• Karin Liow
  • 18 April 2019

the essence

Artist’s impression of The Essence.

Developer: Chong Kuo Development 

Address: 1 Chong Kuo Road

Type: Condominium

Tenure: 99 year leasehold from 04 May 2018

District: 26

Configuration: 84 units over two 5 storey blocks

Site Area: Approximately 46,000 sq ft

Parking: 84 basement lots plus 8 visitor and 2 accessible lots.

Unit Types:            12 x 1 Bed + Study (538 – 689 sq ft)

                                12 x 2 Bed (624 – 786 sq ft)

                                40 x 2 Bed Premium (700 – 1001 sq ft)

                                10 x 3 Bed (1044 – 1389 sq ft)

                                10 x 3 Bed Premium (1227 – 1679 sq ft)

TOP: Q4 2021


Project Details

There are some developments that are a lot more than merely bricks and mortar. The Essence is the perfect example.  Normally these reviews will begin with the actual development itself, but by doing that here, would be to miss the whole point of what this project is all about. The Essence is a condominium that measures its attractions in hectares not square feet. It is certainly not a project that encourages its residents to remain within its man-made boundaries, but instead to truly experience the wonderful scenery that surrounds it.

That said, the development itself is a very fine one indeed. It is well designed, its units are large and there are enough special little details that make you realize that though the location and surroundings are the prime driver for this project, the actual units and development is certainly no afterthought.

90% of the units are north south facing. It is also surrounded by landed property so no matter which units you are in, you will see the sky and trees from your windows, not other people’s homes looking down on you. As far as traditional amenities it has several, including a 40-metre lap pool and a second-floor gym.

The show flat is located a few hundred yards up Sembawang Road, adjacent to Hong Heng Gardens, and has a 2 Bed Premium unit on display. The premium 2 bedders feature a second bathroom.

2 Bedroom Premium (700 sq ft)

Good economical use of space means the kitchen feels roomy, and there is easily enough space for a dining table that is large enough for guests, while still managing to keep the living area separate. The appliances are from Bosch and it includes an electric cooker hob and hood, built-in oven (the 3 bed units feature a larger oven), a free-standing fridge and a washer cum dryer. The work surfaces are quartz.

One of the outstanding features is the ceiling height for some of the units. Certain types boast a very impressive 4.8 metre ceiling height for the master bedrooms and its living areas.


Sufficient room for a dining table that can seat guests.

All master bedrooms are large enough to easily accommodate a king-sized bed, even with bedside tables, and the en suite is also a good size, with a walk-in shower. Sanitary fittings are by Duravit and Hansgrohe.


The master bedroom can easily accommodate a king-sized bed.

Despite the show flat’s second bedroom featuring a single bed, the room (as are all the non-master bedrooms at the development) is large enough for a queen-sized bed, and even a king bed if you are willing to sacrifice the bedside tables.


The bathrooms come with high-end fittings and finishes.

The Essence also has several smart features that come as standard, including the Samsung biometric door locks.


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The Essence is located close to the Singapore Zoo, River Safari and Night Safari.

This part of District 26 has flown under the radar of almost everyone, but the select few who call it home. It isn’t an area you read about for new upcoming areas. That is very likely to change however, for several reasons. Springleaf MRT on the new Thomson East Coast Line will open the area both literally and in terms of letting people know about the area. The station – when it opens in 2020 – will be a six-minute walk from The Essence, and the immediate area around the station is home to restaurants, grocery shops, a convenience store, an ATM and several pet shops. The line itself will connect residents to all the other lines, and as a result to all parts of the island. Orchard Road for example is 10 stops away.

As part of the government’s plans to hit its population target in 2030, places just like Springleaf will be expected to shoulder some of the responsibility, but the way they are attracting people to this area is unique. Massive development in the land around the zoo will transform that area into a huge eco-tourism park, which will dwarf anything Singapore has known before. Residents of The Essence will be a part of that, and despite living on the fringes of Thomson Road, they are surrounded not just by the zoo and forthcoming attractions, but by four bodies of water. The incredibly tranquil Upper Seletar Reservoir is perhaps the biggest and best, but the Lower Seletar Reservoir Park, Lower Peirce Reservoir Park and Upper Peirce Reservoir Park are all a joy, no matter the time of the day. It is the only part of the island where you can really get away from it all, where the only sounds are your own footsteps, the wind in the trees, and the call of birds.

The small but picturesque Springleaf Park is practically opposite the development and it is connected to Lower Seletar Reservoir by a park connector. There are several golf courses within a few minutes’ drive of the residences. The CTE, SLE and BKE are a 3, 5 and 6 minute drive away respectively.


Picturesque view of the Upper Seletar Reservoir. 

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The Essence gives people a unique chance to take advantage of several opportunities. First of all, there is no place like this anywhere on the island, in terms of immersing yourself in the peace and quiet of nature, while at the same time still being connected to employment and lifestyle hubs. It also gives you the chance to live a lifestyle enjoyed by the top 1% of society, at a fraction of the price. Finally, it is also a fantastic opportunity to enjoy real first mover advantages, because this area is not going to fly under the radar for long. There is too much government money invested in it for that to happen. The good thing though, is that even though developments are going to come, the nature of the area cannot change, as the natural environment is protected.

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Eric Wong

Karin Liow