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Rimbun @Embassy Row

Rimbun Ampang Hilir

At GoodPlace, I get the opportunity to work with some of the biggest players in Malaysia property, but I’ve always had a soft spot for the smaller, “boutique” developers.

Why?

It’s because behind each of these smaller developers and their projects, there’s always a remarkable story to be told.

In the case of Rimbun, it’s the story of Datuk PK Poh and his quest to build one of the most defining upmarket condominiums in the country located in perhaps one of the most distinguished locations in Kuala Lumpur.

Rimbun Embassy Row

Datuk Poh is a veteran in Malaysia property, having led the Dijaya Corporation (now Tropicana Corporation) as its CEO for donkey years, and Rimbun is shaping up to be his tour-de-force of his career, despite what he has already achieved in the industry.

I had met Datuk Poh at Starbucks, Jaya One a couple of months ago, and his passion and enthusiasm were unmistakable. We had a good chat for more than an hour where he shared his backstory, and how his educational background in Singapore (complete with the shenanigans that he pulled at college!) led to a long, storied career in Malaysia property which culminated with Rimbun.

I am writing this review because Rimbun is good stuff, and It deserves nothing less than spectacular success. So, I’m doing my bit in giving it some GoodPlace lovin’ – simply because it deserves it.

Despite my well-documented love for KLCC condos, given a choice of where I’d want to live in the city, I’d probably choose the Embassy Row. Why? Pretty simple… it’s about five minutes away from KLCC, and yet it’s also one of the greener areas in the city. Also, the fact that it’s populated with embassies and upmarket properties that it’s a pretty distinguished address – maybe even more so than KLCC.

Not All Luxury Properties Are Equally Luxurious

Any two-bit poser can lease a BMW to impress his family, friends and mother-in-law. The true blue big-time baller would probably roll in a Bentley, or a Bugatti.

Rimbun @Embassy RowFlashy real estate is just like flashy cars – not all are the same. As any seasoned Malaysia property professional will tell you, the word “luxury” has been misused to represent anything from the most upmarket KLCC condo to a derelict-looking pangsapuri tucked inside the slums of Segambut Dalam (cough, North Kiara, cough). The trick is to know the legit players from the pretenders.

Don’t be fooled by high prices quoted on per sq ft basis: a shoebox apartment of 300 sq ft  with a price tag of $2,000 per sq ft is about as luxurious as a knockoff Prada from Petaling Street. Instead, you’ll need to look at two things – the total (i.e. not per sq ft) price and the density factor. If it’s so cheap that any joker on the dole can afford it, and if it’s packed like the freakin’ Kowloon Walled City then it’s not “luxury” no matter how they try to spin it. Don’t get suckered!

With a price tag of at least $4.25 million per pop and only 56 units spread over 17 floors (or two units per floor), Rimbun is as luxurious as the Pope is Catholic. At that price, you can be sure that your deadbeat uncle won’t be moving in anytime soon, and with such a low density factor (increasingly rare among city condominiums), you’ll probably not see your neighbour more than twice a year (which can be a good or bad thing depending on your personal preferences).

Rimbun Embassy Row

Rimbun has been previously covered at our sister site PropertyReviews.my, and so I won’t go into the details of the sizes and configurations as such (click here). Rather, here’s an addendum to that review with new updates since the publication of that review:

  • It’s one of the few projects which are truly “green” – it has been provisionally awarded the Green Mark Gold Plus Certification by Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA)
  • Sliding sunscreens which shade you from the sun without affecting the ventilation
  • Carbon monoxide sensors in the car park to detect potentially toxic fumes
  • “Gentle” ramps which are designed for low-slung sports cars
  • Every unit has its own private lift and foyer. Guests have separate lifts and lobbies
  • High ceiling (my favourite feature!) at 3.75m (or 12.4 ft)
  • Building footprint occupies less than half of the total land area. The rest are dedicated to landscaping, recreational facilities and open spaces

What I Think

Compared to mainstream, mass market development companies, boutique developers in Malaysia are a somewhat different kettle of fish altogether. Smaller in size with a different focus of types of projects and target market, they are forced to be more adaptive to the needs of the buyers and nimble.

Of course, this is not an indictment of the bigger players in one way or the other. Far from it! Being a big, branded developer has the advantage of being seen as established, consistent and reliable – and the importance of these factors in the eyes of the buyer simply cannot be overstated.

On the other hand, there’s no shortage of dodgy boutique developers which sell iffy “serviced apartments” built on awkwardly shaped tracts of land in the slummier parts of the city. These condos probably are as solidly built as my two-year-old son’s birthday Lego set. Really, I wouldn’t dream of touching those with a stolen ten-foot pole.

For a boutique player like Datuk Poh which has got no “big developer” brand to capitalize on, there’s only one way to “sell” his wares – by delivering a stellar product with kick-butt features and extra trimmings to make even the most jaded upmarket property connoisseur drool. And I have come to believe that with Rimbun, he has completely knocked it out of the park.

If you’re interested to find out more about Rimbun, I can connect you with Datuk Poh himself for a personalized briefing and a tour of the property. Just let me know.

Radius Cyberjaya

Radius Cyberjaya

Part of the allure of running an Internet lifestyle business is that you can pretty much do it anywhere. You don’t have to turn up at “work”, and you can pretty much operate your business from anywhere with an Internet connection – i.e. at your neighbourhood cafe, for example.

At least, that was what I thought when I first started out on my own back in 2010. But after awhile, the novelty of “working out of Starbucks” quickly ran thin. After all, there’s only that much foamy lattes you can drink in a day before you become too bloated to get any meaningful work done. Also, public wifi is probably about as reliable as the power windows on a ten year old Proton Waja (i.e. not very).

So for those reasons, I had started out renting a SoHo unit at Empire Subang Jaya for two years, after which I moved to my current duplex unit in Setiawalk, Puchong. I’m pretty happy with where I am now, but with my growing business I might just need a little more space in the next 18-24 months. Admittedly, I had never considered Cyberjaya before this until our friends at Emkay Group invited me over for a preview of its Radius Business Park project.

In the spirit of full disclosure: this is a paid review. The opinions, though, are entirely my own, and as with everything else on GoodPlace, our editorial integrity is in tact.

The Radius Business Park is a 5.89-acre contemporary shop office project which is part of a 50-acre mixed development (the MKN Embassy Techzone) located along Jalan Teknokrat 2 in Cyberjaya. Expected to be completed in October 2017, this development comprises of 100 strata units inside eight blocks of three to four storey buildings. Size of the units range from 1,241 to 8,204 sq ft, with a net floor area of some 262,382 sq ft. There are a total of 765 car parks on ground level and in the basement.

What makes Radius particularly unique is that it has got a dual frontage design which makes it easy to access from both the front and the back. For retailers on the ground floor, this means that exposure to foot traffic is potentially double of conventional shops. Also, its contemporary facade and spacious boulevard gives the project a comfortable and pleasing aesthetic.

Radius Business Park Cyberjaya

Prices range from RM692,000 to RM12 million per unit. This development is freehold.

Radius Business Park Cyberjaya: Fact Sheet

Building TypeShop office development
Land Size5.89 acres
Land TenureFreehold
Total GDVRM 177 million
Accessibility• Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (LDP)
• North-South Central Link (ELITE Highway)
• South Klang Valley Expressway (SKVE)
• Kajang – Puchong, off the KL - Seremban Highway (SILK)
• MEX Highway (formerly KL-Putrajaya Dedicated Highway)
No of Units100
Net Floor Area262,382 sq ft
Size of Units1,241 - 8,204 sq ft
Car Park765 bays
Building Features• 8 blocks consisting of corner and intermediate units
• Special corner units: 5 en bloc 4-storey high
• Corner & Intermediate units: 3-storey high
• The 4 four-storey special corner units come with dedicated lifts from basement car park
• All eight blocks share one sub basement car park
Completion DateOct 2017

Our Analysis

Radius does seem to be a little off the beaten path especially when the hub of commercial activity in Cyberjaya seems to be around the Persiaran Multimedia and Persiaran APEC junction (where the D’Pulze mall and Shaftsbury Square are). However, given that this project will eventually be part of a 50-acre stretch of mixed development (also by EMKAY Group), we figure that Cyberjaya’s centre of gravity will gradually shift northwards where Radius is. Also, despite its somewhat off-centre location, there are no issues regarding its accessibility – especially when a nearby MRT station is to be developed by 2022.

Radius Cyberjaya progress

Work in progress: Radius is expected to be completed by Oct 2017

The local textile giant Jakel Group is also reportedly setting up shop at Radius which demonstrates its pull among bigger brands and retailers – we won’t be surprised if more well-known brands continue to sign up in the next couple of months.

Now we all know that the property market is as slow as molasses these days, and understandably many investors are playing the “wait and see” game until they see some signs of recovery on the horizon. However, much of the doom and gloom that we hear today are associated with the residential sector, and commercial properties (some of which are doing way better than the residentials in the current bear market) remain criminally overlooked. So, if you’d like to consider investing in a commercial project for a change (and you may want to give Radius a go), drop me a message and I’ll hook you up with those lovely folks at Emkay who will be happy to talk to you.

Setiawalk

Setiawalk in Pusat Bandar Puchong

Picture this — the best shopping complexes, hip and urban serviced apartments, exquisite fine-dining restaurants, and corporate offices, all neatly-tied up in a luxurious package, located in a thriving and an established community?

Sorry to burst your bubble, but Setiawalk is NOT that, unfortunately. Yes, it might be one of the venerable SP Setia’s flagship projects, but while it’s rather passable as an integrated development, there’s lots left to be desired in many ways. First, some disclaimer: GoodPlace’s office is here, but we receive no financial incentives from this review directly or indirectly (we are renting!).

Now let’s cover some groundwork. Setiawalk is located in Pusat Bandar Puchong. The Puchong vicinity is a well-received township, with a population of some 250,000 (and growing rather rapidly too – look at the traffic buildup on LDP every morning at 7am).

Setiawalk

Setiawalk’s mixed-development theme is relatively a new one for this side of town, and it’s is definitely leading the way in making Puchong the latest to-go destination because of its commercial establishments and serviced apartments. We are seeing this trend catching up in greater KL and also in Penang (see our real estate predictions for the island state); as more Malaysians are getting fed up with the traffic congestion (let’s face it – getting stuck on the roads for 2 1/2 hours every day sucks mega donkey balls) there will be HUGE demand for these property types. You hear this first at GoodPlace.my. 😉

One-Stop Place-to-Be…?

Setiawalk is made up of corporate offices, retail and shopping complexes, restaurants and cafes, an entertainment complex, and serviced apartments. It is built on a massive freehold land which measures at an impressive twenty-plus acres. Divided into 336 office spaces and 170 retail shops and units, these are split into 85 staggering blocks of four, six, and seven-storey shop offices. There are also a small handful of SoHo units – one of which is occupied by GoodPlace (come pay us a visit!).

Setiawalk, Puchong

Strategically nestled on elevated ground are Setiawalk’s serviced apartments. These are: Solace, Brio, Vio, and Trigon — all of which have good views of the Setiawalk’s not-too-bustling commercial area, situated around a rather nicely manicured park. We like the park. Shame about the shops.

Living @Setiawalk

Solace, Brio and Trio are serviced apartments have built-up areas that range from 845 to 1,387 square feet. Apartment units are 759 in total, including SoHo units, which measured at 1,500 square feet. The latest addition to the Setiawalk serviced residents is the Trigon. A serviced apartment with 28 storeys, its expected date of completion is estimated to be in 2014.

Residential tower of SetiawalkSome rather nice amenities, of course, are readily made available for its residents. They include a wading pool, fountains, water jets, sand dunes, and a cascading waterfall. Adding a dramatic touch are modern sculptures that line the serviced apartments’ entrances and lobbies. They may seen as pretentious and over-compensating to some… but they are quite nicely done. Reminds me somewhat of those sculptures outside some Mont Kiara condominiums. Really. 😉

Layouts for the serviced apartments are as follows: 845 square feet, 1,007 square feet, 1,096 square feet, and 1,396 square feet. Residents are given one to three parking slots on its covered parking bays.

Average for sale prices for these serviced apartments range from RM520 per square feet, listed back in March 2013 – this might have increased marginally by 10+% since then. Check the listings at your favourite property portal. We like iProperty. It’s one of the best property classifieds website in Malaysia, right up there with Property Guru, Prop Wall and Star Property. Until we come up with our own listings service, that is. *wink*

Eating, Drinking & Frolicking @Setiawalk

Puchongites definitely know how to get their fill of fun. 😉 Setiawalk boasts of a large entertainment complex that a brand new cinema (TGV – the Beanieplex!), a small-ish but functional gym, restaurants and cafes, and a karaoke lounge is rumored to come in soon.

The retail outlets are all seem to be pretty inactive, and the saving grace are (some of the) restaurants and the watering holes. Yes, pubs are doing well here, and Setiawalk is fast getting the reputation of being the numero uno drinking place in Puchong, beating the nearby IOI Boulevard by nearly a mile… hallelujah! Brussels Beer Cafe is hands down the best of the lot; the Hoegaarden Rosee brew is hard to beat. The Beer Factory is also a top choice with a rather nice ambience with its “industrial factory” design. The others: 3 Wise Monkeys, Horoscope and Myhome Pub are rather off-the-mill, although Muzeum has got some pretty good lunch deals (chicken chop for RM7.90). Fancy a game of darts? Head on to iDarts Gold in Block C. Want to shoot some balls? Try Lucky World Snooker in Block A.

Setiawalk

Food-wise, the choices are rather ho-hum. Amelio is somewhat like Brotzeit with its pork-laden menu (and the price tag to boot without the ambience). Cafe Barbera serves fine pasta, but seems to be somewhat empty most of the time, while Padi House is rocking it despite a derivative menu offering pretty much everything under the sun. There’s also a nice burger joint “Gourmet Burger Kitchen” which serves rather tasty burgers (say that in a Samuel L Jackson voice) but is somewhat off the beaten path on the first floor. In the last few months, at least two makan places went out of business – notably Sharetea despite occupying one of the best spots in the whole of Setiawalk, and another coffee-and-bubble-tea joint which is now replaced by My Sweet Hut. If you’re craving for your Chatime-style bubble tea drink then your best bet is Ding Tea which unfortunately faces “outwards” to the LDP unlike the others.

The retail scene is, sadly, quite non-existent. BATA closed its outlet here about two months back. Some small-time boutiques (with names as generic as Elizabeth Boutique, 5s Boutique, Irene & Jojo) line up the ground floor of Block C offering the usual Sungei Wang fare. There’s a guitar shop in Block C with a friendly shopkeeper who would dispense six-string advice to whoever who visits the shop – no matter if you’re there only to get a bottle of polish or a pick.

HackerHub @Setiawalk

Celebrity Fitness in the “Setia Mall” wing is nice although somewhat small – if you’re here after 5pm be prepared to jostle for weights and benches. If you’re a workout buff and you thrive on your daily concoction of creatine, DMAA-laden Jack3d and whey protein shakes then The Muscle Factory has just opened up an outlet here in the D Block.

GoodPlace.MY’s Take: Yay or Nay?

We have developed a love-hate relationship with this place ever since we moved in here. This place is literally five minutes from where we live, and since we now don’t have to get stuck in the daily LDP crawl we have been able to crank out reviews like this on GoodPlace.my more frequently. 😉 But if we don’t live in Puchong, we don’t think we are that interested to come here. #truestory

Red sculpture in front of SetiawalkFirst, the positives. Apart from its location, we like the integrated development concept, and the overall layout is done very well indeed with a nicely landscaped park and water features. F&B choices are ample (but not superior), and the choices of pubs are excellent if you’re in the company of drinkers.

But sadly, apart from its pubs and some eateries, Setiawalk has not been able to develop the retail part of the development – possibly because the lack of an anchor tenant. (UPDATE: APRIL 2014 – previously there were “RedTick coming soon” banners put up at the Mall, but those have been removed. Nobody’s sure if they’re still coming or not… but we do need a grocer here, desperately.)

Additionally, many of the office lots are not rented out – just look at the property agent banners plastered all over the place. Eyesore.

Also, some tenants have been complaining about the noise from the drinking holes – but come on, fellas… what do you expect living in a mixed development like this? You want the retail convenience and the occasional drunken night out with your buddies at the pubs just at your doorstep, but peace and quiet at other times? You can’t have your cake and eat it too, you know. 🙂

Setiawalk also suffers from some other niggling problems:-

  • Broadband is, for a lack of an apt term, shit. You can’t get Unifi here. Maxis owns the “final mile” which means that you’re pretty much stuck with what they have got to offer, which means that you’ll have to pay over-the-top prices for comparatively slow connections. Why let one telco monopolize an entire area? It’s a bad deal for everyone, except maybe for Maxis. And while I am at it, the customer service at Maxis (for broadband solutions) is exceptionally bad. Our line went down for seven days before they sent an engineer over. Worst. Telco. Ever. (UPDATE: APRIL 2014 – we are finally wired up with an 8Mb broadband line. Performance reviews later.)
  • The car park is rather badly designed with lots of blind spots; as one of the tenants quipped to me recently – “accidents are just waiting to happen.” Also, the layout seems to encourage drivers to break the rules and turn into wrong lanes for some reason. And don’t get me started on the dumping grounds which also happen to be in the car park next to each lift – which means that visitors will get to inhale the putrid smell while they wait for the lift. Why, oh why?
  • Lifts are dodgy. They break more often than usual. Quite dirty at times, too.

Bottom line:- SP Setia should focus only building up the retail / office part of the development. And of course, fix the broadband / car park/ lift problem!

Setiawalk holds much promise, and mixed development properties like this will increase the vicinity’s value, as well as put them on the map as being one of the places-to-be for entertainment, fun, and modern living. But it’s not perfect… far from it.

The Grid, Kia Peng

The Grid, KLCC

Let it be known that here at GoodPlace we are perennial fanboys of KLCC condos. Despite what the naysayers may say, KLCC remains highly viable as an investment as long as you are in it for the long term. But then again, if you’re already a reader of GoodPlace then we should have convinced you that as far as property investments go these days, you should always play the long game. In short, it’s smart to pick properties with uber solid fundamentals which will appreciate over years, not months.

As such, KLCC may just fit the bill because after all, how can you go wrong with properties right in the epicentre of the capital of the country? It’s a complete no-brainer in my humble (and always accurate) opinion. 😉

We are now seem to be eons away from the ga-ga years of the bull market where new launches in KLCC were frequent. These days, developers are scaling back their launches, and indeed, many tell me that are adapting a “wait and see” attitude because there’s just too much uncertainties in the market. This is perfectly understandable because the stakes involved are huge; indeed, for some of these guys (especially those low on cash and throat-deep in debt), screwing up one launch is as good as torpedoing their entire business to Armageddon and back.

Therefore, the launch of MRCB’s The Grid on 21 Kia Peng is, for a lack of a better word, ballsy. But then again, as someone smart once said, fortune favours the bold, and MRCB (Suasana Sentral, Sentral Loft, St Regis) is placing a smart bet on a high quality product in perhaps one of the best spots in the entire KLCC enclave. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

(By the way, in the spirit of full disclosure, this advertorial has been written and paid for by Zach Yau of Three Acres Real Estate, and Zach has an offer that you may well find hard to refuse… more on this in his article below.)

The Grid, 21 Kia Peng

The Grid @21 Kia Peng by MRCB – A Timeless Building In The Heart Of KLCC

by Zach Yau

KLCC has long been acknowledged as the premier mark of city living in Malaysia and a most sought after address by the elite and foreigners who want convenience and lifestyle right at their doorsteps. The Grid is located along Jalan Kia Peng and within walking distance to amenities while being tucked away on a quiet street, surrounded by nature and century-old acacia trees. From the internationally acclaimed KLCC Twin Towers, the KLCC Convention Centre, Pavillion and other shopping malls along Jalan Bukit Bintang to the KL City Park, a vibrant city life awaits.

The Low-down

The Grid offers affordable luxury living with a premium KLCC address. It is designed with comfort in mind resulting in a low density residence with 277 units stacked in a single building of 36 storeys. All units will come fully furnished with priced at RM1.2 million onwards, and the project is expected to complete by the second quarter of 2019.

The building sits on one acre of leasehold land (without condition), and its land use is commercial. Depending on the choice of units, there will be views of either Jalan Ampang, KLCC, KL Tower, Pavillion, Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) or the Royal Selangor Golf Club.

Specifications

  • 843 & 880 sq ft units: 1+1 bedroom; comes with one car park bay
  • 1,057 & 1,065 sq ft units: 2+1 bedroom; comes with two car park bays
  • 1,206 sq ft units: 3 bedrooms; comes with two car park bays

Facilities

  • Infinity pool
  • Children’s pool
  • Jacuzzi
  • Gymnasium
  • Children’s playground
  • Yoga deck
  • Reflexology path
  • Viewing deck
  • Landscaped garden
  • BBQ area
  • Lounge
  • Steam room
  • Multipurpose rooms
  • Kindergarten

History indicates that location, infrastructure and amenities are the primary factors that drive pricing when it comes to real estate investments in Malaysia. For this reason, The Grid’s premium location and unique amenities will be key to its success.

Location of The Grid, KLCC

The Grid is close to everywhere!

Also, in terms of accessibility, there are two proposed MRT stops within walking distance, namely the KLCC East MRT Station (500 metres) and the Conlay MRT Station (300 metres). These factors will give optimal ROI potential to investors while providing the ultimate convenience to residents.

MRCB (Malaysia Resources Corporation Berhad) is one of the major players in property development in Malaysia for the past 20 years. Their flagship project, KL Sentral is Malaysia’s largest transportation hub with an array of mixed use developments from high-rise Grade A corporate towers, malls and retail spaces, luxury residences and five star hotels.

The Grid, Kia Peng

Interested? Here’s What To Do

There will be a preview event for The Grid on August 23rd, 2015 (Sunday) by Zach and his team at Three Acres Real Estate Sdn Bhd. For an exclusive deal made available only for GoodPlace subscribers, SMS: #GPVIP / (Full Name & Email Address) to +6012 9699 791 or click REGISTER (Subject: GPVIP with Full Name and Mobile Number) for event details and promo code for a special offer at the event.

Shorefront Penang

Shorefront Residences, Penang

Image source: shorefront.com.my

The Shorefront is an upmarket condominium project located just next to the famed Eastern & Oriental Hotel in Penang. Built by YTL Land (which has been making headlines of sorts with its Fennel condominium project in Sentul), it is the venerable developer’s first project in the island state, with Gross Development Value (GDV) of some RM330 million.

shorefront-penang-logoThis upmarket condominium project features some 115 units which are housed in three blocks. Priced between RM1,200 to RM1,500 per square feet, the project is clearly targeting upper tier buyers which would typically go for KLCC and Mont Kiara condominiums in the same price range. Built-up areas range from 1,400 to 3,400 square feet. Indicative prices are about RM2.8 million upwards.

At this price range, expectations run high, but YTL seems to have all the possible angles covered. For example, the density is low with only two units on each level. Additionally, each of the units have private lifts which open up to the unit foyers individually. Also, these condominiums are low-rise with only six floors per block.

The project’s location is maximized with all three blocks designed to face the sea. Also, there are landscaped gardens in the open spaces between the buildings, while ground units have private gardens. Units on the highest floors of the three blocks have the benefit of accessing the private rooftop. Each unit will come with two car parks.

Shorefront Residences

Source: shorefront.com.my

This project is gated and guarded with a clubhouse which contains a dipping pool which overlooks the sea. The clubhouse also houses a gym as well as multi-function rooms.

Shorefront Residences apparently sit on one of the last remaining locations in Georgetown which faces the sea, and apart from being next to the prestigious E&O Hotel, it is also in the heart of a World Heritage Site. This means that it has got superior accessibility to the cultural nerve of Penang.

ytl-landThe preview launch which was held earlier in the year received pretty strong response with some 67 units (housed in two blocks) being taken up during the event. Buyers of these units were believed to be locals as well as Penangites which were working outside the state. Subsequent launches are said to be held overseas to tap into the market of international property buyers, although the dates have not been firmed up yet at the time of the writing of this review.

The Shorefront is freehold property.

WHAT WE THINK: The recent cooling measures have hit Penang hard, and we do see some pull back in terms of new developer launches. However, many of the projects affected are primarily in the “mass prestige” tier, and at >RM1,300 per sq ft Storefront may not be that affected. This project is well designed with all the trimmings that one would expect at this pricing tier (sea view, prestigious address, low density, private lifts, designer gardens, branded developer), and we expect the take up rates to be healthy despite the ongoing curbs.

Astoria Ampang

Astoria Ampang

Picture source: sqftglobal.com

Now given that most mid / upper market developments are launched at the pivotal RM1,000 PSF price point and above, Astoria’s rather competitive pricing may raise an eyebrow or two. Indeed, prices start at about RM950 PSF, and the cheapest (and smallest) unit stands at just barely in the region of RM500,000. That’s practically unheard of for a city condominium these days…

Given that the upper tier high rise segment is due for a correction soon enough, perhaps the developer Land & General (L&G) is already plowing ahead of the curve. Looking at Astoria’s location on Jalan Ampang which is already somewhat cluttered by new projects (Arte+, D’Rapport, Mah Sing’s M-City, Novo), the sub RM1,000 PSF price point may reflect the state of increasing supply.

Astoria AmpangWith an estimated gross development value (GDV) of RM900 million, Astoria will be a prominent showcase on L&G’s roster of projects (which include The Elements @Ampang and the townships of Damansara Foresta and Bandar Sri Damansara). These serviced apartments come in sizes between 560 sq ft to 1,505 sq ft, and the project is scheduled to be completed in 2019.

The Astoria comprises of four condominium blocks of 46 storeys in height, with each block housing some 253 units, bringing the total to 1,012 units. The project is situated on a little less than six acres of (leasehold) land on Jalan Ampang.

The unit types and sizes are as follows:-

  • Type A: 560 sq ft (1R)
  • Type B: 735 sq ft (2R)
  • Type C: 888 sq ft (2+1R)
  • Type D: 1,505 sq ft (4R)

Looking at the sizes and layouts, types A, B and C are perhaps suitable for the yuppie, city-dwelling kind while D seems to appeal to investors given its dual key facility (similar to the Expressionz off Jalan Tun Razak).

Astoria Ampang

Source: sqftglobal.com

Perhaps a strong differentiating factor of the Astoria is its “green living” concept – something which is novel given that it’s a condominium designed for those who want to live in the inner city. Indeed, out of the six acres of land, four acres have been earmarked for a playground which will feature cycling and jogging tracks, waterfalls, a landscaped park, a water stream and a hammock garden. These facilities will be located on a podium of six levels.

Additionally, there are also swimming and wading pools which include some pretty nifty features like meandering streams, pavilions and water cascades. Social and entertainment amenities are also available: namely yoga and tai chi areas, a gym, BBQ areas, tennis courts, children’s play area as well as an amphitheater.

There is no sky lounge which somewhat surprises me given that the feature would definitely be a strong selling point for many prospective tenants and investors. Indeed, we have been receiving a substantial number of DealMatcher requests from investors who wanted city condominiums with view of KL skyline to be rented out at a premium during festivities and New Year Eves.

Although this might change, there are reports that there won’t be retail outlets and offices in the project (although the Astoria is on commercial land). This can be a good thing for some (less congestion) but bad for others (those who want superior Walkability).

Astoria Ampang

Source: sqftglobal.com

However, given its location on Jalan Ampang, most amenities are near; indeed, we are expecting its Walkability Scores to be in the region of 70-80 (compared to KLCC condominiums which are typically in the high 80’s and 90’s range). Also, public transport facilities are abundant, with Dato’ Keramat and Jelatek LRT stations near the vicinity. Additionally, the Ampang Point MRT station will also be easily accessible once completed.

Access wise, since the Astoria is on Jalan Ampang, it is connected to a couple of major KL arteries such as the DUKE, SMART, MRR2 and AKLEH. Indeed, we can foresee tenants using the AKLEH to go to the city in order to avoid the perennially jammed up Jalan Ampang.

WHAT WE THINK: Launches in downtown KL at less than RM1,000 PSF are a rarity nowadays, and as such the Astoria does stand out with its competitive prices and smaller sized units. Astoria is also decidedly a “yuppie” project with majority of units at sub 1,000 sq ft sizes; this is in line with the ongoing trend of projects with smaller units in the inner city. Its location on Jalan Ampang is also hard to beat.

On the minus side, the status of the land (commercial leasehold) may be less appealing to some. Also, given the number of new projects which seems to be popping up like mushrooms in that area. However, given the relatively lower pricing (at least on a PSF basis) there could be some further upside even with the projected “onslaught” of supply in the coming years when the new projects get completed.

Wangsa 9 Residency

Wangsa 9 Residency

One of the biggest projects for Mitrajaya (notably the developer of Puchong Prima as well as Kiara 9 in Mont Kiara), Wangsa 9 Residency is a residential development in Wangsa Maju spanning nearly eight acres of leasehold land. Valued at some RM650 million in terms of gross development value (GDV), this high-end serviced residence houses some 565 units across three blocks of condominium towers.

Early reception has been quite impressive – according to the developer, the take up rate during its “invite only” launch was at about 70% for one of its blocks.

Unit Details

Unit sizes range from 1,033 sq ft up to 2,336 sq ft and come in the following configurations (which admittedly look quite confusing in terms of the naming convention):-

  • Type A, Unit 3 (1,033 sq ft)
  • Type A, Unit 3A (1,033 sq ft)
  • Type B (1,733 sq ft)
  • Type C (1,647 sq ft)
  • Type D, Unit 1 (2,336 sq ft)
  • Type D, Unit 2 (2,336 sq ft)

Each of the units come furnished with kitchen cabinets as well as air conditioning units and wardrobes in all the rooms. Additionally, the living and dining rooms as well as the bathrooms feature marble flooring while the bedrooms have solid timber flooring.

The developer seems to pay special attention to the common areas (with timber and marble flooring in the lobby) which should well translate into better sub sale performance. According to an insider whom we spoke to, it seemed that the developer took cue from its success with Kiara 9 project which could boast of resort-like common areas.

Facilities-wise, there are bicycle and roller stake tracks as well as rock-climbing facilities and a water theme park. Maintenance fees are around 30 sen PSF.

Connectivity

Connectivity-wise, Wangsa 9 Residency has the advantage of being near the Sri Rampai LRT station which is six stops away from KLCC. Also, being next to a huge green lung is a selling point – this is a rare feature especially among city condominiums which are often built close to skyscrapers and other tall apartment blocks in order to maximize space.

Being near Wangsa Walk also means that there is easy accessibility to retail shops and entertainment outlets. According to a Wangsa Maju specialist agent we talked to, Wangsa 9 has got the advantages of being somewhat alike a “mixed development” without the associated problems (i.e. having to deal with transient traffic and jams caused by shoppers). We tend to agree.

WHAT WE THINK: Wangsa Maju is hardly known for its high end condominium projects, but Wangsa 9 Residency is decidedly upmarket given its +10% premium over comparable properties in the area (Infiniti Residences, Hedgeford 10, Irama Wangsa, Seasons Garden). During its initial launch of one of the three blocks, prices were around RM600-700 PSF, and we do expect prices to go up in the subsequent launches. Wangsa Maju remains one of the areas which are fairly close to the city and yet still somewhat “underdeveloped” when compared to other areas which are nearer to the city centre. Given the area’s “lower middle class” perception, Wangsa 9 may well stand out from the rest given its luxury trimmings and premium prices.

UPDATE: Part of the land is on a hill slope. Just so you know.

Image source: www.wangsa9.com

EMIRA

Emira OSK

OSK Property (through its subsidiary Ribuan Ekuiti) will soon be holding a preview event for the EMIRA, a mixed use development in Seksyen 13, Shah Alam. Given that we here at GoodPlace are fans of OSK (we have previously featured the Eclipse Residence here) as well as integrated projects in general, we are literally counting the days before the EMIRA gets unveiled to the world. 🙂

There’s a strong trend amongst (the savvier) developers to go knee deep into integrated developments, and for good reason – mixed use projects have a growing appeal among the urban crowd given the “everything under one roof” convenience and superior walkability. Given this strong value proposition, it is therefore of no surprise that integrated projects tend to command a higher price when compared to the plain vanilla condominium; however, in the case of EMIRA, the prices of the residences are eyebrow-raisingly competitive. Let’s take a closer look!

The EMIRA consists of a single tower housing some 400 unit of serviced suites with three different layouts to choose from – A (1,238 sq ft, 3+1 bedrooms), B (883 sq ft, 2 bedrooms) and C (614 sq ft, single bedroom). These units come with 1, 2 or 3 car parks depending on the choice of sizes.

Emira OSK

The layouts are deliberately designed to be functional rather than fancy, which is sensible given the small(ish) sizes of these units. Also, since the tower block faces the north/south direction, buyers won’t be encumbered with the dreaded “morning / evening sun” problem, and this will score them brownie points with prospective tenants and renters.

Emira Shah Alam by OSK Property

It’s easy to gloss over the list of facilities you see in the glossy brochures that the developers give you, but EMIRA’s amenities are impressive even to the most jaded buyer. Facilities are housed on two floors (the Garden Patio on the 8th floor and the Sky Patio on the roof), and apart from the expected swimming pools, badminton courts, playgrounds and BBQ pits, there are sofa bed lounges, water treadmills, a jacuzzi, garden parterre, hammocks and a potpourri garden. And for those who are looking for retail therapy, there are two whole floors of shops and eateries (dubbed the Urban Retail component of this development) on Levels 1 & 2. The upcoming Aeon Jusco mall will be trekkable by foot as well as Tesco Extra which is just right on the opposite side of the road.

EMIRA is located in the heart of Shah Alam on Persiaran Sukan opposite the stadium. This means that residents will pretty much enjoy the perks of a central location with the nearby hypermarkets, malls, schools, sports facilities as well as easy access to highways.

Emira Shah Alam Location Map

Pricing-wise, EMIRA’s residence units are tentatively priced between RM350,000 to RM750,000 (this corresponds to about RM550 PSF). It is perhaps notable that a huge chunk of new launches is of the >RM1 million range, and this is a mismatch with a majority of home buyers who typically have budgets around the RM500,000 median according to a recent industry-wide survey by a property portal. The EMIRA seems to be addressing the needs of this (large) group of buyers with a mid-tier price range, and I won’t be surprised if the units get snapped up quickly when they become available.

Our Analysis

We are indeed coming to the end of a bull run as far as the Malaysia property market as we know it. As one can expect, there will be what the industry calls a “clearing out” with the exit (or in some cases, acquisitions) of weaker developers (many of which came about during the boom). For an established developer with a strong portfolio under its belt, it’s business as usual for OSK despite the doom and gloom which seems to be engulfing the industry at the moment. No matter whether it’s a bull or bear market, there’s always good demand for quality properties with good value for money, and for this reason I think EMIRA will do well.

Property prices have perhaps become the biggest purchase driver amongst Malaysians nowadays, and I do believe that the EMIRA has hit a sweet spot at around the RM550 PSF point with relatively affordable entry prices in the mid six figures range. Many seem to think that mixed use projects are a trend which will pass eventually, but I think that it’s here to stay, and for that reason I would personally would pay a +10-15% premium for such developments over comparable condominiums. Finally, developer reputation is everything in this business, and OSK wouldn’t get this far by delivering sub-par products and pissing homebuyers (and people like me) off. 😉

Of course, as with everything else you see here at GoodPlace, this is not a recommendation to buy or to sell – you’ll have to do your own homework and come up with your own conclusions. 🙂 However, everything seems to check out for EMIRA on paper, and therefore even if you’re faintly interested you should make a beeline to Plaza OSK to check out the preview (details below).

What To Do Next

The EMIRA will be open for preview in the week of 11th to 19th of October 2014 (10am to 6pm daily) at the fountain area of Plaza OSK on Jalan Ampang (Google map here). For early bird goodies and unit selection privileges, register at www.emira.com.my.

EMIRA - The Summary

NameEMIRA
DeveloperRibuan Ekuiti (a subsidiary of OSK Property)
TypeMixed use development (residence + urban retail)
LocationPersiaran Sukan, Seksyen 13, Shah Alam
TenureLeasehold / Commercial
Completion Date2017 (estimated)
Towers1
StoreysResidence - 26 storeys
Urban Retail - Levels 1 & 2
UnitsResidence - 400
Urban Retail - 50
Built-up Areas (Residence)Type A - 1,238 sqft (3+1 Bedrooms)
Type B - 883 sqft (2 Bedrooms)
Type C - 614 sqft (1 Bedroom)
Built-up Areas (Retail)1,249 sqft – 2,000 sqft
Indicative Prices (Residence)RM350,000 – RM750,000 (RM550 PSF onwards)
Indicative Prices (Strata Retail)RM900,000 – RM1,800,000 (RM700 PSF onwards)
Car ParksResidence - 1, 2 or 3 units
Urban Retail - 1 unit
Facilities @Garden Patio
Located on the 8th floor
Infinity pool
Sofa bed lounges
Jacuzzi
Water treadmill
Play pools
Flux trellis
Playland
BBQ lounges
Green parterre
Cubist play & lunges
Topo gardens
Water canals
Multi-purpose hall
Badminton courts
Changing rooms
Facilities @Sky Patio
Located on roof top
Trellis lounges
Green strips
Potpourri garden
Hammock haven
Entertainment lounges
Gymnasium
Management office
Surau
Changing rooms
Reading room

Eclipse Residence

Pangaea in Cyberjaya by OSK

Pan’gaea is an integrated development in Cyberjaya which encompasses a wide variety of components which include serviced residences, boutique retail outlets, SOFO (small office flexible office) units and other future developments. A project by Wawasan Rajawali, an OSK Property subsidiary, Pan’gaea (pronounced as pan-jee-uh) is named after a “super continent” which existed some 300 million years ago. The name itself is derived from ancient Greek (“pan” means “entire” while “Gaia” means “earth”).

Indeed, Pan’gaea (the project) is as impressive and ambitious as its moniker would suggest. Centered around the “Work, Live And Play” concept, the development’s components are designed to be complimentary to each other. For example, the retail outlets and the commercial areas are lined up along the main artery of Persiaran Bestari for maximum traffic and exposure while the residential areas are located in the inner parts of the developments for privacy.

There will also be a future development will feature a composition of food & beverage outlets, fashion retailers as well as entertainment facilities.

Eclipse Residence, Pangaea, Cyberjaya

All units come fully furnished and in ready-to-move-in condition

Eclipse Residence: Lavish Living

Pan’gaea’s latest phase, the Eclipse Residence, was first previewed in the final quarter of 2013, and had recorded an impressive take up rate of 70% as of June 2014. So far, the profile of the buyers consists of a good mix between those who are buying for their own stay and those who are beefing up their investment portfolio.

The one bedroom suites (UNO) are 450 square feet in size and targeted at young professionals who are looking for the proverbial “bachelor pads” in this side of the Klang Valley. On the other hand, the two-bedroom (DUO) suites are suitable for small families. The one bedroom units come with one car park, while the two bedroom units come with two car park units each.

Additionally, the top-of-the-range “Loft Suite” is a duplex suite with two bedrooms with built-up area of 950 square feet. Exquisitely designed, it features double volume glass windows offering unparalleled views of the central park. The lower level of the duplex unit is designed for entertainment purposes, while the master bedroom is located on the upper floor for maximum comfort and privacy.

Eclipse Residence Beach Pool

The rooftop pool is beach-themed and offers a magnificent view of its surroundings

All Eclipse Residence units come fully furnished with kitchen cabinet, air conditioner units, hob and hood, water heater points for all bathrooms as well as a shower screen for the bathroom in the master bedroom.

Facilities offered at the Eclipse Residence include the following:-

  • Aerobic / yoga zone
  • Gourmet zone
  • Chill zone
  • Games room
  • Sunken lawns
  • Jogging tracks
  • Gym
  • Children’s playgrounds
  • Steam & sauna rooms
  • Multipurpose halls
  • Beach theme pool

Prices range from RM371,800 (for one bedroom suites) up to RM803,000 (the three bedroom suites).

Eclipse Residence: Fact Sheet

DeveloperWawasan Rajawali (wholly owned by OSK Property)
LocationPersiaran Bestari, Cyberjaya
TenureFreehold & commercial
Size16 acres
Towers2 (38 and 40 storeys)
Units668
LayoutsType A (1 BR, 450 sq ft)
Type B (2 BR, 650 sq ft)
Type C (3 BR, 990 sq ft)
Type D (2 BR Duplex, 950 sq ft)
Service chargesRM0.33 PSF (incl. sinking fund)
FurnishingFully furnished
Car parks1-2
CompletionQ1 2018

Visit Pan’gaea’s spanking new showrooms at PT41831, Persiaran Bestari, Cyber 11, 63000 Cyberjaya. If you’re driving there and you’re using a GPS device, its coordinates are N2°55′.45″ E101°38’12”. For more information, call 019-2227138 or 03-83186366.

Eclipse Exquisite Rewards

Fancy a trip to exotic Langkawi, complete with an excursion on a 60-ft catamaran in the companion of a 5-star chef? As a home owner at the Eclipse Residence, you might just be presented with this giveaway, plus more. More information in this flyer below.

OSK Property