Monday, 28 April 2014

Kampung Admiralty: 'Modern kampung' to launch in Jul 2014 BTO; First batch of residents collect keys on 12 Aug 2017

New HDB housing complex is the first to put so many different facilities under one roof
By Janice Heng And Grace Chua, The Sunday Times, 27 Apr 2014

Homes in Woodlands' upcoming "modern kampung" - the first of its kind - will be launched in this July's Build-to-Order exercise.

To be completed in 2017, the all-in-one Kampung Admiralty includes two blocks of Housing Board studio apartments, centres for medicine, childcare and eldercare, and shops.

Seniors who live in Woodlands, or whose married children live there, will get priority for the 100 or so flats. Prices are not yet available but studio apartments ranged from $83,000 to $125,000 in recent launches. These flats, on 30-year leases, are designed for elderly residents.

"This will be their retirement kampung," Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan said yesterday at the ground-breaking ceremony for the project.

In an interview last year, he had said that more such integrated buildings would be built if this one is successful.

Buildings that combine housing and retail, for instance, are not new. Back in the 1980s, Bras Basah Complex featured HDB flats above a shopping complex.

But this is the first time such a project has involved the collective effort of eight government agencies, such as the Ministry of Health, National Environment Agency and Early Childhood Development Agency, and put so many different facilities under one roof.

On the ground floor is a sprawling plaza where residents can take part in community events or shop.

One floor up is a 900-seater hawker centre.

Admiralty Medical Centre, run by Alexandra Health System, takes up the third and fourth floors.

"For those who are elderly and frail or home-bound, our health-care staff will be able to use the medical centre as a base to reach out to them," said group chief executive officer Liak Teng Lit, adding the centre will also reach out to residents to encourage healthy living.

Higher up, there are eldercare and childcare centres around a community park and even a farm where residents can harvest their own vegetables in the community farm.

The housing blocks, which rise from the fourth to 11th floors, have their sixth floor set aside for a recreational centre.

It will be not just "another shopping mall or civic centre" but a centre of community and bonding, said Mr Khaw, adding that the name Kampung Admiralty was chosen "to symbolise the spirit that we hope to forge".

Even the greenery, such as rambutan and kaffir lime trees, were picked because of their links to village life.

Mr Yap Chin Beng, deputy CEO (Estates) of HDB, hopes residents will "take active ownership of the various community spaces to interact with their neighbours, recreate the cohesive kampung spirit and forge a strong sense of identity and belonging".

Admiralty residents are already looking forward to the new complex.

Mr Raju Kaliyamoorthy, a 48-year-old chemist, said seeing medical specialists would be more convenient. "Currently, we have to go to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (in Yishun)", he explained.

Cleaner Kee Leng Mong, 59, meanwhile hopes the food at the hawker centre would be cheaper than that at a nearby food court. But he has no plans to move into one of the upcoming studio apartments.

"I'd like to leave my flat to my son."

An exhibition about the project, held at its site, will run until Friday.

Bringing back the Kampung days
By Grace Chua, The Sunday Times, 27 Apr 2014

Ahead of yesterday's ground-breaking ceremony for Kampung Admiralty, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan blogged about the passion of the people working on the project.

He shared an internal memo from National Parks Board planners suggesting plants with edible fruit and colourful foliage, and those which can attract birds and butterflies.

It also suggested plants which "would appeal to the memory of our older residents of the different ethnic groups". One example given was the bael fruit, as it was once planted by the Indian community for medicinal purposes.

The memo explained: "The aim should be to help them (residents) relive the kampung days, and also to show the younger generation what a kampung was like."

Calling the memo a "delight to read", Mr Khaw said he was confident that "the deep knowledge, dedication and passion of our planners will steer this project to greater heights".

* Integrated project's studio flats prove to be a hit
Comprehensive amenities under one roof attract BTO applicants
By Janice Heng, The Straits Times, 26 Jul 2014

STUDIO apartments were hotter than usual in this month's launch of Housing Board flats, due to their being part of the Kampung Admiralty integrated project.

Also proving popular were two-room flats and a Toa Payoh project, as the Build-To-Order (BTO) exercise drew to a close last night.

By 5pm yesterday, there were 5.8 applicants for each Kampung Admiralty unit.

In contrast, other recent studio apartment projects, which can be bought only if one applicant is a Singaporean aged at least 55, have tended to draw about one to three applicants per unit.

"It is not always that studio apartments will be well received by the elderly," said R'ST Research director Ong Kah Seng.

But Kampung Admiralty is located near Admiralty MRT station and boasts comprehensive amenities, he noted.

Among these are a medical centre, an eldercare centre, a hawker centre and a community farm, all in one building.

Mr Ong expects studio units to gain popularity as the elderly grow used to the idea of monetising their current flats.

Madam Hazimah Aziz, 54, for instance, is planning to sell her five-room family home.

"All my children are getting married. For the two of us, a studio apartment is enough," said the housewife, who applied for one in Kampung Admiralty with her husband.

As usual, two-room flats were popular. Last July's BTO - the first time singles could buy the flats alone - saw 57.5 singles chasing each available one.

Demand has since cooled but is still high, with 17.5 singles for each available two-room flat at 5pm yesterday.

"This shows that demand has still not been satisfied," said ERA Realty key executive officer Eugene Lim.

Also sought after was Toa Payoh Apex, a rare BTO launch in a mature estate, with 3.9 applicants for each three-room flat and 9.1 for each four-room unit.

But projects in Punggol were less popular than expected, said Mr Lim. Two-room flats aside, application rates ranged from 1.2 for each five-room unit to 2.1 for each three-room flat.

This might have been due to buyers' fatigue from many BTO launches in Punggol, he added. "It has been one after another."

** Residents collect keys at Singapore's first "retirement kampung"
By Ng Jun Sen, The Straits Times, 12 Aug 2017

The country's first "retirement kampung", located in Admiralty, saw its first residents collecting keys to their new apartments on Saturday (Aug 12).

The two blocks of Housing Board flats meant for the elderly, comprising 104 studio apartments in total, are the first-of-its-kind in Singapore to feature elderly-friendly features for seniors to live independently and actively.

Known as Kampung Admiralty, the new development includes a two-level Admiralty Medical Centre that is managed by the Alexandra Health System which offers specialist outpatient consultations, endoscopy and day surgery procedures.

The medical and surgical services, which opened in phases last month (July), allows residents to seek treatment without having to travel long distances. This includes treatment for elderly health issues, such as diabetes, eye-related conditions, or those that require orthopaedic and hand surgery.

Within the homes, HDB also installs fittings - previously not introduced to other flats - so as to make home living safer and easier for the elderly.

For instance, induction hobs do not have an open flame and are easier to clean as compared to gas stoves, and the retractable clothes drying rack allow indoor and outdoor drying of laundry with less effort.

Each unit also comes with resilient vinyl strip flooring that are slip- and moisture-resistant, as well as being easier to clean.

A hawker centre with 43 food stalls, which is managed by NTUC Foodfare, is slated to open in September. Ample community spaces and programmes are also provided for residents to interact and age actively.

To date, 103 out of 104 units at Kampung Admiralty were snapped up after the flats were first offered in the July 2014 Build-to-Order exercise. They are mostly sold on 30-year leases.

Of the 103 units, 44 were booked under the Studio Apartment Priority Scheme (SAPS) and the Senior Priority Scheme (SPS).

These schemes gives priority to elderly residents who wish to age in a familiar environment or those who want to live near their married child or parents.

Around 60 per cent of the new residents came from Woodlands or nearby towns.

The project was conceived and launched by the Ministry of National Development in 2014.

But it took the collective effort of several agencies - the HDB, Ministry of Health, Alexandra Health System, National Environment Agency, National Parks Board, Land Transport Authority and Early Childhood Development Agency - to put the various features together under one roof.

At the kampung's first community day on Saturday, Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport, said there have been occasional calls for retirement villages here, emulating those seen in Australia and the US.

Rather than a retirement village run by private operators, Kampung Admiralty is a Government-led effort so that "seniors can live happily, actively and healthily in a HDB town", he added.

To achieve this, Mr Khaw, adviser to Sembawang's Grassroots Organisations, said Kampung Admiralty is designed to fight against loneliness, ill-health, depression and inconsiderate behaviour by encouraging inter-generational bonding, social interactions and active ageing.

"To test it out, URA set aside a piece of land, put it out to tender for such a retirement village, but the market was not enthusiastic. We were not surprised by the outcome… Kampung Admiralty (is) an experiment on how such a concept could be implemented," said Mr Khaw.

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