City & Country: DA Land’s one-stop family holiday destination

The TWO spans 51.06 acres and will have an estimated GDV of RM5 bil

JUST several months after the launch, the first phase of the 75-acre LakeClub Parkhome development in Rawang, Selangor — the maiden project of DA Land Sdn Bhd —  has been fully sold.

While many new developers would be content to take it easy and bask in the afterglow of a successful launch, DA Land is ready to take on a much more ambitious and complex project, The TWO, on a nearby 51.06 acre site.

Despite the smaller land size, the gross development value (GDV) of the first phase of The TWO is RM1.36 billion — more than double that of LakeClub Parkhome’s GDV of RM500 million.

The TWO is an acronym for theme park resort, wholesale city and outlet mall, DA Land founder and managing director Derek Chew reveals when City&Country caught up with him recently.

The development will have all three of those components, and more — a bold undertaking for a company that has only been in the business for a little more than two years.

“Thus far, DA Land has only handled residential projects. With the launch of The TWO, DA Land will be dabbling in commercial, retail, hospitality and entertainment projects. This is a huge step for the company and I do think we have the reputation, strength and expertise to pull this off well,” says Chew.

Millions of Malaysians and international tourists use the North-South Expressway every year. This is the market we want to capture. — Chew

DA Land plans to publicly announce the project on Nov 11 during a joint-venture signing ceremony with Unusual Entertainment of Singapore, which will be operating the purpose-built entertainment arena at The TWO.

Unusual Development — a firm under the Unusual group of companies —  manages the MAX Pavilion at the Singapore Expo, where artistes such as My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, FT Island, Kenny G, Lee Min Ho, Michael Bolton and The Wanted have performed.

According to Chew, the “DA” in DA Land means “big” in Mandarin. Since his foray into property development, Chew, a lawyer by training, has managed to accumulate about 200 acres of land in Rawang.

DA Land’s first project is minutes away from the site of The TWO. LakeClub Parkhome, a leasehold development, will be launched in four phases and is slated to be completed in 2017.

Chew says there are now more developments and infrastructure being built in the Rawang area, with three highways and federal roads being widened. The establishment of hypermarkets such as Tesco and Giant in recent years is another sign of confidence in Rawang.

Chew owns Houz Depot Sdn Bhd, Sunhom Sdn Bhd and Taisun Industries Sdn Bhd, which come under the umbrella of the Houz group of companies. The group has about 10 years’ experience in mall management. DA Retail Management Sdn Bhd was the former retail consultant of AEON, while the group also manages Pelangi Damansara, Selangor, and Odeon, Kuala Lumpur.

A mammoth project

The TWO has an estimated GDV of about RM5 billion. When completed, it will have retail components, including wholesale and premium outlet malls, outdoor and indoor theme parks, a convention centre, a hotel and an office tower. There will also be a residential component coming up in the future.

But is Rawang ready for such a mammoth project? Chew is confident about his project. DA Land acquired the parcel due to its location on the North-South Expressway, he says.

“Millions of Malaysians and international tourists use the North-South Expressway every year. This is the market we want to capture. My aim is to provide a one-stop solution for affordable holidays for families.

“We are really in need of an easily accessible tourist hub with various entertainment options where people can stay and have fun while being able to shop for both branded and affordable goods,” he says.

Among The TWO’s advantages is a direct link to an interchange on the North-South Expressway.

Chew is also targeting the Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya market. The TWO , he notes, is only about 20 minutes from Damansara.

The TWO will be built in four phases. Phase one will be the largest, spanning 14.24 acres. Phase two will take up 9.78 acres and phase three, 11.72 acres. The remaining 8.71 acres will be set aside for phase four.

The indoor theme park at The TWO will more than double the size of Berjaya Time Square’s

The outdoor and indoor theme parks will be located in the heart of the development.

The outdoor theme park will occupy about nine acres while the indoor theme park will have three floors and a total size of 346,800 sq ft, which is larger than Berjaya Time Square’s theme park of about 133,000 sq ft. The group is in the final negotiations for a joint venture with an international theme park management company.

The entrance fee to the theme park will be “very affordable”. “We are thinking of giving customers the option of paying for each ride if they do not wish to buy a day pass,” Chew says.

The total net lettable area (NLA) for phase one will be 1,173 million sq ft. Phase two will have a total NLA of 952,767 sq ft (excluding the two apartment blocks) and phase three, 944,770 sq ft. Phase four is still in the planning stages.

The indoor and outdoor theme parks will be located in the heart of the development

The first phase

The first phase of The TWO will house a retail mall with six floors, two tower blocks comprising a hotel and an office suite, an eight-level car park and a convention and exhibition hall with a seating capacity of 8,000. As part of its corporate social responsibility, the developer will build a 15,000 sq ft public library with reading areas in the mall.

The built-up of the mall and car park in phase one will be 1,651,584 sq ft while the built-up of the two tower blocks will be about 983,194 sq ft.

DA Land will officially launch the retail component of phase one in the next few months. With sizes ranging from 171 to 1,629 sq ft, the retail space will have an indicative price of between RM420,000 and RM5.05 million.

Chew says the response during its road shows  in Singapore has been good.

DA Land has indicated that it plans to release only about 45% of phase one. The rest will be kept for future recurring income.

Chew says the group will manage the retail and wholesale components of The TWO and go into joint ventures with more experienced companies for the event, hotel and theme park components.

For the hotel component, DA Land is in final discussions with several international hotel brands to manage the hotel. While Chew is not able to disclose any names at the moment, he says the hotel will be “between three and four stars”.

The hotel at The TWO will house 190 rooms and 722 suites. It will have a grand lobby and facilities that include swimming pools and banquet and meeting rooms. Room sizes are expected to be between 350 and 450 sq ft.

There’s bound to be naysayers for a development of this scale in Rawang. What does he think of those who believe that DA Land might be biting off more than it can chew?

“Well, each time I face a problem, it becomes an incentive to perform even better. We will just focus on doing our best,” he says.

On top of the 200 acres it has in Rawang, DA Land also has three acres in Kota Damansara and another three acres in Kuala Lumpur, opposite the SOGO shopping mall on Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, which Chew acquired over the past decade. These parcels are slated for future commercial developments.

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on November 11, 2013.


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