By KK Tong (guest contributor)
Bright lights, chandeliers, opulence, luxury, a feeling of grandeur – these are some of the first impressions when one steps into the show room of Stars of Kovan, a 99-year leasehold mixed development (with the lease starting from 25 February 2015) developed by a unit of Hong Kong developer Cheung Kong Holdings.
The development, located at the junction of Upper Serangoon Road and Tampines Road, consists of 390 condo units, 5 strata houses, and 46 retail units. The plot size is 108,684 square feet. Of the four 17-storey blocks, three are North-South facing, while the fourth is NorthEast-SouthWest facing.
The unit types and indicative pricing (excluding retail units) in this development are:
Figure 1: Site Plan of Units
Figure 2: Site Plan of Facilities
The development was launched in May 2016 and TOP is expected to be in November 2020.
As this is a mixed development, the street level consists of the retail units, while the common facilities like the lap pool, a gymnasium, a reading deck and a clubhouse are on the third level. (See Figure 2 for some of the facilities)
A sky bridge at the highest level links the blocks together. This will give residents a panoramic view of the Kovan area. Facilities like BBQ pits are located at this level for residents’ usage.
A total of 316 residential parking lots are provided. The entrance to the residents’ car park is a dedicated one via Tampines Road, but the exit is a shared one with the public lots via Upper Serangoon Road. For the 80 public car park lots, both the entrance and exit are at Upper Serangoon Road. The strata houses will have their own private parking lots.
A side gate allows access to Kovan MRT Station.
Thoughts from Show Flat Visit
Figure 3: Floor Plan of Type B12
As you enter the main door of the two-bedroom show flat (Type B12), the dining room is located right in front. Beyond that, a sliding door leads to a closed kitchen and a bomb shelter/store. To the right of the dining area is the living area where the balcony extends out. The bedrooms are accessed from the living area.
Figure 4: Kitchen
The kitchen comes with a solid surface counter top and is equipped with a fridge, a washer-cum dryer, a built-in oven/cooker hood, all from Smeg.
Figure 5: Living and Dining Areas
This unit offers proper dining and living areas. The spaces are well apportioned and the distance between the walls of the living area is 3 metres. This is a comfortable distance for watching television. The living room is laid with homogenous tiles of 800mm by 800mm.
Figure 6: Balcony
The size of the balcony is about 64 square feet, and a proper dining table can be placed there for al fresco dining.
Figure 7: Master Bedroom
The master bedroom can house a queen sized bed, and comes with a reasonable-sized wardrobe. There is even some space to place a small dressing table next to the side table. Flooring is engineered timber. The common bedroom is rather small and comes with a smaller wardrobe. The windows are half length, and the air conditioning ledge is beyond these windows.
Figure 8: Small Dressing Table in Master Bedroom
Figure 9: Master Bathroom
The bathrooms are spacious and come with standard fittings, including cabinets. However, the common bathroom does not come with windows.
The floor, walls, and vanity top come in marble for the master bathroom. It also comes with a rain shower. For the common bathroom, only the floor and the vanity counter top are of marble. The sanitary fittings are from Hansgrohe.
Ceiling height is the usual 2.9 metres.
Figure 10: Area Map
Amenities around the area
Kovan is a bustling and well developed area, and amenities are plenty. The development is about 220 metres from Kovan MRT Station. Many eateries can be found around the Upper Serangoon and Tampines areas. Shoppers can patronise Heartland Mall as well as Nex Shopping Centre which is one MRT station away at Serangoon.
Schools such as Holy Innocents’ Primary School, Xinhua Primary School, Yuying Secondary School, Serangoon Junior College are all within the vicinity.
Positive Aspects of the Development
- The location of Stars of Kovan is convenient as it is within easy walking distance to Kovan MRT Station.
- The area around the development is mostly private landed housing, so the development does not feel hemmed in.
- Amenities in this area include schools, eateries, shopping malls and convenient transportation options.
- The distance between blocks is reasonable for most units. There are, however, some units which are much too close, for example, Stacks 1, 2, 21 and 22.
- The kitchen is a closed one, so cooking smells will not pervade the living areas. This is rare in small units of new launches.
- The marble bathrooms provide a nice touch of luxury.
- The balcony can function as the dining area, freeing the actual dining area for other uses.
- The storeroom is useful as there is no space to build storage elsewhere.
- Materials and fittings provided are of good quality.
Negative Aspects of the Development
- The development is situated at a main junction, so traffic will be heavy. The better stacks are 20, 25 and 26, which faces Valley Road, a small thoroughfare. However, these stacks are not NS facing.
- The residents share a common car park exit with shoppers, which may slow down residents if there are many shoppers waiting to exit.
- The common bathroom does not have windows. No ventilation.
- The air conditioning ledge is next to the common bedroom, so the windows have to be closed if any air conditioner is running.
- Only 316 parking lots are provided for 390 units.
Figure 11: Location of Stars of Kovan and Surrounding Areas
For comparison purposes, we will look at Kovan Melody and Kovan Residences. Kovan Melody is a 778-unit development completed in 2006 while Kovan Residences is a 521-unit development completed in 2011. Both are 99-year leasehold projects.
Price Comparison Table (2 bedrooms)
Price Comparison Table (3 bedrooms)
The quantum prices for Stars of Kovan look rather competitive, but in terms of a PSF basis, Stars of Kovan commands a much higher price. The unit sizes in Stars are also much smaller than the other two developments. However, it is quite a few years newer than the other two projects.
For the 2-bedrooms, Stars is worth considering as it is much newer, and the layout is efficient. For the 3-bedrooms, however, the comparative projects are better buys as the PSF difference is almost $300. One can pay less and yet get a bigger and more comfortable unit.