Named after Queen Elizabeth II in commemoration of her coronation in 1952, Queenstown was Singapore’s first satellite town. As of 31 March 2018, Queenstown houses an estimated HDB resident population of 82,500 in 32,678 flats within the town. The town was first built by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) in the 1950s, and subsequently taken over by HDB for development in the 1960s.
Prior to its development as a satellite town, Queenstown was formerly a swampy valley with two hills named Hong Lim and Hong Yin. Hong Lim hill was a cemetery for over 100,000 Chinese graves, while Hong Yin hill was covered with orchards and rubber plantations. The area also housed a village, Bo Beh Kang (无尾涧 – literally “No Tail River” in Hokkien) settled by mainly Hokkien, Teochew and Hakka dialect groups and a military camp, Buller Camp at Alexandra Road.
The History Of Queenstown
As the first satellite town, Queenstown had the challenge of addressing the inadequate housing situation in Singapore where three-quarters of the population were living in overcrowded slums in the 1950s. The concept of a satellite town is a self-contained community with the necessary facilities and amenities, such as schools and markets. This is a concept that still continues today as new HDB towns are built with their own essential amenities.
In the original neighbourhood plan, the town was bounded by Ridout Road, Alexandra Road, Tanglin Road, the Malayan Railway, North Buona Vista Road and Holland Road. It consisted of 5 original neighbourhoods: Princess Estate, Duchess Estate, Queen’s Close, Tanglin Halt, Commonwealth, and Queen’s Cresent. Mei Ling and Buona Vista were later added by HDB in 1960.
Source: National Heritage Board
Home Of Many Historic Landmarks
Queenstown’s storied history means that the town is home to many historic landmarks. One is the 14-storey Forfar House which was the first public housing in Singapore. The 1956 landmark was demolished and replaced in the 2000s, by the even taller 40-storey Forfar Heights that was part of the BTO flats offered for relocation of the SERS beneficiaries at Tanglin Halt and Commonwealth.
The first HDB blocks were also built in Queenstown. These were blocks 45, 48, and 49 on Stirling Road in 1961 and many victims of the Bukit Ho Swee fire that happened in the same year were relocated here. The first point blocks built in Singapore were located at Mei Ling Street. These units were offered for sale in 1970.
Alexandra Road’s red-bricked Princess House was conserved in 2007 for its historical and social significance. It first housed the SIT, HDB and later the departments of Social Welfare and Licensing which were responsible for issuing hawker licenses as Singapore transitioned itinerant and street hawkers to purpose-built markets and food centres
Commonwealth Avenue Wet Market, which opened on 23 October 1960, was one of the first wet markets to rise on the island22 and the last standing market in Singapore to have been designed by the SIT. It was gazetted for conservation in 2013.
Singapore’s first full-time branch library, the Queenstown Public Library, the first polyclinic, Queenstown Polyclinic, and the first neighbourhood sports complex, the Queenstown Sports Complex were all started in Queenstown.
In 2013, under the URA 2014 Master Plan, three buildings in Queenstown, namely Queenstown Library, the former Commonwealth Avenue Wet Market and Alexandra Hospital, were gazetted for conservation.
Queenstown Has Expanded Beyond Its Original Five Neighbourhoods
Over the years, Queenstown has grown between its original parameters as the first satellite town. When HDB took over the development, the town expanded to 7 planning neighbourhood with the addition of Mei Ling and Buona Vista. The town also underwent major development as part of HDB’s first Five Year Building Programme from 1960 to 1965.
Under SERS, older flats were demolished to build new ones, including the replacement of Forfar House with Forfar Heights. The new Dawson neighbourhood is part of the redevelopment of Princess Estate.
Under URA’s Draft Master Plan 2019, areas such as one-north, Pasir Panjang and Kent Ridge are also under the planning of Queenstown.
Source: Urban Redevelopment Authority
Ulu Pandan Is The Latest Residential Addition To Queenstown
Notably, the most recent residential addition to Queenstown will be the eastern half of Ulu Pandan. Zoned for residential development since 2003, the Ulu Pandan housing developments will be part of the Health District @ Queenstown.
The development of this area, also known as Dover Forest was initially met with conservation concerns. The new Ulu Pandan development will have approximately 5 hectares of greenery, comprising a linear park along the Ulu Pandan Canal and a park with natural stream on the eastern side. A green corridor will be established for eco-connectivity and to retain the biodiversity of Dover Forest. These nature conservation measures were incorporated into the planning and design of Ulu Pandan based on the findings from findings from the Environmental Baseline Study (EBS) conducted for the Ulu Pandan site, NParks’ islandwide Ecological Profiling Exercise, as well as consultations with Nature Groups and the public.
About 3,000 BTO flats across three housing projects will be launched by HDB, of which the first project will be launched in the November 2022 BTO sales exercise.
Well Connected To The City And Other Towns
While designed as a satellite town, Queenstown is well connected to the rest of the island and is known for its city fringe location. The town is also connected to major expressways such as the Central Expressway (CTE) and Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE), making it convenient to travel by private transportation to other parts of Singapore. It only takes 14 mins via AYE to get from Queenstown to Raffles Place.
The town is served by multiple MRT stations along two lines: Queenstown, Commonwealth, Buona Vista (interchange), Dover on the East-West Line and Holland Village, Buona Vista (interchange), one-north, Kent Ridge, Haw Par Villa, Pasir Panjang and Labrador Park on the Circle Line.
There are also multiple bus routes plying the area, with Ghim Moh Bus Terminal, Buona Vista Bus Terminal and Kent Ridge Bus Terminal serving as terminus points.
Home Of Million Dollar HDB Flats And PLH BTO Flats
Queenstown has regularly made an appearance in our list of most expensive HDB estates. The town has a varied assortment of HDB flats ranging from old Executive Apartments to newer flats that are just out of the Minimum Occupancy Period (MOP).
It is also home to the rare HDB terrace house units at Stirling Road which are almost 50 years old. Mei Ling St also offers large resale units with Executive Apartments of 150 sqm or 1615 sqft. While they are older with less than 75 years left on the lease, they are in a prime location, conveniently located next to Mei Ling Market and Food Centre and Queenstown MRT. These old but scarce HDB types frequently command high prices with some crossing the million-dollar mark despite their age.
The other hotspots include much newer units (some freshly out of MOP) at Holland Drive (Buona Vista Court), Commonwealth Drive (Commonwealth 10) and Dawson (SkyVille@Dawson and SkyTerrace@Dawson). Like Pinnacle@Duxton, SkyVille@Dawson and SkyTerrace@Dawson are HDB projects that have been designed with almost condominium-like features. The most expensive resale HDB unit sold in Queenstown was a SkyTerrace @ Dawson resale loft unit at a record of $1.418 million.
|Median Resale HDB Prices|
Source: HDB Resale Statistics 2Q2022
With these record breaking resale prices, it may be no surprise that BTOs in Queenstown have been categorised under the Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) model. Ghim Moh Ascent was the first BTO launch in the town since the introduction of the PLH model and it launched under the PLH. Prices, even with the PLH subsidies were on the higher end, ranging from $369,000 – $481,000 for 3-Room flats and $511,000 – $691,000 for 4-room flats.
Given the high resale demand in the town, future BTO launches in Queenstown may continue to fall under the PLH model. With a high possibility that the PLH model may cover future public housing in Bukit Merah, such flats may start to lose their shine with homeowners in the coming years.
Other than HDB flats, private condominiums are another popular residential choice. Resale condominium prices range from $1,161 to $2,886 psf. Majority of these are 99-lease apartments with a few freehold developments in the area.
MOE Based Schools In Queenstown
As the first satellite town, Queenstown has one of the older resident populations. According to the General Household Survey 2015, there were around 30,630 residents over the age of 55, or around 30% of the total resident population size. While the resident population is older, new families intending to move the area still have educational choices.
Unfortunately, there are no MOE Kindergarten located within Queenstown. Instead, parents can consider private preschools, MOE Kindergarten@Alexandra (in Bukit Merah) or MOE Kindergarten@Pei Tong (in Clementi)
Families with primary school-going children have some choices:
|MOE Primary School|
|Name of School||Location|
|Fairfield Methodist School (Primary)||100 Dover Road, S139648|
|New Town Primary School||300 Tanglin Halt Road, S148812|
|Queenstown Primary School||310 Margaret Drive, S149303|
Families with secondary school-going children have more choices:
|MOE Primary School|
|Name of School||Location|
|Anglo-Chinese (Independent) Secondary||121 Dover Road, S139650|
|Fairfield Methodist School (Secondary)||102 Dover Road, S139649|
|New Town Secondary School||1020 Dover Road, S139657|
|Queenstown Secondary School||1 Strathmore Road, S148800|
|Queensway Secondary School||2A Margaret Drive, S149295|
Post-secondary options are where Queenstown starts to shine with two junior college options and Singapore’s first and oldest polytechnic.
|Junior College And Tertiary Education|
|Name of School||Location|
|Anglo-Chinese Junior College||25 Dover Close East, S139745|
|Anglo-Chinese (Independent) (Junior College)||121 Dover Road, S139650|
|Singapore Polytechnic||500 Dover Rd, Singapore 139651|
Large enough to stand alone, the National University of Singapore is also located within the Queenstown planning area.
Recreation Options In Queenstown To Unwind Over The Weekends
With its rich heritage, Queenstown has much to offer to its residents. It boast of its own heritage trail that walks you through the iconic landmarks of the area. This includes Princess House, The first HDB blocks and HDB Terraces, Colonial Terraces, Black & White Bungalows, the former Malayan Railways, the first flatted factories, the VIP block at Block 81 Commonwealth Close that played host to foreign dignitaries including Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in 1965 and then Crown Prince of Akihito in 1970.
Part of Dover Forest will also be conserved as part of the development of Ulu Pandan which will offer a slice of nature for residents. The Rail Corridor is also undergoing redevelopment to provide easier access to the lush greenery and recreational options. one-north Park also provides another strip of greenery for office workers in the nearby one-north cluster. Joining into Bukit Merah town is Kent Ridge Park which leads on to HortPark and the Southern Ridges.
For those more keen on air-conditioned comfort and retail therapy, Queenstown also plays host to IKEA Alexandra, Anchorpoint, Queensway Shopping Centre and Star Vista. Popular hotspots also include Rochester Park and Holland Village.
Foodies have plenty to dig into with the abundance of hawkerfare including Ghim Moh Market and Food Centre, Holland Drive Market and Food Centre, Tanglin Halt Food Centre, Mei Ling Market and Food Centre, Commonwealth Cresent Market and Food Centre. It also has one of the most picturesque MacDonald’s in Singapore: McDonald’s Ridout Tea Garden.
Whether you are into culture, food, nature or shopping, there are plenty of options to spend your leisure time in Queenstown.
|Pedigree||Very Good||As the first satellite town, Queenstown has a rich history and socio-cultural significance. Many new public housing programmes are first seeded in this area before being implemented elsewhere.|
|Accessibility||Good||The town is quite close to the town area, making it accessible to major employment nodes like the central business district quickly and easily. It is also well connected by MRT and bus routes.|
|Affordability||Poor||The median prices of HDB flats in Queenstown are in the higher range across the different types. Aside from the PLH model flats, existing resale HDB flats may get priced higher in the future as buyers could snap up the existing flats without the PLH restrictions.|
|Schools||Average||It is no surprise that Queenstown, as a mature town, has fewer schools for young families. However, the presence of Singapore Polytechnic and National University of Singapore makes this the place for higher education.|
|Recreation||Good||There are plenty of options for residents at Queenstown to spend their leisure time. From sweating it out in nature, to spending time at malls, to food tasting at one of the many hawker centres, there is something for all ages to engage in.|
|Investment Potential||Poor||If the PLH model applies to future BTO HDB flats, it will limit the upside potential for flat buyers.|
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