City & Country: Making Putrajaya more exciting

Visitors to Putrajaya, Malaysia’s federal government administrative capital, are often overawed by the host of impressive government ministry buildings dotting the city’s precincts. However, on the flip side, the freehold 14,120-acre city, which is almost one-third the size of Kuala Lumpur, has rightly or wrongly been perceived as a quiet city devoid of nightlife, entertainment and commercial retail activities.

The city’s master developer, Putrajaya Holdings Sdn Bhd, has been working to erase this image and has drawn up various ambitious plans to enlarge its commercial and retail portfolio in the 20-precinct city, its chief executive Datuk Azlan Abdul Karim tells City & Country.

Putrajaya Holdings had been concentrating on completing the government buildings in Phase One from 1995 to 2000.

The focus was on the construction of government buildings in Precinct 1, which has been designated as the Government Complex Precinct.Azlan standing beside a model of a twin-villa to be developed in Precinct 8. The Yara 8 project is targeted at high net worth locals and expatriates

A few government office complexes were also built on the Core Island or the Central Business District of Putrajaya covering Precincts 2, 3 and 4.

Its first and currently the only shopping centre here, Alamanda Putrajaya in Precinct 1, opened its doors in August 2004. The RM380 million shopping mall with a retail space of 750,000 sq ft and about 3,000 parking bays, houses a Carrefour hypermarket and a Parkson department store as anchor tenants. There are also about 150 other smaller tenants.

Retail outlets in Alamanda Putrajaya are major sources of income for Putrajaya Holdings, which is 64.4%-owned by Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), while Khazanah Nasional Bhd, the federal government investment arm, holds some 15.6%, with the remaining stake held by the National Heritage Fund. The developer also generates income by leasing out government buildings and other commercial buildings in Putrajaya.

With most of the government buildings completed, the developer is now looking at enlarging its commercial and retail portfolio in the city.

It has designated 113ha or a gross floor area of 448.42 million sq ft for commercial development in four commercial clusters. The clusters are the Central Business District in the Core Island (Precincts 2, 3 and 4), the Northern Region Business District (Precinct 1), the Southern Region Business District (Precinct 5) as well as the Western Region Business District (Precincts 7 and 8).The Alamanda Putrajaya in Precinct 1, now the only shopping centre, opened its doors in August 2004

One of the most interesting upcoming commercial projects is a waterfront development in Precinct 8 inspired by Clarke Quay — a historical riverside quay in Singapore. Putrajaya Holdings plans to launch shopoffices at the waterfront of the 988.4-acre landscaped lake, one of Putrajaya’s landmarks and tourist attractions, by year-end or early next year, says Azlan.

The RM70 million project will consist of dining and entertainment outlets on Parcels 8C1 and 8C2. The six-acre development will see the establishment of a 3-storey building at the waterfront and a 4-storey building at the back. It is the first commercial project with high-end retail and alfresco dining, Azlan says.

The mostly residential Precinct 8 covers 749 acres, with 60% being developed to date. Putrajaya Holdings is also planning retail projects on the city’s south-western side in Precinct 8.

Azlan says the concept of retail development will be slightly different from Alamanda Putrajaya. The south-western development will feature a Tesco hypermarket and an auto city for car manufacturing companies to showcase their products and spare parts.
Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside Hotel is the only hotel developed by Putrajaya Holdings
New hot spot
Precinct 8 appears to be the new hot spot for commercial, retail and high-end residential developments such as the recently launched Yara 8 — an exclusive twin-villa residential project on a 3.4-acre site. The 26 semidees face the lake with a green belt along the shoreline 13m from the water’s edge to the boundary of the house.

The villas’ built-ups range from 4,722 to 5,749 sq ft. They were launched in early July, priced from RM1.8 million to RM2 million each. Each unit, with land area of 4,651 to 5,600 sq ft, comes with either a swimming pool or a reflective pond.

Yara 8 has a gross development value (GDV) of RM60 million, says Azlan. Construction began in early June, and is scheduled for completion within two years.

“We are targeting high net worth local buyers and expatriates. In Putrajaya, we are able to attract expatriates from the UK, the Middle East, Qatar, South Korea and Singapore. They like Putrajaya because it is very serene and quiet,” says Azlan, adding that it saw a 30% take-up rate within two weeks.

Putrajaya Holdings is offering a “free-and-easy” sales package for homebuyers. This package offers a 5:95 financing scheme, which allows buyers to pay 5% downpayment and continue paying the rest once the house is ready. It also provides free legal fees and stamp duty for the sale and purchase agreement, stamp duty on the memorandum of transfer, free quit rent and assessment as well as a Putrajaya Lake Club membership.

Coming up at Precinct 1 is a 3-star hotel on Parcel Z10, near Alamanda Putrajaya, to cater to business travellers. It will have 382 rooms with an average built-up of 300 sq ft per room.

Contract awarded
Putrajaya Holdings had on last Tuesday awarded the contract worth RM147.36 million to Sunway Construction Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sunway Holdings Bhd, for the proposed design, construction and completion of the 16-storey 3-star hotel with 3-storey podium and 2 levels of basement car park; as well as one block of 11-storey office tower with 2 levels of basement car park.

The construction is scheduled to start on Oct 7, with completion in three years.

It is learnt that the office tower, which is expected to have a gross floor area of 168,000 sq ft, will be kept for recurring income by the developer.

Azlan says two foreign investors have bought three land parcels in Precinct 3 to build commercial buildings. Located on Lots 3C5, 3C6 and 3C7, making up a total of five acres, there will be three blocks of 9 to 15-storey commercial buildings, with gross floor areas ranging from 400,000 to 800,000 sq ft each block. The total GDV of all three buildings is about RM800 million.

The developer is also in talks with a local investor to sell three land parcels at the waterfront in Precinct 3 for the development of commercial buildings, with a GDV of between RM700 million and RM800 million. These buildings will be leased to the private sector. However, Azlan declined to provide further information as the project was still being negotiated.

Residential launches
In Precinct 18, the developer plans to launch 98 semidees and 52 units of 2½-storey terraced houses, with a combined GDV of RM131 million by by year-end. The built-ups of the semidees range from 3,155 to 3,690 sq ft and will be priced from RM1 million. The terraced house are tagged at RM500,000, with built-ups from 2,422 to 3,260 sq ft.

In January last year, the developer launched 94 terraced houses and 58 semidees, with a total GDV of RM55 million and they have been fully sold. A terraced house of 22ft by 70ft was priced at RM420,000 to RM730,000, while a semidee of 35ft by 75ft was sold for between RM800,000 and RM1.2 million.

“Many people say properties in Putrajaya don’t have capital appreciation. In 1999, we launched terraced houses at RM230,000 but now we are launching similar properties at RM500,000,” says Azlan.

Azlan adds that the attractiveness of Putrajaya has also been enhanced by the influx of various educational institutions. An international school, Nexus World School, has been set up in Precinct 15 and is being managed by the Taylor’s Group. The school provides educational services for kindergarten, primary school, secondary school and pre-university levels.

“It opened last year and now has 231 students. It is an incentive for buyers and we are looking at other value-added services for them,” says Azlan.

Currently, the residential population in Putrajaya is about 68,228, while its working population is 34,446. Putrajaya’s residential development consists of two segments — government housing (52%) and private housing (48%).

With the various commercial and retail projects for Putrajaya progressing as planned, the city’s residents can look forward to more retail attractions and excitement in the coming years.

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 775, Oct 5-11, 2009.

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