Dakota Crescent Neighbourhood

Just one month after the announcement for SERS for Tanglin Halt, 17 blocks of SIT flats at Dakota Crescent became the next in line to be redeveloped. About two-thirds of the 648 units here are occupied currently, and these residents have until the end of 2016 to leave.

Dakota Crescent 07
Dakota Crescent

The Dakota area was named after the Dakota DC-3 aircraft which was commonly seen at Kallang Airport from the mid 1930s to the mid 1950s. In particular, the name commemorates the fatal disaster in 1946, whereby a Dakota aircraft belonging to the Royal Air Force crashed in a storm. All 20 onboard were killed. Dakota Crescent and Dakota Close were named in 1957, while Dakota MRT Station was named in 2005 and opened in 2010. The Dakota Crescent neighbourhood as we know it today is actually located closer to Mountbatten MRT Station (Dakota Station is located on the other end of Dakota Crescent).

Blk 2 Dakota Close, Blk 14 & 22 Old Airport Road, Blk 30 Jalan Enam, Blk 4, 6, 10, 12, 16, 18, 20, 24, 26, 28 & 32 Dakota Crescent
Status: Losing

Dakota Crescent 09
Dakota Crescent neighbourhood

The neighbourhood, built in 1958, consists of 4 different types of blocks – 7-storey “π” shaped blocks (Blks 2, 4, 6, 14, 18, 22, 28 & 30), 7-storey slab blocks (blocks 10 & 20), 3-storey walk-up apartments (Blks 16, 24, 26 & 32) and a 2-storey shophouse (Blk 12). The “π” shaped block allows for a semi-enclosed front yard between the two arms, while the slightly curved main slab ensures that the block is sufficiently recessed from the road. The 2 and 3-storey blocks are lined up along Dakota Crescent, bringing the scale of the streetscape closer to the ground. The remaining blocks are arranged to form two square courtyards that are spacious, quiet, and well-shielded from the busy Old Airport Road. Most of the recreational facilities are located in or around these two courtyards.

Dakota Crescent 02
The semi-enclosed front yard at the “π” shaped block

Dakota Crescent 06
7-storey slab block

Dakota Crescent 08
3-storey block

Dakota Crescent 04
The only shophouse block left

All the block numbers at Dakota Crescent are even numbers. In fact, all the flats on this side of Old Airport Road are given even numbers, while those on the other side have odd numbers. Originally, the neighbourhood extended all the way to the other end of Dakota Crescent. Today, while Blks 58, 60 and 62 are still around, Blks 34 to 56, 68, 70 and 72 have been demolished and replaced with Dakota Residences and Waterbank at Dakota. In particular, Blks 68, 70 and 72 were listed for SERS in 1999, and the replacement flats were located at Pine Green (Blks 39, 43, 45, 47 and 49 Jalan Tiga). They moved over in 2004.

Dakota Crescent 01
The even numbered blocks at Dakota Crescent

Jalan Tiga 02
The commercial blocks on the “odd” side of the estate

The entire SIT estate on both sides of Old Airport Road was collectively known as Old Kallang Airport Estate.

Dakota Crescent 10
Dakota Crescent 03
Dakota Crescent neighbourhood

It seems that Blks 13 and 21 on the other side of the Old Airport Road is included in the SERS project too, although they will be “retained for interim use”.

Tian Kee & Co. 天记公司
Status: Losing

Dakota Crescent 05
Tian Kee & Co.

This café at Blk 12 was only opened in April 2014. Once a 50-year old provision shop, the café retained the old signboard and much of the old-school charm within its premises. However, it seems that this café will be short-lived, as it was also given a deadline to move out by end-2016.

Dove Playground
Designed by Khor Ean Ghee
Status: Losing

Dakota Crescent - Dove Playground 01
Dove Playground

From the same designer who gave us the Pelican playground in Dover and the Dragon playground in Toa Payoh, the Dove playground is yet another animal-themed playground that was installed by HDB in the late 1970s. The dove acts as a slide, while a pyramid structure next to it holds up tyre swings and a fireman pole. A bridge connects the dove to the pyramid.

Two other similar playgrounds were built, albeit without the connecting bridge. One is located at Bukit Batok St 21, between Blks 219 and 230, and is still standing today. Another one was located in Clementi Town Centre, between Blks 448 and 449, but has since been demolished.

With the neighbourhood selected for SERS, the dove (which some argue resembles a seal more) would most likely suffer the same fate as the Dover pelican.

Blk 51 Old Airport Road Food Centre & Shopping Mall
Constructed: 1973
Status: Found

Old Airport Road Food Centre & Shopping Mall 01
Old Airport Road Food Centre

The famous Old Airport Road Food Centre is located opposite Dakota Crescent neighbourhood. I believe there is no need for me to list out all the famous food stalls at the food centre. The shopping area is located on the second floor.

Old Airport Road Food Centre & Shopping Mall 03
Old Airport Road Food Centre

In front of the food centre once stood a petrol station, at the junction of Old Airport Road and Cassia Link. Today, it is an empty plot of land.

Old Airport Road Food Centre & Shopping Mall 02
Old Airport Road Food Centre

The food centre was recently renovated in 2007.

Blk 17 Old Airport Road Market & Food Centre
Status: Found

Blk 17 Old Airport Road Market & Food Centre 01
Old Airport Road Market

Other than the food centre, there is also an Old Airport Road Market, located between Blks 13 and 21. It is a single storey structure, with a wet market side and a dry market side.

Blk 17 Old Airport Road Market & Food Centre 02
Blk 17 Old Airport Road Market & Food Centre 03
Old Airport Road Market

As Blks 13 and 21 are not scheduled for demolition for the time being, I believe the market will continue to serve the remaining residents, together with the food centre, for quite some time to come.

Kallang Park Fountain
Designed by Messrs H. Sena
Constructed: 1959
Status: Lost

The Singapore Constitution Exposition was held in 1595, at the former grounds of the Kallang Airport. It was organised by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce, to commemorate the internal self-government of Singapore. A 15m fountain was erected at the entrance to the Exposition, at the roundabout between Old Airport Road and Mountbatten Road. After the Exposition ended, the fountain was retained for a few decades, and continued to be a landmark for the nearby Dakota neighbourhood.

Jalan Satu, Dua, Tiga, Empat, Lima & Enam

Jalan Satu - Mountbatten Community Club 01Jalan Dua 01
Jalan Enam 01Jalan Tiga 01
Jalan Lima 01Jalan Empat 01
Clockwise from top left – Jalan Satu, Dua, Tiga, Empat, Lima & Enam

At Dakota, there are 6 roads that are named numerically in Malay. The numbers 1 to 6 are known as satu, dua, tiga, empat, lima and enam respectively in Malay. These roads were named in 1958 by the City Council’s public works committee, who decided that the streets at Old Kallang Airport Estate should be given Malay names. At that time, Jalan Enam was spelt as Jalan Anam.

Jalan Lima & Jalan Empat 01
Today, Jalan Empat and Jalan Lima meet at a right angle

Jalan Satu was slightly diverted when Cassia Link was built. The open air car park along Jalan Satu, opposite Mountbatten CC, has an odd kink on one side due to the original layout of Jalan Satu. Jalan Lima was also shortened when the odd blocks were redeveloped. It used to extend further in to meet Pine Lane.

Guillemard Camp
Constructed: 1969
Status: Losing

Guillemard Camp 01
Guillemard Camp 02
Guillemard Camp

On the other end of the estate, near Dakota MRT Station stands an old military camp that has stayed vacant for over a decade. Guillemard Camp was opened in 1969 to house the 1st Battalion, Singapore Infantry Regiment (1 SIR), which was relocated from Ulu Pandan. In 2003, 1 SIR moved to Mandai Hill Camp, and this place has been left vacant since then.

Guillemard Camp 03
Guillemard Camp 04
Guillemard Camp

File Last Updated: November 17, 2014

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