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    Default Cove Nest

    April 8, 2007

    COVE NEST

    Cove Nest

    Sun, sea and surf are at the doorsteps of lucky Sentosa Cove residents

    By May Yip



    GREAT RETREAT: The McGregor family, who hail from New Zealand, find their Sentosa Cove bungalow a relaxing change of place from the hustle and bustle of the rest of Singapore. -- ALAN LIM, DESMOND FOO




    Seaside Zen



    Boat people


    SINGAPORE'S drive to be an attractive destination for the well-heeled of the world has been missing an important ingredient - until now.

    The 'It' factor? Homes with an unobstructed vista of blue skies and white sand, like those in glamour hotspots like Miami's South Beach.

    Now, luxury beachfront living has arrived here - for those lucky enough to afford it.

    Welcome to Sentosa Cove, a gated community, which translates to the fact that unless you're a resident you can't just wander around these upscale properties.

    The newly opened community at the south-eastern part of Sentosa is the only location in Singapore where foreigners who are not PRs can buy landed property.

    This marks the first major step in attracting international jetsetters ahead of the completion of the country's second integrated resort, Resorts World At Sentosa, in 2010 - after Marina Bay Sands, which will be ready in 2009.

    Prices for this coveted property average $7 million to $17 million for a 7,000 to 10,000 sq ft plot. Throw in millions for a fancy dwelling, and you are talking big bucks.

    When the development is completed, these will range from bungalows constructed by an owner's own architect to terrace houses and apartment blocks built by developers that overlook the water or golf courses.

    For now, just 10 bungalows and The Berth By The Cove - a condo with 200 apartment units built by home-grown developer Ho Bee - have been completed. A two-bedroom condo costs about $2 million.

    Along with a rash of new resorts on Sentosa - six have been built so far - the upscale residential estate of Sentosa Cove is part of the island's plans to draw an international elite set hooked on luxury living.

    All property on Sentosa is 99-year leasehold, and a maximum of 2,500 residential units are to be developed on the 117ha estate (the equivalent of 145 football fields) over the next three years.

    The people who have moved into the existing 10 bungalows and condo range from wealthy retirees and jetsetting businessmen to expatriate families from countries like Australia and New Zealand.

    Apart from property owners, tenants have also rented units at The Berth, doling out monthly rentals which range from $5,000 to $13,000 for apartment sizes between 1,100 sq ft and 3,000 sq ft.

    When Lifestyle visited Sentosa Cove three times over the course of two weeks, the quaint Venetian-like waterways, scenic footpaths and intimate driveways were also dotted with cement mixers, potholes and curious workmen peering into swimming pool decks.

    But that hasn't stopped an estimated 50 families living, or at least spending their weekends, in Sentosa Cove.

    'It's a hassle dodging the trucks and construction,' admits English language teacher and resident at The Berth, Mei-lin Murray, 31. 'But it's a small price to pay.'

    Others, like New Zealander expatriate family the McGregors, hardly notice the chaos.

    'I'm oblivious to the construction,' says Mrs Annabelle McGregor, 45, a housewife who lives in an ocean-front bungalow with her husband and three children. She declined to reveal the price of her property.

    'I can't hear anything from inside the house because of the solid concrete walls.'

    Apart from having to keep the doors to their bedroom balcony locked at night, the family say they are not affected by the construction of adjacent bungalows.

    Meanwhile, the Chias, another Sentosa Cove family, leave the floor-to-ceiling windows of their apartment open because 'we feel so safe here, especially next to neighbours whom we believe to be sophisticated folks'.

    As for fears of piracy - and we're referring to Jack Sparrow-type criminals and not bootleg DVDs - residents are feeling pretty secure.

    One bungalow dweller, who declined to be named, says she sees police coast guards on constant patrol. When her security system was accidentally activated, Sentosa rangers arrived at her home within minutes.

    Island living

    SO IS living by the sea really worth the big money?

    Well, this isn't water-front living of the sort already enjoyed by Singapore's East Coast inhabitants, who must cross a road or use an underpass to get to a bustling beach.

    This is water-front as in a mere 10 steps between your yard and the sea. As in hearing the waves lull you to sleep or having your own boat moored on a private pontoon in front of your porch.

    Housewife Doreen Chia, 56, says of her $2.45-million penthouse: 'You have a cup of tea and feel like you have the whole world to yourself, watching the sea.'

    She admits that 'for the price we paid, we can live in an apartment right in town'.

    But hear her talk lovingly of her favourite spot in her home - the sea-view roof deck - and you can understand why she opted for this idyll.

    While island living spells exclusivity, it also means being a distance away from basic amenities - something no Housing Board heartlander ever has to suffer from.

    The estate has no mini-mart, restaurant or post office. Sentosa Cove spokesmen say that these facilities will be built soon at the Integrated Arrival Plaza, a building near the community's entrance.

    The Murrays, for one, bought a car when they moved to Sentosa Cove. 'It's not that much of an inconvenience,' says Mrs Murray, 31, an Australian who has lived in Singapore for the past 10 years and did not buy a car till now.

    They even invested in a boat - named Alysha Mei, after Mrs Murray and her daughter - when they bought their condo, which comes with a private berth. They declined to reveal the price.

    'Instead of going to the supermarket every other day, we drive to VivoCity to buy our groceries for the whole week on Saturdays.'

    Not that anyone who can afford property on the Cove would have problems keeping up with car payments. But those without a driver's licence can rest assured that they won't be left stranded on a desert island.

    Shuttle buses run every 15 minutes from the Integrated Arrival Plaza to other parts of Sentosa.

    Expect, however, to change buses from the Cove to the Sentosa visitors' centre just to get out of the island.

    The McGregor family's three children - aged 13 to 17 - have to take two shuttle buses before they get to the HarbourFront bus interchange, from where they get a ride to their schools.

    Still, many would say that these seem like tiny inconveniences in exchange for 24/7 resort living by the sea.

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    This is water-front living, as in hearing the waves lull you to sleep and having your own boat moored on a private pontoon in front of your porch

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    Default A Different World

    April 8, 2007

    COVE NEST

    A Different World



    GREAT RETREAT: The McGregor family, who hail from New Zealand, find their Sentosa Cove bungalow a relaxing change of place from the hustle and bustle of the rest of Singapore. -- ALAN LIM, DESMOND FOO


    Family: New Zealanders Neil, 51, and Annabelle McGregor, 45, their three children aged 13 to 17, and two cats. They have lived in Singapore for seven years.

    Home: A three-storey, six-bedroom ocean-front bungalow

    Style: Tropical resort

    Moved in: Last December

    'This feels like home,' says Mr McGregor as he sits at an outdoor dining table flanked by a koi pond on one side and an infinity pool on the other.

    The managing director of Singapore power generating company PowerSeraya was successful in his bid for a plot on Sentosa Cove.

    'We were living in a three-bedroom furnished apartment along Farrer Road and for the past five years, most of our belongings were in storage,' says Mrs McGregor, a housewife with a penchant for outdoor sports.

    'We initially wanted to buy property in Bukit Timah but when we saw the plots here, we thought it was a great chance to live by the sea for about the same price.'

    The McGregors wasted no time in moving in despite the ongoing construction.

    Their bungalow took 14 months to build and is tastefully decorated with artefacts they bought when living in India.

    'For me, this is a different world,' says Mr McGregor, whose only complaint is the traffic jam in Sentosa Gateway from the traffic heading to VivoCity and St James Power Station.

    'The pace seems different from Singapore's busy lifestyle; this is a retreat.'

    Now, the already outdoorsy family - Mrs McGregor, an avid tennis player and golfer, shows off a healthy tan in her white kaftan - can enjoy beach culture every day of the week.

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    Default Seaside Zen

    April 8, 2007

    COVE NEST

    Seaside Zen



    PHOTO: ALAN LIM, DESMOND FOO


    Family: Frederic, 59, and Doreen Chia, 56

    Home: Four-bedroom, two-storey penthouse at The Berth

    Style: Eclectic decor

    Moved in: February

    Living by the sea is a dream come true - quite literally - for this cheery couple who love to travel.

    'I used to have this dream about lying in bed, facing the sea which had waves like those in Hawaii Five-O,' says Mrs Chia, referring to the 1970s American TV series.

    'My husband just laughed at me and said, wait long long.'

    The effervescent Mrs Chia, who teaches qigong part-time, literally skips from one room to the next giving LifeStyle a tour of her apartment, which is packed with high-tech gadgets like a universal remote control, mood lighting and flat-screen LCD TVs in every room.

    'You can pay a high price for property in Orchard Road but when you open the door, all you see is concrete,' she says.

    The couple paid $2.45 million for the apartment.

    As for Mr Chia, who runs his own specialised business in 'ship to ship transfers', living by the sea brings back memories.

    'I look out of the window and I think about when I was a PSA pilot 20 years ago, sitting there and waiting for my ships to come in,' says Mr Chia, who also owns a bungalow in Serangoon Gardens.

    'It makes me feel young again.'

    Ocean-front living also calms the soul, according to the Chias.

    'I'm a very hot-tempered person but since I moved in, I've felt more serene,' says Mrs Chia, who practises qigong every morning on a small deck outside her bedroom, next to a spa pool and facing the ocean.

    'It's because now, I'm so close to nature.'

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    Default Boat People

    April 8, 2007

    COVE NEST

    Boat People



    PHOTO: ALAN LIM, DESMOND FOO


    Family: Australian expatriates the Murrays, Mei-lin, 31, and Todd, 36, and their two-year-old daughter

    Home: A three-bedroom apartment at The Berth condo, with a view of a waterway and a private boat berth

    Style: Laid-back Aussie chic

    Moved in: Last October

    'As soon as we walked in we felt like we were back in the outdoors in Perth where we both grew up,' says Mrs Murray, an English-language teacher at a childcare centre in VivoCity.

    'Although we are facing the canals and not the sea, at least now we're closer to the water.'

    The couple, who never owned a car in their 10 years of living in Singapore, bought one when they moved to Sentosa Cove.

    But that wasn't the only addition to their vehicular collection.

    'We bought the boat only a couple of months back after buying the apartment,' says Mrs Murray, who sails with her family to Singapore's Southern Islands like St John's and Seringat on weekends.

    The boat - a Maxum 24ft cabin cruiser - is moored at a private pontoon right in front of the apartment.

    'We don't need to take a holiday elsewhere,' says Mr Murray, who runs his own business in TV integration - which sells systems linking television sets with short message services (SMS), the Internet, e-mail and other mobile applications - from home.

    'These other islands are very secluded and here we have the whole little beach to ourselves.'

    'We don't need to take a holiday elsewhere. Here we have the whole little beach to ourselves.'
    Mr Todd Murray on his beach-front home

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    Wink Re: Cove Nest

    Ri ch, Rich, Rich.

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    I'd like one of those bungalows, please.

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    joe
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    Interested Person Transaction - Sale of Properties
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Sentosa Cove invites offers for seafront bungalow land parcels
    By Loh Kim Chin, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 08 May 2007 2152 hrs

    SINGAPORE : Sentosa Cove is launching an expression of interest for one of its last batches of seafront bungalow land parcels, from Thursday.

    The land parcels for four bungalows are situated within the gated Southern Residential Precinct.

    Interested homeowners are free to amalgamate adjoining land parcels and offer a bid on two parcels.

    The parcels have a minimum reserve price of S$1,000 per square foot (psf).

    The land parcels in the area have a benchmark price of S$1,308 psf set at a similar exercise in October last year. - CNA/ms

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    Published May 9, 2007

    4 Sentosa Cove bungalow plots up for grabs

    Consultants expect top bids of $1,500-$2,000 psf

    By KALPANA RASHIWALA


    (SINGAPORE) Sentosa Cove is offering four 99-year leasehold seafront bungalow plots with reserve prices of $1,000 per sq ft of land area. But property consultants expect top bids of around $1,500 to $2,000 psf because of the fast-increasing rarity value of such plots.

    The total development cost per bungalow could be about $17 million to $24 million, the consultants say.

    These prices are higher than those transacted for freehold bungalows in traditional Good Class Bungalow (GCB) districts on the mainland, and with bigger land areas too. For instance, a bungalow on a 15,080 sq ft site at Glencaird Residences in Dalvey Road fetched about $16.5 million in March this year, says Credo Real Estate managing director Karamjit Singh. But no one expects any dearth of takers for the Sentosa Cove plots - even if they cost more.

    'The intangibles are entirely different - having a bungalow facing the ocean is no comparison to any other bungalow in Singapore,' Mr Singh said. 'In addition, the absence of restrictions for foreigners to buy landed homes on Sentosa Cove will be a draw.'

    While Mr Singh expects the four seafront bungalow sites to fetch top bids of around $1,500 psf, Colliers International associate director (residential sales) Vincent Chong pegs their value even higher, at $1,800 to $2,000 psf. Based on this range, the all-in development cost could come in around $20 million to $24 million per bungalow.

    Expressions of interest in the four plots must be submitted by May 22. The land areas range from 9,732 sq ft to 10,692 sq ft. The plots have a 0.77 plot ratio - the ratio of maximum potential gross floor area to land area - and can be built up to two storeys with an attic provided the building height does not exceed 11.7 metres. A basement is also allowed.

    The benchmark for seafront bungalow land at Sentosa Cove was set for a nearby plot that fetched $1,308 psf in November last year.

    Meanwhile, Sentosa Cove Pte Ltd (SCPL) will put Pearl Island up for sale again in the next few months after the man-made island failed to fetch a high-enough price in a tender that closed in November last year.

    Pearl, with 159,737 sq ft of land, can be developed into 19 bungalows. It is next to Sandy Island, which was sold to YTL Corp and LP World Sdn Bhd for about $89.7 million or $617 psf of land area in March this year. The tender for both islands closed on Nov 22 last year.

    SCPL, the master developer of the luxury waterfront housing precinct at Sentosa Cove, says only eight seafront bungalow plots are left there. In addition, 54 waterway and fairway facing bungalow sites are still available, excluding Pearl Island.

    'Currently, over 83 per cent of Sentosa Cove has been sold, with close to 70 families having moved into their new homes,' SCPL said in a statement yesterday.

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