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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Clearwater focusing on green projects

The Clearwater Group aspires to turn its 240 acres in Seri Kembangan, Selangor, into an eco-friendly development under founding member and managing director Dian Lee Cheng Ling.

Known as Bluwater Estate, the leasehold gated and guarded development appears to be Dian’s most ambitious project to date.

Since her return from Australia where she studied communications, the eldest daughter of property developer Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew has been busy with several property projects.

Dian Lee

Clearwater Developments Sdn Bhd was set up by Dian and three partners in 2006 and their first project was serviced apartments, Clearwater Residences in Damansara Heights. Since then, she has added three brands to the group – Clearwater, Bluwater and The Heritage.

Clearly, the younger Lee would like to focus on eco-friendly projects. Yesterday, she flew off to New York’s Pratt Institute for a seven-week course on Sustainable Designs.

“It will cost quite a bit as Pratt is one of the premier design school in the United States for interior and architecture. I will also be taking my toddler son Jedi and his nanny with me,” says Lee.

She says motherhood has changed her and given her a new perspective on development.

“I’ve become more conscious of the environment we live in, the activities we can do to make this planet a better place for our future generations,” says Lee.

“I’m not the first to go on eco-friendly projects. There are other developers in town who have already done that but I would really like to go one step further.”

Lee has brought in Environmental Resources Management Ltd, a provider of environmental consulting services, to build Bluwater. She will be looking at four aspects – water, energy, landscape and waste management.

On the energy aspect, she says that at this preliminary stage, she would like all the 1,000-odd households to have solar heaters. She will also encourage the use of bicycles and buggies to go to the clubhouse instead of cars.

The properties there will be designed and built in such a way as to enable owners to collect rainwater for use. There are plans to keep the lake as clear and clean as possible for water sports.

The open-cast tin-mine lake will have lake-front bungalows. Right now, there are already two – her family’s weekend home and another which belongs to her father’s friend.

“We will spend RM2mil on trees and a lot more on landscaping to make this place as green as we can. We will also encourage better waste management, essentially the reuse, recycle and reduce concept with different bins for different types of waste. Our sewage system will not be linked to the lake.”

Lee says that after building several properties, she does not want to just build yet another project.

“I want to be passionate about it, to believe that this is the way to go.”

During a site visit, Lee says although there are some high tension cables running pass the main entrance, they do not cut across the housing estate.

The Bluwater Estate, formerly known as South Lake, used to belong to Mines Resort Bhd which was privately held by her father. She and her partners bought it at a “fair price” at a time when her father was scaling back his privately-held local property development activities.

She has also taken over a serviced apartment project fronting the lake, The Heritage, from her father.

Today, 600 of the 800 unit-project is tenanted. One of the blocks, comprising 200 units, will be sold en bloc.

“When the economy picks up, that will be sold. As it is, there is already a waiting list for those who want to rent units at The Heritage.

“With six universities and the Australian International School, which is located on Bluwater itself, we are confident there will be people who will want to invest in this area,” she says.

The studio units are already generating 8% to 10% yield for the owners (with rental of RM1,400 to RM1,500 a month), while the two- and three-room unit cost RM2,300 and RM2,500 to rent respectively, at a slightly lower yield.

The project is located across the highway from Mines Shopping Centre and fronts the lake in Bluwater Estate.

Bluwater is about 20km from the city and is served by the Besraya Highway, which is linked to several other highways.

However, The Heritage, although adjacent to Bluwater, will not be part of the gated and guarded development.

In the next couple of months, Lee aims to launch vacant bungalow land on Bluwater Estate at RM150 per sq ft.

These lots will be between 8,000 and 12,000 sq ft. Known as Bluhaven, there will be 18 lots initially.

The development will also have townhouses priced from RM850,000, semi-detached residential units and condominiums. These will be launched later.

By The Star (by Thean Lee Cheng)

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