Bendemeer Road runs through the Boon Keng area, and is near Boon Keng MRT station. (Photo: Nicholas Lannuzel, Flickr.com)

Boon Keng may not be among the most hyped estates in Singapore, but its closeness to such estates, along with its healthy property market, make it an attractive place to live.

by Cheryl Marie Tay

Boon Keng is a subzone of Kallang, and is a residential estate served by three main roads: Boon Keng Road, Upper Boon Keng Road and Lorong 1 Geylang.

Mention its name to a passer-by and he may draw a blank; after all, Boon Keng is not among Singapore’s more well-known estates. As a subzone of Kallang, it is usually eclipsed by its more famous neighbours, such as Little India, Farrer Park, Lavender, Rochor and Bugis.

But it is precisely its location near all these estates, as well as its proximity to the CBD and Orchard area, that make Boon Keng attractive.

Good neighbours

The beauty of living in an estate like Boon Keng is that you get to enjoy three often overlooked aspects of residing in a less hyped neighbourhood: lower home purchase and rental prices, proximity to more popular neighbouring estates, the CBD and Orchard, and significantly smaller crowds when compared to said areas (even on weekends).

So what do Boon Keng’s wider area and its neighbours have to offer?

Kallang

Having undergone extensive changes over the last few years, Kallang has many new features, namely: Kallang Wave Mall, the Singapore Sports Hub (which consists of the new National Stadium and Singapore Indoor Stadium).

Kallang is a popular place for water sports, and many such activities are conducted at the Kallang River, Kallang Riverside Park, the latter a 7ha park that is a mere five-minute walk from the Lavender, Nicoll Highway and Stadium MRT stations, and a 10-minute walk from Kallang MRT station.

On weekends, dragon boating, canoeing and water skiing are all common sights in this part of Kallang, making it particularly attractive to water sports enthusiasts and athletes.

Bugis

One of Singapore’s most beloved shopping districts outside of the Orchard area, Bugis also boasts a wealth of history and culture. With Bugis Juncion, Bugis+ and Bugis Village all within walking distance of one another, visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to retail and dining options in Bugis.

The Kampong Glam neighbourhood in Bugis also offers much in the way of food and drink, while retaining elements of Singapore’s heritage. Although shisha has been banned in Singapore and some of the cafés and bars along Arab Street either don’t offer it anymore or have even closed down, the area is still vibrant, drawing large crowds over the weekends.

Little India

Home of the famous Tekka Centre and countless eateries serving both North and South Indian cuisine, Little India is often filled with the large community of migrant workers who live and work in and around the area. But at the same time, tourists and backpackers exploring Singapore and hoping to get a taste of the different aspects of local culture are also a dime a dozen here.

And though Indian culture dominates the area, Little India is still relatively multicultural, with cafés and restaurants serving non-Indian food, as well as bars and backpacker hostels peppering the neighbourhood. It is also directly connected to Boon Keng via the North-East Line (NEL).

The beauty of Boon Keng

According to Jessica Siow, Senior Associate Marketing Director at PropNex Realty, Boon Keng’s “central location makes it easily accessible to most areas in Singapore. It is also within close proximity to the CBD and town (areas)”.

She adds: “As a mature estate, Boon Keng has plenty of amenities, eateries, markets and shops.”

Wong Xian Yang, Head of Research and Consultancy at OrangeTee.com, concurs: “Its relative central location makes this area convenient to live in. For those who drive, the CTE and PIE are a short distance away, providing easy access to the rest of the island.

“There are numerous amenities nearby, which includes Boon Keng MRT station, Kallang Community Centre, several HDB shophouses, and also a few schools.”

Education and edibles

Indeed, Boon Keng has its fair share of conveniences and amenities. Some of the schools in the area include Bendemeer Primary and Secondary, Farrer Park Primary School and Hong Wen School.

Food-wise, it certainly does not disappoint. When it comes to local food, the famous Boon Tong Kee, best known for its signature chicken rice, has its Whampoa West outlet just beside Boon Keng MRT station. Also close to the MRT station is Bendemeer Food Centre, which features local favourites such as Yong Xiang Carrot Cake, Chung Ping Chicken Rice and One Ton Noodle, to name just a few.

Not far from the Kallang Community Club is Ban Heng @ Boon Keng, touted by its official website as “the founding branch of (the) Ban Heng Group of Restaurants with a history of over 40 years”. It specialises in classic Teochew cuisine, including Buddha Jumps Over The Wall and Teochew cold crab.

If you feel like having non-Chinese dishes, a little further down the road from Boon Tong Kee is Oh My Tian, a quirky, carnival-themed café opened by the same people behind the popular Hatter Street Bakehouse and Café in Hougang.

And should you want to indulge your sweet tooth, Bloomsbury Bakers is just next to Bendemeer Food Centre; here, you can not only enjoy delectable cakes with flavours such as Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel and Speculoos Cheesecake, you can also order from a selection of customised buttercream and fondant cakes. Furthermore, the bakery offers dessert tables, favours and gifts for special occasions.

Buying and selling in Boon Keng

Siow advises: “Homeowners looking to sell should highlight the unique selling points of Boon Keng, such as its proximity to town and the CBD. With the URA Master Plan to develop the Bidadari area, potential homeowners can expect more amenities in future, such as shopping malls within a short distance.”

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For those who prefer condominiums, Wong offers: “The area predominantly consists of HDB flats, so prospective buyers looking for a condo in this particular area will have limited choices. 8 Riversuites is one of the new condominiums in the area. Completed recently in 2016, the project is about 400m away from Boon Keng MRT station.”

Other residential developments in and around the area include City View @ Boon Keng, Tyrwhitt 139, and RiverBay.

Staying lucrative amid a lacklustre market

With the new private and public developments completed in recent years in Boon Keng, resale transactions in both price and volume have increased significantly, even in the current lacklustre market.

Siow believes that “Boon Keng will continue to prosper, especially with more new developments (both residential and commercial) due to be complete in the coming years”. These upcoming projects fall in line with the government’s plan to ease transportation with two new Downtown Line MRT stations, road improvement and widening works, and the North-South Expressway (NSE).

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Wong says, “The Boon Keng precinct will benefit from the development of several nearby areas such as Farrer Park, which is poised to become a medical tourism hotspot, similar to that in Orchard and Novena.”

“In the near future, more high-rise residential developments are expected to come up around the Kwong Wah Shiu Hospital & Nursing Home. However, demand is expected to remain steady, given Boon Keng’s central location.”

 

 
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