This article was first published on Sept 1, 2014, and updated on Nov 18, 2015
SINGAPORE - The new Bidadari estate, which will be built atop what once was Singapore's largest grave site, has proved to be a huge draw for potential home buyers.
Within hours of Tuesday's (Nov 17) "mega launch" of 12,411 HDB flats kicking off, there were already 259 applicants chasing 151 five-room units in the estate.
The 2,139 flats across three Bidadari projects - Alkaff CourtView, Alkaff LakeView and Alkaff Vista - are the only units in a mature town in this BTO exercise.
Notwithstanding its "sad past", property experts have cited its central location as an attractive factor.
Here's a look at the other unique features that the estate will have once it is completed by 2020.
New Bidadari homes to sit amid lush gardens
The upcoming housing estate will feature lush greenery and social spaces, in line with the area's vision of being "a community in a garden".
Residents in the area will be able to visit a nearby market square and walk around a scenic park and lake.
The 10ha Bidadari Park will house the new Alkaff Lake, named after the Arab family that built the Alkaff Lake Gardens in the area in 1929.
Bidadari housing estate to have first bus interchange underground
The new Bidadari housing estate will be home to Singapore's first underground air-conditioned bus interchange below Housing Board flats.
The new interchange next to Woodleigh MRT station, expected to be ready by 2019, will cater to five bus services.
It will be "tucked away and hidden from the street view", sitting below a carpark and neighbourhood garden flanked by blocks of flats, according to the HDB's plans seen by The Straits Times.
Other plans to modernise Bidadari have been announced in the past couple of years for the area that was once Singapore's largest grave site. These include an underground service reservoir, a 10ha park and a lake within the park.
Here are some articles from The Straits Times Archives for plans for the area, a look at the area as it is now through a specially modified infrared digital single-lens reflex camera and what Singaporeans feel about living above someone's final resting place.
Bidadari to house Singapore's first underground service reservoir
The future Bidadari estate will lay claim to a unique feature - Singapore's first underground service reservoir built on low, instead of high, ground.
Holding enough water to fill three Olympic-size pools, the tank will be built beneath the town's planned park to save on surface space and keep the surroundings unmarred.
The land above it will be "integrated with the surrounding park amenities, hence optimising land", PUB has said, adding that high ground available for service reservoirs is "limited".
Future Bidadari estate to retain its historical heritage, says Heritage Board
The rich history and heritage of Bidadari will be assimilated into the new housing estate to be built there, the National Heritage Board (NHB) announced on Wednesday (Sept 4, 2013).
It is the first time that a new estate will include these considerations from the design stage.
The NHB is working with the Housing Board (HDB) on a proposed pedestrianised Heritage Walk to replace the present Upper Aljunied Road.
Residents strolling along the tree-lined boulevard in future will learn through photographs and boards about old landmarks once found in Bidadari, such as the 19th-century Bidadari House once owned by a Sultan of Johor.
Bidadari to retain its greenery
The upcoming Bidadari housing estate will have a regional park, retain its hilly and lush landscape, and celebrate its history and heritage, said the Housing Board.
The estate, which sits on a 93ha former cemetery site, will "creatively incorporate" historical elements.
These will complement the existing Bidadari Memorial Garden, which holds the tombstones of 21 prominent early citizens.
Bidadari in a different light
Once a cemetery, currently a recreation area and green space, the 93ha comprising the new Bidadari estate is expected to accommodate 11,000 residential units in the near future.
After exhumation was completed in stages between 2001 and 2004, the graveyard became a favourite haunt of joggers looking to train on its rolling terrain and in its green tranquillity.
Singaporeans unfazed by Bidadari's cemetery past for planned HDB estate
Would you be comfortable living on top of someone's final resting place?
Once the largest grave site in Singapore, the 18ha Bidadari Cemetery is making way for a new Housing Board town and private estates.
However, many young Singaporeans are not aware of its history.