New Heights – 50-Storey Pinnacle@Duxton

qrfMinister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew laying the foundation for the 50-storey Pinnacle@Duxton.  The background picture shows Mr Lee laying the bricks for the first two HDB flats in the Cantonment Road area in 1963.  Next to him are Tanjong Pagar GRC MPs Koo Tsai Kee and Indranee Rajah.

HDB to invite tenders for Pinnacle@Duxton construction
[Source:  TODAY, 15 September 2004]

The HDB will proceed with the tender and construction of The Pinnacle@Duxton as 79 per cent of the units in the project have been snapped up.

The booking exercise began on Aug 14 and by Sept 13, 1,456 units had been taken up.

The board said it expects the take-up rate to increase.

Almost 5,000 applications were received for the project, which will be reader under the HDB’s Build-To-Order System.

The Pinnacle@Duxton is HDB’s first 50-storey block project, comprising seven blocks in total.

Initially, only some 500 units under Phase 1 were put on offer in May, but these were six times over-subscribed.

The overwhelming response led the board to open all the units for immediate bookinge

Pinnacle@Duxton a ‘specal, one-off project’
[TODAY, 14 June 2004]

The Housing Development Board’s Pinnacle@Duxton development is a one-off project, National Development Miniaster Mah Bow Tan said on 13 June 2004.

He said: “HDB will not be doing a similar project anywhere else because the Duxton Plain area is a very special area, so we wanted to make it a very special project.

“Because of the special design with the special location, we expected the response to be good but frankly it was quite overwhelming.”

In future, the HDB will concentrate on providing for the basic housing needs of Singaporeans instead.

The Pinnacle@Duxton flats will have over 1,800 three-bedroom apartments in sever 50-storey blocks, which will be the tallest HDB blocks in Singapore.

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View from the Pinnacle

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[Source:  The Straits Times, 3 September 2008]

Singapore will be home to possibly the world’s largest sky garden – 500m long and 24m wide and perched up to 50 storeys above ground.

The garden, spread along a network of skybridges (above) will be on the doorsteps of HDB residents, so to speak, as part of it will sit ateop the tallest-ever public housing project here, with another section further down.

The Pinnacle@Duxton is located where first two HDB blocks in the area were built 50 years ago – an important tribute to the HDB’s 50th anniversary in 2009.

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Going up together

By Leong Wee Keat
[Source:  TODAY, 14 December 2009]

The standards of flats – and correspondingly, their prices – are like a barometer of the economy.  If Singapore continues to prosper, the value of flats would appreciate, along with Signaporeans’ tangible stake in the country.

Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew made the point on 13 December 2009 at the key handover ceremony of The Pinnacle@Duxton.  And given the space constraints the island-state faces, he expects more such high-rise developments to be in the pipeline.

“We can’t expand the city laterally, we have to expand the city vertically,” he said.  “Yes, we can have more reclamations but that’s only about 10,15 per cent and we’ve reached the limit.

But Singaporeans, especially young couples, are concerned about prices going up as well.  On such sentiments, Mr Lee emphasised that flat prices move in tandem with Singapore’s economic growth.

“They’ve got to decide whether the country is going to go up or down, people’s incomes will be down, unemployment will be up, the property values will go down.”

If the people have confidence in the Republic and the Government, flat prices and values will rise “as it has been going up every year” historically, said Mr Lee, who as Prime Minister had in 1964 pushed to HDB to launch the home ownership scheme.

Noting that home ownership “motivates Singaporeans to work hard and upgrade to better flats for a beter quality of living,” Mr Lee said:  “More important, Singaporeans know that the HDB flat gives them a tangible stake in worth.  If Singapore prospers … they share in the growth … The HDB story reflects the social mobility in Singapore.

Pointing out that owning of a HDB flat was “a store of value that can be monetised when needs be”, he said home ownership had been critical for a fledgling nation with “an immigrant community with no common history”.

“If all of the 900,000 HDB flats built over the past 50 years were rental flats, Singapore would be a very different society today.  We would not have the stability, progress and prosperity that the stake in home ownership of a growing asset that has made possible,” said the Minister Mentor, reiterating the assurance that young couples would get sufficient help from the Government to own their first flat.

The Pinnacle@Duxton sits on the site where the HDB built the first rental blocks in the area in 1963.

Today, it houses the HDB’s latest generation of public housing, and the 50-storey project in Cantonment Road scores a number of first – including being the highest public housing block and one of the priciest.

But what takes it to a whole new level for residents is an unusual 800m jogging track on the 26th floor, which runs along six steel skybridges linking the seven blocks.  The top storey also has another six steel skybridges linking the seven blocks.  The top storey also has another six bridges where residents and non-residents can enjoy skyline views.

But the flats do not come cheap.  Prices, which started at $289,200 for the four-room flats in 2004, have climbed to around $533,000 this year, while those of five-room flats have risen from $439,400 to $643,000 over the five-year period.

Even so, demand for the flats was still very strong, Mr Lee noted, “The Pinnacle@Duxton is therefore a good example that if the nation continues to do well, we will build more flats of this standard.”

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They’re coming home to Duxton

By Leong Wee Keat
[Source:  TODAY, 14 December 2009]

Getting the keys to their new The Pinnacle@Duxton flat yesterday was a moment to savour for Mr Venketroyalu Deenathayalu and his wife, Mdm Venkatesan Hema.

Not only is the 24th-floor unit their first home purchase, the couple are also returning to the site where they began life as husband and wife.

After getting married in 2002,  they stayed with Mr Venketroyalu’s father in a rental flat at the old Duxton Plain housing estate for eight months.

“I had a wonderful time here,” said Mr Venketroyalu, who had moved in with his father in 1997.  “We had such a close-knit community back then.”

Often, he would chat with neighbours and shop owners in the estate.  “We could buy things without paying first”, including furniture, recalled Mr Venketroyalu, 38, an IT project manager.

Such was their attachment to the neighbourhood that when it was time to move and make way for the new Pinnacle@Duxton project, the couple were among the last to leave their block.

Even though they moved to Jalan Bukit Merah, the couple had their sights on moving back in 2004, they booked a new four-room flat at The Pinnacle@Duxton for $330,000 and picked a unit on the same site as their previous one “for sentimental reasons”.  Their new flat even faces the same direction – towards Everton Park – as the rental flat that Mr Venketroyalu’s father used to stay in.

The couple had been eagerly anticipating the completion of the project.  “Every time I passed by, I kept counting the number of floors they had completed,” said Mdm Venkateasan, a housewife.

Now that the wait is over, the couple intend to start renovation work immediately and move in by the middle of next month.  Special prayers for the flat and housewarming partiesw have also been lined up.

“A lot of my friends are eagerly waiting to see the flat.  Even if I don’t invite them,” they say will come,” Mr Venketroyalu said in jest.

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Two families returning to Duxton

By Zakir Hussain
[Source:  The Straits Times, 14 December 2009]

One of the first homes of Mr Venketroyalu Deenathayalu’s parents was a two-room flat they rented in Duxton Plain in 1968.

He was to follow in their footsteps about 35 years later when he rented a flat in the same area after his marriage.

Today, the 38-year-old project manager is the proud owner of a four-room HDB flat in the same neighbourhood, living in Singapore’s tallest and most distinctive public housing project: the Pinnacle@Duxton.

He was among seven first-time home-owners who received the keys to their flats from Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, their MP, yesterday.

However, the HDB said Mr Venketroyalu’s family and another – the Tay siblings – are believed to be the only Pinnacle@Duxton flat owners to have previously lived in the two rental blocks that once occupied the same plot.

The project is the pride and joy of the Housing Board, which holds it up as a model of how the HDB has strived to improve the quality and design of its homes since it was set up 49 years ago.

The old rental blocks, launched in 1963, had 334 flats but the Pinnacle has 1.848 four and five-room flats, built for an affluent, home-owning population.

Within minutes of taking the first peek at his new home on the 24th floor, Mr Venketroyalu and his family were welcoming MM Lee into their flat.

Mr Venketroyalu’s 63-year-old mother, Mrs Susilabai Deenathayalu, said:  “It’s an honour to see my old MP after 40 years.”

She and her husband’s rental home in Duxton was a two-room flat on the eighth floor, with a view of the city.

When her son married in 2002, he and his wife, housewife Venkatesan Hema, now 33, stayed at the flat.

But they all had to leave the following year, as the area was earmarked for redevelopment.

Yesterday, as Mr Venketroyalu’s six-year-old daughter, Tejaswini, excitedly checked out each room, he saidL: “Many of our friends and relatives have already asked when they can come and have a look.”

Equally thrilled are the Tays, on the 18th storey of a nearby block.

Freelance tutor TayPoh Choo, 35, and her brother, engineer Tay Peck Seng, 41, lived in Duxton for 20 years, with their parents and three siblings, after moving from Jalan Membina in 1984.

Over the years, their three siblings married and moved out and their parents died, while the pair were relocated before the flats were demolished.

Ms Tay cited the Pinnacle’s central location, its proximity to Chinatown, an array of 24-hour food outlets and a host of childhood memories as factors that pulled her back to the neighbourhood.

The Pinnacle’s seven blocks are linked by skybridges on the 26th and 50th floors.  There is an 800m jogging track on the 26th floor and a huge sky garden on the roof, with views of the harbour and much of Singapore.

Only residents can use the track, but the top floor will be open to the public, for a $5 fee.  Only 200 can go up each day.

Madam Venkatesan, who used to be captivated by the city view from her old flat, noted wistfully that her new home faces the other direction.

“But there’s always the view from the corridor,” she added.

And, of course, the skybridges.

Duxton Plain and Cantonment Road in the Past

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img030Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew with Housing & Development Board (HDB) Chairman Lim Kim San viewing scale model of upcoming housing estate at Cantonment Road on 15/3/1963.

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