Sai Ying Pun – Island Crest
Living in Hong Kong, we have come to expect a lot from our choice of neighborhoods and one of these neighborhoods that never disappoints, in fact it keeps getting better and better is Sai Ying Pun. Progressive yet sympathetic to the origins of its past, there is a perfect balance between old and new that pays homage to earlier days of cultural change and artistic pursuit.
A Colourful Past
Once known as the enclave of hippies, or rather bohemian creatives and experimental dwellers, this area was still under wraps for many years having been overlooked for potential development and left pretty much intact with older style buildings, walk ups, low rise and a mish mash of diverse residents. The rents were cheaper that other inner city areas, and therefore with more space to be gained, a gritty edge of originality and less conformed behavior it became very popular with the artistic crowd. Local street stalls and food shops, printing and commercial trades, open air fish and meat stands and fresh produce all brightly displayed with an air of busy, thriving trade.
Over the years, the bohemian dwellers grew older and started to look for more home comforts, no longer satisfied to put up with leaking taps, bad plumbing and cramped quarters. Those that had good jobs started buying into the real estate and converting some of these older style dwellings into spacious and cool city pads. A few more adventurous pioneers started opening restaurants and cafes and over time the landscape progressed.
Time for Progress
Once the plans were decided to extend the island MTR to service Sai Ying Pun to Kennedy Town, local developers suddenly took a keen interest in this little pocket of creative paradise and started buying up whole blocks marked for redevelopment.
These days Sai Ying Pun is still just as popular as ever as a neighborhood to live in, but more commonly instead of those with less fortunate financial situations, it has become the domain of the professional elite with bankers, lawyers, entrepreneurs, tv personalities and business owners all calling Sai Ying Pun home. To cater to the far wider range of and more discerning tastes of these new higher wealth residents, top restaurant chains started to open up, an escalator was put in to carry one to the top, and rent and property prices rose. First, Second, Third and High Streets became after work and weekend hang outs, serving great coffee, wonderful food, wine shops and delis, yet still managing to keep the wonderful vibe of this smaller village alive with a friendly and relaxed vibe.
High rise developments started coming to completion offering ultra modern luxury amongst the village atmosphere. Very appealing to ex pats living in Hong Kong, with open plan layouts, amazing resort styled facilities such as swimming pools, tennis courts and fitness centers.
One of these developments is Island Crest. Built in 2009 this development consists of 2 modern 36 storey superior quality highrise towers. They each have 7 apartments per floor with sizes ranging from 341-2184 sf saleable area. The interiors are light and contemporary with high end fitouts and services. All have balconies, mainly with great views out over the district and the China sea. There is a well stocked Market Place supermarket downstairs and the Centre Street escalator is a 2 minute walk away. This is a truly convenient location and a very close walk to the Sai Ying Pun MTR station, as well as being on the bus lines and an abundance of taxis always available.
The deluxe clubhouse facilities include a fabulously designed outdoor swimming pool area, jacuzzi, landscaped gardens, BBQ area, gymnasium, sauna, mini theatre and children’s playground.
Many new high end residential buildings have sprung up in the area over the past 10 years, however to the credit of the various developers, Sai Ying Pun has managed to retain it’s charming village atmosphere and does not seem over developed like other Hong Kong suburbs. Enough of the older low rise buildings have been kept and restored and offer very spacious and special homes, some with wonderful rooftop terraces to take in the views. Let’s hope it stays this way.