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Toa Payoh Flat Tenants Behind Dragon Playground To Move Out To Make Way For Development

4 August 2022 | BY

2 HDB blocks in Toa Payoh are set to be cleared for a possible future residential development.

Toa payoh

When you think about iconic landmarks in Singapore, what might come to mind is the Merlion, or maybe even the statue of Sir Stamford Raffles. That being said, not all landmarks are found in the city or at touristy sites; in fact, there’s a very iconic one right in our heartland of Toa Payoh. 

Yes, we’re talking about the famous dragon playground located in the vicinity of Toa Payoh Lorong 5 and 6, which you’ll be familiar with if you were an 80s or 90s kid. 

Speaking of Toa Payoh, did you know that the estate is one of the oldest housing estates in Singapore? It has also seen its fair share of notable historical moments like a visit by Queen Elizabeth and former China Premier Wen Jiabao, and also being the first estate to benefit from the HDB’s Estate Renewal Strategy. It has also made the news recently, albeit for a whole new reason altogehter.

According to reports, two HDB blocks of rental flats in Toa Payoh – located just behind the famous dragon playground – have apparently been marked for future development, and its tenants have been asked to move out by 15th February 2023. Here’s what we know about the latest news.

Where are the affected flats located at?

Toa payohImage credit: TheSmartLocal

From what we know, the two affected blocks are Block 29 and 31 in Toa Payoh Lorong 5. Flats in these two blocks are rental blocks, which means the residents don’t actually own the units, but rather, rent them out from the HDB directly.

This was a scheme introduced by HDB, so that lower-income households who have no other housing options or family support can stay at these flats temporarily, as well as those waiting for completion of their new flats.

Image adapted from: Google Maps

In terms of amenities, the two blocks are actually in a fairly decent location. For instance, you’re a 10-minute walk or 5-minute bus ride away from Toa Payoh Bus Interchange/MRT station, which has plenty of options to connect you to other parts of Singapore. It’s also about 5-minute drive away from the PIE, and so drivers would find this place fantastic in terms of connectivity.

Apart from that, another key draw of the location is that the blocks are right opposite SAFRA Toa Payoh, which offers a plentiful range of dining, recreational and retail options. The Toa Payoh Stadium and Swimming Complex are also a slightly further walk away, to cater for those looking for a good workout and sweat.

What will become of the area?

So why are the tenants of Blocks 29 and 31 being asked to move out by February next year? Well, this is largely due to a planned redevelopment of the area, as part of the URA’s Master Plan 2019.

Toa payohImage adapted from: URA

Based on current plans, the affected blocks of 29 and 31 are earmarked for a residential development, though it isn’t specified what type of residential development it’ll be. As you can see, it can be anything ranging from flats to condos, landed property, or even a student hostel. Though to be honest, it’ll be quite unlikely that there will be a hostel there, and we suspect it’ll most likely be either a new block of flats or a condo.

Rental tenants asked to leave by February 2023

Image adapted from: Google Maps

According to reports, about 400 tenants currently renting out flats at blocks 29 and 31 were notified by the HDB about the planned redevelopment in July last year. Apart from the notification, they were also given a choice if they wanted to continue renting from the HDB at an alternate location, or purchase a new flat altogether. 

Regardless of which choice they made, they’ll be compensated around $2,500 for their troubles, and that they have to vacate their current flats latest by February 15 2023.

Our take on the situation

As with most things in life, as HDB blocks age they experience wear and tear, and become more expensive to upkeep in the long run. That’s why the government always plans for redevelopment of ageing properties, through schemes like SERS.

From what we can tell from the URA’s Master Plan, this move is part and parcel of the HDB/URA’s plans to rejuvenate and renew older estates. Toa Payoh is one of the oldest estates in Singapore, and so older flats like blocks 29 and 31 would have been around for a good 50+ years or so. The neighbouring blocks of 28, 30, 32, and 33 have already been previously selected form SERS in 2003, and have since been torn down.

Toa payohImage adapted from: Google Maps

While it’s unknown as to the type of residential development that these two blocks would be replaced with, as we mentioned above it’s highly unlikely that it’ll be anything other than a new block of flats or a condo, given the location. After all, it certainly isn’t efficient planning to have two blocks of over 500 units being replaced by a small stretch of landed property.

Now that we’re emerging from the construction and manpower delays caused by Covid, it’s likely that phases of the URA’s Master Plan would be resumed progressively, after having been delayed in the past 2 years. It’ll probably be safe to say that we’ll see more and more of such instances where the HDB would be replacing older rental flats with newer ones, not just in Toa Payoh but in other older estates as well.

That would mean possible future BTO launches in Toa Payoh, which we’re sure to be quite popular with future homebuyers. We’ve already seen how popular mature estates are as compared to non-mature estates even though the latter is cheaper, and so we can expect a decent amount of interest once the government announces plans for Toa Payoh.

Check out some of our past articles concerning past SERS exercises:

Cover image adapted from: Google Maps, HDB

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