I was inspired to write about why Mei Ling Street HDB units have ‘record breaking potential’ with the recent hoo-ha about the soon to be $1 million HDB transaction. After staying in my place for slightly more than a year, here is a resident’s view:
1. Spacious HDB units
No shoebox sized apartments or those with minuscule bedrooms that cannot even fit a King sized bed for me… so I looked for spacious HDB units when I was house hunting. That means executive HDB (maisonettes-EM or apartments-EA), jumbo, multi-generational (MG) or adjoined units. Such units are typically above 1,500 sqft, with some rare huge units going up to 2,000 sqft. (According to this article, only 149 flats across the whole of Singapore are bigger than 1,851 sq ft).
You may have read my earlier
rants comparisons about HDB flat sizes or HDB bedroom sizes before. Trust me when I say that HDB EM units have nice and spacious bedrooms compared to the many condominium show units that we visited.
Just FYI that while you’ll find them in Queenstown, with only 354 units they are not as readily available as say units in Jurong West or Woodlands where each HDB town has over 6,000 of such units. Needless to say, high floor units are a rarity. Just look at the pic above and you’ll understand just why units above level 6 are so rare.
Click on the table below to see the distribution of flat types in each housing estate:
Source: HDB Annual Report 2010/2011
2. Centrally located
Hey, location wise Queenstown is great. If you drive, Orchard Road is a mere 8 minutes away (based on timing from exit from the Takashimaya car park till the HDB car park). You could take the MRT (and I’ll come to that later), but with taxi costing less than $10, I usually save some time by taking taxi instead. That means going to town is a breeze compared to the more outlying towns – we stayed in Woodlands for many years and the 45 minutes drive each way to/fro Orchard was a pain. We really hated the dreaded weekend CTE jam heading to town. And I am not even comparing daily commute to work yet.
There are HDB flats that are even more centrally located, such as those in Tiong Bahru and Bain Street (near the National Library) of course. But the combination of spacious living area and central location is hard to find.
Source: HDB distribution map from HDB Annual Report 2010/2011
3. Transport network
Taxis are relatively easy to find, Queenstown MRT station is a short 3 minutes walk (5 minutes if you don’t walk at my ‘speed walking’ type of pace I guess…), and there is sheltered walkway all the way if it rains. You can quite readily access AYE (via Queensway) and PIE (via Farrer Road) so if you drive it’s not too bad getting to major expressways. I don’t take buses, so no comment on that.
So yeah, overall I think transportation is not a problem for Mei Ling Street residents. In fact, we are probably better located than the newer HDB flats which are a further (unsheltered) walk away from the MRT Station.
4. Unblocked view
Felt compelled to add this in though it may not be applicable to every executive HDB unit in Mei Ling Street nor that I think we have the best view around – the Duxton units would be a good example of units with great views.
If you have seen my home renovation pictures, you would know the view that I get from my living room/balcony. It’s not the best of course since I am sure that the higher floor units have better views. The other side is actually the Queenstown Stadium, so most units in my block would have a decent view some way or another. Caveat is that many units on the lower floors in my block face the multi-storey car park (MSCP), though they too will have unblocked green views from the upper bedrooms facing the stadium.
This is one of the reason why I got my place – I didn’t like to look out of my windows and be able to see what my next block neighbours are doing, or vice versa. Privacy is important plus I like to keep my windows opened.
5. Good block orientation
I mean the north-south facing of course. So no direct sun, but yet my place is still very bright and airy. I think my place is generally cooler (temperature wise) than most HDB units thanks to really good breezes (we get both the north-east and south-west monsoon winds) most time of the year, which means much less air-conditioning usage. Should be the same for most of my neighbours though some units seem to get some degree of afternoon sun.
6. Proximity to wet markets and hawker centres
This is really important. Like any Singaporean, proximity to good hawker food is a major plus, and there are many nice stalls in Mei Ling Market and Food Centre and the surrounding kopitiams. E.g. my favourite Shi Hui Yuan hor fun, and other good stalls like the Hai Tang lor mee, Sin Kee chicken rice, No Signboard Braised Duck, Xin Lu Fishball Noodles, Mei Ling Street Handmade Carrot Cake, Phoenix Garden Carrot Cake, Ah Pang Steamboat Seafood, kueh kueh stall, and the other zhi char stalls. We also have Chu Ji Wanton Mee (at Blk 164 Mei Ling Street kopitiam). I’ll recommend you to read this forum for more info and super hunger inducing pics: ieatishootipost forum. FYI many of the stalls in the former Margaret Drive Hawker Centre moved to Mei Ling Food Centre which could be why there are so many good stalls in the market – higher concentration than some of the bigger and more well-known hawker centres I think.
There is also the wet market for those who must get their freshest from the market, and even a really nifty hardware store just next to the market for all your household needs. So pretty convenient for residents in Mei Ling Street cos the market is just a few minutes walk away .
If you cast a wider radius, there are loads of yummy hawker food in Tanglin Halt, Alexandra Market and the 3 big kopitiams there, in ABC Market, and further west there is also Ghim Moh market. Yums. Feel hungry just thinking about all the food.
7. Proximity to sporting facilities
The Queenstown Stadium (for jogging) and public swimming pool (Queenstown Swimming Complex) is just a few minutes walk by foot.
Given my personal choice, you could say that I am biased. But the mix of the above reasons was pretty compelling, at least to us when we were looking for a place to call home for a while. And the estate feels very ‘Singaporean’ for a lack of better description. When I first moved in, I always got a little thrill when I walked around the neighbourhood and went to the hawker centre – it just brings back memories of the Singapore that I grew up in. There was even the occasional old uncle with his pet singing bird at the void deck corridor. At a minimum, I no longer fear for my safety while walking along the pavements unlike in Woodlands when bikes would always whizz by at neck breaking speeds.
The news mentioned fengshui as a reason why the buyer was willing to fork out a $195k COV. Wonder what that is all about? Anybody knows about the fengshui (landforms) in Queenstown/Mei Ling Street?
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