History of Normanton Park
Housing and Urban Development Company (HUDC), was established in 1974 in order to meet the aspirations of middle-income residents to own private homes and give them more control over the management and maintenance.
In 1975, construction of HUDC flats started. Over the next 12 years, a total 7,731 units were built in 18 HUDC estates. There were four stages to development. Phase I and II were built and managed in part by HUDC Private Limited. Phase III and IV were handled by the Housing and Development Board after 1982. The HUDC program was in existence until 1987, but it was eventually discontinued due to declining demand.
The government approved the privatization of HUDC estates in 1995. One year later, Pine Grove and Gillman Heights became the first HUDC estates that were privatized. Gillman Heights was sold in 2009 for $548 million. The Interlace now occupies the former Gillman Heights site. The Pine Grove, a 660-unit complex located near Ulu Pandan Road has tried to be sold collectively in 2008, 2011, and 2017. However, it was unsuccessful. Farrer Court sold the HUDC estate for $1.3 billion in 2007, breaking the previous record.
Normanton Park, a unique HUDC property, was built in 1977 for only the Singapore Armed Forces personnel and their families. It was located near Kent Ridge Park and its residents enjoyed years of peace and stunning views of the vast greenery surrounding their estate.
The estate was made up of 13 blocks and 488 apartments. It also includes amenities like a swimming pool, tennis courts, and kindergarten. SAF officers purchased the estate at prices starting from $37,000 for high-rise units and $65,000 for walk-up apartments.
The building of Normanton Park, which was officially opened by Goh Keng Swee (former Deputy Prime Minister) in April 1978, was designed to provide SAF officers with decent and affordable condominium-like housing. It was one of many ways that the Defence Ministry fosters camaraderie among officer corps.
Normanton Park wasn’t the first housing estate in which a group of people became neighbors. In 1972, the government and statutory bodies had their own housing programs with the aim of keeping civil servants and employees employed. Similar examples include the Farrer Road executive flats for Housing and Development Board staff and the Spottiswoode Park flats to Port of Singapore Authority employees.
Normanton Park was joined by a new neighbor in the early 1980s when the Singapore Science Park (the nation’s latest technology corridor) was built.
Normanton Park was privatized in 2012 and given the status of condominium. It was then put up for sale collectively twice: first in 2015, then again in 2017. In the second auction, the estate of 40 years was sold for $830million. The majority of Normanton Park’s residents had left the property by October 2018.
Recent years saw a flurry in collective sales of HUDC estates. Shunfu Ville and Raintree Gardens, Rio Casa and Serangoon Ville were all sold between 2016 and 2018.
Between early and mid-2018, the demolitions of 34-year-old Raintree Gardens at Potong Pasir and Shunfu Ville (built in 1986 at Shunfu Road from Marymount Road) began. After their privatisations in 2013 and 2014, the two HUDC estates were purchased for $334 million each and $638 million, respectively. Raintree Gardens’ and Shunfu Villes’ former sites will be redeveloped to create new private residences called The Tre Ver or Jade Scape.
Another HUDC estate Eunosville, which was built before 1987’s phasing out of the HUDC scheme, has been hoarded and is now ready to be demolished. Eunosville was one of the last HUDC estates constructed before 1987’s phasing out. It was located between Sims Avenue and Changi Road and had 10 blocks of low-rise and 330 units. It was sold for $766 million in 2017. In its place, Parc Esta will be built.
The history of HUDC has been fraught with controversy. The company was sued by angry buyers of Amberville in the late seventies for their revised plan to construct a 13-story block that would have deprived them of their magnificent views of the sea. This was the original selling point for new HUDC estate. Other complaints included payment problems with the Central Provident Fund and subsequent price increases in maintenance fees.
The 918-unit Braddell View, the last HUDC to go private in March 2017, marked the end of a four-decade-long era of HUDC. Five HUDC estates – Pine Grove and Ivory Heights as well as Lakeview and Laguna Park – remain undeveloped and have yet to be sold. When the day comes for the end of HUDC estates, it will mark another chapter in Singapore’s history of housing.