By KK Tong (guest contributor)
Gem Residences, a high-rise 99-year leasehold development (with the lease starting from21 September 2015)is developed by Gem Homes Private Ltd.The development consists of 2 blocks (38-storeys and 39-storeys), housing a total of 578 units. The project isat the junction of Lorong 4 Toa Payoh and Lorong 6 Toa Payoh, with the main entrance located on Lorong 5 Toa Payoh. The development sitesits on a plot size of 130,832 square feet.All the units are North-South facing.
The unit types and indicative pricing in this development are:
Figure 1: Site Plan
The development was launched at end May 2016 and to date, more than 300 units have been sold. TOP is expected to be in December 2020.
Full condominium facilities are provided in this development. This includes the standard 50-metre lap pool, a tennis court located on the roof of the multi-storey car park, a steam room, a gymnasium, and BBQ facilities. Pet lovers will love this development as facilities like a pet pool, and even a pet shower are provided(!)
To add value to the development, a 24/7 concierge service, normally found in Orchard Road condos, is also provided. The concierge can help you order food deliveries, arrange cleaning services, and even grocery shop for you. However, bear in mind that charges are applicable for some of these services.
578 parking lots are provided. A side gate allows access to Braddell MRT Station.
Thoughts from Show Flat Visit
Figure 2: Floor Plan of Type B3
As you enter the main door of the two-bedder showflat (Type B3), a rectangular space opens up in front of you. The open kitchen is on the left, with the dining/living area beyond the kitchen, and a balcony extending from the living area. The kitchen comes with a solid surface counter top and appliances provided include a free standing fridge, a washer-cum dryer, a built-in oven/cooker hood (all from Smeg), and an electric hob. High and low kitchen cabinets are provided, and buyers can choose from two colour schemes for the kitchen, either the wood theme or the grey theme.
Figure 3: Living/Dining and Kitchen Areas
The dining area is squeezed between the kitchen and the living area, and can only accommodate a small table for four persons. The layout does not seem to accommodate any space for a proper dining area. The balcony is able to accommodate a small seating area. Oddly, the AC ledge is located next to the balcony, and it is enclosed with full height metal grill screens.
Figure 4: AC Ledge with Metal Grill Screen
Figure 5: Master Bedroom
The master bedroom comes with a two-door sliding wardrobe, hardly enough space for one person, not to mention two. A king-sized bed can be placed in the room with two very small side tables. There is no room to place any additional furniture like cabinets/work areas, unless you are miniature-sized.
Similarly, the common bedroom can accommodate a queen bed and that’s about it. It also comes with a small two-door sliding wardrobe.
Figure 6: Master Bath
The bathrooms are spacious and come with standard fittings, including cabinets. However, thebathrooms do not come with windows.
Materials used are pretty ordinary. The floors of the living/dining/kitchen areas are laid with homogenous tiles while vinyl flooring with woodgrain patternis used for the bedrooms.
Ceiling height is 2.9 metres.
Amenities around the area
Toa Payoh is a mature estate, and amenities are plenty.The development is 600metres from BraddellMRT Station and almost 800 metres to Toa Payoh MRT Station/Bus interchange, where you can find plentiful food and shopping. Nearer to the development, there is a food court and market just across the road on Lorong 4. Avid readers will be happy to know that the national library is about 500 metres away. Pei Chun Public School and Beatty Secondary School are less than 1 km away. However, popular schools like Catholic High and Raffles Institution are located in Bishan, about 5-6 kilometres away by car.
Figure 7: Area Map
Positive Aspects of the Development
- The location at Toa Payoh is a positive, considering that it is a mature estate, and this development is one of the few condominiums in that area. Demand for housing in mature estates is typically healthy.
- Distance between blocks is about 47 metres, so you can’t clearly see into your neighbour’s home.
- The bathrooms are reasonably sized.
- The balcony is sufficiently sized to accommodate some seating.
- Amenities around the area are comprehensive, although these are some distance away.
- The concierge service is attractive for buyers who have busy lives.
- The pet facilities are a novelty for pet owners.
Negative Aspects of the Development
- The development is surrounded by HDB blocks, and is next to a temple, which may be noisy. There is no exclusivity.
- The development is close to the main road, and traffic noise will be constant.
- The bedrooms are small, and there is very little walking space.
- The wardrobes are rather Mickey Mouse, and wardrobe space is insufficient.
- The open concept kitchen may not be conducive for those who enjoy stovetop cooking.
- Some of the 2-bedders come with only one toilet. Not very practical.
- Toilets come without windows. No ventilation.
- The AC ledge next to the balcony is positioned in an odd location.
- A multi-storey car park is not a esthetically pleasing.
- Parking lots are limited to one per unit. There are no visitor parking lots.
Figure 8: Location of Gem Residences and surrounding developments
Besides Gem Residences, there are only 3 other condominiums in this area. These are Trevista, completed in 2008, Trellis Tower, completed in 2000, and Oleander Towers, completed in 1998. To compare with Gem Residences, we will look at Trevista, which is a 99-year leasehold development, and Trellis Tower, which is freehold.
Price Comparison Table
The transacted prices look rather competitive, except for the Trevista one-bedders, which seem slightly higher compared to the other two developments. Given the freehold status of Trellis Tower, it may well be a ‘better buy’ based on pricing alone. Another advantage Trellis Tower has over Gem Residences is that it is slightly nearer to Toa Payoh MRT, where amenities are plenty.
However, buyers who prefer to buy ‘new’ andwho ‘die-die must live in Toa Payoh’ may have to consider Gem Residences. There is no telling if there will be any future launches in Toa Payoh.