Cavenagh / Monk’s Hill

From Straits Times – June 17, 2007

“Peaceful cloister in heart of town

THESE OLD TERRACE HOUSES AT MONK’S HILL take one back to a time when life was simpler and more rustic, giving the area an old-world charm that provides a soothing contrast to the hustle and bustle of nearby Newton and Orchard Road.

APTLY named Monk’s Hill for its serenity and quietude, this area is almost a temple of peace next to busy Newton Circus with its throng of diners and downtown traffic.

The tranquillity is further enhanced – except perhaps when school’s out – by Monk’s Hill Secondary School and a madrasah (religious school) nearby.

The apartments and terrace houses, a mainstay at Monk’s Hill, are gnarled with age, but the rustic charm of old-school architecture and a monochrome palette give the area a soothing appeal.

Also a lure is the great food at the famed Newton Hawker Centre a stone’s throw away.

However, having the Istana close by on the other side of Cavenagh Road has limited the possibilities for developments in the vicinity.

For example, condominiums lining that stretch of road, such as Cavenagh Court and the Townhouse Apartments, have height restrictions and are also prevented from having clear windows on the side facing the Istana. As a result, the area has not proved to be as attractive as might be expected, though it is located next to the prime Orchard Road district.

Of note is the collective sale potential of the 99-year-old Townhouse Apartments, which has seen its average price per sq ft hovering at $420, said Savills.

An interesting characteristic of the area is the presence of several black-and-white bungalows around Monk’s Hill Road, which have made it a hit with expatriates.

But hardly any transactions of these Premas-run units have been recorded because of their conservation status.”

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