BMSPA 2021: Putting together a high-performing asset - Sunway GEO Tower

Below 10 Years Single-owned Office in a Mixed Strata (Gold)

Sunway GEO Tower

Located in Bandar Sunway, Selangor is Sunway GEO, a brand new commercial centre which features an office tower known as Sunway GEO Tower.

Sunway GEO is integrated within the larger Sunway South Quay development that consists of residential, commercial and institutional components with a combined gross floor area of about 10 million sq ft surrounding a 20-acre lake.

Sunway GEO comprises Sunway GEO Avenue, which was completed in 2017, featuring the 17-storey Sunway GEO Tower, three storeys of retail shops and four storeys of flexi suites and kiosks; and Sunway GEO Sense, a 36-storey serviced apartment completed in 2018.

Although part of the mixed stratified development of Sunway GEO Avenue, its developer Sunway Group decided, after much consideration, that it was best to retain Sunway GEO Tower as an investment property.

“We retained the property so that we could manage it in alignment with the interest of the larger community in Bandar Sunway and of the Sunway GEO community itself,” Sunway Property and Facility Management (Sunway PFM) chief operating officer Cheng Jew Keng tells Sunway PFM is Sunway Group’s asset management firm. Furthermore, he adds, it is a known fact that stratified developments in Malaysia are challenging to manage.

The developer believes that the success of the office tower and its tenants will depend not only on Sunway PFM’s ability to manage the property well but also in being able to work hand in hand with the Joint Management Body (JMB) of Sunway GEO Avenue. This in turn will ensure that the entire integrated development is well-managed, leading to capital appreciation and creating a healthy community for all stakeholders.

“Sunway Property will remain a part of the community for long-term growth in terms of ensuring good property management, good traffic and capital appreciation, aligned with the interests of the community; while providing leadership in equitable and sustainable maintenance, management and improvements of the commercial development,” says Cheng, adding that this is in line with Sunway Group’s unique build-own-operate business model to ensure the sustainability of its communities.

The move to retain the office tower has augured well for Sunway GEO Tower as it won Gold at EdgeProp Malaysia’s Best Managed & Sustainable Property Awards 2021 in the Below 10 Years – Single-Owned Office in a Mixed Strata category.

On the award, Sunway Bhd property division managing director Sarena Cheah says, as a master community developer, it has to ensure the liveability of its neighbourhoods as well as the success of its communities.

“Good property management is the lifeblood of our sustainability ambitions. It ensures the wellbeing of our communities, decreases our impact on the environment, as well as ensures healthy value for stakeholders,” she says.

Ensuring a strong tenant mix

Cheng highlights that by creating a single sizeable ownership (en bloc ownership) of the Sunway GEO Tower corporate office under Sunway Geo Sdn Bhd, the owner is able to ensure a strong tenant mix and consistent footfall for businesses within the project.

“With the different components having different use intensities on its common M&E services, facilities and common properties such as roads, parks, landscapes, etc, we adopt a fair and equitable administration that is aligned with the Strata Management Act for all components within the mixed-use stratified development,” says Cheng.

He also highlights that to prevent the lack of control over the management and financial accounts of the JMB, Sunway Geo Sdn Bhd contributes in terms of finances and financial management expertise to the JMB, ensuring financial sustainability for the entire development.

“Additionally, with our experience and data-driven insights, we know that one of the most important things for office tenants, besides energy consumption and rental, is to optimise productivity, health and wellbeing of their workforce.

“We believe that these insights have contributed to the high-satisfaction rate we have achieved from all tenants (99% overall satisfaction), which directly correlates to an average collection rate of 98% across 2018 to 2020 and good occupancy rates across all integrated components,” says Cheng.

One of the advantages of being part of Bandar Sunway is the ability to tap onto the surrounding amenities already built or being planned.

The Sunway GEO development is connected via a covered walkway to the commercial centre of Bandar Sunway, which is built, owned and operated by Sunway Group with seven million sq ft of world-class integrated facilities including Sunway Medical Centre, Sunway University, Sunway Pyramid, Sunway Lagoon, Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa, and Sunway Innovation Labs (Sunway iLabs), among others, encouraging low carbon car-free mobility and traffic for businesses.

Cheng notes that although Sunway GEO Tower, which has 180,227 sq ft in net lettable area, has managed to secure an impressive 100% occupancy rate until 2023 – with tenants including Shaklee and Accenture – they are certainly not resting on their laurels.

The focus has already shifted to efforts in ensuring Sunway GEO Tower remains a high-performing asset beyond 2023 and to make it an anchor investment that leads the development of the Sunway South Quay waterfront commercial precinct.

This upcoming precinct consists of two integrated commercial developments which houses modern retail, office, cultural and educational facilities. Included in this development is an underground traffic dispersion plan from Sunway GEO and Sunway South Quay commercial precinct to the Shah Alam Expressway (KESAS) link, says Cheng.

Check out the microsite for Edgeprop’s Best Managed & Sustainable Property Awards 2021 here

This story first appeared in the E-weekly on April 9, 2021. You can access back issues here.

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