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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

SP Setia builds on winning formula

PETALING JAYA: The annual International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) Malaysia Property Award (MPA) has, over the years, highlighted some of the best developments the local property sector has to offer.

One project that stands out is SP Setia Bhd’s Setia Eco Gardens mixed “green” township in Johor, which won the MPA 2008 (Master Plan category) and FIABCI Prix d’Excellence Award 2009 (Best Master Plan Development) category.

Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin: ‘To be a leader in property development, you need to come up with something innovative.’

President and chief executive officer Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin said the philosophy, or “masterplan” behind the success of the eco-themed development was to “give what customers want.”

“To be a leader in property development, you need to come up with something innovative. But to do that, you must first know what your customers want,” he told StarBiz.

Inspired by its Setia Eco Park development in Shah Alam, the 379.2ha freehold Setia Eco Gardens is located in the heart of Iskandar Malaysia.

With a gross development value of RM3.5bil, the project was being developed in phases and would take a decade to complete, said Liew. Up to September 2009, SP Setia had sold 362 of the 369 units launched, raking in sales totalling RM92mil.

Liew said 98% of the buyers were local and the remainder comprised Singaporeans. He added that the development was like “living in a modern world but with natural surroundings.”

“It’s a place where nature and man can co-exist side by side,” he said.

In preserving the environment, SP Setia set aside more than 14% of the land for green zones, double the 7% required for a standard mixed development.

The green zones comprise an 7.4ha Eco park, a 6.4ha rainforest, lush greenery, smaller landscaped parks as well as water features that include rivers, lakes and well-manicured canals.

All retention ponds were also converted into waterways and canals.

Energy conservation initiatives such as rainwater harvesting, water recycling system, water efficient fittings and photovoltaic solar panel are among the common features of the eco homes and eco villas.

Liew said the biggest challenge in developing an eco-based project was turning a barren piece of terrain into an ecological wonderland.

“Property development is about land and returns. It’s how to turn the land into a return on investment. It’s about having the right ecosystem for the project. We are blessed with a country that has a lot of rainfall and sunshine. Everything will grow.

“But the challenge is finding the right formula. Everybody can make char kuey teow but some do it better than others. That’s because they have the right ingredients,” he said.

Liew said that while it was always an honour to win awards, the business of property development was not about winning accolades.

“We don’t go about planning to win an award. We’re in business. We need to come up with something that can differentiate ourselves from other developers or what we think the customers will want to buy from us.

“But along the way if we win an award, we’re thankful but it’s not our major purpose,” he said.

Fiabci Malaysia will be organising the 2009 MPA on Nov 16 in Kuala Lumpur, with Malayan Banking Bhd as the official sponsor. The emphasis for this year’s award is Intrinsic Value in Holistic Living.

The categories that will be contested are: Property CEO of the Year, Master Plan, Residential Development (low rise and high rise), Retail Development, Office Development and Purpose-Built Project. The event will be graced by the Sultan of Selangor.

By The Star (by Eugene Mahalingam) Posted on 9 Nov 2009

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