AFTER launching its RM1.2 billion maiden mixed-use development, Datum Jelatek, in the third quarter of last year (3Q2015), Datumcorp International Sdn Bhd is gearing up for RM3.45 billion worth of launches in the next few years.
To mark the launch of its sales gallery, Datum Galleria, at 42 Jalan U Thant in Kuala Lumpur, on Dec 3, the developer has opened for registration the second residential tower (Tower A) of Datum Jelatek, which offers 167 units ranging from 550 sq ft studios to 1,300 sq ft, 2-bedroom condos. The units are priced from RM782,225.
Tower D, Datum Jelatek’s first residential tower, which was launched last year, has 161 units and is 90% taken up. Tower D units range from 550 sq ft studios to 1,300 sq ft, 2-bedroom condos and are priced from RM640,000 or about RM1,000 psf.
“We were surprised to get such a good response when we invited residents of the surrounding neighbourhoods to our first event,” says Datumcorp chief operating officer Shytul Shahryn Mohamad Shaari in an exclusive interview with City & Country.
The boutique, high-end developer is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the State Development Corporation of Selangor (PKNS), which is best known for low to medium-cost apartments and houses, offices and retail malls. “Over time, the pockets of land owned by PKNS have become prime real estate and building low-cost developments on them does not justify the value of the land,” says Shytul.
“This is where Datumcorp comes in as a subsidiary that can ... undertake smaller-scale, high-value real estate developments,” he says.
Following the positive response to its first launch, Datumcorp has lined up three mixed-use developments to be launched in the next few years — starting with the RM350 million Datum Setiawangsa in Setiawangsa, which is expected to be launched in 2017; the RM1.1 billion joint-venture project with HCK Group in Subang Bestari, tentatively to be launched in 4Q2017; and the RM2 billion Datum In-City in Petaling Jaya, which is still in the planning stage and is targeted to be launched after 2018.
Similar to Datum Jelatek, Datum Setiawangsa will also be a transit-oriented development situated next to the Setiawangsa LRT station. The developer is planning 611 residential units in two towers on a 3.1-acre parcel.
The JV project with HCK Group is located on a 10-acre tract. Datum In-City, set on 15 acres behind the Western Digital and Nanyang Siang Pau offices and next to the Subang National Golf Club (KGNS), has office and residential as its two main components, with a smaller commercial segment.
Set on 5.65 acres in Jalan Jelatek and linked to the Jelatek LRT station, the leasehold mixed-use development will offer 708 residential units in four towers and a four-storey retail mall.
The inspiration for Datum Jelatek, says Shytul, is the lily pad. “The towers are like the four leaves of the lily pad floating on water, which is portrayed by the undulating design on the buildings’ façade, like ripples. The design aims to conceptualise serene and tranquil living in the city centre.”
Each tower, which has six units per floor with four lifts, has its own lobby and a six-tier security system. “It is low density compared with other developments in the area,” says Shytul.
Towers B and C, at 35 and 37-storeys respectively, will be launched at a later date. The two remaining towers will offer bigger built-ups, ranging from 730 sq ft for 1-bedroom units to 1,600 sq ft for 3-bedroom units. The units at Tower B and C are priced from RM1.08 million and RM1.33 million respectively.
As well as bigger built-ups, Towers B and C, with 182 and 198 units respectively, will offer views of the KLCC. “Some units in Towers A and D will also have views of KLCC, as well as of Setiawangsa, Ampang and as far as Genting Highlands,” Shytul says.
The residences come with kitchen cabinets and wardrobes, and the units in Towers B and C come with the same type of marble flooring used in Ritz-Carlton hotels, says Shytul. Units come with two to four parking bays in the five-level car park atop the retail mall.
Sky ring bridge, three levels of facilities and retail mall
A unique aspect of Datum Jelatek is the circular sky bridge at Level 27 connecting all four residential towers. Described by the developer as the first sky ring bridge in Malaysia, the bridge is one of the three levels of facilities the development offers. “The one-of-a-kind sky ring bridge is a meeting place for the community at Datum Jelatek. It provides a 360° view of Kuala Lumpur and residents can enjoy the fireworks displays at KLCC. It also provides a wide range of facilities,” says Shytul.
Measuring 25 ft wide, the sky ring bridge offers an aerobics studio, outdoor dance studio, gym, outdoor exercise deck, mini theatre, games room, private al fresco lounge, library and outdoor timber decked seating area.
There will be cabanas on the rooftop of each tower. The 3.2-acre facility podium at Level 11, which is shared by the four residential towers, will include a half-court basketball court, playground, parcourse, multimedia and games rooms, function hall, Jacuzzi, infinity pool, wading pool, steam bath, gym, barbecue area, water features, surau, cabanas, a retreat pavilion and kindergarten.
“Our audio room, video room, mini theatre and gym are fully equipped and we offer other unique facilities such as rock climbing, al fresco dining and a mini putting green,” says Shytul.
Residents can expect an indicative maintenance cost of 40 sen psf, which does not include the sinking fund.
Datum Jelatek’s 4-storey retail mall aims to complement the residential component and the surrounding area. “Basically, we are targeting a catchment within a 5km radius, which can be extended further,” says Shytul.
“We are looking at a population of over 400,000, with an average household income of RM7,000 per month in the surrounding Keramat area and over RM30,000 on Embassy Row in Jalan Ampang.”
Datumcorp is not looking to compete with the retail market in the city centre. It is aiming to complement it by positioning the retail mall as a neighbourhood lifestyle mall for the middle to high-income earners.
The developer is in the process of selecting tenants for the mall. “We are not putting in big brands that can be found in KLCC, but rather brands in the middle to middle-high range that [do not] ... have a presence in this particular area. Some of the brands we are identifying are in Subang Jaya and Damansara and we are trying to bring them here,” says Shytul.
“While the retail market in the country has got a little weak, we believe the mall’s location and connectivity with the LRT will meet market needs with its retail offering,” he says.
The fore section of the retail mall, which fronts the LRT station, can stay open after the standard mall closing time. “The shops facing the station, which will offer food and beverage, and a gym can stay open after 10pm … maybe until midnight, for those who are catching the last train home,” says Shytul.
According to him, the flow of traffic at the development is planned around people’s convenience, from the mall’s car parks to the LRT station. The mall’s car parks are on two basement and two podium levels.
The mall will be managed by retail consultancy firm RCMC Sdn Bhd and retail space will be leased out for an average of RM5.50 psf.
According to Shytul, the development’s substructure will be completed by mid-January while the residential component is slated to be completed in June 2019, a year after the retail mall opens in May 2018.
Minutes from KLCC
Though still within the boundaries of Selangor, Datum Jelatek is four LRT stops, or about eight minutes, away from KLCC, according to Shytul.
The development is accessible via Jalan Jelatek, Jalan Ampang, the Ampang-Kuala Lumpur Elevated Highway and Jalan Tun Razak. Nearby are a mosque, petrol station, clinics, dental clinic, the park at Taman Datuk Keramat, Gleneagles Medical Centre, Great Eastern Mall, Prince Court Medical Centre, The Intermark, KLCC, Pavilion KL, Sayfol International School and the Royal Selangor Golf Club.
Early last year, there was a protest by nearby residents against the construction of Datum Jelatek during which some of the hoardings around the site were damaged. It was reported that the protesters believed the predominantly Malay area would turn into a “Chinese district” as they felt only the Chinese could afford to purchase units at the luxury development. When asked how the issue was dealt with, Shytul declines to respond on behalf of PKNS, but he says the residents of the low-cost apartments were compensated with the value of their units. “When Datumcorp took over, there was no issue. It was a one-off incident and we haven’t had any problems since construction started.
“In any case, protests are not uncommon when there is a development project in a residential area. It could have initially been due to the lack of information, but once the residents were briefed, the development has been well accepted. Until now, residents of the surrounding areas such as in Lorong Enggang 1, which is next to the site, are very supportive of us. They know this type of development will enhance the value of their property.” Shytul clarifies that the site of Datum Jelatek is not a Malay Reserve land. It was reported that 1,097 bumiputera buyers had registered to buy the units.
According to LaurelCap director Stanley Toh, Datum Jelatek is located on a sizeable parcel of land conducive for a wholesome and integrated development. “Being located in a matured area, the development’s components seem suitable. The retail portion should have the correct synergy between tenant mix and size that meets the demand of residents of the surrounding area.”
Toh notes that the selling price is trending on the high side. “At RM1,163 psf, it is higher than the launching price of neighbouring projects such as Picasso, Suria Jelatek and D’Rapport. The land is also leasehold in tenure,” he notes.
Nonetheless, he believes that the project has good potential in the long run. “It has seamless access to the LRT station and is near KLCC. In my opinion, once it is completed, it will be popular among expatriates, foreigners and out-of-towners working in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. It is a good property investment.”
The most popular units at Datum Jelatek, says Shytul, are the studios and 1-bedroom units. “We have a list of buyers waiting for these to open for sale.”
Of those who bought units in Tower D, half are second-generation residents in the vicinity who want to be close to their families, according to Shytul. “Over 30 units were bought by Keramat residents while 40% of the buyers are professionals working in or close to KLCC.
“The project has also attracted buyers who have returned from abroad and have got used to taking public transport as well as Malaysians working abroad who want to invest in the country. We are also looking at retirees who want to downgrade from their bungalows for convenience and safety.”
Incorporated in January 2013, Datumcorp plans to acquire more land outside Selangor and collaborate with the private sector and government-linked companies for future projects. “We hope our ongoing development can generate some capital for future landbanking activity. PKNS will still have land but we will look beyond that. We may look [outside the state], including in Penang and Johor,” Shytul says.
This article first appeared in City & Country, a pullout of The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on Dec 5, 2016. Subscribe here for your personal copy.