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Monday, June 30, 2008

A thriving Bandar Saujana Utama

Herbert Leong with a model of Bandar Saujana Utama

BANDAR Saujana Utama in Sungai Buloh has matured into a thriving township with about 6,000 housing units built since the project began in 1995.

Unlike some suburban townships where there are still many vacant houses, Bandar Saujana Utama is more than 90% occupied and now has five precincts called SU1, SU2, SU3, Bukit Saujana and Sungai Buloh Country Resort (SBCR) that were the first to be developed more than a decade ago.

Purchasers who initially bought double-storey terrace houses there for RM90,000 have enjoyed good capital appreciation as new launches are now priced RM230,000 to RM250,000.

In the early 1990s, visitors to the township have to exit the Sungai Buloh toll plaza of the North-South Expressway and drive along Jalan Kepong-Kuala Selangor before reaching SBCR. Visitors have to pass through a narrow road leading to SBCR that was jointly developed by Glomac Bhd and the Farmers' Association of Kuala Selangor.

Today, there is a new access road via the Batu Arang-Shah Alam Highway while the Guthrie Corridor Expressway has also helped to open a new growth corridor.

I recall visiting the resort several times in the past where carnivals and horse-riding shows were held at the equestrian. There was also a small wooden “clubhouse” at the equestrian, some show bungalows and Saujana Utama houses were just being built.

Today, the area is unrecognisable, as the township has blossomed into one of the more desirable places to live in Sungai Buloh.

Although much of the forests and plantations had made way for houses, the country-like ambience is still there. The place is very quiet and breezy.

Over the past decade, several housing estates have mushroomed on both sides of this Batu Arang-Shah Alam Highway. They include Perdana Heights, Alam Budiman, Sunway Alam Suria, Cahaya SPK, Kayangan Heights and Sunway Kayangan.

Opposite this townships are Seri Pristana, a fairly new housing estate, and the 1,000-acre Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in Puncak Alam that would be a catalyst for the further growth of Sungai Buloh.

Bandar Saujana Utama will benefit from the housing needs and economic activities of the campus.

Phase 1 of the UiTM campus is expected to be completed by 2009 and will house 20,000 students. The expected total student and staff population upon completion is about 50,000. Nearby developments along the Sungai Buloh Road includes the Desa Coalfield (8km away), and Puncak Alam.

Meanwhile, the estimated 30,000 residents (80% Malays, 10% Indians and 8% Chinese) of Bandar Saujana Utama have reasons to be pleased, as they have got their first hypermarket and an upcoming neighbourhood mall in the township.

The 50,000-sq-ft Central Mart hypermarket that initially leased the building from the developer had within a year bought it in April, reflecting its confidence in doing business in the 1,100-acre leasehold township. The SU Mall next to Central Mart is almost completed.

Glomac Bhd general manager (Group A) Herbert Leong said 65% of the 72 retail lots in SU Mall had been sold since sales began 15 months ago. A typical lot size is 40ft by 40ft and is priced from RM270,000 to RM500,000.

“This is the biggest retail complex in the area. The mall is scheduled for completion by August and we hope to get the tenants in by year-end. The Central Mart and Ace Hardware is the only hypermarket within 15km radius,” he said.

The earlier house designs are average looking. However, Glomac is coming up with new designs in Bukit Saujana, a new precinct sited on higher grounds. Bukit Saujana's first phase will have 94 semi-detached houses with 45ft by 80ft units with typical built-up sizes of 2,467sq ft and priced from RM425,000.

Another 87 double-storey terrace houses with 24ft by 70ft and 24ft by 75ft lot sizes and built-up area of 1,845 sq ft and 2,214 sq ft respectively would be priced from RM260,000.

Glomac will also be offering bungalow lots with average area of 8,000 sq ft and an option to build a bungalow with 3,200 sq ft built-up area and priced from RM600,000. There is a new police station, a primary and a secondary school as well as a clubhouse for SBCR residents. A mosque and wet market are in the pipeline.

About 50 bungalows have been built in the gated and guarded SBCR where only 30 of the 550 bungalow lots remained unsold. The 85 double-storey shops and 119 single-storey shops are 85% and 95% occupied.

Glomac Bhd group managing director Datuk F.D. Iskandar F.D. Mansor said Glomac had increased its land bank in the township over the years. “Of the 1,100 acres, we are now left with about 300 acres yet to be developed,” he said.

It has sold about RM900mil worth of properties out of a gross development value of RM1.35bil.

By The Star (by S.C.Cheah)

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