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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dream Home by the sea

By New Straits Times

WATERFRONT properties along Penang island and Seberang Prai are becoming more coveted as economic development spurs demand for housing and commercial assets.

Although there have been seaside homes and holiday bungalows dotting the island, notably in a northeast district, for a long time, these have been few and far between as property developers have tended to build either on hill slopes or its fringes, or in prime areas in the centre of town.

These developments have sometimes raised concerns ranging from environmental degradation to traffic congestion.

But a new trend has emerged in recent years, with seaside properties seen as a viable investment option by foreign and local retirees. There are also those who have been inspired by their travels abroad into owning a home by the sea.

In the past five years, the island is seeing its fair share of waterfront developments, including a seafront master-planned project, the Seri Tanjung Pinang (STP), by E&O Property Development Bhd.

The STP project, which involves creating several man-made islands, is being touted to emerge as a “pin identifying Penang island on the international map”.

The 392ha seaside estate, which sits to the immediate north of the popular Gurney Drive in George Town, is modelled after the Dubai Waterfront project in the Middle East.

It has attracted buyers from the UK and other European countries as well as the US, its developers said.

Recent developments include the Queensbay project in Bayan Lepas, on the southwestern end of the island, which is undertaken by the Kuala Lumpur-based CP Group.

Also in the area is the Bayan Mutiara project by Penang Development Corp.

Bayan Mutiara, covering 40ha (with another 20ha earmarked for reclamation), will have high-end and affordable homes, schools, a mosque and a government administrative complex, including the state legislative assembly building.

It is also sited within the Penang Multimedia Super Corridor.

The project is expected to encompass four precints. The state administration complex will include the assembly building, offices for elected Penang representatives and the office of the Chief Minister.

According to E&O Property Development marketing and sales director K.C. Chong, the STP development will feature a headland and multi-island concept.

“Currently, at the headland, we have completed reclamation works for Phase One of 96ha, which will introduce landscaped parks and seafront promenades set amid a guarded community of luxury seafront villas, semi-detached and courtyard terrace homes, condominium and service apartments.

“There will also be commercial and retail precincts surrounding a vibrant pleasure marina offering exciting food and beverage outlets, shops, entertainment and sporting facilities,” Chong said.

The second phase of 286ha will include a cluster of islands linked by a series of bridges to the first phase.

Phase One of STP will take the next five to six years to complete. The company plans to grow its landbank under Phase Two, which will take 12 to 15 years to complete.

Reclamation works under Phase One have been completed.

“We endeavour to attract the international community to Seri Tanjung Pinang, whether to stay, invest or for a holiday,” Chong added.

“In that, we have been working with well-known international architects to create a master plan that is unique, distinctive and can emulate the successes of well-known seafront developments in the region.”

STP is said to have attracted interest, and its developers believe that the second phase will appeal to the international community.

“In terms of joint-venture partners, we have partnered credible names from Singapore as well as the Middle East,” said Chong.

Meanwhile, the mixed development Queensbay township sits on 29.2ha and commands a strategic view of the Penang Bridge and Pulau Jerejak.

The freehold project is accessible via major roads like the Bayan Lepas and Jelutong expressways, and is also part of the Penang Multimedia Super Corridor.

With the construction of the Second Penang Bridge linking Batu Maung on the island to Batu Kawan in Seberang Prai, Queensbay is set to be sandwiched between two bridges linking the island and mainland.

LIM: Queensbay will eventually emerge into a
new shopping and commercial precinct for the
island in a well-planned and self-sustained

“Now that we have completed the Queensbay Mall (and plans are in place to expand it via the addition of a second wing), we are setting our sights on creating an alternative ‘central business district’ for Penang here at Queensbay,” CP Land chief executive officer Tony Lim said.

On the drawing board are 86 exclusive waterfront villas and a RM200 million Queens Wharf comprising a public marina, retail and food and beverage outlets along with office suites and a promenade.

“We are also planning a Queens City development, which will be sited on 6.4ha,” Lim added.

The RM1 billion project is expected to begin construction by 2008 and to be completed in four years.

Among other developments, it will have a 400-room, five-star hotel with a ballroom that can fit in 2,000 people.

The self-contained city will also have furnished serviced residences, four blocks of office suites as well as more food and beverage and retail outlets.

A stone’s throw away, the Bayan Mutiara seafront integrated property project will mark Penang Development Corp’s entry as a premier housing developer.

The corporation, since 1969, has been a major player in formulating Penang’s development policies and made a name for itself in transforming the state into an electronics powerhouse.

It has also been instrumental in developing satellite townships like Bayan Baru, Seberang Jaya and Batu Kawan in the state.

“Our waterfront landed properties at Bayan Mutiara, totalling 168 units, will be built on 11.16ha of seafronting land,” PDC Properties Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Osman Kallahan said.

The first phase of the waterfront homes will comprise 70 superlink homes and 43 bungalows, while the second phase will see the construction of 55 bungalows, he added.

“Upon completion of the project, we expect to achieve a gross development value of RM179.4 million,” said Osman.

On how the STP will raise the bar in seaside living in Penang, Chong said:

“This master-planned development will stimulate new growth, energy and focus to Penang’s seafront as Palm Jumeirah and Sentosa Cove have done for Dubai and Singapore respectively.

“It will emerge as a symbol of pride and progress for Penang island — gaining worldwide publicity and prestige, attracting capital inflows and investment, employment and business opportunities, especially for Penang tourism.”

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