Katong developed into a residential suburb by the early 20th century and it continues to be a favoured residential location as Muneerah Bee learns.
Nestled in District 15, Katong is known for many things, namely its rich Peranakan and Eurasian history as many members of both communities called Katong home from the early 20th century. Places which have strong Peranakan ties include Kim Choo Kueh Chang, Katong Antique House, Rumah Bebe, and The Intan.
Meanwhile, the Eurasian Heritage Centre in the Eurasian Community House comprises three heritage galleries for visitors to discover about the community’s origins, unique celebrations, and language. The community’s most prominent personalities in politics, music, and sports are also highlighted there.
Often seen as a middle- to high-income enclave, Katong is also home to numerous schools, and hotels. The eastern cultural gem is full of colourful heritage shophouses, unique shops and eateries. Not only are shophouses a distinct part of Katong’s identity, they are also important to Singapore’s architectural heritage and many of them are conserved.
Shophouses (pictured) generally have a narrow four to six metre frontage, and a depth of at least two to three times the width. These two or three-storey high buildings usually serve as a business premise on the lower floor, while the second and third storeys are residential dwellings.
However there were some strictly used for residential purposes. A common element of the shophouse is the five-foot way, which acts as an efficient walkway which shields pedestrians from the weather.
Various property options
Considering that Katong was the preferred location for Singapore’s wealthy families to build their holiday homes in the early 20th century, it’s no surprise that property in Katong continues to be popular to this day.
Besides the well-preserved Peranakan shophouses and colonial bungalows and landed homes, Katong has also seen new condominiums and apartments sprouting in the vicinity, ready to welcome new residents who would like a slice of the Katong charm.
Upcoming projects include Marine Blue, The Flow @ East Coast, Sycamore Tree, 91 Marshall, Amber Skye, and The Cape.
While some of the newer developments are brand new and built from scratch, some projects have been redeveloped from former heritage buildings. For example, The Red House (pictured below) is an integrated development made up of residential units within the former Katong Bakery & Confectionary which was known as the Red House Bakery, one of Katong’s distinctive historical landmarks.
There is no denying the food haven that Katong is, with culinary choices ranging from new cafes to traditional coffeeshops. Residents there are within easy reach of the popular Katong laksa, dumplings, and other Peranakan delicacies.
In addition, modern shopping malls, such as 112 Katong at the junction of East Coast Road and Joo Chiat Road, provide residents with convenience to lifestyle and food and beverage (F&B) amenities. Previously known as Katong Mall, the revamped shopping mall has six levels of over 140 retail, dining and entertainment options, and a rooftop landscaped garden with wet playground on Level 4.
Another redeveloped mall is Katong V, formerly Paramount Shopping Centre, which is inspired by Katong’s Peranakan heritage. Located along East Coast Road, the mall offers restaurants, cafes, beauty and wellness salons, education and enrichment services as well as a Fairprice Finest supermarket.
In fact, the three-storey mall is part of a mixed development which includes the 230-room Village Hotel Katong, a 12-storey hotel operated by Far East Hospitality, which is a re-launch of the former Paramount Hotel.
Launched on October 2014, the knowledge-and-education themed mall at Katong Road, ONE KM offers an array of lifestyle, edutainment and gastronomy options.
Besides the new and glitzy malls, some of Katong’s older commercial buildings still stand, such as the Katong Shopping Centre, and The Odeon Katong.
In fact, Katong is also home to possibly one of the oldest suburban post offices which is still in its original location when it opened in the early 1930s. The Katong Post Office operates out of an old two-storey colonial house at the junction of Tanjong Katong Road and Mountbatten Road.
Easier access in future
Katong is easily accessible to the central business district (CBD) and the heart of the city via East Coast Parkway (ECP) Expressway, as the area is about a 10-minute drive from the city centre.
In the future, Katong will be even more accessible via public transport when the upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL), Singapore’s sixth rail line, is ready.
The 13-kilometre East Coast stretch of the TEL will be of much convenience to residents in the eastern parts of Singapore who are not directly served by the rail network currently, and will be ready by 2024. Katong residents, specifically, look set to benefit from the upcoming Amber and Marine Parade stations.
With a variety of schools located in Katong, residents can be assured their children’s education will not be a source of worry. Schools in the area include Canadian International School (Tanjong Katong Campus), Chatsworth International School – East Campus, Tanjong Katong Primary School, Tanjong Katong Secondary School, and Tanjong Katong Girls’ School (TKGS).
As Katong continues to exude the charm and beauty of years gone by, the enclave continues to welcome new residents with its upcoming new high-rise buildings and residences.