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Friday, February 22, 2008

Pahang set to gain another integrated resort city

An artist's impression of Bukit Gambang Resort City

COMING up on approximately 500 acres of secondary jungle in the ex-mining town of Gambang, Kuantan, is the RM1 billion Bukit Gambang Resort City (BGRC) developed by Sentoria Harta Sdn Bhd. Launched in July last year, the project is touted to be the first and largest water park resort city on the East Coast.

The integrated development will feature a range of tourist attractions including a water park, an adventure park, a forest park as well as resort suites and villas. “It will be a naturebased and family-oriented integrated resort city,” saID Heap Wei Guan, finance manager of Sentoria Development Sdn Bhd, the holding company of Sentoria Harta.

Taking centre stage will be the water park, which is to occupy 60 acres within natural surroundings. “The secondary jungle will provide a shady and cool setting to the development, which is one of our unique selling points,” said Heap. The first phase, covering approximately 40 acres, will be completed early next year and tested before it is opened to the public mid 2009.

Attractions at the water park will include the longest family river raft ride; the biggest wave pool; the first six lane racer slide with timing scoreboard, which, according to Heap, would be suitable for companies holding team building events; and a children’s aqua play structure. “There will also be tube rides, a combined lazy and action river, a man-made lake and a dedicated children’s fantasy island,” added Heap.

“We have already spoken with our suppliers and have started work on the water park,” he said, adding that the suppliers engaged are qualified and experienced companies from overseas such as the awardwinning ProSlide Technology Inc from Canada, Scotland-based Murphy’s Waves Ltd and Waterslides & Leisure Pty Ltd of Australia.

“We chose only the best and most experienced suppliers to construct our water rides and attractions to ensure quality and safety for our visitors,” said Heap. According to him, the difference between BGRC and other water parks is that this project caters to the entire family and not just teenagers and young adults like other water parks.

“There will be activities for the entire family, and a lot of local culture to attract foreign tourists,” he said, referring to the Heritage Square and East Coast Bazaar. The former will offer entertainment, cultural performances as well as food and beverage outlets while the latter features a 3-in-1 concept combining a local wholesale market, night market and foreign factory outlet where visitors may shop for local handicrafts.

“There will be batik, handicrafts and painting workshops at the Heritage Square, to educate children about our culture in a fun way and visitors may purchase Kuantan’s famous dried seafood products and traditional foodstuffs at the East Coast Bazaar,” explained Heap.

Apart from that, BGRC will also have a 100-acre forest park and a 40-acre adventure park. At the forest park, visitors can participate in recreational activities such as jungle trekking and mountain biking. There will also be educational activities for young children such as a tropical fruit farm, an aquarium showcasing freshwater fishes from various states in Malaysia and a petting zoo with local animals, said Heap.

As for the adventure park, the proposed attractions will include rides with themes such as the Sungai Lembing Tin Tunnel, Mulu Cave Adventure Ride, and Gunung Tahan Luge and Chair Lift, Caribbean Pirate Adventure and Kellie’s Castle Ghost House.

Investment and vacation opportunities
To be completed simultaneously with the water park is the first of its Scenic Ocean Ville resort suites, the Caribbean Bay Resort.

Taking up 67 acres, the Scenic Ocean Ville resort suites come in five country-themed designs: Caribbean Bay Resort, Arabian Bay Resort, Mediterranean Bay Resort, Andaman Bay Resort and Hawaiian Beach Resort.

Since its preview in June last year, more than 300 of the total 560 units of Caribbean Bay Resort suites have been sold, said Heap. “It exceeded our expectations,” he added. Currently, most of the buyers are from Kuantan itself, with some from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Heap said that there will certainly be plans to market the project in Singapore at a later stage.

“The Caribbean Bay Resort comes with a five-year leaseback agreement with guaranteed returns on investment as high as 17% per annum, plus 35 days of free stay during the five-year period with no maintenance fee,” said Heap.

“We’re confident with our project, and everything is on schedule. We also have sufficient income from the rental of the units to cover the guaranteed returns of RM1,000 per month for the family suite and RM650 per month for the studio units,” explained Heap, adding that rental of the suites are competitively priced compared to a typical hotel in Kuantan, which has a 64% occupancy rate. “Based on that figure, Sentoria will only need four days occupancy to cover the RM1,000 guaranteed return,” he added.

“Buyers also enjoy vacation opportunities with the water park and other attractions located close by. The units will also be furnished with hotel furniture and fittings,” he said. The family suites and studio units are sized at 810 sq ft and 470 sq ft respectively. The 420 family suites are priced at RM162,000 onwards while the 140 studio units are priced from RM109,000 onwards.
Heap said that the company will present buyers with complimentary or discounted tickets for the water park too.

In addition to that, the developer will absorb the legal fees for the purchase and buyers may continue leasing the units to the developer after the initial five years.

To be launched in the second half of 2008 is the Global Heritage resort villas, which take up 117. “These units will be larger and more expensive,” said Heap. The Global Heritage resort villas come in four country-themed designs: European Precinct, Tropical Precinct, Highland Precinct and Oriental Precinct.

“There will also be a promotional event for the Caribbean Bay Resort on Feb 23,” he added. Upon completion, the 10-year project will be complemented by Desa Hijauan, an affordable housing scheme, and higher learning institutions. The former will comprise 900 units of 1-storey homes and 41 units of 2-storey shop offices to cater to the future staff of BGRC. Registration for Desa Hijauan is already open and is targeted for launch in March or April, said Heap.

Strategically located near the Gambang interchange, the first East Coast Expressway exit point into Kuantan town, and only 8km from the toll gate, it takes less than three hours to travel to BGRC from Kuala Lumpur, said Heap. Combined with a catchment of approximately four million people in Kuantan, the developers are confident that the project will be a success. For enquiries and further details on BGRC, call 03-8943 8388 (KL) or 09-573 8161 (Kuantan).

By theSun (by Yeong Ee-Wah)

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