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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Brisk sales expected at SunwayMas project

AMPANG: SunwayMas Sdn Bhd, the property arm of Sunway Holdings Bhd, is confident that its high-end residential development Sunway Rydgeway in Melawati Heights will be fully taken up within two weeks.

All 30 semi-detached homes had been sold and only six of the 40 bungalows were left since its soft launch late last year, said executive director Andy Khoo.

“We’re pretty overwhelmed with the take-up so far,” he told StarBizWeek, adding that the development was already 80% taken up before its official launch on Oct 31.

Khoo said SunwayMas also offered attractive packages such as a 5:95 financing scheme and zero interest during construction to woo buyers.

“People were quite surprised to discover a hidden gem like Sunway Rydgeway here in Melawati. The fact that it was a Sunway project also gave potential buyers the confidence to invest in the homes.”

The project is the first fully gated and guarded development in Melawati. A low-density development with only five units per acre, Sunway Rydgeway will have a gross development value (GDV) of RM180mil when completed in 2011.

Since the soft launch, the value of the homes had appreciated by 15% to 20%, said Khoo.

“The introductory prices of the semi-detached units and bungalows were RM1.9mil and RM2.8mil respectively. Today, they are fetching RM2.4mil and RM3.4mil respectively,” he said.

The semi-detached units offer a built-up area of 3,600 sq ft while the bungalows have a built-up area of between 5,039 and 5,345 sq ft.

Khoo said the homes were targeted at buyers living within the Melawati area and at the fringe of Kuala Lumpur city.

“This place is ideal for those who want to be close to Kuala Lumpur but at the same time away from the buzz of the city.”

Sunway Rydgeway also incorporates several green elements in its design, namely rainwater harvesting, solar water heaters and inverter air conditioners which help residents play a role in energy conservation.

Floor-to-ceiling glass panels provide plenty of natural sunlight while strategically-located decks, private gardens and water features allow residents to enjoy being one with nature.

Sunway Rydgeway is 20 minutes away from the Kuala Lumpur city centre via the Middle Ring Road 2, Ampang (via the Kuala Lumpur Elevated Highway and Jalan Genting-Kelang, while Mont’Kiara is only a stone’s throw away via the Duke Highway.

By The Star (by Eugene Mahalingam)

Persoft Tower to be developed into MSC Malaysia Cybercentre

PERSOFT Corp Sdn Bhd is budgeting some RM6 million to develop the recently acquired RM42 million Persoft Tower, currently known as Menara Luxor in Persiaran Tropicana, Petaling Jaya, into an MSC Malaysia Cybercentre.

Its director, Shaiful Annuar Ahmad Shaffie, said the company will use RM4.5 million to enhance the building infrastructure and the remaining RM1.5 million for the interior and exterior of the premises.

"This upgrading will be carried out in two phases. We hope to complete the first phase within six months from now and second phase between 10 and 24 months," he told reporters at a briefing on the development of Persoft Tower as an MSC Malaysia Cybercentre in Petaling Jaya yesterday.

Persoft Properties Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Persoft Corp, received approval for Persoft Tower to be developed into MSC Malaysia Cybercentre from Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation last Monday.
On the award of the MSC Malaysia Cybercentre status to Persoft Tower, Shaiful Annuar said Persoft is the first privately-owned information technology (IT) company to be given such recognition.

On its investment so far, Shaiful Annuar said the company spent RM36 million to buy the Menara Luxor, which is current valued at RM42 million.

"We expect to register significant jump in revenue once the upgrading exercise for the MSC Malaysia Cybercentre-status for Persoft Tower completed in 2011.

"To date, our revenue stands at RM70 million. Last year, we register a revenue of RM98.2 million, but we are not expecting to exceed or record the same amount for this year and 2010," he said.

Key tenants at Persoft Tower include Affiliated Computer Services Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Motorola Electronics Sdn Bhd, My Campus (MSC) Sdn Bhd, and Persoft Services Sdn Bhd as well as two incubator tenants - Designel Media Sdn Bhd and Xanadu Solutions Sdn Bhd.

By Business Times (by Kamarul Yunus)

Laman Seri Business Park unit buyers get keys ahead of schedule

Naza TTDI Sdn Bhd has kept to its record of fast completion of its products by handing over keys to buyers of the Laman Seri Business Park units in Shah Alam ahead of schedule.

The developer started to hand over keys to buyers of the business plaza of 46 exclusive high-end units comprising six blocks of four and five-storey shops and offices from Wednesday.

"The Laman Seri Business Park heralds a new dawn for a new business lifestyle in Shah Alam.

"Our aim for this development was to create a conducive place where people can work and meet within an environmentally-friendly setting," Naza TTDI group managing director SM Faliq SM Nasimuddin said at a ceremony to hand out the keys.

Naza TTDI expects a variety of businesses including three major banks, boutiques, lifestyle spas, fitness centres, popular food and beverage outlets to occupy the Laman Seri Business Park.

Completed 18 months ahead of schedule, the development was awarded the Cityscape Asia Real Estate Awards 2008 under the Future Commercial Development category.

By Business Times

Be a discerning house buyer

As the economy picks up and developers hit the market with their different offerings, there are certain issues that house buyers should take note as they mull over their choices.

While three major considerations like location, reputation of developers and pricing are paramount, there are other issues that house-buyers should consider. While some may consider these issues as secondary, they nevertheless, will take their toil in the long run and may become a sore point. At worse, it may be a point of regret.

The issues can cover a broad spectrum and includes the types of trees planted, the types of locks and sanitary fittings used, sound proofing, the number of lifts provided, the width of the road in front of the house, the availability and number of visitors parking, and layout and lighting in basement parking.

A source from a security firm says Malaysians tend to opt for condominium living because they want the security.

“Are condominiums really secure? We tend to say we are safe when there is no direct physical harm against us. But security is broader than a physical attack. It includes a violation of our personal space,” he says.

Two years ago, a body was found tucked in a refrigerator in a Mont’Kiara condominium development. The buyer had bought the property in an auction and when the time came for him to inspect his purchase, he made his discovery. He will not want to buy anything from an auction again.

In another Mont’Kiara high-rise project, someone within the project went around locking people in their units by fiddling with their locks. In both of the above cases, there was no physical attack. But there was a violation of personal space.

Not all condominiums come with cameras in the public corridors. Even if they do, they need to be maintained. Which calls into question the maintenance and sinking fund and the integrity of the people involved.

Says a condominium dweller: “Malaysians tend to skip on these payments or they buy into a project with low maintenance. You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

“On the other hand, I do not want to pay loads and not get the service or the maintenance of important equipment like cameras.”

His take: Be part of the joint management body so you know what the money is used for.

Early this year, a young man perished when the condominium he lived in caught fire. This also happened in Mont’Kiara. He lived on the 32nd floor. In another case, a young man left his high-rise unit with the kettle boiling. Passers by saw smoke billowing from his unit and alerted the management.

Says the source from the security firm: “It does not cost a lot to have smoke detectors. A hotel room comes with a sprinkler system and smoke detectors and there is no reason why this cannot be installed.”

“The same goes for fire extinguishers. But Malaysians, being so house-proud, may not keep fire extinguishers in working conditions. Or they may just throw them away. What is needed is for the authorities to make these mandatory.”

When the developer of the Mont’Kiara project was contacted, a two-liner statement was given about dog patrols in the evenings.

Developer KLCC Property Holdings Bhd claims at this point in time, the only project known to have a sprinkler system and smoke detectors installed in the condominium units is The Binjai On The Park.

His take: Install smoke detectors on the landing or outside the bedrooms on your own, but not in the kitchen. Have a fire extinguisher close at hand.

While things like this help, there is another related security feature – the lifts.

In a project in SS2, the developer provided two lifts to serve a 38-storey development with 147 units; averaging four units a floor. There is no service lift.

It does not cost a lot for a developer to install an extra lift. But once the building is completed, it is impossible to have a third lift.

With prices ranging between RM800,000 to RM1.2mil a unit, it does not seem fair to have the owner of the penthouse share the lift with so many people.

Remember, the penthouse is at the top. That seems a rather long wait. But the pent house aside, if one lift were in need of repair, that leaves one lift to serve 147 units. Imagine the peak hours! You’ll be stopping at every floor, even with two lifts.

A marketing staff says the two lifts were the minimum requirement. Our take on this: Four decent-sized lifts, big enough to fit a stretcher, are needed.

The Star Property Fair will be held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. For more information, visit the website at

By The Star (by Thean Lee Cheng)

Safeguarding our hillslopes

The monsoon season is here again and it is raining almost everyday. The wet season also means the roads are jam most of the time as it always start to pour around the peak rush hours.

Malaysia’s heavy rainfall is both a blessing and a bane. A blessing because our dams will not be starved and we have enough clean water for our sustenance and for the many everyday uses.

Unlike many parts of the world today that have to endure long dry spells, we are lucky that we don’t have to put up with water rationing. Rain also helps to bring down the pollutants in the air.

However, the heavy rainfall has also heralded floods, soil erosion and landslides. With the heavy downpour, news of landslips and landslides are making the headlines again, with some apartment dwellers near landslide hit areas worrying that their buildings will not be safe for dwelling, and their lives may be in danger.

It is almost a year since the Bukit Antarabangsa tragedy last Dec 6 that claimed five lives and caused considerable damage to properties in the area. Many families had to be evicted from their homes.

A RM70mil fund has been set up to rehabilitate the slopes in the residential areas of Bukit Antarabangsa and remedial work is still ongoing and will take two years to complete.

There have been other recent cases of landslides in the area after heavy downpours and with so many high rise apartments there, many residents will be having sleepless nights everytime it rains heavily.

Rampant land clearing and felling of trees to make way for development have all contributed to the current deterioration in our hill slopes.

Immediate action must be taken to ensure the safety of all residents in the area and those who bought into the promises of unobstructed hill and city views.

While slope stabilisation measures are important to strengthen these slopes, it is crucial to have holistic hill slope management guidelines for all the various stakeholders to know their responsibilities.

Before planning any hill slope development, developers should conform to the specifications on hill slope development.

Hillslopes are classified according to their varying gradients. Class 1 is for gradients of less than 15 degrees; Class 2 (between 15 and 25 degrees); Class 3 (between 25 and 35 degrees); and Class 4 (over 35 degrees).

Under new federal Guidelines for Hillside and Highland Areas Development Planning, development on all Class IV slopes is banned.

Development on Class III slopes that have signs of erosion, land instability or sensitive geological conditions, is also banned.

Malaysia has vast tracts of hilly terrains and these hillslopes should not be left unattended.

We certainly need top-notch hillslope management expertise and guidelines to ensure they are properly managed and are sustainably maintained.

Prudent hillslope management measures that include proper slope-safety management and warning system will ensure all the land owners, residents, developers and the local authorities will be proactive and take it as their joint responsibilities to safeguard the hillslopes.

Unsafe slopes must be rectified on a timely and regular basis.

Setting up a dedicated federal agency to issue and enforce guidelines and standards for hillslope management, approve hillside development and monitor slopes will be a good start.

It is high time the authorities and the people inculcate a culture of strong maintenance and safety as a way of life. Otherwise, there will be many more sleepless nights for many high-rise dwellers near slopy areas.

Deputy news editor Angie Ng hopes more developers will adopt holistic environment-friendly industry practices as part of their corporate responsibilities and uphold safety above all else.

By The Star (by Angie Ng)

Loan facilities for UEM Land unit

PETALING JAYA: UEM Land Holdings Bhd unit UEM Land Bhd has accepted a bridging loan of up to RM177mil and a bank guarantee facility of up to RM30mil from Malayan Banking Bhd.

The term-loan facility had a tenure of five years and would be used to part-finance its property development projects at Nusajaya in Johor, UEM said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia.

Spanning 9,550ha, Nusajaya is slated to become one of the largest and most prestigious integrated urban developments in South-East Asia.

By The Star

Two-year review bodes well for construction, says MBAM

PETALING JAYA: The push by the Government under the 10th Malaysia Plan to monitor and review the construction industry’s performance over two years, instead of the full five years under the plan, augurs well for the industry, said Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) president Ng Kee Leen.

Ng said MBAM supported the approach as it would be more “current” for planning and allowed for better monitoring, thus increasing the prospects of the proposed projects being achieved.

“We observe that sometimes during a five-year plan, projects that are not completed or undertaken will be brought forward to the next national plan,” he said in a statement.

Ng said it is hoped that with a shorter timeframe, the construction industry would be able to deliver its role more efficiently, cost effectively and on time.

He said as the Government was pushing the private sector to be the engine of growth, the authorities should have a more efficient delivery system and adminstrative structure that allowed the private sector to operate in a business-friendly environment with reduced bureaucracy.

“In this respect, we are thankful for the special taskforce to facilitate business (Pemudah) for its various efforts to harness the strength of the private and public sectors to resolve construction industry issues for the benefit of the country,” he noted.

Ng said what was clearly needed in the local construction industry was speedy approvals by the various authorities to ensure project delivery.

When contacted, Ng told StarBizWeek that MBAM was encouraged by the Government’s recent announcement of having greater public-private partnership.

“This will not only promote healthy competition but also ensure a larger group of industry players will particpate in (Government) projects,” he said.

Annually, the local construction industry handles RM60bil worth of projects, of which about 50% is undertaken by the private sector while the balance 50% is by the Government, which takes on infrastructure works.

On financing, Ng said MBAM hoped local banks could consider setting higher loan quota for the construction sector to enable the industry to continue playing its role as a key economic growth driver.

“MBAM would like to actively participate in dialogues with the relevant agencies in formulating and providing input to assist the Government in instituting necessary measures and initiatives to help reduce costs and ultimately enhance efficiency and competitiveness of the construction industry,” Ng said.

By The Star (by Danny Yap)