HDB Reviews McNair Towers Review: A Conveniently Located HDB In A Quiet Part Of Boon Keng
- October 5, 2022
- 23 min read
Reviewed by Sean on October 05, 2022
What we like
- Close to an MRT
- Good amenities nearby
- Right next to a park connector
- Located in quite a private area
- Multiple link bridges makes it very convenient for residents who drive
- Certain stacks have good unblocked views
What we don't like
- —Certain stacks faces the carpark directly
|Address:||113A-D McNair Road|
|Lease Start Date:||Dec 2017|
|No. of Units:||861|
McNair Towers is a recently-MOPed HDB located along the quiet McNair Road, adjacent to Towner Road in the Boon Keng Area.
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!
McNair Towers Insider Tour
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.
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.
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.
That and of course, the tower structure whose modern facade clues you in:
Heading in to the development, you’re greeted with the first of two car park entry/exit points:
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.
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.
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.
Inside, you’ll find that the car park is sufficiently spacious and well-lit which is expected of new MSCPs today.
It also helps that there are these air wells here that provide more sunlight and natural ventilation into the deeper parts of the MSCP.
Residents who are into car sharing may also be interested to know that there are 4 lots available here:
One issue that’s apparent here is the proximity of certain stacks to the MSCP:
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:
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.
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.
As with most new HDBs today, McNair Towers features a rooftop garden which is located on the 7th floor of the MSCP.
Coming out, you’ll find the garden to be quite lush and serves quite nicely as an alternative to the park connector right behind.
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.
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.
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.
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 lesser privacy from those using the rooftop garden. It’s even more apparent at the link bridge:
Some units even directly face the walkway, and it’s not just the service yard but the communal areas too:
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.
Before heading back down to the ground level, let’s head over to the common corridor to check out what it’s like.
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.
Each floor has around 6-10 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.
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.
Like the car park, this one looks pretty bare, almost as if zero effort was put into sprucing up the landscaping here.
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.
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.
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).
Another downside is the lack of a seating area close by. The nearest seat is tucked in one very uncosy and unflattering corner:
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.
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!
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.
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!
There are also climbing structures here that would keep the young ones really active.
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.
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.
The fitness area here also looks quite decent. It comes with some static exercise machines that can really help break a sweat.
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.
The next activity area is located on the north side of the development right next to the Park Connector:
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.
Unlike the first playground, this one has a fully-sheltered seating area nearby:
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.
Both fitness areas are pretty much standard fare, so there’s nothing really noteworthy to highlight.
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 2 pretty substantial playgrounds is sufficient for the 861 units here.
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.
That said, there are 3 other preschools within walking distance:
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
Bendemeer Market & Food Centre (hawker) is closeby – about a 5-7 minute walk through the old HDBs opposite.
There’s also an NTUC FairPrice next to it, so residents are also within sort of convenient reach of a major supermarket.
On the southwest side, residents can take a bus down to visit the numerous conserved shophouses along Serangoon Road and Jalan Besar.
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.
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.
McNair Towers is located right behind the Whampoa Park Connector, so residents can simply head downstairs to hop onto it:
From there, residents can head north towards Ang Mo Kio or North-East towards Punggol.
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.
|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 (4-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 4-minute walk away.
In terms of buses, there are two options. First is along Boon Keng Road which offers plenty of services:
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:
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.
|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)|
Immediate road exit:
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.
|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|
|Educational Tier||Number of Institutes|
|Primary School (Within 1KM)||2|
|Other Tertiary Institutes||–|
|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
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.
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.
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.
Certain portions of the development also have a red accent as we’ve seen from the common corridor as well as the walkway shelter.
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.
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.
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.
At least in this case, they face the park connector so constant road noise and air pollution isn’t a concern!
|Block||Storeys||Studio (Type A)||Studio (Type B)||3-Room||4-Room||Total|
McNair Towers Stack Analysis
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.
Those looking for unblocked views should also consider the higher floors with the north facing at block 113A.
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.
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!
McNair Towers Layout Analysis
3-Room (68 sqm)
|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)
|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)|
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% 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?
- It’s newer than City View @ Boon Keng
- It’s situated in a quieter and more exclusive area than Bendemeer Light
- It’s close to the MRT as well as amenities
- 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.
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:
- Bendemeer Light is definitely less exclusive. It’s situated at a busy junction with lots of lorries and trucks plying along Boon Keng Road.
- Bendemeer Light has the better views, particularly those facing the city and the sea.
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?
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.
What this means for you
You might like McNair Towers if you:
- • Want to stay near an MRT:
Residents are within walking distance to Boon Keng MRT.
- • Want a good view:
Depending on the block, certain stacks have nice unblocked views towards the city/sea.
- • Want a more peaceful place to stay in while still being quite central:
It’s tucked in the corner of McNair Road and borders the park connector, making it quite peaceful.
You may not like McNair Towers if you:
- • Are on a tight budget:
With so much to offer and having a relatively young age, McNair Towers comes at a premium. For this price, there are many options out there.