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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Malaysian property players make their mark at Cityscape Dubai

By New Straits Times

THE Malaysian pavilion at Cityscape Dubai, a real estate expo, may be small with only six companies participating but the enthusiasm shown by these exhibitors has succeeded in attracting potential investors.

The companies comprising real-estate developers, architects, interior designers and those involved in children games and theme park equipment received more than 408 enquiries during the three-day event where about 1,000 exhibitors displayed a dazzling variety of real-estate projects.

They recorded sales under negotiation of over RM1.75 billion while actual sales reported stood at RM7,000, said Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) Dubai which organised the pavilion.

Trade commissioner Noraslan Hadi Abdul Kadir said this was the fourth time Malaysia participated in Cityscape Dubai, the region's largest real estate event which ended last Thursday.

The exhibition, which attracted over 45,000 real estate professionals and investors from more than 120 countries, was a good platform to boost investments in Malaysian companies, he said in Dubai on Tuesday.

He said that Dubai, which is at the forefront of construction activities in the region, has ongoing projects valued at around US$100 billion (RM335 billion). "Another US$50 billion (RM167.50 billion) worth of projects in other parts of the United Arab Emirates and the Gulf states were launched during the show," he added.

Last year, the construction sector contributed 10 per cent of Dubai's non-oil gross domestic product and it has been growing by an annual average rate of 5.4 per cent for the past 10 years.

Hadi said the construction sector in Dubai had benefited from the consistent growth in population, trade and tourism.

"As a result, much of the construction activity in recent years has focused around both residential and commercial properties such as building of hotels, resorts, leisure facilities and shopping malls," he said.

The companies which took part in Cityscape Dubai were Arch Collection Sdn Bhd, MK Land Holdings Bhd, Maymont Development Sdn Bhd, Park Games Equipment (M) Sdn Bhd, Unique Green Recreation Sdn Bhd and Veritas Architects.

The Malaysian Institute of Architects also participated. - Bernama

One Borneo on track for soft launch in March

By New Straits Times

1BORNEO, the first shopping and lifestyle complex in Sabah and Sarawak, is on track for its scheduled soft opening in March.

The complex in Kota Kina-balu, which has a 1.5 million sq m shopping complex, four hotels and an underwater world, is scheduled to be open for its soft launching at the end of March.

Centre Management director Wong Chee Hwa said the shopping mall is 87 per cent leased to 200 tenants, and they are working to lease out the remaining space by the time the mall opens.

"We will be handing over the premises for renovation to the anchor tenants and smaller tenants throughout the month of November, that will give them a few months to get ready for the opening," said Wong.

"Tune Hotel is scheduled to open by January while the other three hotels - Novotel, Best Western Courtyard and Mercure, are pushing to open by April."

The Shanghai company developing the underwater world also aims to be ready by then.

1Borneo is the first shopping centre in its class in Sabah and Sarawak, complete with entertainment outlets and spa and fitness centres. A hovercraft will transport visitors from the city centre to the complex, about 20 minutes out of town.

Phase two of the project, four condominium towers with 1,008 units, will be ready in about two years.

"We are confident we will be able to meet this deadline," said Wong.

He was speaking to reporters in Kota Kinabalu at a preview of the Ramajuta group's Platinum Club membership in cooperation with Genting Worldcard Sdn Bhd.

The Platinum Club card will give members special privileges and discounts at stores in Warisan Square as well as 1Borneo, in addition to exclusive hotel rates and points rewards.

Their collaboration with Genting Worldcard will mean members get privileges in over 300 third-party merchants with over 2,000 outlets in Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

The card, which will be launched in December, will have three categories - Prestige, Trendy and Tourist - each designed to cater for different markets.

"We are aiming to get 20,000 Prestige members and 30,000 Trendy members next year, and up to 150,000 tourist members per month.

"Although there is a joining fee for the Prestige card, the advantages are worth it," said Wong.

An artist's impression of
1BORNEO, the first shopping and lifestyle complex in Sabah and Sarawak

Magni-Tech to build fifth Vietnam factory

By New Straits Times

MAGNI-Tech Industries Bhd is expanding its presence in Vietnam this year through the addition of a fifth factory for its garment-making activities.

The Penang-based company which last November acquired garment-maker South Island Garment Sdn Bhd (SIG) for RM42 million, is looking to invest US$1.5 million (RM5.02 million) for its sportwear-making facility in Vinhlong, south of Ho Chi Minh City, its chairman Tan Sri Tan Kok Ping said.

"We already have three factories in Vinhlong, where production costs are lower and there is an abundance in labour," he said after Magni-Tech's annual shareholders' meeting in Penang.

Also present was the company's managing director Tan Poay Seng.

Tan said besides expanding its garment business in Vietnam, where Magni-Tech has presence for over a decade, the company is also mulling over venturing into property development in the country.

"We are carrying out feasibility studies on a proposed location and local joint-venture partner," Tan said, adding that Ho Chi Minh City would be a likely location for the residential project which may cater to middle-class buyers.

Tan Poay Seng said SIG's has 4,500 employees in Vietnam and this figure will increase by 1,000 by December when the new factory which will occupy a one-hectare plot begins operation.

"Our customers are made up of international sportswear companies and the US makes up 50 per cent of our export market while 40 per cent of it heads for Europe and Asia Pacific, the balance 10 per cent."

For its 2007 fiscal year ending April 30, Magni-Tech reported a turnover and profit before tax of RM201 million and RM5.85 million respectively, compared with RM93 million and RM1.28 million respectively during the previous financial year. The hefty increases in turnover and profit for this financial year were mainly due to the contribution from SIG.

At yesterday's meeting, shareholders approved a first and final dividend of five per cent.

UDA plans transport hub in Iskandar

By New Straits Times

UDA Holdings Bhd is seeking to build a transport hub in the Iskandar Development Region (Iskandar) in an effort to expand its business, particularly in Johor.

The company has submitted a proposal to the Iskandar Region Development Authority (IRDA), asking to be included in any plans where the business of building, running and maintaining a transport hub is concerned.

"Give us a chance. We have the expertise and experience to do it (constructing and managing a transport hub)," Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said in Johor Baru yesterday.

UDA Holdings, formerly known as the Urban Development Authority, a body set up by the government for urban development, owns and manages the Puduraya terminal in Kuala Lumpur where north-bound and south-bound express buses operate from.

"Our experience in running Puduraya will give us an advantage and I urge IRDA to consider us when they want to build a transport terminal within the IDR region," Mohamed Khaled said.

He was speaking at a press conference after launching UDA Land (South) Sdn Bhd's latest housing project at Bandar Baru Uda in Johor Baru where a total of 176 units of medium-cost apartments will be built.

Mohamed Khaled also urged UDA to work with landowners within the IDR to jointly develop their land and enhance the value.

"In the spirit of UDA when it was first started, the idea is to help landowners maximise the potential of their land. Do not be afraid of UDA. We are not profit-motivated but we can work together for your long-term benefit," he said.

"The IDR will bring economic growth and it means a demand for shoplots, commercial and office buildings, and even three-star hotels," he added. - Bernama

AmanahRaya REIT close to RM1b target

By New Straits Times

AMANAHRAYA Real Estate Investment Trust (AR-REIT) says it is close to striking its target of owning RM1 billion worth of properties by year-end, a move which requires it to raise more funds.

The second-largest REIT in Malaysia by asset value, with 13 local commercial units worth a combined RM641 million, is already in talks with potential real estate sellers in the Klang Valley.

"Hopefully, we will be able to make some announcements by this December," AR-REIT managing director Datuk Mohamed Azahari Kamil said after the property trust's unitholders meeting in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Mohamed Azahari did not elaborate on AR-REIT's upcoming properties, only indicating that the trust will sell more AR-REIT securities and resort to bank loans to fund the potential property deals.

Ideally, the first state-owned property trust here wants to cap its gearing level at 40 per cent, lower than 49.1 per cent it registered upon listing last February. Current gearing stands at 37.2 per cent, its circular to unit-holders showed,

AR-REIT unitholders had earlier approved its planned fund-raising and acquisition of five additional properties, on top of the existing eight.

The real estate entity is expected to raise up to RM93 million from a private placement of a maximum 100 million new securities.

Of the RM93 million, 94 per cent, or RM87.5 million, has been earmarked for the purchase of two of the five latest properties AR-REIT had earlier intended to buy.

The five multi-sectoral entities include two Selangor-based premises - Tamadam Bonded Warehouse Bhd's storing facility in Klang and higher-education provider SEG International Bhd's building in Kota Damansara.

AR-REIT plans to make its first foreign purchase, a hotel, within the first half of 2008, according to news reports.

The trust posted a net profit of RM4.3 million, or 2.36 sen a share, in the first half to June 2007, while revenue stood at RM7.6 million. As it was only listed last February, there are no comparative figures from a year ago.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Azahari said a REIT, equally-owned by AR-REIT's parent Amanah Raya Bhd (ARB) and Indonesian property firm Gapura Prima group, is due for a listing in Singapore by March 2008.

Pleasant precincts to call home

By New Straits Times

With a name like Impian Heights, developer Berinda Properties Sdn Bhd (BPSB) says it has every intention of making dream lifestyles a reality for Johor's homeseekers at its latest residential project.

"We are not assuming we know the inner-most dreams of buyers... we are just offering a house they will want to come home to, and the dream of living safely and securely," BPSB's sales manager Lim Sung Heng said.

Taking shape within BPSB's 3,000-acre Taman Impian Emas township development in Johor Baru's Tebrau locale, the 600-acre freehold offering will be home to upmarket residences that will enjoy green surroundings, a host of leisure facilities and state-of-the-art security.

Impian Heights is offering buyers a wide variety of terraces, villas and bungalows spread over five gatedand- guarded enclaves dubbed Park Precinct, Lake Precinct, Gardens Precinct, Fairway Precinct and Sierra Precinct.

First off the mark will be Park Precinct, which is launched today, comprising 159 units of double-storey terraces, 100 park link villas and 20 exclusive bungalow lots.

Split into two phases, Park Precinct's first phase will have 79 double-storey terraces with 24ft by 80ft units with typical built-up sizes of 2,146sq ft. These units, featuring five bedrooms and five baths, are tagged from RM298,000.

Another 80 terraces will be delivered in phase 2, offering similar dimensions and larger built-up areas of 2,341sq ft. Also offering five bedrooms and five baths, these are priced from RM338,000.

According to BPSB, all terraces are designed to allow for plenty of natural lighting, offer finishings such as polished tile and parquet flooring, and boast porches that can hold two cars side by side.

Park Precinct will also feature 100 units of park link villas, offered in two types.

The first will have lot sizes of 40ft by 90ft and land areas of 3,600sq ft, offering spacious builtup areas of 3,143sq ft. Priced from RM598,000, these units will have five bedrooms, each with an attached bath.

The second variation of the park link villas offers land dimensions of between 48ft by 100ft and 48ft by 105ft, with built-up spaces of between 3,431sq ft and 3,532sq ft. These will be will be tagged from RM698,000.

Besides being able to park three cars in the porch, the park link villas will boast spacious living areas and extra large master bedrooms. A unique selling point is that the dining area will front the garden, making dining a scenic affair.

The precinct's limited bungalows lots, in sizes that start from 14,000sq ft, are being offered from RM65psf.

BPSB said the RM500 million Park Precinct is expected to be completed by December 2009, while information on the other precincts will be released closer to their launch dates.

Residents of the five precincts within Impian Heights will have access to an exclusive clubhouse offering facilities such as Jacuzzi, steam and sauna rooms, a tennis court and a luxury freeform swimming pool.

"At the clubhouse, mothers and daughters can spend a day together at the day spa, friends who visit can be entertained by live bands in the evening, or they can even enjoy international cuisines at the restaurant we plan to open there," Lim said.

Additionally, Impian Heights will boast a 27-hole golf course and landscaping designed by renowned multiaward winning landscape architectural firm Malek Lip & Associates.

Most importantly, Lim said, this lifestyle will be offered within a high-tech secured compound using the latest Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to provide safe access to the individual precinct and homes.

Located within the Iskandar Development Region, Impian Heights and Taman Impian Emas are accessible from several roads, including the new Pontian Interchange, while the North-South Highway is just five minutes away from the development.

Amenities within the area include primary and secondary schools, colleges, a wet market and neighbourhood retail outlets. There are also plans for Chinese and international schools, as well as a shopping centre, in the near future.

Prinsiptek sees higher contribution from abroad

By The Star

SUBANG: Prinsiptek Corp Bhd expects more significant contribution from its overseas ventures in the year ending Dec 31, 2008, said managing director Datuk C. J. Foo.

At present, overseas contribution to sales is about 10%, which is derived from its projects in Bangkok, Thailand.

Following its success in Thailand, the property developer planned to venture into India, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, Foo told StarBiz in an interview yesterday.

Datuk C.J. Foo showing an artist’s impression of the company’s service apartment project in Jalan Pahang, Kuala Lumpur

“We’re looking at Bangalore and Bombay, which have a big middle-income group. We hope to secure at least one agreement (with landowners) by year-end,” he said, adding that profit margins in these two cities were attractive.

Prinsiptek intends to build a niche in offering affordable, medium-cost homes to the locals, Foo said, noting that India shared similar laws as Malaysia as both were previously British colonies.

Meanwhile, Indochina, which is rich with natural resources like oil and minerals, is attracting an increasing number of foreign investors, thanks to incentives offered by the respective governments.

The influx of foreign capital would eventually raise the standard of living of locals and property would then become an attractive investment, Foo said.

To minimise risk, Prinsiptek looks for land that is close to a city with a sizeable population and has ready infrastructure.

In Malaysia, the company has also been a beneficiary of the Ninth Malaysia Plan. It recently secured two projects – one each in Putrajaya and Langkawi.

Foo said Klang Valley still had a lot of potential while Penang was an up and coming market. One of the company’s projects in the pipeline is Maiden Heights in Penang, which has a gross development value (GDV) of RM13.7mil.

The project involving semi-detached homes and bungalows was likely to be launched next year, he said.

Prinsiptek also plans to launch a serviced apartment and retail development in Kuala Lumpur in the first quarter of next year. The project has a GDV of RM85mil.

The company’s unbilled order book of RM442.4mil of both local and overseas projects will keep it busy for the next two to three years. “We will strive to keep a balance between local and overseas contribution to revenue,” Foo said.

Prinsiptek also intends to eventually set up a manufacturing facility for precast systems to enhance operational efficiency and reduce costs.

AmanahRaya REIT is second largest in Malaysia

By The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: AmanahRaya real estate investment trust (AR-REIT) has become Malaysia’s second largest REIT in terms of asset size at about RM649mil, following the injection of five new properties.

“The total of 13 properties we have now would give a net property yield of 7.4% to 7.5%,” AmanahRaya-JMF Asset Management Sdn Bhd (AJMF) managing director Datuk Mohamed Azahari Kamil said at a press conference yesterday.

AmanahRaya-JMF is the manager of AR-REIT.

The addition of the five new properties worth RM308.67mil would provide unitholders stable distribution and growth in the net asset value per unit of AR-REIT, he said.

Datuk Mohamed Azahari Kamil

AR-REIT has a diversified portfolio mix of education (31%), industrial (29%), commercial (27%) and hospitality (7%) assets, he said, noting that AR-REIT came second after Starhill REIT in terms of asset size, with Starhill REIT having the largest asset size of over RM1bil in Malaysia.

Azahari said that AR-REIT emphasised “good quality property with strong recurring income”, adding that its additional five assets were public listed companies that provided stable distribution to unitholders.

“We are focusing on Malaysian property now, given the strong growth in local property development and in the view of the Iskandar Development Region project,” he said.

Azahari said the attractive yield in Malaysia would offset the country’s high withholding tax, adding that 70% of its proposed private placement of up 100 million units in AR-REIT was allocated to foreign investors.

Deputy chairman Kamal Abdullah Al-Yafii said the proposed placement, which was approved by its unitholders at the company EGM yesterday, would be used to finance the proposed acquisitions and improve AR-REIT's trading liquidity.

The proposed placement would be 73.6% funded by equity and the remainder by debt, he added.

He said AR-REIT hoped to reduce its gearing to 36.9% after the proposed placement from 46.3% currently and would stand at 37.2% after the proposed acquisition of the five assets. The exercise is expected to be completed by year-end.

AR-REIT would also acquire one to two commercial projects in the Klang Valley and the city centre, he added.

The five new properties are the Tamadam bonded warehouse in Port Klang, the Silverbird factory in Shah Alam, AIC Corp Bhd’s factory in Shah Alam, Segi College in Kota Damansara and Naza warehouse in Gurun.

Global Upline to build two hotels for RM145mil

By The Star

KUCHING: Construction firm Global Upline Sdn Bhd will invest RM145mil in two hotels of international standard here.

Company adviser Tan Sri Ting Pek Khiing said the proposed RM100mil Four Points By Sheraton hotel would be built opposite RH Plaza near the Kuching International Airport.

Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud is scheduled to perform the earth-breaking ceremony for the 360-room four-star hotel project on Nov 7.

“The hotel, which will be managed by international hotel chain Sheraton, will be ready by Aug 31, 2008,” he told reporters here yesterday.

Ting said the proposed second hotel with 220 rooms, also of four-star standard, would be built at Jalan Tabuan in the city centre. It has yet to be decided when the project will get off the ground.

Ting’s group of companies also owns several hotels in Malaysia, including Sheraton and Delima Hotels in Langkawi and Santubong Resorts in Damai near here.

Meanwhile, Ting said Global Upline had for the third consecutive year won an international construction award (New Millennium Award) granted by the editorial office in collaboration with the Trade Leaders Club in Europe. The award will be presented in Madrid, Spain next week.

He said the award was recognition of the speed and high quality of works the company had delivered in all major infrastructure projects, including airports and flyovers in both Sarawak and Sabah, which it had undertaken.

“We have always delivered the projects well ahead of time,” said Ting.

Magni-Tech eyes Vietnam property development market

By The Star

PENANG: Magni-Tech Industries Bhd, which is involved in garment manufacturing and packaging, is eyeing the property development market in Vietnam.

Group executive chairman Tan Sri Tan Kok Ping said the group was now studying the market demand for a variety of residential properties in Ho Chih Minh City.

“We will probably develop medium-range residential properties. But we will study the market before making a decision,” he told reporters after the company AGM yesterday.

“We are likely to get a local partner in Vietnam for the development project.”

On the group’s apparel manufacturing business, Tan said its fifth US$1.5mil manufacturing facility in Vietnam would be ready in December.

“The facility is in Vinlong, where the Mekong Delta is located. “This is our third facility in Vinlong.

“We are concentrating our manufacturing facilities in Vinlong because the cost of labour there is lower than Ho Chih Minh City,” he said, adding that its two other manufacturing facilities are in Ho Chih Minh City.

The group’s headcount in Vietnam will increase to over 5,000 from the present 4,500 when the new plant in Vinlong begins operations. All Magni-Tech facilities in Vietnam produce sports wear.

“The market in US contributes about 50% of the group’s revenue, while Europe generates 40% and Asia Pacific 10%,” Tan added.

In the first quarter ended July 31, Magni-Tech posted pre-tax profit of RM4mil on revenue of RM94mil, compared with RM312,000 and RM23.8mil respectively in the previous corresponding period.

At the AGM, shareholders approved a 5% final dividend to be paid on Nov 27.

Demands of new township

By The Star

I&P’s GM knows how to cater to the high expectations

There's no doubting it; the country's property sector has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few decades. Back in the old days, one of life's basic necessities was to have a roof over our heads.

Noor Lida: It is important for a developer to adapt to the changing needs of the community

As progress and modernisation swept across the country, buyers' needs changed and so the demands on property developers became more exacting. People wanted more, but they wanted it at affordable prices.

These days, lifestyle aspects are paramount. Buyers now don't mind paying more to enjoy things like speedy access, more space indoors and outdoors as well as security features and amenities, all within a stone's throw from their front doors.

One person who has seen, and quite frankly, had a hand in that transformation is Noor Lida Nazri, Island & Peninsular Bhd's (I&P) group marketing and communication general manager. I&P is the country's largest developer by landbank. It owns 14,000 acres (5,600ha), most of which is the Klang Valley.

Some of its more prominent townships include Bandar Kinrara and Taman Setiawangsa.

She assumed her current role two years ago although her career in this industry began just after she graduated from what was then Mara Technology Institute.

“I graduated with an advanced diploma in valuation. Initially, I was clueless about what the course was all about. But my first job at CH Williams in Kuantan gave me exposure to the property market,” she says.

Part of the job meant going to out-of-town places to value pieces of land and old hotels with no building plans. “I had a bone-shaker of a car in those days and what I would set out with was the title deed. With just that, I had to figure out which piece of land to measure.

“The tape measures used then was also the old-fashioned type, which I would have to anchor down with a heavy object to keep in place,” she recalls with a laugh.

Still, CH Williams proved to be an excellent training ground and it exposed her to the real estate market so that she was prepared to take on a bigger role when she joined I&P in 1990.

“I was approached to identify land bank for the group to purchase. Five years later, I moved on to SPPK or Syarikat Perumahan Pegawai Kerajaan, where I stayed for 10 years. It was there that I learnt the other aspects of the property market like doing marketing in the real sense and analysing plans to see if the projects are viable,” Noor Lida says.

Indeed, she was part of the team that initiated the Alam Damai township project in Cheras. The idea there was to replicate SPPK's success with Bukit Damansara in Cheras.

“It is there that I came to appreciate the dynamics of pricing and the importance of considering all the needs of the residents in order to create a successful township. Price is, of course, an important consideration but if you can convince buyers that your product is worth the money, then they will be willing to pay more to own it,” Noor Lida explains.

Citing an example, she says golf courses were all the rage when SPPK was developing its Alam Damai project.

“We wanted to have some recreational facilities for the residents but we thought that if you put in a course, not all the residents would be able to appreciate it and benefit from it so we turned the area into a park instead,” she explains.

When SPPK became a subsidiary of I&P, Noor Lida was asked to head the group's marketing and communication division.

“At I&P, our focus is on township developments so when we plan our projects, we put careful thought into creating an atmosphere that is uplifting and which will inspire the residents as they go about their daily routines. We want it to be a place they will look forward to coming home to. It is important for a developer to adapt to the changing needs of the community,” she says.

The group is gearing up for the launch of its Alam Sari township in Bangi this Thursday. “Most people think of Bangi as a centre for education, so we have themed the project as the Neighbourhood of Academia. I&P's hope is that this will raise the profile of Bangi.”

I&P has been around for about four decades. In that time, the company was listed and later de-listed earlier this year. The developer is one of the more prominent ones in the country as it has built a name as a reputable developer.

“The important thing is that the company has always delivered on its promise. That has enabled us to focus on our projects because our track record speaks volumes about our credibility,” Noor Lida comments.

On a personal level, she says she gets immense satisfaction from knowing that she plays a part in bringing communities together by providing space to help them grow.

“Not many people stop to actually think about it this way but its nice to look at the area now, like in the case of Alam Damai, and see how the community has grown and the area has matured,” she adds.

On to second phase

By The Star

Jaya 33 to build new corporate block after earlier success

Sdn Bhd is on to the next stage of its development in Section 13, Petaling Jaya now that its first phase, Jaya33, is about 100% leased out.

Its managing director Che King Tow says the new corporate office block Plaza 33, will be located on a former paint factory. At 2.3 acres, the new project will be about half the size of Jaya33, which sits on a 4.1-acre site, previously a feedmeal factory.

Jaya 33 Sdn Bhd general manager Tan Kok Leong says Italian Kitchen and French restaurant Bruno will be occupying space in Jaya33 by year-end.

The change from factory premises to commercial office blocks underscores the change of land use in that area by local authorities. Land scarcity, the growing popularity of the Petaling Jaya suburb has made Section 13, at one time an industrial area, far too valuable to remain a huge factory or warehouse site. The area goes back several decades and many of the premises there are rather old, says a source familiar with that area.

“The area is far too valuable to remain as a huge tract of land dotted by factories,” he says.

More factories are expected to move out in the coming years to pave the way for new land use, he says.

Jaya 33 Sdn Bhd's move to change the paint factory into Grade A office space was among the first of such moves to convert the land. It has succeeded in attracting quality multi-national companies (MNCs) into Jaya33. The shortage of prime office space in Petaling Jaya suburb has also boosted its position.

Che says: “We want to leverage on what we have invested in Jaya 33.”

When Che first announced the move to have the three-tower block development in 2004, their initial plans were to sell what he called Petaling Jaya’s first hyperoffice. At that time, hypermarkets, as opposed to supermarkets, were the trend in the retail market. Taking the queue from there, Che coined the term “hyperoffice” with floor plates of about 15,000 sq ft.

The initial plan was to sell the space, the two retail podium floors, the two 12-storey blocks and a 17-storey block. The company eventually decided to lease out the place to have a recurring income.

There were several reasons for this.

Most MNCs, keen to take up space in Jaya33, were not interested to manage the property. They wanted to concentrate on the business they know best, be it pharmaceuticals, insurance or marketing electrical goods. They prefer to rent and have someone manage the place for them, which include overall maintenance of the place, security, parking and utilities.

Recalls Che: “There were three issues. Having the location was not enough. Design and the presence of a single building management were important.”

When True Fitness took up half of its retail podium of about 70,000 sq ft, Jaya33 again took new direction. Prior to the emergence of gyms and wellness clubs, an office block was essentially just that. With the emergence of the gym business, corporate office blocks took on a new lifestyle element.

Even at the beginning, Che had made allocation for a swimming pool. With True Fitness, a spa was thrown in to complement both the pool and exercise club.

The next issue was food and beverage (F&B); corporate offices need options and choices with different price points. Variety comes with Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese fare. Italian Kitchen and French restaurant Bruno will also be occupying space there by the end of the year, says Jaya33 general manager Tan Kok Leong. Both F&B outlets are in the process of a fit-out at the moment.

Next came the need for a community supermarket. Che is quick to add that he is not running a shopping mall. “The requirements of the modern office today are more than just office space. It must be an office space with a lifestyle feel,” he says.

“What we have today are retail elements that support our corporate offices. F&B takes up between 20% and 25% of our retail podium space. Grocer 33, to be run by the Teng family, formerly the management of TMC mini-market in Bangsar, will take up 10% (15,000 sq ft), and True Fitness 70,000 sq ft.”

Che and his team are thrilled at how things have turned out at Jaya33. What was initially envisioned as car show rooms and hyper-sized digital and computer outlets have turned out for the better.

“We want to leverage on what we have built and put together. There are so many amenities just across Jalan Semangat. Branches of most of the banks are there. In terms of F&B, we have added a considerable amount of choices. We want a building that is alive, not only during office hours, but also after office hours and during the weekends,” Che says.

Whether the 1,000 car parking bays are sufficient or not is a moot point. Che says it will be enough for the weekend and after-office crowd. The new project he and his team will be undertaking, Plaza 33, will have 900 parking bays. The two blocks will be linked via a bridge.

Che says it will be a Grade A corporate office and will comprise a 16-storey and a 25-storey block. That project is expected to have a gross development value of RM500mil.

The land was bought about three months ago at double the cost of the land for Jaya33. The Jaya33 land cost RM100 per sq ft.

The change in land use in Section 13 is expected to have a spillover effect into Section 19. Besides Jaya33, Jaya One (by Tetap Tiara Sdn Bhd) in Section 13 and 3 2 Square (Seri Tegamas Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Crest Builder Holdings Bhd) in Section 19, are near completion. Jaya One is a 10.8-acre RM450mil mixed commercial, entertainment and lifestyle development while 3 2 Square will have 200 office suits and 40 retail outlets.

Both 3 2 Square and Jaya One are located less than 1km away from Jaya33. Besides the conversion of industrial land to commercial use, Section 14 town centre, located across Jalan Semangat diagonally fronting Jaya33, is also expected to evolve with the demolishing of Jaya Supermarket next February.

It will be replaced with a seven-storey retail block and four levels of basement car park. Jaya Supermarket is about 30 years old today. Although the building has been refurbished about a decade ago, the lack of parking and the design of the building have put it at a disadvantage with the emergence of new malls, particularly in Bandar Utama.

Che says the move bodes well for the town centre and will add to the vibrancy of the area. For the next several years, 33 Grocer in Jaya33 will be able to serve the Section 14 community when it opens by the end of this year.

Resort-style Balinese house

By The Star

This Balinese-inspired bungalow is sited on a trapezium-shaped piece of land at the Bukit Jalil Golf and Country Resort (BJGCR). The front entrance is narrow and fans out to the back, overlooking an 18-hole golf course.

“With a narrow entrance, wealth that flows in are trapped inside,” says the owner.

Although BJGCR is slightly over 10 years old, the house was only completed at the end of 2006. The owner moved in sometime January this year. The owner bought the land about three years ago at RM130 per sq ft. There are about 300 units of bungalows at the moment in the vicinity.

The entrance with its nyatoh doors from Chiengmai and pebble washed flooring embellished with railroad sleeper timber

“I’m a social golfer and I wanted a golf view. I have always enjoyed my holidays in resort hotels and this is close to resort living. I could have picked another golf and country resort, but I also valued the security that BJGCR offers,” he says, adding that although there is a Bukit Jalil clubhouse, it is not accessible through the residential entrance to the BJGCR development.

“Only those who live here can get pass the guard house at the entrance to this development. The security and maintenance charge is only RM180, which is fine with me,” says the owner.

The house is located on one of the bigger pieces of land in that development at about 8,500 sq ft. Most of the land sizes there are about 6,000 sq ft. The majority of the buyers there combined two pieces of land for development. The owner is ready to move as he seldom stays for long in a particular location.

“My hobby is home decor. I enjoy going for house launches and looking at furniture and interior works. I also follow a friend who operates a Balinese furniture shop whenever he goes to Bali to replenish his supplies. I’ve done what I could in this house,” he says.

Timber trusses accentuate the entire length of the living area with sliding doors on both sides

He is selling the place lock, stock and barrel. Pointing to a couple of stone carvings of about two feet tall placed at the front door entrance, he says he got most of the things at a very good price.

“When I built this house, I wanted something earthy and cozy. Timber and exposed roof tiles tend to give the place that earthy rustic feel so I had quite a bit of timber trusses in the public areas of the house, exposed roof tiles in porch and terraces.

“Because I enjoy the outdoors, I had quite a bit of railroad sleepers – thick chunky beams – timber turned into garden furniture sets,” he says.

Besides Bali, he also went to other parts of Southeast Asia to source for home decor items, buying two-leafed nyatoh doors for the front entrance and fitting it with metal handles, which he separately sourced from Bali.

He also enjoys like stone carvings and this can be found abundantly inside and outside the house.

BJGCR is located across the road from the Bukit Jalil Sports Complex off the Seremban-KL Highway at the Seri Petaling exit. Access to Petaling Jaya is via the Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (LDP).