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Uncovering the Growth Potential in Farrer Park

Zhen Hao Guo

Zhen Hao Guo

The latest conceptual plans for the redevelopment of Farrer Park were recently unveiled in a joint press release by the Housing Development Board (HDB), Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), and Sport Singapore (SportSG). Estimated to be around the size of 19 football fields, the 10-hectare site is expected to yield 1,600 new HDB units within three years to meet rising housing demands. 

Previously leased to national sports agency Sport Singapore, the site had been recently returned to state authorities in mid-2020. Farrer Park’s redevelopment will provide a much needed supplement to shrinking land banks in land-scarce Singapore, as well as provide home owners in the vicinity with new opportunities to obtain new units with a fresh lease.

One of the hot button topics surrounding the estate is whether the new units will fall under the Prime Location Housing Model (PLH). It has been noted that chances are high, especially since the first PLH projects in Rochor (River Parks I & II) are just 800 metres away. Prices for 4-room flats are expected to fall within the range of $500,000 to $700,000, with 5-room flats possibly falling off the table given the exorbitant premiums that they would fetch. 

Units under the PLH scheme come with a wider range of subsidies, although they are also subjected to greater restrictions such as a longer Minimum Occupation Period of 10 years as well as tighter eligibility conditions. 

Strong pleas to retain rich History of Farrer Park estate 

In many ways, Farrer Park is a historical gem that holds great significance for the local sporting community. The land plot was the site of Singapore’s first race course in 1911, as well as the training ground for many national athletes across the disciplines of track and field, swimming, boxing, and tennis between the 1930s and 1980s, including former 50m freestyle World No. 1 Ang Peng Siong. 

To retain the spirit of the site, Farrer Park’s HDB estate will be a sports-themed development. Such thematic developments are rare amongst public housing complexes — it will likely pique the interest of young couples who resonate with the theme.

Occupying a cherished position in the hearts of residents, petitions to conserve the site’s sporting heritage were set up following initial announcements of redevelopment in 2018. In response, authorities have engaged stakeholders such as Friends of Farrer Park, Heritage Advisory Panel and local sports communities to gather feedback on how sports elements can be integrated into the new development.

Some existing facilities to be integrated Into development, others demolished

Source: HDB

Voices of residents have not gone unheard. Farrer Park Boxing Gym will be among the buildings integrated into the development’s multi-purpose sporting spaces. The former training ground of the Singapore Amateur Boxing Association, which held the National Boxing Championship in 2018, will be given a refurbished look that blends in with new housing developments while still retaining its rustic charm.

Up to a fifth of the land space will be dedicated for sports and recreation, including a 1.2 hectare central green, a nod towards Farrer Park’s rich involvement in the local football scene. 

Developers have gone all out to maximise opportunities for exercise at every corner. Jogging tracks will be weaved through the estate to connect residents to various facilities, with 3-generation playgrounds and fitness corners littered throughout to make the active lifestyle accessible to all. Even the multi-storey carpark will have its ground floor set aside for sporting facilities. 

But Farrer Park Swimming Complex will not be spared from the demolition wrecking ball, despite being included in the 2019 Draft Master Plan Exhibition. Though local residents are dismayed at the pool’s exclusion, developers have deemed refurbishment of the pool’s outdated filtration and piping system too costly to bear. A new pool will be integrated into the on-site sports centre instead.

Development news sees demand for surrounding estates pick up

Interest in nearby District 8 new launch Piccadilly Grand spiked after news of Farrer Park’s redevelopment broke out, with viewings drawing crowds of over 5,000, even on weekdays. Property watchers predict that the high demand will push unit prices past the $2,000 psf mark. 

Street NameLease Start Date
Dorset Road1976, 1979
Race Course Road1986
Farrer Park Road2004
Source: Ohmyhome Research, data.gov.sg

Current residents living along the surrounding Dorset Road, Race Course Road and Farrer Park Road have also welcomed the change, which will no doubt breathe new life into the area and add value to resale units once facilities are up and running. Units on Dorset Road, in particular, which date back to 1976 and 1979, are ripe for resale.

Residents have expressed their concern over the matter despite promises from developers to retain the unique architectural features of older facilities. The extent to which old aesthetics will be weaved in practice remains to be seen, although this will likely determine how much Farrer Park’s new sporting complex stands out in comparison to its contemporaries. 

Central location served by MRT stations and major roads

Bounded by Keng Lee Road, Hampshire Road, and Race Course Road, traffic in the area flows conveniently into major roads such as the Central Expressway and Bukit Timah Road. 

The land plot is also flanked by train stations Little India MRT and Farrer Park MRT, giving residents access to both the Northeast Line and Downtown Line within just five minutes on foot. 

Being centrally located, sporting facilities in the area will likely experience high footfall, not just from residents in the immediate proximity, but sports enthusiasts coming down from other neighbourhoods as well — making it easy for future residents to organise weekend sports sessions.

Specialty schools, hospitals, and local wet market

Literally located next to the complex is Farrer Park Primary School, a government institution focused on enhanced digital learning through its Technology Enabled (TE:D) learning programme which sees students at primary 3 levels using iPads to facilitate their learning. The programme is designed to improve lesson interactivity and also afford students with customisability to learn at their own pace. The programme comes complete with guidelines on cyber stewardship and subsidies sponsored by the Ministry of Education.

Future residents will also gain quick access to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital situated right on the opposite end of Keng Lee Road. The hospital is well-equipped by staff and facilities to cater to the physical, emotional, and psychological health of women and children. The full list of women and children specific surgery and holistics treatment services offered can be viewed on their website.

A little further down along Race Course Road is the iconic Tekka Wet Market, which harkens back to 1982 and reopened in 2009 after renovations. With over 284 stalls, Tekka Wet Market offers the widest range of produce at Singapore’s most competitive prices. Homemakers will be pleased to know that they can purchase herbs and spices from Indian, Sri Lankan, Chinese, Thai, and other cuisines, along with an impressive range of tropical fruits such as mangosteens and rambutans here. It is said that the freshest produce is served on Tuesday and Friday mornings.

Residents can also stop by for a meal at Tekka Centre before or after their weekly grocery shopping. Locals swear by the Indian food stalls here, which offer a delectable selection of chicken and fish biryani, tandoori chicken, and ginger hot tea. Those who are planning to visit should be mindful to carry cash on hand. 


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