Sunday, January 3, 2010

FLORIDIAN (Review)

Artist Impression
District: 21
Location: Bukit Timah
Address: 956 Bukit Timah Road
Developer: Far East Organization
Tenure: Freehold

The wife and I decided to revisit FLORIDIAN this morning. This is another one of those that we classify under “older” new development, as it was first launched in mid-2007. FLORIDIAN is located off Bukit Timah Road – if you are driving up from town, you will have to turn left into the side road immediately after “The Nexus” (another condo). The sales gallery/showflat is at the actual site itself.

The land that FLORIDIAN sits on is about 230,000sqft. There are a total of 336 apartment units spread over 11 towers of 10-storey each. The TOP was originally expected in 2013, but construction works have been way ahead of schedule thus far, so the TOP is now moved foreward to end-2011 or early-2012.

The name FLORIDIAN was derived from the Miami-inspired resort lifestyle that the development will provide for its residents – “Where lavish landscapes and enclaves of themed indulgences are set around gorgeous cascading pools. Where the days are pampering and the nights are fascinating. Where beautiful people sizzle, and the trendy mingle”. So goes the marketing literature…

The facilities within FLORIDIAN revolve around the three cascading pools that run the length of Floridian’s landscape, providing a sense of Miami styled waterfront living. Built along these waters are five differently themed enclaves, each eliciting a unique ambience of indulgence:
• Downtown – Head to the rooftop for a game of tennis (2 courts) or take a dip in the lap pool with hydrotherapy facilities.

• The Keys – The Keys is perfect for poolside dinner parties, and chilling out under the stars thereafter.

• The Verandah – Occupying the highest point on the Floridian terrain, The Verandah offers spectacular views of the central waterscape, either from the tropical garden on the rooftop, or under the canopy of swaying palms on the ground level.

• Hideaway – Where you will find beautiful cascading pools, alongside spa seats under the shade of swaying palms.

• South beach – Themed-park inspired entertainment for children, while parents can indulge at the pool alcoves with jet massages, outdoor hot tubs and alfresco dining facilities.

For parking, there will be a total of 360 underground carpark lots available in the development.

There are several unit types that are available at FLORIDIAN

• 2-Bedrooms: 840 – 947sqft
• 3-Bedrooms: 1281 – 1432sqft
• 4-Bedrooms: 1830 – 2347sqft

This is where things get a bit murky – there are also “2+Study (2S)” and “3+Study (3S)” units within the development. The floor area info for these are not stated anywhere in the marketing literature or public domain, but we understand from the marketing agent that the size of a 3S unit is around 1658sqft. However, we have forgotten to ask about the size of the 2S units (paisei!).

We understand that all units in Towers 1 & 2 were sold out during the first phase. Units for sales in the current phase are apartments in Towers 4, 6, 7, 9 & 10. Most towers have only 2 apartments per floor, which allows for added privacy. As of today, the number of units sold at each tower is

• Tower 4 (3S): 16 out of 18 units
• Tower 6 (3S): 10 out of 20 units
• Tower 9 (4-Bedrooms): 1 out of 20 units
• Tower 7 (3S): Just released, so sales numbers not disclosed yet.
• Tower 10 (2 & 4-Bedrooms): Just released all 2-Bedrooms, so sales numbers not disclosed yet as well.

Towers 5 & 8 have also just been released, and these are supposedly the best facing – the front of each unit has full pool view, while the back has unblocked view of the good-class bungalow precinct along Old Holland Road. However, there is currently a pricing issue with these two towers. Apparently, Far East sold two 3S units in these towers during the first launch, reportedly at $1712 & $1750psf respectively. Now that similar units at the other towers are asking for much lower psf prices, there is some dilemma about what price to launch these towers at, given the need to protect the original buyers’ interests.

Towers 3 and 11, which are considered by the developer as the “premium blocks”, are unreleased yet.

The only showflat available is a 1658sqft, 3S unit. You get a private lift that opens to your private foyer, and a common lift that is accessible from the main door. The living/dinning room is a 6m X 6m square, with 60cm X 60cm marble-slab flooring and ducted air-con. The trapezoid-sized balcony is almost 100sqft, but the odd shaped design greatly reduced its functionality. You also get both wet and dry kitchens that come with “Teka” brand oven, hood & Hob. The wet kitchen is located in the yard area, together with the home shelter/maid’s room and toilet.

The common bathroom comes with ceramic tiles flooring, “Newform” bathroom fittings and top-hung cabinet. Quality of the fittings especially the cabinet is average. The master bedroom is of decent size, while there is an option to convert the study next door to a walk-in wardrobe. The master bath has marble flooring/walls, separate shower stall & bath tub, and top-hung cabinet. Quality of the fittings is again average. The two common bedrooms are tucked inwards next to the study.

Although there is no showflat for the 4-bedroom unit, we actually prefer the layout we saw of the scale model. The 4-bedder has a square balcony (more functional), and proper wet & dry kitchens that do not intrude into the yard space. The 4-bedroom units also supposedly come with better quality furnishings, and larger marble-slabs (90cm X 90cm) for the living/dining room floors. But we can only take the marketing agent’s words on these.

What we like:

• The living spaces are very functional – all rooms (except for some of the balconies) are regular with no odd shaped corners.

• The access road that leads to FLORIDIAN runs about 100m from the main Bukit Timah Road. Thus the development will not bear the full brunt of traffic noise coming from the constantly heavy traffic flow along Bukit Timah Road, unlike some of the other condominium projects located along the main road.

• FLORIDIAN is located very near to amenities at Bukit Timah Plaza and King Albert Park. It is also about a 15- 20 minutes drive to the City Centre/CBD. The future King Albert Park MRT station is supposedly 0.8km, or a 5 – minutes walk, away.

What we dislike:

• FLORIDIAN is surrounded by “Nexus” and “Maplewood” in front, and “Cascadale” on its right. Given that all these condominium projects are built to the maximum height allowance of 10-Storey (due to height restrictions imposed on apartments along Bukit Timah Road), some of the lower-floor apartment owners may feel a tad claustrophobic.

• There is a small “design flaw” with the 3S showflat we saw today – the common bathroom is located in the living/dining room itself, while the 2 common bedrooms are tucked inwards next to the master bedroom & study. So occupants of the common bedrooms have to run out to the living room to use the bath/toilet, which is quite a distance especially when you have a bursting bladder.

• The only primary school that is within 1-km of FLORIDIAN is Methodist Girls’ School – not good news for those parents with boys.

• And most importantly - the price. The average cost of the 3S unit is around $1450psf, while the price of the 4-bedders averages around $1630psf. We felt this is rather high even for a FREEHOLD project despite the “Bukit Timah Road” address, and especially when we were hardly impressed by the quality of furnishings.

In summary, FLORIDIAN will not be in our “shopping list” if we are looking for a new apartment in the Bukit Timah area. The Miami themed project with its unique enclaves may appeal to some, but we really do not think it represents good value for money. Even for investment (rental) purposes, the yield is likely to be reduced given the higher capital outlay. This is especially when you have to compete for tenants with the numerous new and old condominium projects within close proximity of FLORIDIAN.

View location and site plans here: http://s942.photobucket.com/albums/ad265/proptalk/

5 comments:

Friends of Floridian said...

Good Day,

Its great to know that you visited floridian and we would love to thank you for that. I would just like to clarify some information that you have presented. Floridian is a FREEHOLD property and NOT a leasehold, therefore addressing the pricing concerns and the capital return.

The new release towers (5 & 8) are both different. Tower 5 is a 3+S while 8, which is a premium tower is a combination of 3+S and 4. The tower are selling at a good rate of 1550 psf for tower 5 and 1700psf for tower 8. We havent released the tower 10 yet.

To address the common bathroom, it is designed as such so that the guest wont be going "inside" where the rooms are. Being 5 steps away from the bathroom itself is technically considered not far :)

For some 3+s, there are different layouts to choose from that may fit your needs as well, the layouts are flexible from tower to tower.

for the pricing concerns, I would gladly help you get a very good price for the unit but do please take note of following prices on the surronding property:

1. Nexus (5-7 yr old property) - resale unit is already asking for 1200psf or more for some http://www.propertyguru.com.sg/project-listings/83/the-nexus/sale/1

2. Maplewoods (10-13 yrs old property) - resale unit already asking for 1000-1100 psf http://www.propertyguru.com.sg/project-listings/126/maplewoods/sale/1

3. Cascadia will be asking 1500 - 1600psf for their some unist due to a contract signed with a conglomerate who bought 200-250 units.

The surrounding condos are reason why the pricing of floridian is very attractive. It makes the yield high and rental very good. There would be a new MRT downtown line as well. Demand would be always there because Bukit timah is still a prime district for a growing singapore community

The best part in floridian is not the units itself, but rather the lifestyle and landscaping it offers. No other condo in bukit timah nor in singapore (I believe) offers 70% landscapping thus giving you 7 swimming pools and atleast 1 km jogging path.

If you have any enquiries dont hesitate to look for us, We would be glad to help and show you around floridian again. Thank you

Friends of Floridian

The Folks @PropTalk said...

Welcome Friends of Floridian!

Many thanks for the comments/ clarifications made on our posting for Floridian. The wife and I really appreciate this (and we mean it!), as it helps to keep us honest and our facts straight. More importantly, it shows us that people who are directly associated with the projects we have reviewed are actually reading our blog!

In response to your comments:

1. The one “Leasehold” mention that we have made in our post was an unfortunate typo, which we acknowledge. You will be pleased to know that we have since corrected this, and have highlighted the amendment in “Bold Red”. But in our defense, we did specify that Floridian is of Freehold tenure at the start of our post.

2. We appreciate the delicate tradeoff between privacy (i.e. you do not want your guests to invade into your bedroom areas just to use the toilet) and practicality. But given that occupants of both common bedrooms will normally depend on the common bathroom to go about doing their daily “bathroom business”, we felt that such needs should probably take priority over guests’, and thus the position of the common bathroom should be placed more conveniently to accommodate the regular users. And the wife and I are still skeptical about the “5 steps” between the common bedrooms and bathroom – rest assured both of us do not have unusually small feet! :) But we are glad to hear from you that you have other layouts for the 3+S units.

3. Tower 10 is not released yet?! We reckoned this is probably a case where different marketing individuals is giving slightly different information, as both the wife and I were definitely told that some of the units in Tower 10 were already released for sale. But we are most happy about the clarification.

Finally, We look forward to your continual comments on our future reviews. And we may just take you up on that offer to show us around Floridian, should we decide to do an update on this project.

With kind regards,
The Folks from Proptalk

Anonymous said...

Why so biased towards cascadia. Let recent transacted prices speak for itself....

Folks @PropTalk said...

Dear Anonymous (Nov 09): Bias is when you totally favor one thing over another. We have looked over our reviews for both Floridian and Cascadia again (since it has been awhile since we wrote these), and failed to see how we were "biased towards cascadia".
And the one thing that we can infer from the recent transacted prices is that Floridian is definitely more expensive than Cascadia... something we knew all along.

Dunus said...

Hi Freinds of Floridian

A minor correction to your information given for The Nexus... I managed the project from 2005 till March 2006 and The Nexus obtained its TOP shortly after March 2006. As such, the development is only slightly more than 4 year- old...

Cheers..

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