Friday, December 25, 2009

VISTA RESIDENCES (Review)

Photobucket
District: 12
Location: Novena (actually, Balestier)
Address: 26 & 28 Jalan Datoh
Developer: Far East Organization
Tenure: Freehold


After a heavy Christmas lunch at a Japanese buffet restaurant, the wife and I decided to “exercise” some of those calories off by visiting the showflat at VISTA RESIDENCES.


VISTA RESIDENCES is being marketed as a development located in the Thomson/Novena area. However, this is a quite misnomer, since Jalan Datoh is actually a small road off Balestier Road, right before the Balestier/Thomson T-junction. So it is more “Balestier” than “Novena/Thomson”, IOHO.


VISTA RESIDENCES is a 280-units freehold project sited on a 120,000sqft, L-shaped piece of land. The development, scheduled for TOP in 2013, has a gross plot ratio of 2.8 and consists of 2 Towers. Tower 1 is 36-storey high, with 126 units of 3, 4-bedders and PH. Tower 2 is 35-storey high, with 154 units of 1, 2, 3, 4-bedders and PH. The lowest set of apartments in each tower is on the 3rd floor, located 22m above ground. Given such, the 2 tower blocks are almost as tall as a typical 44-storey building, which supposedly will make them the tallest apartment blocks within district 11 & 12.


The 2nd floor of each tower is a lounge area, while sky terraces are found on the 24th floor (T1) and 23rd floor (T2) respectively. Both blocks are connected to a separate podium block each – this is where the multi-storey carparks are located. On the rooftop of podium 1 is a tennis court and 2 garden pavilions (with kitchen and BBQ facilities), while 2 other garden pavilions, a bicycle track and a children’s play area are on rooftop of podium 2. There are a total of 331 carparks spread over the 2 podium blocks.


As some of you may recall, VISTA RESIDENCES was first launched in July 2009. And within the first week, more than 70% of the 182 units released in the first phase were sold at prices between $960 - $1,070psf. The sizes of apartments available in this project are


1-Bedroom: about 600sqft
2-Bedroom: about 930sqft
3-Bedroom: about 1150 - 1280sqft
4-Bedroom: about 1320 – 1440sqft
4-Bedroom PH: about 2300 – 2580sqft


The developer is currently selling units in the second phase – this comprises 46 units of 3 and 4-bedders located above 23rd floor. T1 (25th – 28th floor) has 4 units on each floor served by 3 sets of elevator, while T2 (24th – 29th floor) has 5 units on each floor served by 4 sets pf elevator. T1 (NW-SE facing) units offer the MacRitchie Reservoir or City view, while T2 (N-S facing) units are mainly City view.


In terms of facilities, Far East has maintained its “lifestyle theme” with VISTA RESIDENCES as per the projects they have launched this year. So other than the facilities available on the rooftop of the 2 podium blocks, you can also expect 2 lagoon villas – each comes with its own private lounge/dining area, kitchen facilities, dip pool and bathroom - next to a 4000sqft lagoon pool, sunbathing deck and cabana. On the sky terrace of each tower, there will be 4 villas – these act function rooms – each with their own lounge/dining area, kitchen facilities and even dip pool.


We were told that VISTA RESIDENCES is about a 15 minutes walk to Toa Payoh MRT station, and there will be a feeder bus service to Novena MRT provided once the project is up.


There was only one showflat available for viewing – a 1,216sqft 3-bedroom unit. The 4-bedroom showflat will be ready in about 2 – 3 weeks time. These two showflat were previously built to launch the 1st phase units, and are now refurbished to showcase the better furnishings/fittings for the 2nd phase, higher-floor (read: more expensive) units.


The “upgraded” 3-bedder showflat comes with 2.9m ceiling, 900 X 900 marble-slabs flooring for the living/dining room, marble floor/walls for both the common & master bathroom, 3 decent-sized bedrooms, a 100sqft rectangular shaped balcony that will fit a 6-seater dining table comfortably, wet/dry kitchens and a decent yard area with built-in sink/low cabinets/worktop. The home shelter/maid’s room has top cabinet and a “pull down” single bed. The unit is also fitted with kitchen appliances from Bosch & Kuppersbush. Even a half-height Vintec wine fridge is thrown in for good measure.


What we like:
• The nice regular layout and good use of space. The living space within the 1,200sqft showflat actually felt bigger than it really is, which was a pleasant surprise.


• Good quality furnishings/fittings – even the UV light panels (for moisture absorption) are available in all the bedroom wardrobes, ala Silversea.


• Nice yard area that will allow hanging of laundry to dry – this may reduce the chances of clothes being hung out like flags over the balcony, which is an eyesore.


What we dislike:
• The rather small unit size. Even the biggest 4-bedders are no bigger than 1440sqft, so your other option is the PH if you are looking for bigger units in VISTA RESIDENCES.


• There are definitely insufficient wardrobe spaces in all the bedrooms, if the 3-bedder showflat is any indication. So for the aspiring “Imeldas” and fashionistas, you may have a potential storage problem with all them shoes and clothes.


• There are 2 primary schools within 1-km of VISTA RESIDENCES – Balestier Hill Primary (co-ed) and CHIJ Toa Payoh (girls) – not exactly “elite” schools in the eyes of many.


• And finally, the location. The wife and I are not particularly fond of the Balestier area for residential purpose. Despite its proximity to CBD/Orchard, amenities and good food, Balestier always came across as “complicated” (for lack of a better word) to us. And no matter how hard the marketing agent tried to convince us that the development is in the Thomson/Novena area, it still shouts Balestier in our minds.


The units for the 2nd phase are selling at an average of $1,300psf. Thus a 4-bedder will cost you around $1.7 – 1.8 million. However, the monthly maintenance fees are surprising low – we were told this is around $315/month for both the 3 and 4-bedder units.


VISTA RESIDENCES has been selling rather well so far – only 33 (mostly 4-bedders) of the 228 units launched in the 1st/2nd phases are left as of today. All the 2-bedroom units (30 of them) have been sold, so you will have to try the resale market for these.

Site and floor plans here: http://s942.photobucket.com/albums/ad265/proptalk/Vista%20R/

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