Marine Blue Review



  • Christopher Chitty
  • 8 November 2015

Marine Blue is developed by Lady Hill Pte Ltd and is a subsidiary of CapitaLand Residential Ltd, one of Asia’s largest real estate companies. CapitaLand Residential’s signature developments in Singapore include Sky Habitat, The Interlace as well as commercial buildings like Capital Tower and CapitaGreen.

Project Name: Marine Blue

Address: 89, 91 Marine Parade Road

Type: Condominium

Site area: Approx. 51,000 sqft

Tenure: Freehold

District: 15

Configuration: 120 apartments over 3 blocks of 16/17 storeys including 4 strata terraces

Unit types: 95, 1+1 bedroom with balcony units (635 – 1,271sqft)

7, 1+1 bedroom with terrace units (969 – 1,594sqft)

13, 2-bedroom with balcony units (1,045sqft)

1, 2-bedroom with terrace unit (1,141sqft)

4, penthouse units (3,036 – 3,262sqft)

Parking lots: TBA

Expected TOP: October 2017

Project Details

Bedok South is part of East Coast but it’s an odd place to have a showflat for a Marine Parade project, let alone a luxury one. Presumably, the developers are attempting to attract buyers from the Bedok residential area to upgrade or invest in the luxury development in Marine Parade.

Right now, it’s next to Siglap Community Centre (not Siglap Shopping Centre), overlooking a carpark that is flanked on all sides by HDB flats.

Marine Blue 3D model

Marine Blue 3D model

And closed indefinitely to the public except only for scheduled viewings.

If you do schedule a visit to the showflat, you’ll notice that from the makeshift steps leading up to the massive double doors, Marine Blue already feels significantly different from other projects.

It’s grander, like walking up the steps to grand villa.

So where the developer avoided having a showy brochure, opting instead for a thin newsletter that does little to sell the project, they pulled out all the stops for the showflat.

Entrance to Marine Blue's showflat

Entrance to Marine Blue’s showflat

Even the units are decked out in quality finishing and many appliances included with the purchase. Kitchen appliances provided include the fridge, induction stove and hood, microwave oven, baking oven and a washing machine with dryer.

Those appliances are De Dietrich branded. Other branded fittings included IXISS tap and mixer and Geberit toilet seaters.

For the units proper however, brands mean nothing if the layout and usable space do not deliver. Fortunately, Marine Blue fires on all cylinders and for the most part, delivers.

Double suite Type B1 (97sqm): A double suite is essentially a 2-bedroom apartment. At 97sqm or 1,044sqft however, this unit type is already bigger than or as big as 3-bedroom units in other developments.

Double suite entrance

Double suite entrance

Having the common corridor lead past the first bedroom and common bathroom is a lot better than the kitchen being the first thing people see when they enter from the main door.

It does make the unit look smaller than it actually is, but the suite opens up significantly after a few steps.

The first bedroom and common bathroom are the first rooms you’ll pass by. By design, a lot of the partitions/walls are actually sliding doors.

Double Suite common bedroom

Double Suite common bedroom

The common bathroom has one, leading to the bedroom, though for this showunit, the ID treatment includes a full length mirror on the wall.

The common bathroom is decked out in homogeneous tiles though the choice of tiles look very nice. They look like wood laminate without the disadvantage of actually having wood flooring in the bathroom.

Double Suite common bathroom which is connected to the common bedroom

Double Suite common bathroom which is connected to the common bedroom

Wood and water don’t mix well so using wood laminate will mess up your floor and in some cases, make it stink. Homogeneous flooring is versatile and can resemble different types of flooring. Over here, it adds to the luxury feel while keeping maintenance low.

All bathrooms, whether master or common in all the units come with rain showers.

The double suite unit however really shines when you enter the living/dining area.

Double Suite kitchen and living area

Double Suite kitchen and living area

The kitchen follows the trending open concept though it has its own working space with an island serving as a necessary partition to the living area.

There are two washing areas; one at the corner, behind the microwave and baking ovens and next to the induction stove.

It’s separated by a glass panel to prevent splashing onto the stove while washing vegetables.

Kitchen is spacious with quick meal prepping and cooking area nicely separated

Kitchen is spacious with quick meal prepping and cooking area nicely separated

The other washing area is on the island, overlooking the living/dining area and the balcony. So you get a nice view of Parkway Parade and the sea beyond, if you’re on a high enough floor.

The master bedroom is in a unique location in what may be a design hallmark for this development. It overlooks the living area in a grand 1-bedroom sort of way.

Unfortunately, as a result of this more interesting design, the common bedroom and bathroom feel tacked on to what may have originally just been a single bedroom suite. Still it’s a good thing that it is there because it allows two to three people, especially a family of three to comfortably live in this particular unit.

View of master bedroom and living room

View of master bedroom and living room

A sliding door partition separating the master bedroom to the living room, provides the requisite privacy. This layout actually offers a hidden opportunity for residents.

If the bedroom size isn’t important to you, then the common bedroom can double up as your sleeping quarters while the master bedroom be used as part of the living or even the dining area instead.

Of course to do this, you’ll need to remove the built-in wardrobe, but it’s an idea singles or couples for whom living and dining space is more important than sleeping can consider. The normal bedroom is 12.8sqm and is big enough for a queen size bed. That’s a lot of space to work with.

Master bedroom with sliding partition doors.

Master bedroom with sliding partition doors.

The master bedroom is slightly bigger – 14.5sqm – and comes with its private bathroom. But since the common bathroom has a sliding door into the regular bedroom, it can still be used as a private bathroom. Ceiling height for both are the same, at 2.9m.

As for the balcony, it’s big. At 10.2sqm, it’s gives you more space than to just stand and stare out.

Unlike regular condominiums where the balcony is like a veranda you can do without, the balcony in this unit is big enough to put chairs and a table for some serious lounging.

Balcony overlooking Parkway Parade and the sea at East Coast Park

Balcony overlooking Parkway Parade and the sea at East Coast Park

The higher you are, the better the view. Fortunately, there are no high rise buildings directly in front of Marine Blue, with the exception of Parkway Plaza some ways back.

Lower units will have a view of the trees in front though.

Loft suite Type A1 (118sqm): The loft suite is traditionally a 1-bedroom unit with a loft. Many developments provide a deck you can’t stand up in once you’re on top but here it’s really a loft.

Though its actual usable space is not much for people who like to sleep on the loft. It’s not recommended because the staircase while wide enough for a person to ascend, is too narrow to drag a bed up.

Loft

Loft

There’s also insufficient space to do that.

This particular unit already comes with a study area and a master bedroom on the ground floor. The loft can be used as a working area because it is quite high up.

The ceiling height for the living/dining area is 5.5m and since the loft is just above the kitchen area, it’s quite a secluded high hiding spot away from whatever commotion is going on downstairs.

The study room, is next to the main door. In the show unit, this room was turned into a dressing/ preparation area complete with shoe display cabinets.

Study room turned into preparation area for show unit

Study room turned into preparation area for show unit

It’s not the best use of the space but it does highlight the scope of the space available. Plus, it’ll make for a great welcoming area. One odd little detail in the unit is the storage space beneath the staircase.

In the show unit, the washing machine was placed there.

Given that there is a lot of space in the open kitchen and living area, it is questionable why the washing machine couldn’t have been placed there instead of here.

Hidden compartment for washing machine/dryer

Hidden compartment for washing machine/dryer

According to the floorplan, this is the hiding spot of the washing machine. With little other place to place the washing machine, there’s not much choice here. Unless you want to drag it out to the balcony or turn the study area into a laundry room.

The living and kitchen area is similar with the double suite. It feels more spacious here because of the smaller dining table.

It’s short of an island but the cooking space is compact with everything in reach. The fridge and baking oven come with the apartment since they’re all built in anyway.

Kitchen/dining and living area

Kitchen/dining and living area

The master bedroom sports the same sliding wooden doors as the double suite that would separate it from the living/kitchen area when necessary.

It’s slightly smaller than the second bedroom at the double suite, at 12.2sqm.

It does come with an attached bathroom which is the only bathroom in the apartment since this is essentially a 1-bedroom unit.

Master bedroom

Master bedroom

The unit does, for the most part, make the best of its layout. Adding a loft however, just feels unnecessary since it eats up valuable space and makes the corridor narrower than it should be.

Like the double suite, it’s not until you step into the living area does the worth of the unit come through.

The high ceiling, compressed marble and laminate flooring adds to an overall sense of depth when standing in the main areas.

High ceilings can make the living space feel bigger and less claustrophobic and is great if you like hanging chandeliers.

View from loft

View from loft

For the loft suite, it doesn’t really do anything other than give you standing space on the loft.

Seeing as how the loft space seems currently limited to storage or working, the unit might be more practical as a 1-bedroom suite with a yard, dedicated laundry area and a study/guest room.

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Location

Etymology: Prior to 1970, Marine Parade, as a residential neighbourhood, did not exist. Built entirely upon reclaimed land, Marine Parade was named after a promenade that overlooked the sea.

Now it is one of, if not the most, well-connected and developed districts in Singapore. With a wide variety of restaurants, hawker centres, schools, shopping malls, a cinema and a lot more, Marine Parade shows more than it tells.

Getting there: Marine Blue’s actual site is between Roxy Square 2 (next to Roxy Hotel) and The Coralis condominium (next to I12 Katong).

Diagonally across the road to the right is Parkway Parade while further left, at the site of the old Republic Theatre is where the new Marine Parade MRT station will be.

For a luxury condominium, Marine Blue occupies a prime location, although exclusivity and quietness which are conventional hallmarks of such developments will be in short supply. It’s not as busy as Orchard Road, but traffic is constant and the many malls nearby are always buzzing with activity.

Its showroom however is situated at Bedok South Road, next to Siglap CC (not Siglap Centre).

Marine Blue showflat at Bedok South

Marine Blue showflat at Bedok South

Unfortunately, the showroom is not open for public viewing. Interested parties will need to engage an agent or contact the developer directly.

For a project that looks to be about 75% complete, this is a little strange. And according to URA at the time of writing, 31 out of its 124 units have been sold, though only 50 units have been launched thus far.

One reason behind the developer’s conservative tactics, has to do with dismal market sentiments in 2014 when the project launched. Their modest tactic is borne from the understanding that showy extravaganzas and fluff won’t appeal to buyers so long as prices are unattractive.

Such niche markets were usually catered toward the wealthy foreign buyers but due to various housing policies in recent years, foreign interest has waned, if not disappeared entirely.

It’s certainly not as robust as before. In this regard, the slow and steady approach may likely prove a better tactic.

The surroundings: The best way to describe Marine Parade is, ‘all of Orchard Road’s strengths and none of its weaknesses.’ This might sound like a description of a vampire that can walk in the sunlight, but it’s apt nonetheless.

Like the other luxury condominium in the area, Amber Skye, being in Marine Parade is a boon. Unlike Amber Skye, which requires residents to take a bus or walk a bit from Tanjong Katong to Marine Parade road, residents of Marine Blue can walk out the main gate and cross the overhead bridge to Parkway Parade, or walk out behind toward I12 Katong.

View from Roxy Square 2, next to Marine Blue site

View from Roxy Square 2, next to Marine Blue site

Parkway Parade is the defining mall of Marine Parade since 1984 and while its façade has barely changed over the long decades, it has seen several facelifts over the years.

Many stores are new but there are several that have withstood the test of time. One of them – Famicom – a game store that adopted its name off a popular video game console in the early 90s has been in operation for over 15 years. Next to that is a Uniqlo store, previously MPH.

Parkway Parade does not have a cinema though there’s one at I12 Katong (commonly known as 112 Katong or Katong Mall). It is a relatively new mall, along East Coast Road, having been rebuilt on what was previously Katong Mall. It’s about the same distance as to Parkway Parade – about five minutes of walking – just in a different direction.

Other shopping malls include Roxy Square and Roxy Square 2. There aren’t much to do there though, unless you’re looking for furniture, massages, tuition centres, skincare clinics or pubs. There’s even a couple of tattoo parlours there.

An upcoming mixed development being built next to 112 Katong and technically behind Marine Blue, will have yet another retail element in a district that’s positively drowning in things to do.

Because if shopping malls and their crowds aren’t your thing, then there’s a stream of restaurants, bars, pubs and hawker centres throughout Marine Parade, Tanjong Katong and Joo Chiat.

East Coast Road, behind Marine Blue. 112 Katong is is five minutes away.

East Coast Road, behind Marine Blue. 112 Katong is is five minutes away.

It’s the best representation of East meets West, of traditional Singapore meets modern Singapore.

What’s more, they’re all within walking distance from Marine Blue.

Schools are aplenty and a short bus ride away. At least five schools are within walking distance, though it’s quicker and more convenient to take a bus since almost all go in that direction.

These schools are:

  • CHIJ Katong Primary
  • Tao Nan Primary
  • Ngee Ann Primary
  • Katong Convent Girls (Secondary)
  • St Patricks Secondary (Boys)
  • Victoria Junior College

From the bus stop next to the overhead bridge overlooking Parkway Parade, almost every bus, except 15 goes toward these schools. Bus 15 will make a turn just before CHIJ Katong Primary, toward Eunos. For the other buses, you can alight at the bus stop in front of CHIJ Primary or cross the road to Tao Nan Primary.

Two stops from CHIJ brings you to St Patrick’s Secondary and Katong Convent Girls which is just across the bridge. Ngee Ann Primary is next to Katong Convent Girls. Victoria Junior College is one stop after that and on the same side of the road as Katong Convent Girls.

If you take bus 76 however, you’ll alight at the bus stop closest to Katong Convent Secondary and Ngee Ann Primary.

All of this takes roughly 10 minutes of travel time. It’d be shorter but Marine Parade is also in a very serious competition with Orchard Road to see which district can have the most number of traffic lights within a smaller surface area.

Finally, it would be a travesty to talk about Marine Parade without at least mentioning East Coast Park. From Marine Blue, it is roughly a 10 minute walk to the underpass leading to the beach.

The underpass is across the road from Popular, between Fairprice Finest supermarket and Block 79. East Coast Park/Beach stretches from Kallang further east and past Bedok jetty to the west.

A horde of chic restaurants, bars and cafes have taken up residence in specific parts of East Coast. Further inland, closer to the lagoon are the popular East Coast and Jumbo Seafood Centres. The Big Splash area too has its own selection of restaurants with cuisine from east, west and everything in between.

There’s also a MacDonald’s near the seafood centres after the lagoon, though if just want fast food, visit the MacDonald’s at Parkway Centre which is next to Parkway Parade instead.

Or call for delivery.

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Analysis

Compared to other developments in the area, Marine Blue is significantly pricier. With their smallest units already starting past the $1m mark, units in Marine Blue, according to property analysts are already 40% higher in median price than the competitors in the vicinity.

Being a freehold, luxury development in a very good location does justify some of its pricing strategy. Though when faced with this many competitors, the project’s pricing might be detrimental in the current market environment.

Already, the median psf of a 1-bedroom with study and balcony (635 sqft) is $1,849. This number is based on the number of units so far sold.

For 2-bedroom with terraces, the median price is $1,802. The lowest transacted price is about $1.87m.

So, roughly, the median price for the 31 units sold is in the $1,800 psf range.

This is unlike neighbour, Coralis, where the median price is $1,531 psf with the lowest transacted at approximately $700,000 for a 495 sqft unit.

Granted, the smallest unit size for Marine Blue is 635 sqft and the closest unit size with Coralis is 549 sqft. Those units at Coralis are still within the $700k range. Coralis is also not being billed as a luxury development, nor is it a new launch.

At a land sale of $100.68m however, CapitaLand can’t really afford to price modestly, especially since it’s releasing a luxury freehold development in a prime district. Furthermore, a good majority of its units have a view reaching out as far as the beach. Its proximity to the amenities and transportation is an unparalleled benefit shared with the other developments in the area.

The only thing it offers that is different is that being a luxury development, its fittings and furnishing are higher end. Whether this is sufficient enough to justify its price is a decision buyers would need to make on their own. Affluent buyers would certainly find much to love at Marine Blue. Its location already sells it.

However CapitaLand’s conservative approach to acquiring sales seems to suggest a wait and see approach, for the market to pick up, or for cooling measures to be tweaked.

After all, with more than 50% of the units currently launched sold, it’s clear there is interest.

It’s difficult to analyse Marine Blue thoroughly because all its units have yet to be launched. There is likely a wait and see approach from buyers as well, especially where the strata landed houses are concerned.

No doubt some eager buyers are waiting for CapitaLand to release them before they take the plunge.

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Summary

Marine Blue looks like a tough sell but from its first phase of sales, interest in the development is established. CapitaLand has taken a slow burn approach to sales.

While foreign interest has waned in recent years due to policies like ABSD (Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty), data shows that Singaporean buyers have been leading the pack recently. Not just for luxury developments, but regular condominiums as well.

Main entrance to Marine Blue

Main entrance to Marine Blue

The usual sweet spot of $1m to $1.5m still stands though it does appear that many more locals (including PRs) are finding it easier to reach out of their budget a little more, as evidenced by 2-bedroom units above $1.5m selling quite well in the first launch phase.

But price aside, Marine Blue’s units need to be able to deliver on their own. After all, there’s very little innovation with layout and materials in a mass-market industry like real estate. When compared with other luxury developments, like Amber Skye in Tanjong Katong for example, Marine Blue offers a bigger starting unit size of 635 sqft against Amber Skye’s 527 sqft.

And though the psf looks significant with Marine Blue going at $1,808 against Amber Skye’s $2,262, their actual transacted price is a slight $45,000 difference.

The difference in location plays a huge factor because although Marine Blue is situated within walking distance to the upcoming Marine Parade MRT station as well as shopping malls and eateries, Amber Skye is situated closer to the highway in a predominantly private estate enclave. Prices in such places are going to be higher.

Marine Blue’s finishing is of a high quality and delivers quite exceptionally well.

Its four strata terraces are going to be in hot demand once they’re up for sale and with good reason. It’s like landed living within a private luxury estate.

Strata Terraces

Strata Terraces

Those residents won’t get a view of the beach but they do get a view of the 50m lap pool with a third open air storey for alfresco dining and parties. This adds another layer to a development that has everything going for it.

Punctuating this is the fact that Marine Blue’s location is excellent.

There are bus stops nearby that facilitate journeys further east to Pasir Ris or to Orchard and beyond.

Marine Blue is also significantly closer to the shopping malls, the belt of cafes and restaurants, and a cinema. All of these are within five to eight minutes of walking from Marine Blue which adds to a higher rental potential.

For buyers looking for luxury living in an enclosed, private area where peace and exclusivity reigns, then it would erroneous to suggest that Marine Blue can sufficiently satisfy those requirements.

But for buyers who enjoy living in a luxury setting but do not want to feel divorced from the neighbourhood, Marine Blue provides that in spades.

Marine Blue 3D model

Marine Blue 3D model

What’s more, Marine Blue is right smack in a culturally rich area; one that has seen rapid modernization that’s been checked only by the tenacity of its Peranakan roots. It’s a mature area that still manages to grow.

Being extremely well connected with an upcoming MRT station will only enhance the district, ensuring that Marine Parade will always be a desirable place to live.

And by extension, so too is Marine Blue.

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Eric Wong

Christopher Chitty

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