We explored one of Singapore’s oldest, quietest and most charming neighbourhoods, Dakota Crescent, which will be vacated by the end of 2016 to make way for new developments under Mountbatten’s estate renewal plans.

By Michelle Yee

For the benefit of those who may not know what Singapore’s housing landscape used to look like during the 1950s, be sure to make a trip down to Dakota Crescent, located right opposite the famous Old Airport Road hawker centre.

Before we visited, we had seen tonnes of retro architecture and old-school playground photographs of this place on social media, and we were definitely excited to physically discover one of the oldest, quietest and most charming neighbourhoods left in Singapore.

And we have to agree that everything that has been said about this place is absolutely true. Exploring 12 Dakota Crescent on a Saturday afternoon brought us on a trip down memory lane — unlike the high-density and high-rise developments that we commonly see in most public housing estates today, the layout and architecture in Dakota Crescent are vastly different. Featuring 17 low-rise brick-clad flats, the area, which was built in 1958 by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) — HDB’s predecessor — features vast open spaces that are free of unnecessary urban installations.

Unlike other new public housing estates, Dakota Crescent is also exceptionally quaint and tranquil, likely because the 648 units of two- and three-room flats are only about 60 percent occupied. The flats are mostly occupied by elderly residents, who might have resided there since day one. The neighbourliness, convenience and sentiments made them reluctant to uproot themselves to another
newer estate.

Other nostalgic sites here that are a hit with photographers and artists include the iconic old dove playground — one of the few nostalgic playgrounds left in Singapore — and the convenience stores (mama shops). Though the place has no doubt aged with time, it is generally still well-preserved. For those who are keen to visit Dakota Crescent, be sure to swing by soon, as the HDB announced in 2014 that the area will be vacated by the end of 2016 to make way for new developments under Mountbatten’s estate renewal plans.

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Quaint old world charm in an excellent location
“Dakota Crescent enjoys a relatively central location and has a slew of amenities located nearby. In addition, being one of Singapore’s oldest housing estates, it boasts a unique contrast of new and old: old low-rise HDB flats currently occupy one end of the street, while the other end features relatively new high-rise condominium developments. However, this is set to change as the area has already been earmarked for redevelopment,” said Mr Wong Xian Yang, Research and Consultancy Manager at OrangeTee.

“The area that is to undergo redevelopment is currently zoned as residential, with an indicated GPR (gross plot ratio) of 2.8, according to the Master Plan 2014. Currently, no change in use is expected but whether the new development will be under the HDB or will be private, that is still unknown. Another possible redevelopment site would be at Northlight School Campus 1, as the school has already moved out to Towner Road.

“The potential value that can be unlocked from redevelopment is promising, given its strategic location and accessibility. No doubt the area has a rich heritage, but the potential for redevelopment can’t be ignored. The intensification of use is expected, and we can expect the population density to increase after redevelopment. As such, the progressive increase in human traffic in the Dakota Crescent area may introduce the need for more retail elements and other amenities. Looking at the Master Plan 2014, there are reserve sites in the area which may be
used for such amenities.

“Lastly, in view of the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) push to encourage cycling in Singapore, Dakota Crescent presents itself as an ideal location to pilot this project, given its accessibility to park connectors and relatively close distance to the central business district (CBD).”

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Looking ahead
While some feel it’s a pity to redevelop an old neighbourhood chock-full of history, analysts say that the redevelopment plans will inject life and vibrancy into an otherwise sleepy estate.

Wong says: “The prospects for Dakota Crescent seem favourable. Accessibility scores highly, with two MRT stations serving the area, and the CBD is only a short drive away. The Kallang Leisure Park is also within proximity. Also located nearby is the Paya Lebar sub-regional centre, and should it be
developed as planned, it would definitely bode well for the redeveloped Dakota Crescent as well.

“With limited land available for redevelopment, combined with its central location and abundance of amenities, properties in Dakota Crescent are expected to remain highly sought after by investors and owner occupiers alike,” Wong added.

Developments to look at:

Waterbank @ Dakota
Strategically located at 25 Dakota Crescent, Waterbank at Dakota, which is developed by UOL Group Limited, benefits from being close to various schools and amenities, including Broadrick Secondary School, Chung Cheng High School, City Plaza, Parkway Parade Shopping Centre, and more. Residents can also look forward to a slew of dining options, as the stretch of eateries and restaurants located along Guillemard Road is just a short walk away from the development. In terms of facilities within the project itself, residents can expect barbecue pits, a fully equipped gymnasium and clubhouse, lap pool, and more.

Dakota Residences
Developed by Ho Bee Group, Dakota Residences, located at 34 Dakota Crescent, is a 99-year leasehold condominium that comprises 348 units. Apart from being situated near many amenities, including the popular Old Airport Road Market and Food Centre, Jalan Batu Market and Food Centre, as well as several supermarkets and good schools, residents can look forward to enjoying a variety of recreational facilities within the development, such as a spa sanctuary, amphitheatre, outdoor fitness corner, reflexology path, and more. Available unit types range from two- (1,023 to 1,119 sq ft) to four- (1,830 to 1,970 sq ft) bedrooms.

 

The PropertyGuru News & Views This article was first published in the print version The PropertyGuru News & Views. Download PDF of full print issues or read more stories now!
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