Real estate development is no longer just a business of building and selling a roof above one’s head. It has evolved over time to incorporate the value of aesthetics and thematic concepts as an expression of the desired lifestyles and well-being of the owners.
On that note, one developer has carved a niche strategy and conceived a boutique enclave for a few high-net-worth individuals within the strategically located Taman Danau Desa, a part of the 358-acre Taman Desa in Old Klang Road, Kuala Lumpur.
Faber Group Bhd’s first launch this year — the RM138 million Armada Villa residential project — is a testament to the company’s desire to take its property business a notch higher, capitalising on the trust between former customers and the company.
“This (Armada Villa) is the new millionaire’s row of Taman Desa,” says Khalid Abdul Majid, head of Faber Development Holdings Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned entity of Faber Group.
The Armada Villa comprises 46 residential units — 40 semi-detached houses and six bungalows — and is a joint venture between Faber Group and Kuala Lumpur City Hall.
City Hall is the owner of the tract on which the gated and guarded project sits, a 5.6-acre leasehold site within Taman Danau Desa and a 10-minute drive from the Kuala Lumpur city centre. Faber Group intends to convert one of the bungalow tracts into a clubhouse.
The bungalows are priced from RM4.7 million to RM7.5 million, while the semidees go for RM2.6 million to RM3.4 million. The semidees come in three designs — the 3-storey Accra and Barbados, and 3½-storey Capri. These homes will have individual land areas of 3,040 to 5,500 sq ft to accommodate built-ups of 3,833 to 4,549 sq ft.
The 3-storey bungalow units have land areas of 7,100 to 12,800 sq ft, with built-ups of 5,116 to 7,881 sq ft. These units come in five designs — Andaman, Bahamas, Catalonia, Danube and Florence. The Andaman and Danube come with private swimming pools. The standard semidees come with five rooms, while the bungalows have up to seven rooms.
According to Khalid, the construction of Armada Villa, to be built using reinforced concrete, started last month and is expected to be completed within three years. Reinforced concrete refers to concrete with metal and mesh added into the building material to offer firmer support for a building.
Khalid says these houses will have high ceilings, alarm systems, solar water heaters as well as “green features”, such as rainwater-harvesting systems. Armada Villa is targeted at upgraders and investors, some of whom have purchased properties from Faber before, he adds.
“We were confident when we launched that at least half would be taken up,” he says. The developer has sold 25, or 55%, of the units offered at the launch on April 3 and 4.
In terms of value, the 25 units accounted for RM75 million or 54% of Armada Villa’s gross development value of RM138 million. Historical numbers have shown that property prices within the area have appreciated substantially.
According to Khalid, prices for its Danau Villa 3-storey link semidees nearby have doubled over the last few years. The units, priced at RM700,000 each at the launch in 2005, are now worth between RM1.3 million and RM1.4 million. Other units, which were initially priced at about RM1 million each, are now valued at between RM1.7 million and RM1.8 million.
Faber Group has had a presence in Taman Desa for more than three decades. According to its corporate profile, Faber Group’s initial real estate initiative in Taman Desa was in 1974, comprising link houses and semidee bungalows, which were completed in 1979.
Its first commercial property project, known as Faber Plaza, was undertaken in 1977 and finalised in 1980. Taman Desa has since evolved into a notable real estate spot. The enclave, originally surrounded by jungle and rubber estates, is now considered a strategic area, with its proximity to Mid Vallley Megamall and other landmarks along Old Klang Road.
Khalid says most of the tracts in Taman Desa have been used for property projects, and that the 5.6 acres for Armada Villa is the second last portion to be developed.
The final portion, on which the developer intends to develop link villas, is a 2.7-acre site located between Danau Villa and Armada Villa. Khalid says the project is due for launch in August this year.
The expansion of Faber Group’s real estate operations is worth noting. In an interview with The Edge Financial Daily in December last year, Faber Group managing director Adnan Mohammad said the company planned to launch some RM500 million worth of properties in the Klang Valley in 2010, including semidee and bungalow units under phase four and five of its Laman Rimbunan project in Kepong, as well as landed residential properties under its phase 1A (Fleet) project within Taman Desa.
Adnan indicated that Faber hoped to secure more joint ventures with landowners, an expansion method more economical than land acquisition. The property developer, with undeveloped land across the Klang Valley and Sabah, is also eyeing opportunities in Johor Baru and Penang.
Faber’s real estate business contributed 15%, or RM122.5 million, of its total revenue of RM805.28 million in FY2009. Its ongoing property projects include the Laman Rimbunan mixed project in Kepong, Kuala Lumpur, and Taman Hilltop Perdana in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
Faber’s other businesses include a 15-year concession, ending in October 2011, to offer facilities management services to 79 government hospitals in Perlis, Kedah, Penang and Perak, as well as Sabah and Sarawak.
Abroad, Faber’s track record in the UAE will serve as a springboard into the facilities management market in other Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 801, Apr 12-18, 2010