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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Taman Seputeh gets another boost

When Liew Tze Yong left for Australia several years ago, those in the property circle thought they would be seeing the last of him.

After all, he made his name with Gita Bayu, one of Malaysia’s first gated and guarded lifestyle developments. After that successful partnership with world-renowned resort designers Lek Bunnag and Bill Bensley, he was ready to sit back, relax and enjoy time with the family. Being a DIY man, there would be lots around the house to keep him busy.

So when word got around that he was doing another gated and guarded project, this time in Taman Seputeh, Kuala Lumpur, his contemporaries sat up.

Liew, who is managing director of Planet Uno Sdn Bhd, has a tendency to set new benchmarks and go into uncharted terrain, literally and figuratively.

Gita Bayu is testament to that. Located in Seri Kembangan, Selangor, Gita Bayu was a forest and Liew created a location when there was none to speak of.

He turned that piece of land into a renowed green development, where houses are built around existing trees and the terrain preserved as much as possible to retain its original flavour and ambience. Today prices have risen to about RM170 per sq ft from RM40per sq ft.

Now that he has a good location – and Taman Seputeh is rather exclusive – developers are waiting to see what he is going to do. Liew, an architect by training, is excited about the work ahead of him.

“I’m not only going to build for my buyers, but my family members as well. I am going to set new benchmarks,” he says.

Taman Seputeh is located between Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur off the Federal Highway. Quiet and neatly tucked away in a rather green location, it holds a lot of promise. In terms of amenities, there is the Mid-Valley Megamall and the established Jalan Klang Lama with its commercial hub.

Penang’s Hunza Properties Bhd has developed 15 acres comprising 80 units of semi-detached and 13 bungalow units in Taman Seputeh. Hunza has seven unsold bungalow units, launched about two months ago, at between RM500 and RM600 per sq ft. They bought the land from Liew’s family some years ago. The Berjaya group is selling land in Seputeh Heights for bungalow development at about RM400 per sq ft. Completed bungalows are at RM1,000 per sq ft depending on location and size and other details.

Liew has priced his units between RM700 to RM800 per sq ft with prices ranging from RM4.08mil to RM6.8mil.

What is interesting is that this will be a family project. Liew has always been passionate about houses and the external environment. But over and above that, he is also very detailed in his delivery.

“It will not be as fantastic as Gita Bayu but Seputeh Gardens will be different from most housing estates,” he promises.

The trees have been cleared but he has retained the contours of the land. Each of the 42 units will be located about a meter higher than the next and the houses set up to avoid a barrack-style straight line.

“There is the cascading effect because of the land contours. Because the houses are not build in a straight line but are instead set back considerably one from the other, there is the effect of a widening horizon when you drive up the road,” he says.

Liew’s Australian break has also taught him further about the use of trees and he has handpicked the specie and colour he wants. Located on nine acres, there will be 42 bungalow units with lap pools. The front portion will be two-storeyed, the back three-storeyed. All the roads with be tree-lined with species chosen by Liew himself.

Golden Shower for the entrance, Yellow and Red Flame for different parts of the development. Other species include Hopea Odorata, a medium-sized to large evergreen tree with a large crown growing to 45 m, bole straight with cylindrical, branchless, Bauhinia, a large flowering plant commonly known in the tropics as “orchid trees” because of its large mauve showy flowers, among others.

“The colours and variation you see in the show model will become reality when the project is completed. Life is rejuvenated by different seasons. I am using different species with their varying colours to denote the evolving times of the year.

“There are flowering trees which bloom abundantly at different times of the year in Malaysia although the seasons are not so clear cut in the tropics,” says Liew.

The overall development comprises two rows of bungalows of about 10 bungalows each and a cluster of about 20 of them with land sizes varying between 4,520 sq ft to more than 8,000 sq ft. Built-up ranges from 6,000 sq ft to 8,000 sq ft. There will be a green reserve within the development which does not belong to the family but forms part of a golf course.

Liew will be using that as a buffer. Hopefully, that stretch of land continues to be a green reserve in years to come.

Liew is very conscious about security and he says a good part of the project is adjacent to the Malaysian air force. He says that will be an advantage. Each of the 42 units come with six bedrooms including the maid’s, all with attached baths and fully fitted. But it is the first 25 buyers who have really got a bonus. That early bird package comes with extras worth more than RM300,000. He has already sold that first 25 units.

By The Star (by Thean Lee Cheng)

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