City&Country: ‘Bungalows in the sky’ at Madge Mansions

Standing out from the competition can be tough and Gamuda Land, in bringing Madge Mansions to the market, has come up with a special feature for the uber-luxurious product in Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. Residents of the low-rise condovilla development will be offered a personal butler-like facility called At Your Service. The facility allows residents to have their every whim and fancy catered for. For instance, if a resident wants to organise a dinner but doesn’t have the time to arrange it, he or she  can call up the service, provide instructions and let At Your Service take care of everything. Or, it could just be simple daily needs such as picking up the dry cleaning or having a car pick up a friend from the airport.

“We will provide the service by teaming up with specialist companies so that quality is ensured,” says Chow Chee Wah, managing director of Gamuda Land, the property development arm of Gamuda Bhd. Residents will however have to pay for the service based on their requests. This will be separate from the maintenance fee, which is 50 sen psf, including the sinking fund.

Madge Mansions, in tranquil Jalan U-Thant, is born of lessons learnt from its successful landed housing developments like the 280-acre Valencia in Sungai Buloh.

The Valencia township is an exclusive gated community with a residents’ only 9-hole golf course, a club house and a Village Square. The properties range from bungalows, link bungalows and semi-detached units to terraced houses, with built-ups of 1,900 sq ft to 5,000 sq ft, with ample land area from 2,000 sq ft to 10,000 sq ft. The spacious designs and good planning have attracted both expatriates and locals.   The success of Valencia and its other landed properties has prompted Gamuda Land to infuse Madge Mansions with some of the successful elements introduced in those projects — with some extras.

“We wanted to bring a landed villa concept to city living — it’s like having a bungalow in the sky in the heart of the city,” says Chow.

With average unit sizes of about 4,500 sq ft, the product is aimed at those who wish to have lots of space and exclusivity. “The low density of only 52 units provides enough space for families while still maintaining privacy,” he says. Targeted at high net-worth individuals, the units are tagged from RM4.96 million to RM11.33 million, for an average of about RM1,320 psf.

The official launch is set for March 24 and interested parties comprise a mix of local and foreign buyers, he says. “We are looking at the local market to take up more of the units,” he adds.

The 52 units are spread over three 10-storey towers on a 2.16-acre freehold site. There are four cabana-type units with built-ups of 3,498 sq ft to 4,919 sq ft; six duplex penthouses with sizes ranging from 7,287 sq ft to 8,396 sq ft; and 42 standard units of 3,950 sq ft to 4,607 sq ft. The project’s gross development value (GDV) is RM320 million.

Each unit comes with kitchen cabinets and seven electrical appliances, including cooker hood and hob, oven, washing machine, dryer, microwave and fridge. The units are also fitted out with a sofa and dining set, along with bed frames and curtains.

Chow believes that the low-density project will allow better interaction among the neighbours and ultimately create a close-knit community. Facilities include a full glass gym, Olympic-size saltwater infinity swimming pool and a common area close to the pool that can be used by residents for poolside parties.

The developer is better known for its landed housing estate developments. Madge Mansions is a niche development that aims to provide something different and new to the market place, according to Chow. “We want to create products that make an impact,” he says. On whether the company will offer more such niche projects in future, he says that will depend on the availability of land in prime locations and the demand for such products.

Gamuda Land’s other niche project is situated on 2.94 acres in the Jalan Pudu/Robertson area in KL. It is still in the planning stages, although Chow reveals that it may have commercial and SOHO residential components to cater to young professionals who want an inner city lifestyle. Thus, the units will be smaller than those in Madge Mansions. The finer details are still being worked out.
Property prices in the Klang Valley, particularly landed homes, are increasing, but Chow believes this is in tandem with the increase in building material and land costs.

“However, compared with Singapore and Hong Kong, the Malaysia property market has sustainable appreciation rather than a speculative kind of increase as there is still a lot of supply in the Klang Valley and Johor,” he explains.

He explains that a property’s capital appreciation depends on several factors such as the quality of the product, the concept and the reliability of the developer.

“When you enter the property market, you have to be innovative and distinctive to differentiate yourself from the others,” he explains. In that way, price will not be the only consideration for buyers. “The important thing is your delivery, which will give your purchasers confidence in the developer. Once the purchasers are confident, they are your salespersons.”

Vietnam projects
Chow says come the end of FY2011 ending July 31, Gamuda Land would have exceeded RM1 billion in sales. Contributions from its projects in Vietnam will begin to be realised the following financial year, that is FY2012.

“In Ho Chi Minh City, the foundations of Celadon City will be completed by April,” says Chow. “In Vietnam, you can only start selling once the foundations are done. There is strong interest in our product from the locals as there is nothing like it in Vietnam.”

Celadon City, a township development with a GDV of RM6 billion, is a joint venture with Vietnam’s Sacomreal on a 60:40 basis with Gamuda Land. The project, on a 203-acre tract, will have residential and commercial components and be developed over seven years.

Sales of its other project in Hanoi, Gamuda City (formerly known as Yen So Park), will start in June or July. Gamuda City has a GDV of RM10 billion.  In 2007, Gamuda Land started the construction of a cultural park and sewerage treatment plant in the area and in return, was given 500 acres by the authorities for commercial and residential development. The company is developing Gamuda City on its own.

As at February 2011, Gamuda Land had unbilled sales of RM840 million. Its total landbank, including land in Vietnam, total 5,650 acres. Some 1,910 acres have yet to be developed — 700 acres in Vietnam, and the rest in Peninsular Malaysia.

In its township of Kota Kemuning, 30 acres remain undeveloped out of a total of 1,855 acres, while in Bandar Botanic,  it still has 140 acres (total of 1,240 acres) and in Valencia, 15 (out of 280 acres).

In Johor, it has 760 acres in its Horizon Hills project left to be developed out of 1,230 acres, while in Kajang, there are still 260 acres remaining out of 340 total acres in Jade Hills.

Although Gamuda Land does not have any projects or land near the proposed new MRT stations in the Klang Valley, Chow says it is not averse to joint ventures to develop land near the stations. “We are always open for landowners to joint venture with Gamuda,” he says.

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 850, Mar 21-27, 2011

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