Bidadari HDB estate taking shape as residents move in

All residential blocks in Alkaff Vista are directly connected to a landscaped roof garden which forms a central community space for residents.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Alkaff Vista: A small play area with games such as hopscotch next to the landscaped roof garden in Alkaff Vista.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Alkaff Vista: An outdoor fitness station surrounded by greenery on the ground floor in Alkaff Vista.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

A children’s playground, which includes a small slide and trampoline, in Alkaff Lakeview.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

Alkaff Lakeview: A landscaped roof deck, fitted with two playgrounds and a fitness station, sits on top of the three-storey carpark.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

Alkaff Lakeview: There are wide paths and ramps for wheelchair access in the garden to promote ageing in place.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

Madam Neo Swan Hoi, 63, and her son Kevin Neo, 27, looking out of their sixth-floor unit in Block 115C in Alkaff Lakeview. They have just completed renovations and plan to move in before the Chinese New Year.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

With 3 MRT stations and a bus interchange coming up, green estate touted as new Bishan

Singapore’s latest large estate, Bidadari, is coming to life – offering enviable greenery and connectivity – as the first batch of residents move into their Build-To-Order (BTO) Housing Board flats.

A total of 881 families across two BTO projects – Alkaff Lakeview and Alkaff Vista – have been progressively collecting their keys since last July, and moving in to what HDB envisions to be a “community in a garden”.

Greenery is a distinctive feature at the site which once housed Singapore’s largest cemetery.

Both developments have a landscaped roof garden atop a three-storey carpark, and their blocks are directly connected to the garden in each precinct, which forms a natural community space for residents.

The gardens include children’s playgrounds, fitness stations and shaded sitting areas, and are fitted with ramps for wheelchair access to promote ageing in place.

The roof garden in Alkaff Lakeview, the bigger of the two projects with 531 units, overlooks the new Alkaff Lake whose focal point, now under construction, is a conserved rain tree on a little island.

Amenities such as a supermarket, coffee shop, childcare centre and shops are also due to open.

Alkaff Vista, with 350 units across four blocks, will be linked to Bidadari Greenway, a cycling and pedestrian network that runs alongside the new Bidadari Park Drive, one of the estate’s three new roads.

It also has a multi-purpose sheltered pavilion and a large playground next to My World Preschool on the ground floor. A coffee shop, hardware shop and salon have begun operations.

The new 93ha estate, which was announced in 2013, will also have a green lung and centrepiece, the upcoming Bidadari Park.

The 10ha park that sits snugly among HDB blocks will have a lake, heritage walk, open lawns and experiential trails, and be connected seamlessly through the estate.

A children’s playground in the park will feature a nest-shaped treehouse to encourage natural play.

Bidadari’s connectivity is also a draw. It is served by three MRT stations – Woodleigh, Potong Pasir and Bartley – and will house the first underground bus interchange here, next to Woodleigh MRT station.

Asked whether bus services will be ramped up, the Land Transport Authority said it monitors travel demands and patterns regularly, and will adjust bus services in tandem with the new developments.

When fully completed by 2022, the estate, whose master planners are local architectural firm MKPL Architects and Toronto-based planning and urban design firm Urban Strategies, will have 10,000 flats.

When The Straits Times visited the two completed developments in the estate last week, it appeared that a majority of units were still undergoing renovation works. The place was bustling with contractors and deliverymen unloading furniture from trucks. Only a small number had been occupied.

One family that has just finished home renovations and is planning to move in ahead of the Chinese New Year, which falls on Jan 25, is hawker Neo Swan Hoi, 63, and her son Kevin Neo, 27. They got the keys to their new three-room flat in Alkaff Lakeview last November.

“It’s so near to Chinatown, there’s going to be a supermarket downstairs and everything is new. I’m excited to move in,” said Madam Neo, who runs a drinks stall in Chinatown.

She is unfazed by Bidadari’s past as a grave site. “Singapore is so small; there are cemeteries everywhere but people still live near them. I’m not superstitious, so it’s not a problem,” added Madam Neo, whose daughter has her own home.

Bidadari has, in fact, been touted as the “new Bishan”, which was also once a cemetery, although property experts had previously said that it is still too early to compare the new estate to a mature town established over 30 years ago.

As for Madam Neo, she hopes to stay rooted in her new flat for a long time to come.

She said: “I like being close to nature and I have a good view of the garden from my window, so I think my son and I will enjoy living here.”

“Source:[Bidadari HDB estate taking shape as residents move in] © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction”

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