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Monday, February 11, 2008

733 high-end homes to be launched by June

SOME 733 units of three-storey landed residential properties with gross sales value totalling over RM700mil will be launched by June on the Penang island.

The developers launching the properties include SP Setia Bhd, E&O Property Development Bhd and Chong Co Sdn Bhd.

SP Setia Property Division (North) general manager S. Rajoo said SP Setia was ready to launch 392 units of three-storey terraced and three-storey semi-detached houses with a gross sales value of RM362mil before mid-2008.

Rajoo said the group expected to generate RM200mil in revenue this year from the sales of new launches.

“Some 172 units of the terraced and semi-detached properties, priced between RM800,000 and RM1.3mil, are for the Setia Pearl Island project located on a 112-acre site in Sungai Ara.

“The remaining 220 units are smaller terraced properties with built-up areas of 2,200sq ft for our new project, Setia Vista, located on a 21 acre in Relau, the south-west district of the island.

Artist’s impressions of SP Setia's semi-detached houses being developed in the Setia Pearl Island scheme in Sungai Ara.

“Due to their smaller size, the Setia Vista properties are priced from RM658,000,” he said.

Rajoo said there were about 37,000 units of landed residential properties of all types on the island.

“These are all occupied. About 3,000 units of landed residential properties are being planned for launching and undergoing construction on the island.

“Penangites know that in the next two to three years, there will hardly be any new landed residential property launches. This is why they are buying now.

“Since last April, we have launched 558 units of three-storey terraced houses with a gross sales value of RM368mil, of which about 75% has been sold,” he said.

Chong Co director Chan Foek Onn said the company planned to launch in the second quarter the Taman Pantai Indah and BJ Residency projects, comprising 209 three-storey terrace and semi-detached homes with built-up areas ranging from 3,000 to 4,000 sq ft.

The gross sales value for both projects is RM182mil.

“The Taman Pantai Indah scheme in Batu Uban near the Penang Bridge comprises 62 properties.

“The BJ Residency is a gated community project on a 8-acre site in Bukit Jambul, the south-west district of the island.

“These properties will be priced above RM850,000,” he added.

Chan said home purchasers were no longer looking for just a house with rooms and bathrooms.

“Architectural designs and spaciousness for privacy counts.

“For our homes, we provide Mediterranean and contemporary tropical designs that come with slope roofs, patios, open arches and large windows for breeze to flow in easily,” he said.

E&O Development Bhd is also launching 132 three-storey semi-detached houses and three-storey bungalows with a gross sales value of RM180mil by June.

Its marketing director K.C. Chong said the semi-detached houses with built-up areas of 4,000 sq ft were priced at RM1.5mil. “The bungalows, with built-up areas of 5,000 sq ft, are priced between RM2.6mil and RM3mil,” he said.

Both the semi-detached and bungalow units come with five to six bedrooms, Chong said.

PPC International Sdn Bhd managing director Mark Saw said the concept and theme of landed residential homes were equally important for the marketing of such properties.

Artist’s impressions of SP Setia's terraced houses being developed in the Setia Pearl Island scheme in Sungai Ara.

“For SP Setia's Setia Pearl Island scheme in Sungai Ara, the developer constructs its residential properties around unique landscape themes differentiated by aromatic plants and trees.

“The Setia Pearl Island homes are within a guarded community, equipped with around-the-clock security and closed-circuit televisions,” he said.

Saw said E&O Property's Seri Tanjung Pinang project was developed around the “lifestyle-by-the sea” theme.

“To be developed in the near future is The Waterside project, which comprises a marina, retail and leisure outlets, boutiques, as well as an entertainment complex within the Seri Tanjung Pinang,” he said.

By The Star

Casa Del Mar plans RM300m expansion

The Casa Del Mar Group plans to invest some RM300 million to build four to five new boutique hotels and to buy more land to develop resorts in Malaysia.

"We are looking at something in Penang, Terengganu and Port Dickson. In Sabah, we are eyeing several sites. We have identified one and are in discussions with the land owner," group managing director Tan Sri Syed Yusof Tun Syed Nasir told Business Times in an interview recently.

Casa Del Mar, owned by Syed Yusof and Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, the Selangor state ruler, owns the 34-room Casa Del Mar boutique hotel in Langkawi.

The hotel is managed by Singapore's HPL Hotel & Resorts Pte Ltd, which is controlled by Ong Beng Seng, a close associate of Syed Yusof and the Sultan.

Casa Del Mar is building its second property, dubbed Casa Del Rio boutique hotel and serviced apartments, in Malacca, for RM85 million. It is due to be ready by September 2009.

It also plans to develop 40 hectares at Terengganu's Perhentian Island. The land is owned by the Sultan.

"We will build boutique hotels, resorts and villas at the site for some RM100 million," Syed Yusof said.

Also in Terengganu, the group will revive an abandoned project in the city centre and convert the property into a five-star boutique hotel this year.

"Boutique hotels peg good rates. Looking at trends these days, people want to stay in a more personalised environment, making them feel closer to home when they travel," Syed Yusof said.

"Demand for such rooms are rising and there are not that many boutique hotels here," he added.

Boutique hotels are small luxury hotels with limited rooms, often priced at more than US$150 (RM484.5) a room per night.

Typically, the hotels are unique in architectural style, have sophisticated interior design, and offer services and food at par with international standards.

Other properties owned by Syed Yusof are the 570-room Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur, the 381-room Concorde Shah Alam, the 338-room Concorde Inn KLIA and the 18-room Lakehouse in Cameron Highlands.

He also owns speciality restaurants like Saloma Theatre Restaurant, the Hard Rock Cafe, Planet Hollywood, Genki Sushi in Malaysia and Capital FM88.9, a new radio station.

By New Strait Times (by Sharen Kaur)

Penang island draws luxury home builders

The most expensive landed residential properties on the Penang island today are located in Tanjung Bungah, Tanjung Tokong and Batu Ferringhi in the North-East district, and Sungai Ara in the South-West district.

These properties are three-storey terraced, three-storey semi-detached and three-storey bungalows, which are priced between RM800,000 and RM3mil.

The builders are reputable developers from Kuala Lumpur and Penang.

Henry Butcher Malaysia (Penang) Sdn Bhd director Dr Teoh Poh Huat said: “Generally, the value of landed residential properties in these areas have appreciated by about 10% yearly since the dawn of the new millenium.”

Some of the completed Hill View Garden terraced houses in Tanjung Bungah.

He told StarBiz that due to high land cost and rising building material prices, it was no longer profitable for developers to build double-storey houses.

“About two years ago, developers here started to build three-storey homes with larger built-up areas and higher selling prices.

“Presently in the market, the selling price for a three-storey terraced starts from about RM800,000, while for a three-storey semi-detached house ranges from RM1.3mil to RM1.8mil, depending on the size.

“The three-storey bungalow unit is priced between RM1.8mil and RM3mil,” he said.

In Tanjung Bungah, Chong Co Group, a reputable developer with good track record, is developing the Hill View Garden, comprising about 200 units of three-storey terraced and three-storey semi-detached houses on a 20-acre site.

“These properties, priced between RM800,000 and RM1.8mil, are over 80% sold.

“They are selling well because of their large built-up areas that can cater to the needs of families living with their grandparents,” Teoh said.

The Hill View Garden three-storey homes have built-up areas ranging from 3,300 to 5,000 sq ft, depending on the type that come with four to five bedrooms, and porches large enough to accommodate three cars.

In Batu Ferringhi, similar types of three-storey landed residential properties were being developed, said Teoh.

“Blossom Time Sdn Bhd is launching in mid-2008 some 129 units of three-storey landed residential properties comprising semi-detached and bungalow homes, which are part of a RM400mil development called Ferringhi Park.

“Again, the emphasis is on the large built-up areas of the units, which come with five to seven rooms, depending on whether it is a semi-detached or a bungalow unit.

“The semi-detached units are priced at RM1.2mil, and the bungalows at RM1.8mil,” he said.

The semi-detached units have built-up areas of 3,995sq ft, while the bungalows 4,300sq ft.

Teoh said the first batch of 57 three-storey semi-detached and bungalow houses, launched last year, were over 80% sold.

By The Star - StarBiz (by David Tan)

Damansara Heights landscape changing

KUALA LUMPUR: The newly launched high-end residential suites, The Twins, by Panareno Sdn Bhd is setting a new landscape for Damansara Heights, a predominantly landed property residential area.

Eric Ooi, managing director of Knight Frank Malaysia Sdn Bhd, the exclusive marketing agent, said in a statement the demand for property in Damansara Heights was very encouraging. He said The Twins was 50% sold within the first two weeks of its exclusive preview.

Panareno is a joint venture between Malaysia's Lion Group and the real estate investment arm of American International Group Inc, Singapore-based Koh Maju, and Heeton Holdings Ltd.

The Twins features two identical towers built on a 2.17-acre site next to Pusat Bandar Damansara. They offer 318 luxury residential suites.

The standard units range from 766 to 2,078 sq ft, while the size of the penthouse suites is from 2,171 to 5,261 sq ft. It currently commands an average selling price of RM850 per sq ft.

“The Twins is an attractive residential property for local and foreign buyers because of its location and accessibility to PJ and KL,'' Ooi said.

“We haven't begun marketing the project overseas, but we have seen strong enquiries from Singapore, Taiwan and the Middle East buyers who are major investors in Malaysian property,” he said.

Apart from the project’s strategic location, he said, most buyers were impressed with the sleek and modern design of the towers, which are complimented by a practical and well-designed interior layout.

The luxurious facilities of modern living offered include pool facilities, landscaped gardens, three gymnasiums, a multi-functional clubhouse, and state-of-the-art home automation systems.

Panareno expects to complete the luxury high-rise residential project by 2010.

By The Star

Hijauan Kiara in own class

IF you are looking to buy or rent a condominium in Mont' Kiara in Kuala Lumpur, which would you choose?

Well, the newly completed freehold Hijauan Kiara stands out from the rest and makes me dream of owning one after seeing how my kids enjoyed themselves at the condominium's recreational deck one recent Sunday.

Part of the view of Hijauan Kiara in Mont' Kiara.

They were gleefully jumping on a trampoline that has no stand but is embedded on the ground! So if your child bounces out of the trampoline, the risk of falling or tripping is very much reduced. And, should they fall, they will land on thick artificial grass called Dutch “Royal Grass”. The company has spent more than RM200,000 just on the turfing.

Developed by Bukit Kiara Properties Sdn Bhd (BKP), Hijauan Kiara is special indeed!

It boasts of several “firsts”. It is the first and only completed condominium in Mont' Kiara with private lift lobbies. It is also the first condo to have granite pools; the first to have a “Spa Island”, the first to use the German-imported Dedon garden furniture, not to mention the unique trampoline.

There are seven blocks surrounding a large recreational area with steps leading to a tennis court. From the top deck, one can have a sweeping view of several existing condominiums in Mont' Kiara and right below are colourful bougainvilleas, planted on terraces right down to the 25-metre adult pool, children's pool, children's playground, four cosy reading pavilions and a jacuzzi sundeck.

There is also a squash court, viewing deck, hot and cold pool and indoor and outdoor gymnasium.

The layout design reflects the ingenuity and efforts of BKP's managing director N. K. Tong and his team, who have put in many interesting features to ensure that Hijauan Kiara's residents have their own private “oasis” or “green haven”.

For example, there is a meditation garden with two reading pavilions at a corner of the upper deck of the recreational area. At the other corner of this deck is the “Spa Island”, another special feature of Hijauan Kiara.

The fact that Tong himself has young children could partly explain why so much thought had been put into making Hijauan Kiara a paradise for children.

Tong said: “We are always willing to explore and experiment with new ideas but at the same time, we must ensure that all innovative ideas are user friendly and robust.

“We have three areas for people to have their barbecue gatherings or hold parties without bumping into each other. Today, a project such as the Hijauan Kiara would have 420 units instead of 188 units,” he added.

The Hijauan Kiara is the second of BKP's three projects in Mont' Kiara. The first was Aman Kiara development comprising bungalows and duplex condovillas, sited opposite Hijauan Kiara.

The third is the Verve Suites; an 881-unit, four-tower serviced residence featuring fully furnished designer suites in four ID themes.

Unlike Verve Suites' smaller units, those at Hijauan Kiara are spacious with units ranging from 2,000 to 3,732 sq ft and prices from RM782,000 to RM3mil (average RM460 per sq ft. Recent transaction is said to have hit RM620 per sq ft). The biggest penthouse is 5,400 sq ft in size. Maintenance charge is 30 sen per sq ft.

Chief operating officer Vincent Lim said there were only four units left unsold. “Every few months, we have a new theme. The current one is called Going The Extra Mile,” he said, adding that the units would be handed over soon.

By The Star (by S.C. Cheah)

Bandar Raya to launch RM2bil projects this year

BANDAR Raya Development Bhd (BRDB) will launch projects with gross development value (GDV) of RM2bil locally this year while keeping its eyes open for opportunities abroad.

Chief executive officer Datuk Jagan Sabapathy said the developer was actively looking at the Middle East, South-East Asia, particularly Vietnam and Indonesia, as well as India where it hoped to seal at least one deal this year.

Datuk Jagan Sabapathy

“As we are already in Pakistan, looking at India is quite easy. There is also a lot of potential in South-East Asia with the growing population,” he told StarBiz in an interview.

“As for Vietnam, there is a huge amount of money flowing in from Vietnamese living in Australia, Europe and the US. So there is a massive pool of cash to tap,” he added.

BRDB has an integrated development in Lahore, Pakistan.

Launched two years ago, the 325-acre project is Pakistan's first master-planned development featuring bungalows, semi-detached homes, condominiums and retail centre.

“We were hoping to put up the next phase in the first quarter this year but I suspect we will be pushing it back a little to allow things to settle down there,” he said.

All of the firm's future projects, Jagan said, would be high-end premium developments, which typically yield better margins.

“We are a good premium developer with over 40 years experience. We can start doing new things or we can take whatever it is that we do well and continue working on it.

“Instead of diversifying in terms of products and services, we are looking to diversify geographically,” he said.

In the Middle East, BRDB was studying potential deals in Oman and Saudi Arabia, Jagan said.

Locally, it expects to launch two upscale projects in Kenny Hills and Bangsar this year. “Both are currently at the approval stage,” he said.

CapSquare Residences II, an integrated commercial, retail and residential enclave, was expected to be launched in the second quarter 2008, he said.

Jagan said BRDB also targeted a series of launches aimed at introducing exclusive lifestyle living concept in Johor this year.

The company's high-end One Menerung in Bangsar and The Troika projects, which were launched in 2006, were doing well, with about 85% and 75% of the units sold respectively, he said.

BRDB recently expanded its land bank in the Klang Valley with the acquisition of 10.1ha freehold land fronting the Federal Highway in Subang Jaya.

The RM125.9mil purchase is for a mixed development featuring retail, office suites and apartments. The project has a potential GDV of RM1.5bil

“If all is well, this will provide another catalyst for sustainable earnings growth for BRDB post-2009,” OSK Research said.

On plans for real estate investment trust, Jagan said: “There is no reason why we won’t consider it. We will contemplate the matter but it is too early right now.”

By 2010, he said, the company would have more than one million sq ft of Grade A commercial space under its stable.

By The Star (by Yvonne Tan)

Kenanga Wholesale City hub for fashion products

The Kenanga Wholesale City, which is earmarked for completion by early 2010, is poised to be a landmark hub for Kuala Lumpur's wholesale fashion and apparel business.

The complex, located on a 3.2-acre site in Jalan Kenanga off Jalan Loke Yew, will be the wholesale centre for fashion, costume jewellery and leather products.

“Besides raising the profile of Kuala Lumpur's wholesale business, the complex offers a destination for international buyers to buy the country's fashion products in bulk from local wholesalers,” Kenanga Wholesale City Sdn Bhd group chief executive Yee Ia Howe said.

Malaysia's total annual trade in garment and textile totalled some RM2bil. The country also exports over RM4bil worth of designer apparels.

Yee Ia Howe with a model of Kenanga Wholesale City.

Yee said his management would be working with the Malaysia Garments Wholesale Exports and Import Merchants Association to explore business opportunities in Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan and the Philippines.

Kenanga Wholesale City is developed by Central Market Venture Sdn Bhd, which is also managing the Kuala Lumpur Central Market.

The wholesale complex, with total gross floor area of 1.8 million sq ft, will have 790 retail lots of between 300 and 1,000 sq ft.

He said only 49% of the space would be available for sale at RM1,950 to RM3,300 per sq ft, while the remaining 51% would be leased at rental rates between RM10 and RM25 per sq ft.

The project will have an expected gross development value of RM1bil. Construction work will start in March and completion is targeted within two years.

“The complex will meet the dire need for additional retail space in the Kenanga area, which has grown into a wholesale fashion hub in the past 20 years.

Currently, there are 350 business operators in the surrounding three-storey shop lots on about 35 acres.

“We are capitalizing on this demand and we hope to offer a modern and comfortable alternative to the traditional shop lots in the area,” Yee said.

Buyers of the retail space will be offered an attractive leaseback option. Those who lease their lots to the company will be guaranteed an 8% annual rate of return for the first three years with option to extend by another two years.

“We are confident the complex will be fully tenanted as we have a growing list of potential tenants registered with us,” Yee said.

According to him, the company has given up saleable space to ensure there will be enough escalators, service lifts and comfortable walkways.

“We will also bring in necessary service providers such as courier companies, forwarding agents and ATM outlets to make it convenient for business owners.”

The top level of the complex will house convention facilities for events such as trade and fashion shows.

By locating the wholesale complex in the Kenanga area, Yee said the surrounding infrastructure would also benefit, including in better landscaping and widening of adjacent roads.

“We are optimistic that the local council will follow suit by upgrading neighbouring facilities as we will be replacing some rundown buildings with Kenanga Wholesale City.”

With more than 1,800 car parks and loading docks for lorries in the complex, the project would also ease the parking problem in Jalan Kenanga, Yee said, adding that traffic flow in the area should also improve.

By The Star

Kha Seng to ride on niche retail sector

KHA SENG Corp Sdn Bhd is keen to tap into the growing niche retail developments, including lifestyle shopping malls, concept stores and wholesale complexes, especially in the garment and fashion trade in the Klang Valley.

The company has several retail projects in the planning stages, which will commence in a few months.

Managing director Bernard Bong said Kha Seng would concentrate its resources on the Klang Valley's niche retail, wholesale and commercial projects in the next two years.

The Jalan Kasturi pedestrian area beside Kuala Lumpur Central Market will be upgraded into a covered street mall.

“The retail market in Kuala Lumpur has grown tremendously in a very short time and we believe there is a need for a breather before the market can absorb more sizeable format malls.

“However, there is still an inadequate supply of commercial spaces that cater to specific needs and the community in a particular locality.

“Our retail projects will target this niche market and we aim to do that with our latest project, Kenanga Wholesale City,” Bong told StarBiz.

Kha Seng, a garment manufacturer and wholesaler, diversified into real estate investment 15 years ago and eager to “ride the waves” of the growing commercial property market.

Within three years of taking over the management of Kuala Lumpur Central Market, it has successfully turned around the building into a vibrant culture, arts and craft centre.

In 2004, the company paid RM38mil for the building's remaining 60 years lease in an open tender by Pengurusan Danaharta Nasional Bhd.

Central Market has 60,000 sq ft of net lettable space housing 250 shop lots, including 30 to 50 kiosks, that sell a variety of art, handicrafts, batik, souvenirs and gifts.

To encourage the right tenants to establish business in Central Market, the company has maintained rental rates at between RM15 and RM40 per sq ft. “The rates will be up for review when the time is right,” Bong said.

His decision to expand in the retail real estate sector is largely due to Central Market's immense success.

Expressing his satisfaction in the company's investment, he said Kha Seng was on its way to recoup its capital and turn in profits within the next 18 months.

“There is probably no other centres nationwide that is similar to Central Market, given its one of a kind combination of location, culture, history and shopping.

“However, as a retail-focused company, we will consider investing in other potential projects if the right opportunity comes along,” Bong said.

On plans to expand the Central Market, he said Kha Seng had submitted plans for development of the riverside into a historical walk and alfresco dining outlets, while the Jalan Kasturi pedestrian area would be converted into a covered mall with decorated kiosks and for street performances.

“Once the finer details are ironed out, we will start work on the next phase of upgrading,” Bong added.

On future projects, he said Kha Seng had paid RM78mil to purchase the UE3 shopping centre in Cheras from the project’s receiver. The building was formerly own by the MBf group.

Bong said the company would spend RM100mil to refurbish and reposition the shopping complex into a lifestyle mall with specialty stores for the middle-income market.

The refurbished complex, with net lettable space of 600,000 sq ft, will be opened in the first half of 2009.

A 360-room business class hotel will also be constructed on the adjoining land.

Meanwhile, the Kenanga Wholesale City along Jalan Kenanga, off Loke Yew, will be an integrated commercial complex for fashion apparel wholesale and retail trade.

Kenanga Wholesale City Sdn Bhd bought a 3.1-acre plot from Tenaga Nasional Bhd in the middle of 2007 and the RM1bil project is schedule for completion early 2010.

Bong, also managing director of Kenanga Wholesale City, is looking at building similar concept projects for other wholesale businesses in the surrounding area or in other parts of Kuala Lumpur.

On Kha Seng's earlier plans for the redevelopment of the Klang bus station, he said it had been replaced with another retail project on a nearby land. “We are in negotiation with the landowner,” he said.

By The Star (by Angie Ng)