Pasir Panjang Terminal has a total of 57 berths, operated by PSA Singapore.

While home buyers may flock to places like Tampines, Siglap and Bishan, the comparably quiet estate of Pasir Panjang presents much potential for those seeking not just private homes, but also a level of privacy not found elsewhere.

by Cheryl Marie Tay

Situated almost in the southern end of Singapore, Pasir Panjang is most commonly associated with the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Singapore Science Park. There are also numerous parks and private residential neighbourhoods in the area.

Despite the presence of residential developments there, there are those who find Pasir Panjang inaccessible. Yet others will argue that it is this exact quality that makes the area attractive, as it is less crowded and more peaceful than most other estates in this small country.

Whatever one may think of Pasir Panjang, there is no denying that it has indeed come a long way.

Beaches and battles

Named after the long, sandy beach along the coast in the area, Pasir Panjang was little more than a coastal town, not known for much apart from the state-owned opium factory on Bukit Chandu (Malay for “opium hill”) in Kent Ridge, which was established after the government took over the opium industry in Singapore in 1910.

In the 1920s, rich Chinese families began building bungalows and holiday homes along the coast. When Kallang Airport was being constructed in 1930, the community residing in Pasir Panjang began to diversify, in the form of Malay families from the Kallang River Basin area resettling there. In fact, until the early 1960s, there were several Malay fishing villages in the area.

The relative peace of life in Pasir Panjang was disrupted in February 1942, thanks to the Japanese Occupation during World War II. The area now known as Kent Ridge Park witnessed a battle from 13 to 14 February, known as the Battle of Pasir Panjang.

This battle was part of the final stage of Japan’s invasion of Singapore, and commenced when elite Imperial Japanese Army forces (the Japanese 18th Division) began advancing on Pasir Panjang Ridge in an attempt to capture it from Allied troops.

The British Second Loyals Regiment, Australian Bren-Gun Carriers, 44th Indian Brigade and 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Malay Regiment defended the ridge, outnumbering the Japanese troops but ultimately failing to outgun them, as the latter had an abundance of both ammunition and aggression.

When the Allied forces’ ammunition eventually ran out, they had to resort to hand-to-hand combat against the Japanese, fighting fiercely even until they were down to their last few men. The Allied soldiers defended the ridge even when the Japanese tried to coerce them into surrendering by starting a lethal oil fire in a drain the soldiers had to cross to get past the ridge. Led by led by Second Lieutenant Adnan bin Saidi of the Malay Regiment, they knew it was better to die honourably than to surrender.

Second Lieutenant Saidi, one of the last defenders of the ridge, was captured by the Japanese, who executed him by way of bayonet. On 14 February 1942, the Japanese won Pasir Panjang Ridge, and the British surrendered the next day.

Tertiary education, terminals, and tech

After Singapore gained independence in 1965, Pasir Panjang began to gradually change. In 1993, the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) — now known as PSA International — began building a new container terminal, the Pasir Panjang Terminal. Today, there are five Pasir Panjang Terminals, with a total of 28 berths.

The National University of Singapore (NUS), established in 1905, is situated on Lower Kent Ridge Road. It consists of 13 schools offering a variety of disciplines, and counts the late Lee Kuan Yew among its alumnae.

Not far from the university is the Singapore Science Park, a research, development and technology hub managed by Ascendas. It was established in 1980 to provide infrastructural support to R&D in Singapore. Science Park II began construction in 1993 and 10 years later, Science Park III was built.

And of course, we mustn’t forget Haw Par Villa, the iconic theme park on Pasir Panjang Road that boasts over 1,000 statues and 150 impressively elaborate dioramas capturing scenes from Chinese folklore and history.

A place to call home

Though some may call it inaccessible. or even secluded, Pasir Panjang has its plus points. Its generally peaceful atmosphere, as well as its proximity to multiple parks, such as Pasir Panjang Park, Labrador Park and HortPark.

An industry insider who declined to be named told PropertyGuru: “(Pasir Panjang is a) low-density residential area: it basically has only private homes, including landed homes, cluster houses, condos and apartments.”

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Still, getting to the city is convenient. One could travel from Pasir Panjang to the current CBD (in town) and the future second CBD in Jurong easily via the MRT, as well as the AYE and West Coast Highway.

Furthermore, the numerous areas of employment in the estate make it even more attractive as a residence. The insider shared: “It is near the NUS, National University Hospital (NUH), Singapore Science Park, HarbourFront, MediaPolis, Fusionopolis and Biopolis. Also, Google has 150,000 sq ft of office space at MapleTree Business City.”

Most people know Pasir Panjang for its port, NUS, and Haw Par Villa. But in future, after the port is moved to Tuas, Pasir Panjang will be next to the Greater Southern Waterfront City, which stretches to Marina Bay. This will no doubt add value to residents in the area, and bode well for those looking to sell property there.

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One residential development worth noting is The Orient, a freehold private project by Aurum Land that consists of one- to four-bedroom apartments, as well as penthouses. Its exterior leaves a distinct impression, with its façade of intricate lattice screens reminiscent of 1920s Shanghai.

The project is located a mere 300m from Haw Par Villa MRT station, and with just 52 units (including dual-key apartments for flexible living), promises residents privacy and exclusivity. Amenities such as VivoCity, Keppel Marina and Pasir Panjang Food Centre are nearby, as are schools like the Japanese School, Nan Hua Primary and Secondary Schools, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and Junior College, and the United World College of South East Asia.

Long-term luxury

According to the industry insider PropertyGuru spoke to, “Pasir Panjang homes are mostly freehold. This is important if you’re looking for longer term capital appreciation. It is also good to buy near an MRT station; you will notice that the psf (in such areas) is much higher.”

For potential sellers, he advises patience. “There’s no need to rush a sale, as there’s good value appreciation expected with the Greater Southern Waterfront master plan. However, it will take another 10 years for the general buyers to realise this potential.”

“The capital appreciation for Pasir Panjang homes will be above the general inflation trend. This is because of the master plan, and the scarcity of freehold properties in Singapore.”

 

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