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McNair Towers review: A conveniently located HDB in a quiet part of Boon Keng

McNair Towers review: A conveniently located HDB in a quiet part of Boon Keng
McNair Towers is a recently-MOPed HDB located along the quiet McNair Road, adjacent to Towner Road in the Boon Keng Area.
PHOTO: Stackedhomes

McNair Towers is a recently-MOPed HDB located along the quiet McNair Road, adjacent to Towner Road in the Boon Keng Area.

And if you’ve been following our reviews so far, you could very well guess how close it is to Bendemeer Light and City View @ Boon Keng.

That said, McNair Towers definitely stands out on its own for several reasons. First, while it does boast proximity to Boon Keng MRT just like the other two, the former isn’t located along a major road. This makes it more exclusive.

Second, its location is enviably right beside a park connector which not only means it’s close to nature, but it’s more tranquil too.

Considering its young age and location, McNair Towers is also one of the most expensive HDBs you can purchase today (as you’ll see in our pricing review). So if you’re on the lookout for a relatively central HDB and are willing to pay for one, should you consider McNair Towers?

Let’s find out in our usual HDB tour!

Project: McNair Towers
HDB Town Kallang/Whampoa
Address: 113A-D McNair Road
Developer: HDB
Lease Start Date: Dec 2017
No. of Units: 861

McNair Towers insider tour

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

McNair Towers is probably one of the more “exclusive” HDBs I’ve visited considering it’s tucked away in a quiet corner along McNair Road.

In a way, this reminds me of Trivelis and Natura Loft where few vehicles pass through due to the no-through roads at the end.

From the end of the street, you’ll find a small opening into McNair Towers which is the only entry/exit point for this development.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

I must admit that the arrival here was quite underwhelming given there’s no indication from the outside that you’ve arrived at the right development. There is a sign at the front that kinda blends in with the building, and it’s not very visible to drivers.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

That and of course, the tower structure whose modern facade clues you in:

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Heading in to the development, you’re greeted with the first of two car park entry/exit points:

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

The car park here is of a multi-storey variety (MSCP). There really isn’t anything special about the facade here as it sports the typical grey and white MSCP exterior.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

There are also no planters to help break the concrete facade of this structure which I’ve seen in other HDBs. All in, it’s rather plain and ordinary looking.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

In total, there are 459 lots for 861 units which is about a 50-50 ratio. This may not sound ideal, however, McNair Towers boasts decent public transport connectivity, so this shouldn’t be a big deal.

Moreover, the October 2022 season parking tickets remaining stand at 160 available for sale so I don’t foresee any issues getting season parking here.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Inside, you’ll find that the car park is sufficiently spacious and well-lit which is expected of new MSCPs today.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

It also helps that there are these air wells here that provide more sunlight and natural ventilation into the deeper parts of the MSCP.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Residents who are into car sharing may also be interested to know that there are four lots available here:

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

One issue that’s apparent here is the proximity of certain stacks to the MSCP:

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

It’s quite common for low-floor units with an MSCP within the development to have this issue. Residents with such a facing can expect less privacy and more noise, particularly as residents who come back late at night will naturally have to circle up more to find parking.

Of course, not all units are affected equally, some are further from the MSCP but still have a direct facing:

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Now for those who drive, you’ll be pleased to see that there are link bridges here that connect the MSCP directly to your block.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

And the link bridge is also available on multiple floors — not just one! This makes it really convenient especially when the first few levels are full.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

As with most new HDBs today, McNair Towers features a rooftop garden which is located on the 7th floor of the MSCP.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Coming out, you’ll find the garden to be quite lush and serves quite nicely as an alternative to the park connector right behind.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

I could also see elderly folk and children roaming the garden which is more or less the demographics I’d expect to use this place more since it’s within convenient reach.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Here, you’ll also find several seating areas. They aren’t fully sheltered since it’s just a wooden trellis, but it does provide ample cover from the sun especially since there are plants running along the top too.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

It’s also here that you’ll find a large and rather active community garden. When I was here, there were people inside chatting away, so it was nice to see some community spirit.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes
PHOTO: Stackedhomes

As with most rooftop gardens, McNair Towers is not immune from the lack of privacy. Walking around, it’s quite clear that residents facing the car park would also get less privacy from those using the rooftop garden. It’s even more apparent at the link bridge:

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Some units even directly face the walkway, and it’s not just the service yard but the communal areas too:

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

This is quite unfortunate, but nonetheless having a link bridge is extremely convenient for most residents. Perhaps having a sheltered walkway here would have helped.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Before heading back down to the ground level, let’s head over to the common corridor to check out what it’s like.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

The common corridor isn’t the most spacious, but it’s wide enough for people to put small items such as their shoe racks outside.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Each floor has around six to 10 units (depending on the floor), with two units situated along the corridor so there’s lesser privacy for these units. Certain blocks that have studio apartments would have more units per floor. These are blocks 113C and 113D.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Units on both ends are also not too close to one another, and I’m pleased to say that gate clashing wouldn’t be a thing here. That seems to be more of a DBSS-specific problem.

Considering McNair Towers has a red accent (you’ve seen this at the front of the development), you’ll find that the walls along the corridor sports this colour, giving the development a little bit more of a pop than the usual grey and white tones commonly found in other HDBs.

Now that we’re done with the common corridor, let’s head back down to check out the rest of the development!

First off, we have the drop-off point. This is the only one within the development here, and while it’s usually a negative, McNair Towers isn’t a big enough development to warrant more drop-off points.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Like the car park, this one looks pretty bare, almost as if zero effort was put into sprucing up the landscaping here.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

The good thing here is that the drop-off is fully-sheltered right up to every block, so residents are protected from wet weather no matter what.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

It’s also unique in that the drop-off shelter is quite high. I’m not sure if that’s really necessary, but taller vehicles can drive in here safely. The shelter is also long enough so that you wouldn’t get wet during the rain if you alight on either side of the vehicle. I can’t say the same for certain shelters, such as the one at SkyTerrace@Dawson given the shelter is rather short.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

That being said, it’s not a very long drive-in, so the drop-off really fits just one vehicle at a time if it’s raining (two if not).

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Another downside is the lack of a seating area close by. The nearest seat is tucked in one very uncosy and unflattering corner:

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Next up, we have the sheltered pavilion. This pavilion is very strategically located right in front of the drop-off, so guests coming here would have no issues finding it.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

There’s also a loading and unloading bay right beside the drop-off, so catering companies wouldn’t have to lug their equipment for too long a distance which is great!

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

While I’m not able to get a good shot of the place as it was being used, you can expect that the space is pretty decent — what you’d expect of a sheltered pavilion, except that the ceiling height is a little lower than usual.

You should also note that there are units surrounding the pavilion, making it less private. This isn’t much of an issue though, as most event holders would set up tarps to provide cover from prying eyes. The concern is in the form of noise pollution where lower floor units would have to bear with the music, speeches and general crowd ambience.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Next, let’s check out the two activity areas within the development. The first one is located near the MSCP and features a fitness area and a playground.

You’ll find the playground here to be quite a fun one as it comes with a pretty decent slide and a tower bridge!

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

There are also climbing structures here that would keep the young ones really active.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

It also features two spring riders, so children of younger age can also enjoy this spot. I am personally not a fan of the yellow and purple colours though, it clashes quite strongly together.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Parents would be pleased to know that there are benches here if you get tired from standing too long. I wasn’t able to spot a sheltered seating area though, but that isn’t much of a concern.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

The fitness area here also looks quite decent. It comes with some static exercise machines that can really help break a sweat.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

One downside that’s immediately apparent here though, is that certain lower floor units can be seen from here. While it’s not as bad as the ground floor ones at City View @ Boon Keng, residents on these lower floors can expect a lower level of privacy regardless.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

The next activity area is located on the north side of the development right next to the Park Connector:

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

The playground here is also pretty impressive. While there isn’t an overarching theme like the one we saw at Woodlands Glen, there’s a slide, a few climbing structures and a tower bridge. Which is really all that you could ask for in a playground. Honestly, all HDB playgrounds should at least have these features.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Unlike the first playground, this one has a fully-sheltered seating area nearby:

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

There are also two fitness areas just around the corner. One is right next to the playground, while the other is just slightly further away.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Both fitness areas are pretty much standard fare, so there’s nothing really noteworthy to highlight.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Do note that these activity levels are quite close to the residential blocks surrounding it, so lower floor units facing these facilities should be wary of noises in the evening when the children come out to play.

Overall, having two activity areas with two pretty substantial playgrounds is sufficient for the 861 units here.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Finally, let’s touch on the amenities within the development. First off, there’s an integrated day care and service centre for seniors located on the first level of the MSCP.

This is highly appropriate considering the number of studio apartments here.

Next, there’s also a childcare centre. This one is operated by MY World Preschool. Do note that infant care is not offered here, and Nursery 1 is already booked out with waiting times of more than a year.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

That said, there are 3 other preschools within walking distance:

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Unfortunately, there are no more commercial elements in the development. However, it’s rare to expect shops and food centres at your doorstep in most centrally located developments. This is especially irrelevant in a mature estate, especially one that’s close to Boon Keng MRT! So let’s find out more about the locality around McNair Towers.

McNair Towers location review

McNair Towers shares the same locality as Bendemeer Light and City View @ Boon Keng. Both of which I’ve done (coincidentally, they were the last two reviews too). As such, the pointers are the same:

Bendemeer Market & Food Centre (hawker) is close by — about a five to seven minute walk through the old HDBs opposite.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes
PHOTO: Stackedhomes
PHOTO: Stackedhomes

There’s also an NTUC FairPrice next to it, so residents are also within sort of convenient reach of a major supermarket.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes
PHOTO: Stackedhomes

On the southwest side, residents can take a bus down to visit the numerous conserved shophouses along Serangoon Road and Jalan Besar.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Unlike City View and Bendemeer light though, residents at McNair Towers have to deal with the inconvenience of being located further in from the main road. The upside is clear: less road noise.

But the downsides is apparent: residents looking to get to City Square Mall, for example, would have to walk for around 18 minutes compared to the 10 minutes from Bendemeer Light. Moreover, it still requires a walk out to the bus stop, and after alighting, you’d still have to walk to the mall.

The huge advantage that McNair Towers has over City View and Bendemeer Light is its proximity to the Whampoa Park Connector.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Okay, huge is subjective, but I’ve been a big fan of the Park Connector because of the lifestyle benefits so this is a pretty big deal for me.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

McNair Towers is located right behind the Whampoa Park Connector, so residents can simply head downstairs to hop onto it:

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

From there, residents can head north towards Ang Mo Kio or North-East towards Punggol.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Those who enjoy swimming will also be glad to know that the Jalan Besar Swimming Complex is nearby too. Residents can reach the swimming complex in 13 minutes by bus.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Public Transport

Bus station Buses serviced Distance from HDB (& est. walking time)
‘BLK 107 (50349)’ 139, 21 50m (1 min walk)
‘BLK 7 (60191)’ 13, 125, 133, 140,147, 23, 31, 64, 65, 857, 985 200m (4 min walk)


Closest MRT: Boon Keng MRT (four-min walk).

While McNair Towers is hidden in the corner of a small road along McNair Road, it is still quite convenient in terms of public transportation. For one, Boon Keng MRT is just a four-minute walk away.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

In terms of buses, there are two options. First is along Boon Keng Road which offers plenty of services:

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

As you can see, residents would have convenient access to the south, northeast, and east. You’ll notice that buses to the west side are lacking here. The good news is that the bus stop along Lavender Street on the southwest side passes through Bukit Timah to Choa Chu Kang.

The closest, however, is the one located along Towner Road. This one only has two bus services:

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

There aren’t a lot of options, but if you’re travelling to the west frequently, perhaps McNair Towers isn’t quite suited for you.

Private transport

Key destinations Distance from HDB (& est. peak hour drive time)
Raffles Place 5.8 km (12 mins drive)
Orchard Road 5.7 km (12 mins drive)
Suntec City 4.8 km (10 mins drive)
Changi Airport 19.4 km (28 mins drive)
Tuas Port 40.4 km (57 mins drive)
Paya Lebar Quarter 4.6 km (10 mins drive)
Mediapolis 13.5 km (19 mins drive)
Mapletree Business City 12.7 km (22 mins drive)
Tuas Checkpoint 36.8 km (49 mins drive)
Woodlands Checkpoint 24.7 km (33 mins)
Harbourfront Cluster 11.8 km (19 mins)
Punggol Cluster 12 km (24 mins)

Source: OneMap. Based on driving times during peak hours.

Immediate road exit: McNair Road


Summary: Drivers here can easily hop onto the PIE or CTE from here given it’s just a few minutes’ drive away. This allows quick access to all parts of the island. And given how central it’s located, getting to either end would not take very long.

Groceries

Name of grocery shop Distance from HDB (& est. time)
Sheng Siong Supermarket (24-hours) 108 McNair Road
NTUC FairPrice 30 Bendemeer Road, 13-min walk
Sheng Siong Supermarket (24-hours) 108 McNair Road

Schools

Educational tier Number of institutes
Preschool 3
Primary school (within 1km) 2
Secondary school 3
Junior college 1
Other tertiary institutes

 

Schools Time
My World Preschool Within the development
Star Learners @ Boon Keng 700 m (8 mins walk)
Caleum Junior @ Bendemeer 700 m (8 mins walk)
Hong Wen School 400 m (4 mins walk)
Bendemeer Primary School 1.1 km (13 mins walk)
Northlight School 600 m (7 mins walk)
Bendemeer Secondary School 800 m (9 mins walk)
St. Andrew’s Secondary School 2 km (16 mins via bus)
St. Andrew’s Junior College 2.5 km (22 mins via bus)

McNair Towers development site review

 

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

McNair Towers is made up of 4 towering blocks that are either 28 or 35 storeys high which is not as high as Bendemeer Light or City View @ Boon Keng.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Despite this, it does have more units — 861 units compared to both City View and Bendemeer Light. This is due to the number of studio apartments — 270 in total. There’s also 115 3-room and 475 4-room flats.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

The exterior looks like any other typical new HDB — it has a white and grey facade with three quarter height windows. It also features a red accent that can be found on shelters, the common corridors and some parts of the exterior walls.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Certain portions of the development also have a red accent as we’ve seen from the common corridor as well as the walkway shelter.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

The development was launched in 2012 alongside Bendemeer Light and was completed in 2016, having a lease start year of 2017. It reached its MOP in late 2021 making it newer than City View @ Boon Keng.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

The site itself doesn’t really have a lot of common areas to walk around in since it’s a generally small plot, but the landscaping is quite decent and there are benches and other seating areas provided here, so it’s pretty homely.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes
PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Do note that certain lower floor units would also face some privacy issues, however, this is a pretty common occurrence for most low floor units.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

At least in this case, they face the park connector so constant road noise and air pollution isn’t a concern!

Unit mix

Block Storeys Studio (Type A) Studio (Type B) 3-room 4-room Total
113A 35 198 198
113B 35 34 170 204
113C 28 27 54 27 81 189
113D 28 108 81 54 27 270
Total   135 135 115 476 861

McNair Towers stack analysis

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Unlike City View @ Boon Keng and Bendemeer Light, the best views for McNair Towers isn’t so straight forward. This is due to the taller buildings surrounding it — namely the old HDBs. As such, the best views are the southeast facing ones at blocks 113B and 113D. 113C is blocked by two tall HDBs opposite.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Those looking for unblocked views should also consider the higher floors with the north facing at block 113A.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

The east-facing stack at block 113B is pretty decent too, however, there is a new HDB St. George’s Towers that do obstruct some of the views, although it is some distance away.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

None of the stacks here face any busy roads unlike City View @ Boon Keng and Bendemeer Light which is great. Moreover, certain stacks that face the Park Connector may find the greenery to be quite pleasing!

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

McNair Towers layout analysis

3-room (68 sqm)

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

McNair Towers 3-room flat pros and cons

Pros: Cons:
Separate living and dining area Protruding column between bedrooms hence walls could not be hacked fully between the living and common bedroom
Good service yard layout allows for both a separate washer and dryer Living room wall is quite short so the TV placement is restricted
Kitchen walls are not structural, allowing for an open kitchen concept The main door opens straight to the living room, reducing privacy

 

4-room (93 sqm)

McNair Towers 4-room flat pros and cons

Pros: Cons:
No wasted entryway space which makes it more efficient Main door opens up to the master bedroom and dining area, lacks privacy
Good amount of space on both sides of the kitchen for cabinetry Living room wall is quite short – placement of a large TV could be difficult
Regular kitchen layout  
Good service yard layout allows for both a separate washer and dryer to be put on both sides  
Strategically placed household shelter allows for it to be an extended pantry area  
Decent dining space – possible to extend to the kitchen counter due to lack of structural walls there  

McNair Towers price review

Project Lease Start Year 3-room 4-room 5-room
101 – 107 Towner Rd 1984 $484,250 ($608 psf) $700,000 ($625 psf) $947,444 ($629 psf)
22, 24-43 Bendemeer Rd 1974 $512,500 ($541 psf)
4 – 6 Boon Keng Rd 1996 $700,000 ($612 psf) $935,000 ($689 psf)
Bendemeer Light 2017 $675,000 ($922 psf) $900,000 ($899 psf)
City View @ Boon Keng 2011 $641,000 ($851 psf) $870,500 ($851 psf) $1,116,000 ($937 psf)
McNair Towers 2017 $680,000 ($929 psf) $905,000 ($904 psf)
Towner Heights 2005 $738,000 ($722 psf) $838,550 ($708 psf)

Source: HDB Median prices from Jan 22 to Sep 22 (incomplete).

McNair Towers takes the cake for the most expensive HDB in the vicinity. With the median price of a 4-room flat going for $905,000, McNair Towers ranks within the top 2.4 per cent of all 4-room flats in Singapore in terms of price. Most 4-room flats around this price are found in Bukit Merah, Queenstown, Toa Payoh and Central Area — and they’re all generally newer flats.

Why the premium though?

  1. It’s newer than City View @ Boon Keng
  2. It’s situated in a quieter and more exclusive area than Bendemeer Light
  3. It’s close to the MRT as well as amenities
  4. It’s right next to the Park Connector

As such, McNair Towers does present buyers looking for a newly-MOP HDB in a central location that’s exclusive and has decent views — but it comes at a premium.

If you were willing to fork out cash for McNair Towers, then I would also seriously consider City View @ Boon Keng.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

It’s got more or less the same amenity offering as McNair Towers (less the proximity to the Park Connector), but it does come with a gated lobby. Its pricing is reflective of the difference in age, however, it shouldn’t depreciate too differently from McNair Towers since it’s only 6 years apart by lease tenure. That’s if you don’t mind the pretty tight corridors when heading and leaving home.

In terms of pricing, Bendemeer Light and McNair Towers are the same. The main differences between the two for me are:

  1. Bendemeer Light is definitely less exclusive. It’s situated at a busy junction with lots of lorries and trucks plying along Boon Keng Road.
  2. Bendemeer Light has the better views, particularly those facing the city and the sea.
PHOTO: Stackedhomes

For those who prioritise the area and don’t wish to pay top dollar for something new, yet don’t want to buy an HDB that’ll have less than 50 years left when you sell a couple of years down the road, you can go for the older blocks at 4 – 6 Boon Keng Road.

The 4-room flats here still go for below $700,000 and they are huge! Records show that they are about 107-108 sqm. These are even bigger than some of the new 5-room flats!

So now that we’ve considered the various aspects of McNair Towers, should you be paying top dollar for this HDB?

Our take

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Like City View @ Boon Keng and Bendemeer Light, McNair Towers is quite an attractive HDB. This explains its high pricing, and so buyers should carefully consider its pros and cons.

It’s got decent views, proximity to both the park connector and eateries, is close to Boon Keng MRT and is rather exclusive (quiet). The carpark is even very well-connected to every block, so drivers wouldn’t have to worry about having to go up and down each time they return home. Moreover, there’s more space outside your unit as compared to City View @ Boon Keng.

The downside is its further distance to the shophouses at Serangoon Road/Jalan Besar, as well as major malls like City Square Mall. This is the tradeoff for exclusivity.

Overall, McNair Towers is a strong contender for anyone looking to stay in a relatively central area close to nature and having decent unblocked views. The only question is whether the alternatives are better given the price, and this is really down to personal preferences.

ALSO READ: City View @ Boon Keng DBSS review: Million-dollar city fringe living with great views and convenience

This article was first published in Stackedhomes.

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