall to house various devices and the television if it isn’t mounted on the wall.

This entire first floor is already usable as a single apartment replete with all necessary elements. When added to the second storey it opens up quite a few uses for the entire duplex unlike other traditional DK units.

For one, owners can eschew the DK nature of the unit and simply use this a two storey studio apartment.

Far East Organisation offers buyers of this unit type the option to replace the kitchen on the second storey with another bedroom, turning the unit into a true 2-bedroom apartment with the living and cooking area on the first floor.

 2-bedroom DK upstairs

2-bedroom DK upstairs

Or they could keep it as it is, with the second studio apartment sitting above, with its own access to the roof terrace/garden.

The master bedroom on the second storey is more impressive. It is large enough to hold a king size bed with plenty of room to go around.  It’s big enough to be its own living room.

2-bedroom DK master bedroom

2-bedroom DK master bedroom

The built-in wardrobe is different by industry standards, with see-through sliding doors that emphasize the space. It looks good and the see-through doors make the space look bigger than if everything were covered up.

Furthermore, in a move to minimise wasted space, Far East has built a furniture deck above the closet dubbed the attic. While it is completely unlike attics in other countries and can be seen as a furniture deck, there are some marked differences here that sets it apart.

Unlike other decks that disallow you from standing up, there’s enough space – provided you’re not exceptionally tall – to stand and walk about.

2-bedroom DK furniture deck

2-bedroom DK furniture deck

Throw a few small couches up there and you’ve got a nice getaway spot to recline at or to do some work in. It’s also big enough to house a television and a console. Or a computer desk to work on. The possibilities are entirely up to the owner. The attic is a smart use of horizontal space and the fact that it is sturdy enough for the owner to actually use it is great.

Since the DK units occupy the highest floors the master bedroom has a sliding door that when opened, allows the owner to walk out onto the roof terrace and/or use the swimming pool.

Bijou roof terrace with swimming pool

Bijou roof terrace with swimming pool

This roof terrace is available for everyone in the building but DK owners have the added benefit of direct access.

The units are planned in such a way that owners won’t have to worry about their privacy being intruded upon. Though installing curtains or some form of screen to keep potential lurkers out is still a necessity.

The DK units at Bijou are impressive. Based on the design and the offered customisation, it is good for families or newlyweds. It’s also perfect for a single resident who can use the smaller room as an office or for friends sharing the cost to save on ABSD with both ending up with decent sized living spaces to call their own.

Bijou 3D model

Bijou 3D model

To compliment all of this, Bijou is freehold. It’s yours until you decide to sell and not just because the lease is up.

As such, the price appreciation for DK units is expected to be high, especially since Bijou is directly across the road from Pasir Panjang MRT station and will be connected to it.

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Bijou is situated in Jalan Mat Jambol, along a stretch of road opposite the SSA Youth Centre that is surrounded by greenery. Though being next to Pasir Panjang Road and the West Coast Highway that are prone to bouts of heavy traffic, it is quieter the further in you travel.

Traffic aside, Bijou is across the road to Pasir Panjang MRT station, linked by a sheltered overhead bridge. Once the development is completed, there will be an additional sheltered linkage to bring residents and shoppers alike to and fro the MRT station.

While already convenient when travelling to Bijou, the additional linkage will help pace out the crowd more, in the future.

Bijou site from overhead bridge

Bijou site from overhead bridge

The closest and largest shopping mall would be VivoCity at Harbourfront, four MRT stops down from Pasir Panjang. As a result, the most significant thing Bijou will be bringing to its area are the shops and grocery store.

Both sides of the road however, are lined with various restaurants and minimarts. The closest are the SPC and Shell petrol stations with the Choice and 7-Eleven minimarts respectively.

SPC station less than five minutes from Bijou

SPC station less than five minutes from Bijou

There is a UOB and POSB/DBS ATM at the SPC station, which is about a three minute walk from Bijou. Shell is not that much further down, just after the bus stop, about two minutes away from SPC. The buses that service this route are few but they go all around the island:

  • 10: Tampines Interchange
  • 30: Bedok Interchange
  • 143: Toa Payoh Interchange
  • 176: Bukit Merah Interchange
  • 175: Lor 1 Geylang Terrace
  • 188/E: Harbourfront Interchange
  • 51: Hougang Central Interchange

These buses will also pass by Mapletree Business City, which is roughly four bus stops down. The walk to this bus stop is not sheltered.

On the opposite side of the road – where the current exit from Pasir Panjang MRT station is – the buses are the same:

  • 10: Kent Ridge Terrace
  • 143: Jurong East Temp Interchange
  • 176: Bukit Panjang Interchange
  • 175: Clementi Interchange
  • 188: Chua Chu Kang Interchange
  • 30: Boon Lay Interchange
  • 51: Jurong East Temp Interchange

These bus stops aren’t far at all from Bijou. They’re either a three minute walk or just across the road across the overhead link bridge to the MRT station. Wait time for buses on both sides aren’t exceptionally long and if they do get out of hand during wet weather, the train station is a stone’s throw away.

Pasir Panjang food centre behind Pasir Panjang MRT station

Pasir Panjang food centre behind Pasir Panjang MRT station

Behind the MRT station is the Pasir Panjang food centre, a cheaper local alternative to the other restaurants and eateries on Bijou’s side of the road. Walking down past the bus stop toward MAS (Monetary Association of Singapore) will see several more local hawker centres. There’s nasi lemak, bistros and cafes that sell halal food.

There are quite a few options here, though depending on the time of day you visit, several may or may not be opened for business.

Manhill Restaurant Pasir Panjang after MAS

Manhill Restaurant Pasir Panjang after MAS

And this is just on the MRT station side. On Bijou’s side of the road, in the opposite direction of the petrol stations, that is, toward Mapletree Business City are several more eateries. There are some western cuisine but the biggest is Thai restaurant, E-Sarn Thai Corner.

Next to that is Ashmi Minimart – a 24 hour mart that sells a variety of things from snacks to toiletries and canned food. Popular burger chain, Fat Boys, is after the minimart, just behind the bus stop.

It’s closed in the afternoon but will be opened during dinner time. On The Table Brunch café is next door as is The Great Beer Experiment.

Eateries and bistros less than a 10 minute walk from Bijou on the same street

Eateries and bistros less than a 10 minute walk from Bijou on the same street

There is a hawker centre just before Pepys Road. Pepys Road is a long road that leads to the Reflections at Bukit Chandu World War 2 interpretive centre.

All of these amenities, whether they’re on the side of Bijou or opposite, sit on the periphery of the main road, making them convenient for residents to walk to. Their close distances helps to assert Bijou’s strategic positioning in the district.

Even the West Coast highway runs overhead with an entry point along Pasir Panjang Road, just before the Mapletree Business City. This connectivity does come with a few caveats, the most prominent being the constant shroud of shadow that envelopes the street level no matter what time of day it is.

Pasir Panjang toward Mapletree Business City and Harbourfront

Pasir Panjang toward Mapletree Business City and Harbourfront

In some ways this is quite reminiscent of Bangkok, where overhead highways are prominent and cast long and heavy shadows on the street. The noise from traffic will also be prevalent and Bijou’s closeness to both the main road and the highway could be an issue for some people.

But it is likely landscaping in Bijou will do much to alleviate the sounds. Reinforced windows will also go a long way toward insulating the resident from the traffic noises. The other issue, is during heavy rain there is a tendency for large vehicles travelling along the highway overhead to splash water down to the street.

To be fair, this happens infrequently and it’s more common down the road, after the business city where traffic tends to get congested. Residents of Bijou won’t have to worry about this. Fortunately, Pasir Panjang MRT station is underground so the constant stream of trains will not add to the already busy traffic.

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As a freehold mixed development, unit quantums are expected to be higher, especially when taking into consideration the pedigree of a veteran developer like Far East. But its largest contributor are undeniably two things; first is the mentioned freehold status and second is its proximity to Pasir Panjang MRT station.

Pasir Panjang MRT station while not an interchange, is four stops away from Harbourfront MRT Station and VivoCity. From there, you can hop on a tram or take a cab to Sentosa if you’re so inclined.

It is connected to the purple line that will bring you to Outram Park MRT interchange (which connects to the east west line), Chinatown Interchange (which connects to the Downtown line), Dhoby Gaut Interchange (which connects to the North South line and Circle Line), Little India (future interchange connecting to the Downtown Line as well toward Bugis or Newton) as well as Serangoon Interchange, Sengkang Interchange and ultimately Punggol Interchange.

Sengkang and Punggol are interchanges to various LRT systems that service their respective districts. Though there isn’t much going on in those areas as of yet, the Seletar Aerospace Park near Thanggam LRT in Sengkang is a fast-growing industrial land that is already home to companies like Rolls-Royce.

Though it requires riding the train toward the end of the line and switching to the LRT, it is now more convenient and cheaper to travel there from Pasir Panjang should there be a need to.

By virtue of this, Bijou is one of the most well connected freehold mixed developments in Singapore. As a result, pricing will take all these conveniences into consideration.

Despite the higher quantum, the interest here is strong as two of its biggest 4-bedroom DK units have already been sold at a price of $2.7m, at the time of this writing. Usually, smaller units go first but in this case, the larger DK units show a higher investment potential that exceeds its larger quantum.

Source: PropertyGuru, URA

Source: PropertyGuru, URA

The only unit types that are below $1m, the 1-bedroom SOHO, are half sold, leaving only two units available though by the time of this publishing, those units may very well have been sold as well.

The 2-bedroom SOHO units are still available with transacted prices putting them within the $1m to $1.5m range while the 2-bedroom DK SOHO units have been transacted at $1.6m to about $2m.

According to URA, 28 out of 120 units have been sold. With a TOP of 2019, there is a lot of time for Far East to bring in the sales. It is entirely possible that several more offers for purchase are currently pending bank loan approvals.

Its closest competitors are all freehold condominiums that were completed before the 1990s, making any sort of comparison between them and Bijou unfair.

The only upside is that units in the older condominiums tend to be bigger, though renovation costs will more than likely make up the difference.

Furthermore, none of them are mixed developments and Bijou is still the closest to both the West Coast Highway and the MRT station.


Traditionally, median rental yield for Jalan Mat Jambol has been at a steady 2.6 – 3%. Typically, smaller units in new developments are bought for their lower quantum but higher investment potential.

Given than two out of the four 1-bedroom units have been sold at a median transacted price of $9, 568, 28, owners can expect a rental yield of roughly 3.18%, on a monthly rent of $2,500. This is a modest amount typically seen in a condominium in less popular districts.

For Bijou, given both its nearness to the MRT station and its status as a freehold mixed development with its own shops and grocery stores for convenience, loan amounts will likely be much higher, even for a 1-bedroom unit. It’s possible for 1-bedroom units in Bijou to start at around $3,000 per month.

With a large tenant pool from Science Park, NUS, NUH, Mapletree Business Park and much more, Bijou stands as an attractive and convenient development that is across the West Coast Highway from the MRT station, providing future tenants with various travel options that brings them directly to the development.

Demand will likely be high in the coming years as the surrounding development ramps up. When that happens, Bijou is poised to benefit from the influx.

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Bijou is one of those few projects that pushes the envelope of property development just a bit further. With high-end appliances and quality marble and wood flooring for all its units, the attention to detail is both consistent and thorough.

And with Far East as its manager, even the shops are expected to be of a certain standard, potentially mimicking a small scale retail mall more in tune with Orchard Road than neighbourhood malls.

With an MRT station within walking distance from the project – no more than five minutes – it makes owning a car unnecessary.

Add an in-house grocery store and shopping elements so residents can shop at their own convenience without the need to lug heavy bags from elsewhere or struggle to get onto public transport, Bijou ups the attraction factor. And if need be, the Pasir Panjang food centre is next to the MRT station, offering cheaper, local food alternatives.

Furthermore, as a mixed development, Bijou satisfies its namesake by being low-rise and mid-density but encompassed in an elegant façade. This complements its feeling of exclusivity and relative peacefulness.

Bijou 3D model ground floor PG

Also, seeing as how the train tracks run above the development, this ensures that all units are guaranteed privacy without the developer having to take special precautions to prevent passengers from being able to peer into the homes.

The roof terrace and swimming pool will be viewable however, but that’s hardly on the same level as looking into someone’s house.

Higher quantum developments tend to be viewed warily by people as most would prefer to make the commitment after seeing the development completed. This is warranted, as a few million dollars is a lot of money, even without factoring interest rates owed to the bank.

But Bijou itself presents a rich opportunity for prospecting investors to capitalise on the upcoming growth in the Southern Waterfront City –behind Pasir Panjang MRT station- and Mapletree Business City that is within a ten minute drive down the road from Bijou, which expects to see Google and Microsoft move in.

And Bijou with its self-contained retail elements, closeness to MRT station and the West Coast Highway makes it a good buy, in spite of its higher quantum.

Finding tenants for the smaller units and even the DK units which arguably were designed specifically to appeal to a larger tenant base will be less difficult once Bijou TOPs in 2019.

By then, Mapletree Business City 2 will have had four years of operation under its belt with a good number of professionals looking for homes to rent nearby or within the area. There is a large group of incoming tenants that will need places to stay either temporarily or semi-permanent while they work in the new business districts.

Rent demand therefore, is expected to increase in the coming years and with Bijou being freehold, you won’t be penalised for buying and waiting.

The Southern Waterfront City is supposedly the next big thing and Pasir Panjang is likely to be sought after once the population increases along with the developments.

Bijou is located at just the right spot to take advantage of this incoming growth without potentially suffering its ill-effects.

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Eric Wong

Christopher Chitty

"I read, I write, I lift. I am content"