Commonwealth Towers Review

Project:Commonwealth Towers Review
District:03 Central South (Alexandra Road, Tiong Bahru, Queenstown)
Region:Rest of Central Region (RCR)
Address:230, 232 Commonwealth Avenue
Tenure:99 Year Leasehold from May 2013
Site Area:130100 sqft
No. of Units:845
Expected T.O.P:December 2017 (Expected)
Developer:Wealthall Development Pte Ltd (CDL / Hong Leong)
PSF ($):1500 - 1500
Information to Note

Latest update (2 May 2014):

Commonwealth Towers has launched 400 units (out of a total of 845 units) with units sold tightly clustered in a price range of $1,635 to $1,690 psf. Prices start from $721,000 for a one bedder, $965,000 for a two bedder and all the way up to $2.2 million for a four bedroom unit.

(Link: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/commonwealth-towers-condo/1091926.html)

Showflats will be open to public on 13 April (Sunday) with the launch date expected to be after 27 April. Launch date is expected to be the first day of May.

If you would like to purchase a unit at the Commonwealth Towers development through our ProperSquare team after reading our review, or you have a question that we have not answered in our review, do drop us a call/SMS at 9081-5456 or email us at contactus@propersquare.com and we will get in touch with you shortly.

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More on Queenstown:

Being the first satellite town in Singapore, Queenstown has one of the longer history in Singapore’s short national history of half a century. Being the first satellite town also implies the town is one of the oldest in Singapore. The location is great, being just to the west of the Central district of Singapore. The area around Queenstown MRT station is a residential zoned area and there are no heavy industries nearby.

There are some exciting plans for the Queenstown area even though it is one of the oldest towns in Singapore. With the newly developed business and R & D industries being set up at Buona Vista, the area is set to become one of the key industrial/business areas of Singapore.

MediaCorp is also expected to complete its shift to Mediapolis at Buona Vista by year 2015. (The Mediapolis is expected to be fully completed by year 2020) So residents might even find themselves living next to their favourite TV stars!

More information about Queenstown from the Masterplan Draft 2013:

 

 

External (Location)

 

Amenities

We will be brutally honest here. We find amenities quite wanting for Commonwealth Towers. Despite being next to a MRT station, there are no amenities that can be said to be at the doorstep of the development. Apart from the few eateries located at the Jia Leong Building (Blk 38) along Commonwealth Avenue about 180m away, The nearest major amenities place is at Mei Ling Heights across Commonwealth Avenue inside the HDB blocks (roughly at a minimum of a 300m / 7 -10 minutes walk away)

The next nearest amenities place is probably Dawson Place along Alexandra Road towards the Redhill direction. However, this is around a 600m walk away.

For those who do not mind a long walk, it is a 1km walk to IKEA and Anchorpoint, where you can find hearty Swedish food and many F & B and retail outlets at Anchorpoint. Slightly further down from IKEA is the Alexandra Village Food Centre but we consider these too much of a stretch to call it a nearby amenity.

Other amenities nearby include Queenstown Public Library where you could spend a quiet day of study or research, Queenstown Swimming Complex and Stadium across the road at the Stirling Road area, and Queenstown CC  and Polyclinic at the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and Queensway.

For medical needs, NUH is just a short drive away via the Queensway -> Portsmouth Avenue -> AYE

 

Schools

A list of schools within a short distance from the development include:

  1. New Town Primary School (~800m)
  2. Queenstown Primary School (~250m)
  3. Crescent Girls’ School
  4. Queenstown Secondary School
  5. Queensway Secondary School
  6. MDIS (Management Development Institute of Singapore)
  7. Global Indian International School

Other notable schools nearby would include the Anglo Chinese School and Junior College at the Dover area, the National University of Singapore at South Buona Vista, Tanglin Trust School at Portsdown Road (South Buona Vista).

 

Transport (MRT/Buses)

Located just beside Queenstown MRT with a new second linkway to connect the development to the MRT station directly, Commonwealth Towers is in a very convenient location. Queenstown MRT is centrally located along the East-West MRT line. Located two stops away from Buona Vista Interchange and three stops away from Outram Park Interchange, the MRT network is literally at your doorstep. The East-West Line also enables residents to travel directly to the major employment and business centres of Shenton Way, Raffles Place, Buona Vista, Jurong East. There are no further MRT lines planned in the immediate area.

For buses, there are buses to almost anywhere else in Singapore though we can’t quite imagine taking a bus when there is a MRT station right at the doorstep. But it is always great to have this option.

Bus Service

From/To

From/To

Frequency

Areas served

51

Hougang Central Int

Jurong East Int

8 - 16 mins

Eunos, Geylang, City Hall, Havelock, Alexandra, Pasir Panjang, West Coast

111

Ghim Moh Ter

Ghim Moh Ter

9 – 14 mins

Commonwealth Ave, Tanglin, Orchard, Bugis, Temasek Avenue

145

Toa Payoh Int

Buona Vista Ter

6 – 14 mins

Balestier, Lavender, City Hall, Tg Pagar, Telok Blangah, Tiong Bahru, Commonwealth Ave

186

Shenton Way Ter

St Michael’s Ter

7 – 18 mins

Tanjong Pagar, Alexandra Road, Queensway, Farrer Road, Balestier

195

Marina Ctr Ter

Marina Ctr Ter

9 – 15 mins

City Hall, River Valley, Tiong Bahru, Telok Blangah, Depot Road, Commonwealth Ave

NR5

Marina Ctr Ter

Marina Ctr Ter

Night Rider

Temasek Ave, City Hall, Clarke Quay, Orchard, Tiong Bahru, Commonwealth Ave, Clementi Jurong East, Jurong West

 Buses 51 and 195 (opposite bus stops) will bring you to the IKEA / Anchorage Shopping Centre / Queensway Shopping Centre area.

There are buses to City Hall, Jurong East, Orchard, Shenton Way, Tanjong Pagar. So no worries if you actually prefer buses to the crowded trains.

We have nothing to complain about with regards to public transportation for Commonwealth Towers.

 

Driving

Roads nearby congested? Is housing density too high for roads? Ie. One trunk road serving a very large area. Any major expressways, main roads nearby? Any new roads/expansion of current roads planned for area according to Masterplan 2013?

Commonwealth Avenue can be used to access Alexandra Road to provide access to the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE towards Jurong) and Orchard (via Tanglin Road)

The AYE towards MCP / ECP is accessible via Commonwealth Avenue -> Alexandra Road -> Lower Delta Road -> AYE

The Central Expressway (CTE) and the Central Business District (CBD) area are a straight drive down Commonwealth Avenue -> Alexandra Road -> Ganges Avenue -> Havelock Road -> CTE / CBD

Commonwealth Avenue and Alexandra Road, both being primary roads, can carry three lanes of traffic each way, so traffic flow should be smooth at most times, barring the unavoidable traffic junction stops.

For drivers, there is a Shell petrol station just across the road, so no worries about running out of petrol!

 

 In short

The location of Commonwealth Towers beside Queenstown MRT is great. Transportation needs are well taken care of and there are plenty of schools around for buyers with school-going children. However, we do find the current amenities in the immediate vicinity fairly lacking. There are no supermarkets or major amenities centres at Queenstown MRT. Of course, residents can just take the train for one or two stops to either Commonwealth or Tiong Bahru for their grocery and daily needs but we would certainly still prefer having some amenities in the immediate vicinity itself.

  

External (Pricing)

 

Prices for Commonwealth Towers has been released and will start from $721,000 for a one bedder, $965,000 for a two bedder and all the way up to $2.2 million for a four bedroom unit. Psf prices will start at $1635 psf onwards for the first 400 units launched.

Being situated centrally along the East-West MRT line on the western section, the location should provide easy access to high density work/business districts like Raffles Place, Tanjong Pagar, Buona Vista and Jurong East. This should help to provide plenty of rental demand, especially for people who wish to avoid the high asking prices of city living and yet want to be near the city.

Nearby developments include the Queens, Alexis and The Anchorage. None of them can boast a closer distance to Queenstown MRT but they do boast amenities which Commonwealth Towers is found lacking in. Notice that the gap in pricing between Alexis and the Queens / The Anchorage is because of Alexis’ freehold land status.

Meanwhile pricing details have not been released yet. But we would expect it to be priced at least above the 13 years old Queens condominium across the road (range of $1,250 to $1,450). Given that the Redhill area properties are selling at an average of $1,400 to $1,500 onwards (with the recent Alex Residences hitting an average of $1,716 psf), we do not think that the developer would want to price it out of this range and suffer the fate of slow sales, especially with so many units in the development. 

Pricing Details of Redhill area projects:

 

Development (Unit)

Commonwealth Towers will consist of a large number of one and two bedroom units, with the smallest starting from 441 sqft (we consider this providing just (barely) enough living space for a couple).

Unit breakdown is as follows:

1 Bedroom (441 – 484 sqft):   341 units

2 Bedroom (689 – 797 sqft):   271 units

3 Bedroom (904 – 1076 sqft): 195 units

4 Bedroom (1302 sqft):             38 units

72% of the units are one or two bedroom units. 

We will go through the two bedroom unit showflat for Commonwealth Towers as these and the one bedders make up the large majority of units at Commonwealth Towers.

Two bedder showflat:

 

Upon entering the showflat unit, we are greeted straight away by the living / dining area. Ceiling height is a run of the mill 2.8m. Flooring here is marble which gives us an impression of quality and better things to come. And we were not let down by the overall finishing of the unit. The balcony is large; we estimate it to be almost two third of the size of bedroom 2 (which is tiny in our opinion). We do wish more of that space could have gone to the living/ dining area or the bedrooms. (Disclaimer: we are not big fans of overly large balconies)

Kitchen is open concept which will limit heavy cooking of any sort. But this has appeared to have become the standard for two bedroom and below units in new projects.

 

The master bedroom is decently sized. The windows here are top hung, which means you get to push them upwards. This will limit the amount of air flow into and out of the bedroom. But we at least get the choice for opening the windows, unlike some developments which have sealed windows. 

 

Bedroom 2 is small. Notice that even the interior designer has trouble placing anything else in bedroom 2 after placing a queen size bed in the room. A super single bed with a small table will probably take up most of the space in bedroom 2. We also do not like the small window in bedroom 2 which limits the amount of natural light into the bedroom. 

 

The bathrooms, both master and bathroom 2 are really impressive. The bathrooms are large and furnishings here look and feel high quality. Bathroom 2 has dual entrances and is shared by bedroom 2 and the living room area. We are split on the design here. On one hand, you get convenience for bedroom 2 but you also have to ensure both entrances are locked when guests are around. Overall, impressive baths. But we do feel this comes at the price of living space of bedroom 2. Poor Bedroom 2.

 

Key things to note for two bedroom showflat unit:

-          Well shaped Living / Dining area

-          Really small Bedroom 2

-          Large balcony and bathrooms encroaches on available living space in other parts of units

-          High quality furnishings (Marble flooring for living/dining areas and timber for bedrooms)

 

 

Development (Building)

Site plan courtesy of www.81127645.com

Comprising of two blocks of 43 storeys each, Commonwealth Towers will be linked to Queensway MRT station by an overhead pedestrian linkway, which means residents will get shelter all the way from home to the MRT platform. Sounds really good to us.

Opposite Queenstown MRT are blocks of 13 and 14 storey tall HDB flats (Blk 181, 182, 183, 184), with a few much taller blocks of 25 storey HDBs (Blk 146, 148, 150) located at Mei Ling Street behind these.

The stacks with the best views currently are obviously the stacks facing the Alexandra Canal Linear Park. BUT across the Alexandra Canal Linear Park lies a residential plot with plot ratio of 4.2. This could potentially be developed into another high rise project which would affect the views of stacks 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 of Block 232 and stacks 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 of Block 230. This could kill off the views of all but the few highest units in Commonwealth Towers. To the south-east of Commonwealth Towers’ site is another residential plot with the same plot ratio of 4.9, which could potentially hold another housing project. This would block off the views of stacks 9, 10, 20 and 21. With the projected increase in Singapore’s population to 7 million by the year 2030, we would venture to guess that this would happen likely sooner rather than much later. Just look at the congestion of private property next to Redhill MRT today!

 

The stacks (in our opinion for lower to middle floors) with a guaranteed view would be stacks 12, 13, 14, 21 and 22 which manage to clear the 14th storey (height of the HDBs across Commonwealth Avenue. These stacks face the lifestyle pool and are a ‘decent’ distance from the MRT station compared to the other MRT tracks-facing stacks. However, be prepared to have some afternoon sun shining into your unit if you choose these stacks as the orientation means these units are facing the north-west direction.

In our honest opinion, there are no particularly good stacks in the development for lower to middle floor units. Buyers will have to choose between MRT track noise, paying more for a unit that could have its view blocked or restricted in the future, facing a future development next door along Commonwealth Avenue or a combination of the afore-mentioned. 

 

Final Thoughts/ Summary

Commonwealth Towers is the first residential condominium project to be launched next to Queenstown MRT since the Queens condo was completed in 2002 and Alexis was launched in 2009. Geographical location is very good and Queenstown MRT is right at the doorstep. Unfortunately, amenities are quite lacking in the area being developed into Commonwealth Towers. (The nearest amenities are located at quite a distance away at Mei Ling Heights some 300+ m away).

Within the development, the one bedroom apartments are painfully small and the two bedders do not fare that well even though their amount of space looks good on paper due to the large balconies and bathrooms.

Even with the drawbacks we have mentioned, we believe Commonwealth Towers will do well since its location is really good (we have not seen such a good city fringe site for some time). Based solely on the strength of its location next to Queenstown MRT, Commonwealth Towers definitely has the potential to be a sell-out project, especially if the prices are competitive with the Redhill area projects. 

On an end note, if you are interested in purchasing a unit at this property and require further advice, do let us know via contactus@propersquare.com or 9081-5456 and our team will help you evaluate your options further. At the same time, your property purchase through us will help us to keep this review site running and make the property landscape a better one for everyone!

Sincerely,

Team ProperSquare 

Reviewed on 15 April 2014
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