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Friday, December 21, 2007

UOA sets out to remake Kampung Kerinchi

A computer generated image of the Bangsar South integrated-city development depicting: 1 The Village property gallery, 2 The Horizon commercial centre, 3 The Vertical commercial centre, 4 The Sphere commercial centre and 5 The Park residences

UOA Holdings Sdn Bhd hopes to turn the old Kampung Kerinchi area into one of the Klang Valley’s most sought after addresses with its latest integrated-city development, Bangsar South. The property developer is a subsidiary of Australia Stock Exchange-listed UOA Ltd, which is also the controlling shareholder of UOA Real Estate Investment Trust (UOA REIT).

Its marketing and sales general manager Teh Heng Chong said the project is still in the planning stages but the developer hopes to emulate IGB Corp Bhd’s Mid Valley City located nearby.

“Although somewhat smaller in size, Bangsar South, a 60-acre leasehold mixed development would also be an integrated city, comprising a residential, commercial and retail component, which would be developed over a period of seven to eight years,” he said.

Teh said due to a strong demand in the market for commercial properties such as Grade A office buildings, the group may first launch 14 out of 37 blocks of 10- and 11-storey boutique office towers known as The Horizon, which it is targeting to sell enbloc. “Boutique offices give you naming rights when you purchase the whole building and offer exclusivity that is not available in conventional shop offices,” he said.

He added that piling works have already started on the “show towers” of The Horizon, which is expected to be completed in 2009. “We believe in giving value to our buyers by showing them
the actual units rather than just looking through a brochure,” he said. UOA is a strong advocate of the build-then-sell (BTS) concept, with three of its residential projects off Jalan Klang Lama — Happy Garden, Villa Yarl, and Halimahton, developed based on that concept.

Future commercial launches in Bangsar South include The Vertical, where plans are for 10 blocks of 20-storey office towers and a retail mall called The Sphere. About 50% or 30 acres of the development is expected to be allocated for its residential component known as The Park, which is planned for 2,100 units of high-end condominiums in eight blocks. Another component called The Village will house the development’s property gallery, show units, as well as three stories of F&B outlets.

Bangsar South is targeted for launch by the first quarter of next year and the developer is confident it would be well received based on the its track record and the strategic location.

“UOA has good branding and a strong portfolio in terms of commercial properties, which includes office buildings in the KLCC, Bangsar and Damansara area,” Teh said.

The group is in the midst of upgrading the roads and relocating the squatters in the Kerinchi area. “We are also negotiating with some big names to operate the F&B outlets in The Village,” Teh offered.

The developer recently soft-launched its Menara UOA Bangsar, a Grade A office development located off Jalan Maarof. The project consists of a 23-storey tower and a 39-storey tower with a net lettable area of 634,000 sq ft. However, UOA is only opening up the latter tower for sale while keeping the other for future purposes, with a possibility of it being injected into UOA REIT.

Up for sale are 411 units of single level and duplex business suites, with builtups ranging from 900 sq ft to more than 10,000 sq ft. Each unit has individual toilets and pantries. The average selling price is about RM792 psf for a gross development value (GDV) of RM502 million. A complete show unit of a duplex business suite will be available for viewing at the The Village show gallery in the future Bangsar South.

Teh said there is a lack of office space in Bangsar, and the business suites offered in the development would cater to that increasing demand for such properties.

“Menara UOA Bangsar is located adjoining the Bangsar LRT station, which offers good transportation options as KL Sentral is just minutes away,” he said.

The developer has also dedicated the ninth floor as the facilities floor, which acts as the common area for the office occupants in both towers to relax in.

“There is also a gymnasium available, he said, adding that the lowest three levels of the development would be leased out to potential F&B outlets.

The group launched the development simultaneously in Singapore and KL, receiving a good response, from Singaporeans. “About 40% of the units have been sold before the official launch scheduled for early next year and 10% of the buyers are from Singapore.”

“We are one of the first to market a Malaysian commercial development in Singapore since 1997 and we want to prove people wrong that Singaporeans are skeptical about commercial products on offer in Malaysia,” he added.

By theSun (by Yap Yew Jin)


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