DESPITE the slow property market, OSK Property Holdings Bhd believes there is still demand for properties targeted at end users. And the homebuyer market is what is it aiming at with Luminari, a serviced apartment project launched recently at its Harbour Place township in Butterworth, Penang.
CEO Ong Ghee Bin says the township is located near the Butterworth ferry terminal and a stone’s throw from the upcoming Penang Sentral, an integrated transport hub that will feature commercial and retail facilities, cinemas, multi-storey car parks and a hotel. The hub will be directly linked to the electric train service, bus terminal and ferry terminal.
The accessibility of the township — which also links to the Butterworth Outer Ring Road and Jalan Bagan Luar — has sparked demand for serviced apartments there among potential buyer-occupiers.
“Many people don’t mind staying in Butterworth because it is so much cheaper than [staying] on the island yet you can go to work there using the ferry,” Ong tells City & Country. “Luminari caters to families and we have incorporated 77,000 sq ft of communal space to put in facilities for people of all ages.”
Launched in end-July, the project offers 462 serviced apartments and seven retail units on a 3.5-acre parcel. Scheduled for completion in 2020, it has a gross development value of RM264 million.
“The retail units face outside to allow non-residents to patronise the shops without going into the development,” Ong says.
The serviced apartments come in four types with built-ups from 947 to 1,335 sq ft, in 2+1 or 3-bedroom configurations. The selling price ranges from RM486,800 to RM708,800, or an average of RM530 psf. About 20% of the units have been taken up.
The retail units, meanwhile, measure 517 to 1,141 sq ft and are priced from RM293,000 to RM561,800 or RM526 psf. All have been taken up.
The 77,000 sq ft communal space will feature 32 facilities grouped into six zones: The Oasis, The Promenade, The Playpen, The Centrestage, The Enclave and The Sanctuary.
The Oasis will have a 50-metre lap pool, wading pool, cabana deck, a Jacuzzi, sunken seats and sun deck, while The Promenade will boast a sculpture garden and pavilion square. Facilities at The Playpen include a playground, tree house and swing shelter.
The Centrestage, meanwhile, offers areas for sports activities such as a gymnasium, putting green, badminton courts and aqua gym. The Enclave features a barbecue area, karaoke lounge and multifunction room, while The Sanctuary will have a sky lounge, reading room and hammock garden.
Nearby amenities include hypermarkets (Econsave and Giant), educational institutions (SK Convent Butterworth), healthcare centres (Bagan Specialist Centre and Hospital Seberang Jaya) and hotels (Pearl View Hotel and Hotel Palm’s Inn).
Harbour Place is a 27-acre mixed-use township launched 15 years ago by OSK Property subsidiary PJD Eastern Land Sdn Bhd. Four phases have since been completed and handed over and the fifth phase, Woodsbury Suites, will be handed over early next year.
Woodsbury Suites comprises 420 serviced apartments in two blocks, with built-ups ranging from 550 to 2,270 sq ft in studio, 1+1, and 1, 2 and 3-bedroom configurations. The 40-storey Tower A is the tallest building in Butterworth while Tower B has 38 levels. Ong says only a few bumiputera units remain.
Luminari is the sixth phase in the township, with four more to go and Ong says future developments there will be depend on market needs.
OSK Holding Bhd last year restructured its businesses under property, construction, hospitality, manufacturing and financial services and timeshare. OSK Property and PJ Development Holdings Bhd were merged into one entity with a single identity and brand, called OSK Property. Ong was appointed last July to oversee the property arm.
On the current property market, Ong says the market is soft and will remain so for the next 12 months. “I don’t think we will turn around so fast and it will probably will take some time for the market to come back. In order to sell, new projects now should focus on owner-occupiers.”
Luminari will be OSK Property’s final launch this year. It had earlier launched Phase 2 of Windmill Upon Hills in Genting Highlands and TimurBay Seafront Residence in Balok Beach near Kuantan.
“This year, we put to the market Phase 2 of Windmill Upon Hills, TimurBay Seafront Residence and some small phases in Sungai Petani,” Ong says. “For Windmill Upon Hills, we are now seeing overall converted sales of about 60%, and sales are still coming in. We expect the number to touch 70% by year end. Timurbay Seafront Residence was launched at almost the same time as Luminari and is now about 25% taken up.”
OSK Property is now working to get approvals for a development in Seremban that will offer properties in the affordable range and is targeting to launch it by the first quarter next year.
This article first appeared in City & Country, a pullout of The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on Aug 22, 2016. Subscribe here for your personal copy.