• Christopher Chitty
  • 29 October 2015

MCC Land is a Fortune 500 company that has the development of Universal Studios at Sentosa and Keppel Distripark to its name. It has since diversified its portfolio to include residential housing in Singapore.

Project Name: The Santorini

Address: Tampines St 86/Ave 10

Type: Condominium

Site area: Approx. 184,095.62 sqft

Tenure: 99 years from 16 Oct 2013

District: 18

Configuration: 597 units

Unit types: 165, 1-bedroom unit (43 sqm & 49 sqm)

172, 2-bedroom incl. DK unit (68sqm, 70sqm & 72sqm)

211, 3-bedroom incl. DK & Garden Duplex units (85sqm, 97sqm, 105sqm, 107sqm & 166sqm)

28, 4-bedroom incl. Garden Duplex units (115sqm, 117sqm & 185 sqm)

14, 5-bedroom units (128sqm)

7, penthouse include 4 & 5-bedrooms units (122sqm, 142sqm, 140sqm, 146sqm & 149sqm)

Parking lots: 597 lots

Expected TOP: July 2018

Project Details

The Santorini takes its name from Santorini, a Greek island classically known as Thera. After a massive volcanic eruption destroyed the earliest settlements on what was once a single land mass, Santorini became part of a small archipelago that bears the same name.

Nowadays, the island has a population of 1,857 and is home to a flourishing wine industry. It is one of two islands in Europe to have a hot desert climate, with only two seasons; warm & dry and cold & rainy.

Just like Singapore minus the wine and small population.

The Santorini condominium is therefore MCC Land’s attempt to replicate and modernize the traditional Greek home and imbue a Mediterranean aesthetic into a Singapore context.

The Santorini

The Santorini

As it stands now, the project looks more than 50% built and moving along rather steadily and on track for its July 2018 TOP.

The 3D model shows eight, 15-storey blocks spread around a sparkling 50m lap pool flanked by palm trees and manicured shrubbery. It does evoke a Mediterranean feel, despite overlooking a road constantly trafficked by heavy trucks and military vehicles.

However, the main entrance is at Tampines Street 86. It is a small, two way road separating The Santorini and Q Bay Residences from the HDB estates.

Side gate along Street 86

Side gate along Street 86

A new bus stop is expected to be built near the side gate along street 86. Whether another bus stop will be erected at the other side gate along Avenue 10 is currently unknown.

Traffic noise is a constant in Singapore and Tampines North is no exception. Though the trees and bushes that will be planted along the perimeter of the development will act as a buffer.

Furthermore, most of the stacks are closer to Street 86 instead, with the exception of blocks 27 and 25. However, there is a good amount of distance between the roads and the development, so residents on the lower floors will unlikely have to endure the full brunt of traffic noise during peak hours.

What residents will have to deal with, is the sun.

Marked places for other blocks

Marked places for other blocks

Blocks 27 and 29 are likely to get the sun. Since there are no special glass or aluminium shading to keep the sun’s merciless glare out, curtains or blinds will come in handy.

The blocks are also 15 storeys high but not every block has an advantageous view. Some will be blocked by the other stacks.

To counter this inevitability, there is a sky terrace connecting blocks 21, 35, 33 and 31, which is open to all residents to indulge in a little scenery.

Sky Terrace connecting blocks 21, 33 and 31

Sky Terrace connecting blocks 21, 33 and 31

So far, the development is over 50% done and close to 200 out of its 597 units have been sold since 2014. Perhaps it is difficult for many people to visualise how the area will look like after it is developed so they might be adopting a wait and see approach.

Out of the two 5-bedroom penthouses available, already one has been bought. The 5-bedroom penthouse is in the $2.4m to $2.5m range. 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom units are about 80% and 70% sold respectively. There definitely is interest in the project.

Showflat: Three showunits are available for viewing; 3-bedroom DK, 2-bedroom and 1-bedroom.

As is the trend now, the units do not come with bay windows and ceiling height is roughly 2.35m. The typical kitchen appliances like induction stove and hood are provided. The developer is also including fittings like the usual sink with a mixer tap. Brands are Carysil and Whirlpool.

Unlike other developments however, the fridge and washing machine on display will not come with the units. The utility rooms/yards are also specific to the type of unit. 1 and 2-bedroom units do not have them.

3-bedroom DK (C5c-DK): Upon entering the foyer, a left turn takes you into the second unit complete with bathroom, kitchen and single bedroom. The second unit’s layout is that of a long rectangle.

3-bedroom DK layout

3-bedroom DK layout

In the layout above, the second unit is on the left.

This is a much smaller area, with space sufficient for one or two people to share. The kitchen is open and other than the door to the foyer and the wall separating the living room from this secondary unit, there are no walls partitioning the different areas in this smaller unit.

The floor tiles are homogeneous throughout, from the entry way to the bedroom, with variation only in the bathroom.

Dual- key unit with bathroom, kitchen and bedroom in a row

Dual-key part of the apartment

Straight from the foyer brings you to the main unit, with the kitchen immediately visible.

The kitchen in the main unit is slightly bigger than the second unit with more partitioning. This unit does not have a yard or washing area, though the common toilet sink, tap and vanity cabinet with mirror is behind the kitchen, and in front of the common bathroom.

It’s a little unusual because the common bathroom has only the showering and toilet areas with no sink. If you want to brush your teeth or shave, you’ll have to step outside.

Washing area outside of common bathroom

Washing area outside of common bathroom

Considering that the living area is spacious enough that shaving off some space there for the common bathroom won’t really hurt it, might seem an odd choice to consumers.

But other than being unconventional, it doesn’t actually hurt the unit all that much. It does offer convenience for people wanting to quickly brush their teeth or shave when the toilets are in use. There will be less waiting around in those circumstances.

Back to the unit proper, flooring is mostly similar throughout with the obvious exception of the bedrooms. Timber with matching skirting is used to elicit a cosier feel in the bedrooms.

Master bedroom in main unit

Master bedroom in main unit

The master bedroom has its own bathroom and toilet with the sink and vanity cabinets included inside this time.

A king size bed fits rather nicely inside with ample space for movement. The built-in wardrobe also, is better situated here as it does not intrude upon walking space.

As for the living room, it is rather spacious with an approximated size of 24.6sqm and a ceiling height of 2.7m. The balcony is joined to the living area and separated by a sliding door.

Living and dining area for main unit

Living and dining area for main unit

This adds a secondary layer of depth and space to the living room.

2-bedroom B1 (Pa) 67sqm: The 2-bedroom unit’s living room certainly benefits from a more attractive ID treatment. It also manages to look more spacious. The layout too, is better with no odd little corners.

Living and dining area

Living and dining area

The showflat presents a dining table big enough for four people without eating too much into the living area. This is important because smaller units generally feel more crowded when developers are cramming everything they can into it.

The unit also benefits from not having a utility room and bay windows. Bedrooms are of a decent size. The master bedroom is approximately 17.2 sqm, including the private bathroom, while the other bedroom is roughly 7.6sqm.

Common bedroom

Common bedroom 2

Putting a queen size bed here is possible, though that would not be utilizing the given space well. A super single or even a bunk bed allows for more room to put things other than just a bed and a wardrobe.

A small work table could go in here and along with the built-in wardrobe, would add a little more function to the room.

Likewise for the master bedroom, which is already big enough for a king size bed. Cutting that down to a queen size would open up more space for a work table or dresser.

Master bedroom with attached bathroom

Master bedroom with attached bathroom

However, as it already comes with a private bathroom with mirror and vanity cabinet, a dresser is unnecessary.

One thing about the bathrooms, is that the wet area is partitioned by a full length glass panel with swinging door.

Master bathroom with swing door in wet area

Master bathroom with swing door in wet area

This helps with keeping the dry area thoroughly separated from the wet area. For this unit though, the master bathroom is of a sufficient size so the inclusion of a swing door augments the space rather than diminish it.

All bathrooms in every unit is done up similarly though, with the swing door.

1-bedroom A2 (P) 49sqm: The 1-bedroom unit feels like it has a much bigger living area even though it is smaller. The brighter ID colours helps but so too does the layout.

From the main door, you walk into the unit with the kitchen on the right and living/dining area in front.

Main entrance to unit

Main entrance to unit

As with the other units, only the fridge and washing machines are not provided. The other accessories like sink mixer and induction stove come with the unit.

The bathroom is cleverly located between the kitchen and the bedroom with a door on either side connecting them. For a smaller unit, this helps a lot with moving around.

Unlike the 5-bedroom DK unit, the bathroom encompasses all its bits and pieces, including the sink, vanity cabinet and separated wet area.

Bathroom with two connecting doors

Bathroom with two connecting doors

The bathroom is doubly good as its layout is square instead of rectangle.

This allows the toilet seat and sink to sit side by side on one end of the wall and the shower area to take up space on the opposite side with a clear in-between for walking and standing.

The bedroom too is of a decent size, with enough room for a super single bed, the built-in wardrobe and a small working table. You can squeeze in a queen size bed, but that would leave room for little else.



The bedroom has two swing doors; one that leads to the connecting bathroom and the other to the living room.

For a smaller unit, it certainly offers a better layout without feeling cramped.

Much can be attributed to the brighter tiles but the way the space flows is also important and this particular unit looks to be a good buy whether or investment or living.

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Etymology: In the distant past, the largest residential area in Singapore was a verdant green land. Large swathes of forest dominated and massive Ironwood trees, known as tempinis, grew in abundance.

Between the emerald landscape, swamps and sand quarries, Tampines was a favoured military training ground until 1987 when the first new town began construction and civilisation started to creep in.

Getting there: While its paths and roads meander significantly lesser than the often clogged arterials of Pasir Ris, Tampines North is still a rapidly developing area as roads replace forests..

Plans to develop it into a sprawling residential zone for more than 1,500 families is underway but for now, getting to Tampines North from Tampines Interchange is inconvenient unless you drive.There are no buses that service that route at time of writing.

The Santorini showflat entrance at Tampines Ave 10

The Santorini showflat entrance at Tampines Ave 10

So take a taxi and direct the driver to Tampines Ave 10. The Santorini showflat is on its build site, along the main road and across the quarry. Its giant blue circle of a logo is easy to spot amidst the slowly declining forestry.

Out of the Woods…

The surroundings: Right now, this part of Tampines North is seeing heavy development. There are currently no buses from Tampines Central that go there, and it will be easier to reach the area from Pasir Ris Heights than Tampines Central right now.

Just travel north on Avenue 10 –cross the road to the side of the quarry – and you’ll reach not just the three megastores of Giant, Ikea and Courts along that same road, but Pasir Ris Heights as well after the TPE. To the right of that is downtown east and the left takes you across the TPE toward Punggol.

But while Tampines North is currently lacklustre, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has initiated a massive reconstruction of this area. Already the forest is being pushed back as stacks of high-rise condominiums and BTO flats take their place.

It is a strange sight to behold. Across the road is the forest, silent and wild. In the middle, the roads divide the two, forcing an uneasy standoff. If left unchecked, the forest would overcome all, but this is Singapore and manicuring nature is a national imperative.

In the distance, the quarry sits, silent and undisturbed – a remaining vestige of an older time surrounded by a screen of trees and shrubberies. There are plans to develop it into the ‘Tampines Quarry Park’ but this is more of an update and beautification than massive overhaul. On Avenue 10, there are stretches of upcoming condominiums in various states of construction.

Other than the roar of the traffic or the buzzing of birds and wildlife, it is an uneventful part of Tampines.

Zoned residential land next to The Santorini

Zoned residential land next to The Santorini

Next to The Santorini on its left and facing the road is Q Bay Residences. On its right is undeveloped land zoned for residential development labelled Parcel C by URA.

Around the bend toward Tampines Avenue 1 are several other condominiums like Waterview, Arc @ Tampines and The Tropica.

Behind The Santorini along Street 86, HDB flats are being built. Their anticipated time of completion mirrors that of The Santorini. Given the amenities HDB estates typically come with, this is a good thing for future residents.

The Santorini Street 86  where main entrance will be

The Santorini Street 86 where main entrance will be

With HDB flats this close by, traditionally, grocery stores and hawker centres will spring up alongside or within the estate.

Since there are plans to beef up the residential zones here, these basic amenities will eventually emerge, about the same time as when residents start moving into The Santorini.

Currently though, there are a selection of small shops and food courts along Tampines street 81, about 1.18km according to Googlemaps from The Santorini’s main entrance down Avenue 10 via Tampines Avenue 3.

There are also schools in the area, some within walking distance and others a short drive away. Here are just some, with the closest ranked first:

  • St Hilda’s Primary & Secondary School
  • United World College
  • Temasek Polytechnic
Source: Googlemaps (Star = site/showflat, Diamond = Tampines St 81)

Source: Googlemaps (Star = site/showflat, Diamond = Tampines St 81)

The nearest MRT station is likely to be the future Tampines West station. Expected to begin operations in 2017, this station will connect residents to Tampines Central, Expo and Bukit Panjang.

However, the MRT station is located quite a ways from The Santorini. Residents working in town would be better served by taking a bus to Bedok North MRT station and transferring to the downtown line instead. It would be quicker.

There are plans for this part of the island to be transformed into a new and vibrant residential area, connected to seamlessly to other parts of the island and replete with its share of amenities and recreational sites. Due to its location, recreation in natural environments like the Quarry will offer future residents a unique lifestyle option shared only by a few other areas, like Marine Parade.

For now, the area is low on amenities and transportation, but it is expected to improve considerably with the advent of The Santorini and the HDB blocks behind it.

When that happens, all issues of lacking amenities would likely evaporate. Future residents of The Santorini should not have to worry about such things as of yet, since the plan for amenities is expected to be executed by the time the condominium TOPs.

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Considering that the highest transacted price for such a bedroom on PropertyGuru is $680,000, it appears that the developer’s confidence in moving their units is being vindicated. Most of its penthouse units have also been sold, thanks mostly to a more agreeable quantum.

As most fall within the $1m – $1.5m sweet spot, it’s easy to see how these units are seen as attractive, despite the developing location. The bigger penthouses do exceed the $1.5M marker though they range between $1.6M to $1.7M.

Source: PropertyGuru, URA

Source: PropertyGuru, URA

Compared to competitor Q Bay Residences, The Santorini units are more or less similar, though slightly pricier. The median psf for a 527 sqft unit at The Santorini is $1,129 while the median for the same unit size at Q Bay is $1,123.

One very big reason for this because at a land sale $289.7M or $562psf/ppr, MCC Land paid over 30% more than Q Bay’s $302psf/ppr.

Based on this, it stands to reason that the units should carry a higher price tag, though given the location it is in, plus the fact that Q Bay Residences and the Waterview @ Tampines effectively blocks out all views of Bedok Reservoir are likely reasons for MCC Land adopting a more modest pricing strategy.

Add the potential development on its right and what view is marketed as a USP will be severely exaggerated by the time all these projects are up. With a variety of choices of condominiums and executive condominiums in the area, pricing units high would only alienate The Santorini from the market.

MCC Land was wise in keeping their psf values competitive. That they are a litter higher is both expected and warranted.

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Buyers of The Santorini are banking on the growth story of this part of Tampines. In a few years, Tampines North is slated to become a bustling residential enclave with new amenities near the quarry. In time to come, the tranquility and peace from the quarry and reservoir is likely to be swapped for the hustle and bustle of growth and development.

For The Santorini, location aside, the other important question to ask, is whether the units in the condominium deliver?

For the most part, they do. Small units like the 43sqm 1-bedroom unit are more cosy than small with transacted prices going as low as $513,000. For a condominium, especially one in an area with future potential, this price point is attractive.

Future residents should be mindful that noise is a necessary part of development. And connectivity is an important part of this. Tampines Avenue 10 is a long stretch of road that connects up to Pasir Ris and goes all the way down to Toa Payoh. It is close enough to the PIE which is accessible from Tampines Avenue 5 via Avenue 1.

It is not as connected as Tampines Central right now, because of where it’s situated. This will likely change, with more buses, arterial roads and perhaps even highway extensions in the future.

So buyers, whether homebuyers or investors, will be purchasing units at The Santorini for how the area will be once it is completed. If the artist’s impression of Tampines North is any indication, its new status as a residential zone bathed in a verdant landscape will be a major selling point.

And with an MRT station, more buses, food courts, childcare centres and shops in the vicinity, The Santorini might indeed become the most prominent landmark in Tampines North.

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Eric Wong

Christopher Chitty

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