This residential enclave has distinctly attractive attributes that make it stand out.
SPH Content Studio
September 30, 2015
Nestled around the “hills” of Singapore, namely, Bukit Timah, Bukit Gombak, Bukit Panjang and Bukit Batok, is Hillview. While this private residential enclave may not be perched on high ground as its name suggests, there is no doubt about Hillview’s distinctive and attractive attributes that make it stand out from other private condominiums and landed residential enclaves.
Hillview did not spring up overnight. Although it is largely residential in nature today, it was an industrial precinct with factories and other such facilities from the early 1940s to the late 1980s. Well-known names such as Ford, Castrol Oil, Union Carbide and Cycle & Carriage Daimler-Benz set up shop here.
An important piece of Singapore’s history resides in Hillview’s vicinity. The old Ford Motor factory was where the formal surrender of the Malayan Peninsula by the British Commanding Officer, Lieutenant-General Arthur Ernest Percival, to the Japanese Commander of the 25th Army, General Yamashita Tomoyuki took place on February 15, 1942. The site is now known as Memories at Old Ford Factory and gazetted as a national monument.
The nearby Hindhede Quarry in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve used to be an active granite quarry until it stopped operations around the late 1980s. It is now Hindhede Nature Park, a spot popular for its scenic beauty.
Not far from the Old Ford Motor factory is the former Bukit Timah Fire Station, one of the oldest fire stations of Singapore built in 1956. It has been transformed into a cluster of enrichment options for children, retail and F&B outlets.
Eastwards of Hillview is Dairy Farm, named after the land purchased by what was then called Cold Storage Company to rear cows to produce fresh milk for local consumption. While the cows are no longer there, the two cowsheds that are still around have found new uses.
One of them is the Wallace Education Centre that houses the Wallace Environmental Learning Lab (WELL) in the Dairy Farm Nature Park, while the other is the Interpretive Centre where visitors can learn about the changing landscapes of Dairy Farm and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.
This “green” status is nothing new. Since colonial days, Bukit Timah and its surrounding area have been regarded as a getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Hillview has plenty of lush greenery all around – Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Hindhede Nature Park, Bukit Batok Nature Park, Bukit Batok Town Park and Dairy Farm Nature Park. A new 80-hectare Chestnut Nature Park is expected to be ready by the third quarter of 2016.
The Hillview Park Connector, which starts at Dairy Farm Nature Park, runs along Hillview Road and Hillview Avenue, before ending at Bukit Batok Nature Park.
The second phase of the Downtown MRT Line (DTL 2) will open in December this year. The DTL 2 line is expected to improve connectivity for the commuters in the north-western region of Singapore and save travel time by up to 30 per cent.
The Hillview area will be served by Hillview MRT Station. On this line, one can easily travel along Bukit Timah Road (via Cashew, Beauty World, King Albert Park, Sixth Avenue, Tan Kah Kee stations) and connect to other parts of the island at the interchange stations (Bukit Panjang, Botanic Gardens, Newton, Little India).
Under a bilateral agreement signed between Singapore and Malaysia in 2010, the land has been handed back to Singapore, and tracks and ancillary structures of the KTM railway removed and given back to Malaysia. There are plans to redevelop the railway land running along Hillview into a Rail Corridor.
There’s no fear about being a “mountain tortoise”. HillV2, a recently opened mixed-use development, is close by, and offers a good selection of eateries, gourmet stores, and retail shops.
In keeping with Upper Bukit Timah’s history as an industrial enclave in the past, the developer of HillV2 incorporated architectural and cultural elements reminiscent of New York and London for an industrial-chic design.
A new community club (CC) is expected to be ready in the last quarter of 2016. The building will be located along Hillview Avenue where the old Hillview CC used to be. (The old CC moved to the void deck of Block 386 Bukit Batok West Avenue 5 about 10 years ago.) There will also be F&B outlets, enrichment centres, a dance studio, culinary studio, rooftop garden and other recreational facilities located in the CC.