City & Country: F3 Capital setting benchmarks in Selayang

Vignesh: We want to introduce a development concept to elevate and upgrade the lifestyle of people around here. We want to bring better living standards and more modern types of developments.

F3 CAPITAL SDN BHD, which has carved out a niche developing pockets of land formerly owned by the government and government-linked companies (GLCs), started in 2001 as a property consultancy. With the experience gained from working with Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) and Magna Prima Bhd in 2004, it transitioned into a fully fledged property developer.

To date, F3 Capital has five developments under its belt, including Urban 360 in Gombak, Univ 360 Place in Seri Kembangan and Dua Menjalara in Menjalara.

It is currently developing Selayang 18 in Bandar Baru Selayang, which like its other projects, is coming up on TM’s land parcel for which F3 Capital was the highest bidder.

CEO Vignesh Naidu says, “Our approach to bidding … some may wonder as all our projects are on Telekom land … what is our position, how do we do this bidding?

“We always bid very high, we bid way above market price in order to win it. This is because we see that by the time we actually execute the development, there will be a lot of enhancement in the land value. So we are bidding for something of a future value rather than the current value.”

Selayang 18 is an integrated development with a gross development value of RM253 million, comprising two 22-storey blocks of serviced apartments and four storeys of commercial units in an independent block called Edge 18. Both components have been on sale since June. The entire development has a total built-up of 509,326 sq ft, on a 3.2-acre leasehold parcel that expires in 2113.

The design incorporates ample greenery, with landscaping a key feature that is merged with the architecture. Selayang 18 will feature skyroof gardens to take advantage of the surrounding views of nature and vertical landscape elements on its façade for aesthetic appeal.

The development will be the first of its kind in the area as it caters for a more upmarket crowd compared with existing condominiums. Residential units in the vicinity at present mainly comprise low-rise terraced houses, semi-detached homes and bungalows.

“If you look at all our projects, I would say they have a socio-economic rationale to them. We want to introduce a development concept to elevate and upgrade the lifestyle of people around here. We want to bring better living standards and more modern types of developments,” Vignesh tells City & Country.

“In Selayang, everything looks a bit aged. We wanted to introduce a new, completely fresh look. The idea was to introduce development standards of high quality and designs similar to Mont’Kiara, Hartamas and Bangsar to KL North’s new growth area — Selayang. If you look at it, we’re not too far from the city centre. How do you bring that kind of standard? This project will set a new benchmark for Selayang,” he explains.

Selayang 18 (above), comprising two 22-storey blocks of serviced apartments and four storeys of commercial units, and its façade (below)

Construction is due to start after Chinese New Year and expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2016. The development, when completed, will be the tallest in Bandar Baru Selayang and offer breathtaking views of forest reserves in the nearby Forest Research Institute Malaysia.

Of the 360 units of serviced residences offered, priced from RM421,000 to RM636,000, 80% were taken up in pre-sales. However, the penthouses, measuring 1,914 to 3,371 sq ft and priced at RM949,000 to RM1.62 million, are still available.

Vignesh notes that most buyers come from Selayang, and from Kepong, Rawang, Gombak and Jalan Ipoh.

“The potential buyers for the penthouses will include business people from Bandar Baru Selayang. If you look at the area, there are a lot of industrial areas, factories and SMEs (small and medium enterprises). Large business owners may want to move from a normal house to a penthouse for more security and comfort, so we would target this kind of market. The price range of RM1 million to RM1.6 million is actually not too expensive. Houses today in Bandar Baru Selayang can be much more expensive. People may want this instead,” he says.

The eight commercial units offered for sale at Edge 18, priced at between RM2.65 million and RM3.6 million, have been taken up since June 2013. The developer will retain the remaining 10 units for rent, although rentals have yet to be finalised.

“The idea behind Edge 18 is to bring more services here, for instance banks, financial institutions, companies, telecommunications companies and brands like Starbucks, Coffee Bean, Plan B and possibly a grocer. I want to upgrade the services you get here.

“Our position to the state government was to bring better quality living to this area. This project, in the eyes of the state government, is to be the catalyst in Bandar Baru Selayang,” he adds.

As part of this initiative, F3 Capital will upgrade the roads in the vicinity.

Moving forward
F3 Capital will be collaborating with LGT Sdn Bhd and Genting Highlands Bhd on a premium project in Jalan Belfield, Kuala Lumpur. The development, on a 4.5-acre freehold parcel, is targeted for a soft launch in late March.

LGT, which stands for Lim Goh Tong, is a family enterprise mainly made up of the children and widow of the late Genting Group founder Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong. LGT engaged F3 Capital to be the development partner in charge of marketing, sales and execution of the project. Genting Highlands Bhd will be the project manager. The chairman of LGT is Datuk Lim Chee Wah, and the directors are Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay and Vignesh. Puan Sri Lee Kim Hua, the wife of Lim Goh Tong, is one of the shareholders.

LGT Green, which is also known as Hijauan LGT, will be a RM1.5 billion GDV mixed-use development consisting of a 33-storey Grade A office tower (Tower A), a 43-storey tower of small office/liveable office (SoLo) units (Tower B), and a 46-storey tower of serviced residences (Tower C). The SoLo units are similar to the more commonly known SoHos.

“Tower A will be GBI Gold certified and Tower B and C, GBI certified. There is a very deep ecological theme to the entire development,” says Vignesh.

“LGT Green … why green? First, if you look at the Jalan Belfield area, it is all green at the moment. It’s a very quiet area and we decided to introduce a concept in KL … which will maintain that green aspect. We decided to hire Datuk Dr Ken Yeang of T.R. Hamzah & Yeang Sdn Bhd, one of the most renowned eco-green architects in Malaysia and the region.

“The concept is to create a new benchmark of green development in KL. A lot has been said about green development but how do you introduce that concept and see it through — from the materials that are going to be used to the design concept? It will also have a three-dimensional park, a lifestyle centre and an open concept,” Vignesh adds.

LGT Green will have a total built-up of 2.7 million sq ft, with units ranging from 750 to 1,500 sq ft. “We are looking at about RM1,300 to RM1,500 psf but have not finalised the pricing yet,” he says.

He is confident that the project will be able to command this kind of pricing. “If you look at the supply that we’re bringing to the market, in terms of serviced residences, we only have 331 units so that’s not much actually. Even the SoLos are only 175 units. The stratified offices, we’re selling to private buyers. I think the supply is not going to be too overbearing and the kind of network and interest that we have … people are all excited over this project given the location. So we’ll just wait and see how the market shapes up this year.

“You will have a Kenny Hills in Belfield, but you’re five minutes from KL Sentral, 10 minutes from the city. And you still have that privacy and that exclusivity where you wake up in the morning and can still hear birds chirping. That’s difficult to find in a city-like environment,” he notes.

With the deadline for the full implementation of Asean Economic Community (AEC) as part of the Asean Free Trade Area (AFTA) agreement drawing to a close in 2015, Vignesh expects a higher influx of professionals such as architects, designers and lawyers coming into the country in 2014. These comprise the target market for the SoLo units.

Construction work is expected to commence in the second half of the year, with the project slated for completion in 2018.

On its own, says Vignesh, F3 Capital will continue to look at the unlocking of GLC lands. “We are looking at a number of opportunities. Hopefully next year, we’ll have one project nearer to Gombak. We are also exploring another project on the fringes of the city centre. We will continue to do that as that’s our main thrust.

“Of course the experience that working on LGT Green will bring to us will allow us to participate in more high-end projects in the future,” he says.

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on January 13, 2014.

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