Tuesday, April 27, 2010

WATERBANK @DAKOTA (Review)

A dear friend of ours has commented that our previous reviews were… well… too “chunky”. So the wife and I decided to take a slightly different tact on this one. Let us know if you like this better.

Art Impression
District:   14
Location:   Dakota Crescent
Address:   70 – 84 Dakota Crescent
Developer:    UOL Development (Dakota) Pte Ltd
Tenure:    99-year Leasehold
Site area:    185,000sqft
Expected TOP:    July 2014
location map2

Description: Total of 9 condominium blocks, comprising
• Four 20-storey blocks (Block 70, 72, 76 & 78),
• Three 19-Storey blocks (Block 80, 82 & 84)
• One 6-storey podium block with 5-levels of parking and 11 Cabana units on the 6th level.
• Total number of units: 616

Unit Types & Sizes:
• 1-Bedroom (77 units):   484 – 581sqft
• 1+1 Bedroom (98 units):   624 – 786sqft
• 2-Bedroom (78 units):   883 – 1087sqft
• 2-Bedroom Cabana (11 units):   1421sqft
• 3-Bedroom (271 units):   1141 – 1615sqft
• 2+1 “Dual Key” (39 units):   1281 – 1572sqft
• 4-Bedroom (37 units):   1572 – 1981sqft
• 4-Bedroom Penthouse (5 units):   2390 – 2820sqft

(1) The developer has combined a 1-bedder and a 2-bedder to form the “Dual-Key” unit. It has one main door that opens up into 2 separate apartment units, each with own living/dining and kitchen.
(2) The “Cabana” units are 2-bedroom apartment located on the 6th floor of the podium block. Each unit has a patio that faces the lap/wadding pool, and comes with its own dedicated parking space on the 5th level just below the unit.

Facilities:
WATERBANK @DAKOTA is a full-facility condominium. The facilities are spread across the ground level, 5th level of Block 78 (gym) and the 6th level of the podium block adjacent to the Cabana units. No tennis court is available in this development.
Site-plan-updated
Facilities
There are 5-level of multi-storey parking located in the podium block, with the already much publicized 554 parking spaces for the 616 apartment units. The multi-storey carpark is connected to Blocks 78 and 80 by overhead link-bridges, and to the rest of the blocks via covered walkways on the ground level.

There are 2 showflats in the sales gallery:

Showflat #1: 1981sqft, 4-bedroom ground-floor unit (Type EG)
FP-16
• Living/Dining – rectangular shape, although seemed a tad small for an almost 2,00sqft unit. Comes with 60cm x 30cm marble-slab floors and 2.8m ceiling.

• Balcony – rectangular shape of almost 400sqft that stretches across the whole length of the living/dining room through to the 3 adjacent bedrooms. Functional enough for a 6 – 8-seater long dining table for outdoor dining.

• Dry Kitchen – divides the living area from the wet kitchen. Solid-surfaced top and sink.

• Wet Kitchen – L-shaped solid surfaced worktop, top/bottom-tier cabinets, “Electrolux” brand hob/hood/oven/microwave and “Grohe” kitchen faucets.

Wife and I were not impressed with the quality of kitchen furnishing and appliances provided.

• Yard – None, so dryer is a must else laundry can only be hung dry in the balcony.

• Utility Room – space enough to fit a single bed but nothing else thereafter.

• “Maid’ toilet – The door actually faces directly at the kitchen top. This is very bad Feng Shui (according to wife) as the kitchen is the “wealth” area of the house. So having the toilet facing the kitchen will drain away all wealth. On a hygiene aspect, it may also be unhealthy to have all the “bad air” from the toilet circulating in the kitchen when one is cooking.

• 2 Common Bedrooms – both are regular shaped, but one is rather small while the other can comfortably fit a “Queen” bed. They come with wood-strip floors and maroon coloured wardrobe with leather-like exterior finish – this looked nice from afar but on closer inspection, the quality of workmanship can certainly be improved.

• Common Bathroom – Decent size, with standing shower stall (no rain shower), “Grohe” bathroom fittings and non-descript toilet fittings. The bathroom sink is really old-fashioned looking, and in our opinion, quite ugly.

• Junior Suite – Decent size enough for a “Queen” bed and comes with the same maroon-coloured wardrobe. Attached bathroom is almost an exact replica of the common bathroom.

• Mater Bedroom - Again decent sized and should fit a “King” bed rather comfortably, with more than average wardrobe space. The Master Bathroom is very good sized, with 90cm x 30cm marble floors and walls. There is a long tub and an adjacent standing shower, but no rain shower option. The standard “Grohe” bathroom and non-descript toilet fittings apply.

Showflat #2: 1389sqft, 3-bedroom ground-floor unit (Type DG)
FP-6
• Living/Dining – similarly shaped and furnished as the 4-bedder, and even smaller in size.

• Balcony – Again of rectangular shape about 400sqft that stretches across the living/dining area and across the adjacent Master and Common bedrooms. You probably will have to move the dining area out here given the small living area.

• Dry Kitchen – Nonee

Wet Kitchen – Irregular shaped and comes with the same kitchen furnishing and appliances as the 4-bedder.

• Yard – None, and separate washer/dryer will have to be stacked one on top of the other. Either that or take your chance on the combined washer/dryer and risk having damped clothes.

• Utility Room – similar size to the 4-bedder but odd-shaped.

• “Maid’ toilet – Again the door faces the kitchen, consolation is that it is tucked towards the back and thus slightly further away.

• 2 Common Bedrooms – looked to be similar sized and equally bad wardrobe workmanship as the 4-bedder.

• Common Bathroom – Decent size, with similar fittings as the 4-bedder, ugly bathroom sink inclusive.

• Mater Bedroom – Surprisingly large and seemed to be even more spacious than the one in the 4-bedder, with rather generous wardrobe space. The Master Bathroom is decent sized, with 90cm x 30cm marble floors and walls. There is only a standing shower (no tub), and again no rain shower option.

What we like:
• Location – Less than 10-minutes drive to CBD and city area, WATERBANK @DAKOTA is made even more convenient with the newly opened Dakota MRT station just 100m away. Good food galore at the Old Airport Road Food Centre across the road, and a choice of amenities in the HDB estate (wet markets, supermarts, clinics etc) and Leisure Park mall nearby.

• Riverfront Living – The Geylang River and Park Connector is right next to WATERBANK @DAKOTA. However, the river is still rather polluted and may emit some “interesting” smell during low tides.

• Cabana Units – These 2-bedders are rather interesting. They give owners the perception of living in “landed” property and comes with dedicated parking (1) underneath your unit. However, the parking space forms part of the unit’s total size. So the actual interior living area is only about 900+sqft, after deducting the parking and PES.
2-bedroom Cabana

• “Dual-Key” Units – Again, this layout is rather nice. It comes with its own separate “granny flat” but still gives the impression of everyone living in the same household. It is ideal for multi-generation living, as it provides added privacy between you and your parents/in-laws. However, the combined-size of such unit, at 1281sqft, is really too small.
FP-13

What we dislike:
• The quality of furnishings and fittings are quite disappointing. It reminded us of another UOL project we have seen – Meadows @Pierce – and frankly, the memories are not flattering.

• The toilet in the kitchen/yard area for most (if not all) the 3- and 4-bedder units faces directly at the kitchen. Although one should not be too obsessed over Feng Shui, the wife and I will rather err on the safe side.

• Given the long and narrow strip of land that WATERBANK @DAKOTA sits on, we are concerned that the blocks might be too close to each other for comfort. This is especially so for Blocks 70/72 and Block 82/84.

• Dakota Crescent is a rather narrow 2-lane road.  When WATERBANK @DAKOTA is ready for occupancy, residents of the 616 units will have to share this road with next-door neighbor Dakota Residences (348 units) and the existing HDB dwellers across the road. It may be a daily exercise in frustration getting in and out of the condo especially during rush hours. So either learn to be patient or brush up on those "swear" vocab.

• Although WATERBANK @DAKOTA is situated very close to Katong and East Coast area, its location classification of District 14 puts it in the "Balestier/Mcpherson/Geylang" district rather than East Coast (D15). It may be a minor point on purchase, but the "district difference" can become quite an issue when you decide to resell your unit later and have to compete with the likes of The Shore or Coralis - both of which are located in the "primer" D15.

• Although the marketing literature said that WATERBANK @DAKOTA is nearby to primary schools like Geylang Methodist and Tanjong Katong Primary, only one primary school is within 1-km to our knowledge – Kong Hwa Primary.

Pricing:
• #06-35 (1421sqft, 2-bedroom Cabana): $1.318 million, or $927psf
• #03-20 (1527sqft, 4-bedroom Unit): $1.799 million, or $1178psf
• #02-17 (1527sqft, 4-bedroom Unit): $1.706 million, or $1117psf

The monthly maintenance for the Cabana is about $300, while for the 4-Bedroom is $350.

As of last Sunday, only units on the low floors (i.e. below 6th) are left. The only high-floor units still available are found in Block 70 - stack #06 (3-bedders) and stack #05 (Dual-Key). But these units either face the HDB flats or have their views blocked by Dakota Residences next door.

In summary, the wife and I are not convinced that WATERBANK @DAKOTA is value for money, given the quality we have observed in the showflats, and the fact that we may have to fight over the 554 parking spaces for our two cars with the other 615 unit owners. However, we seemed to be proven wrong at least 550 times over, given that this is the number of units already sold. But whether is this really an indication of foolishness on our part and wisdom of others, only time will tell.

Click here to view slide show and floor plans

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