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City&Country: Amona-- Making its mark in Lembah Pantai

Having made a name for itself in Pantai Dalam on the fringes of Kuala Lumpur city as a “white knight” for some beleaguered projects there, Amona Holdings Bhd is taking another step towards becoming a full-fledged property developer in the Klang Valley with a new residential development.

The group plans to launch Saville Bangsar @ the Park in Lembah Pantai, Kuala Lumpur, by the end of March via Amona Metro Sdn Bhd, a joint venture set up by MKH Bhd (60%) and Amona (40%). The project is coming up on a 5.3-acre freehold tract owned by Amona Holdings.

“We are ready to launch anytime after the Chinese New Year. We’ve had about about 300 registrants since 4Q last year but we have not allowed buyers to book any units yet,” group general manager Che Hasnadi Che Hassan tells City & Country.

Why jointly develop this parcel with MKH? “We were impressed by its track record and the brand is well known in the market,” Che Hasnadi explains.

Saville Bangsar @ the Park is located in Lembah Pantai, near the Bukit Gasing forest reserve and will comprise two 24-storey towers housing 408 condos and 18 three-storey twin villas.

The condos are 1,048 to 1,721 sq ft in size while the eight penthouses are 2,407 to 2,797 sq ft. There will only be eight units per floor with three lifts servicing each block. Each unit will come with two parking bays. The twin villas have built-ups ranging from 3,129 to 4,735 sq ft and come with three parking bays.

The project is aiming for a Green Building Index Silver rating and will incorporate green features such as the lighting of common areas with LED lights powered by solar panels and the recycling of rainwater to be used in common areas, says Che Hasnadi.

The project also comes with three-tiered security, with touch-points at the guardhouse, lobby and lift.

Saville Bangsar @ the Park will be equipped with a club house, a gymnasium, children’s play area and three swimming pools — an infinity pool, a children’s wading pool and a Jacuzzi spa pool. These are set on the landscaped podium that promises views of Bukit Gasing.

Prices start from RM500,000 for the condos and RM2.3 million for the twin villas, which Che Hasnadi says are affordable compared with similar developments in nearby areas such as UOA Development Bhd’s Bangsar South and YTL Group’s Pantai Hillpark.

Saville Bangsar @ the Park represents Amona’s first “proper” project as it is something the company is undertaking from scratch, albeit with a partner, explains Che Hasnadi.

The group had received the 5.3 acres as payment from Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) for rehabilitating two abandoned projects, namely 450 police barracks and Desa Aman 1, both in Pantai Dalam, comprising 60 terraced homes.

“The land previously housed squatters from KL under the government’s public longhouse scheme. After they were relocated, the land was cleared. It was never part of the gazetted green lung in Bukit Gasing,” stresses Che Hasnadi.

Moving up

Saville Bangsar @ the Park is aimed primarily at three types of buyers,  young professionals or couples, upgraders and investors.

“We are targeting discerning buyers — young professionals and married couples with comfortable incomes who are looking for comfort, security and a plethora of modern living facilities amid lush greenery,” says Che Hasnadi.

These buyers will likely come from the periphery of Bangsar South such as Pantai Dalam, Kerinchi and Gasing, although Amona Metro is also eyeing people living near the Bangsar LRT station as potential buyers. It may also attract upgraders from outlying areas such as Old Klang Road, Kelana Jaya, other parts of Petaling Jaya and Taman Seputeh, says Che Hasnadi.

He adds that the company is also looking at investors, as they believe that Saville Bangsar is strategically located with access to the major highways in the neighbourhood, namely the New Pantai Expressway (NPE) and the Federal Highway.

According to property listings online, the asking rents for a partly furnished 1,500 sq ft unit in Pantai Hillpark typically range from RM2,300 to RM2,500 per month while fully furnished units can command up to RM2,600. Meanwhile, partly furnished units with built-ups of 1,100 sq ft have asking rents of RM1,600 to RM2,000 per month while fully furnished units can go for up to RM2,200 per month.

Background
Founded in March 1992 by current group chairman Datuk Othman Ahmad, the property development company ventured gradually into construction, general trading, ICT, telecommunications and energy.

Amona’s real estate pursuits are largely in Peninsular Malaysia. Besides reviving a few housing projects in Pantai Dalam, the group has also developed 139 units of link houses and shoplots with a GDV of RM60 million and 140 units of low-to-medium-cost apartments with a GDV of RM20 million.

In Johor,  its past projects are 59 units of 4-storey shoplots in Kluang, with a GDV of RM50 million, 910 units of medium-cost apartments with a GDV of RM190 million in Tampoi and the Pontian district police headquarters in Pontian Kecil (GDV: RM60 million). Last but not least, it also developed 220 2-storey link houses with a GDV of RM25 million in Kompleks PDRM at Bukit Mentok, Kemaman, in Terengganu.

Most recently, the group embarked on a corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme in Pantai Dalam, working with DBKL to provide new stalls for hawkers who had relocated from their original place along the congested Jalan Bukit Angkasa.

The new hawker centre, which has 157 stalls and 122 parking bays, cost RM5.3 million, with RM3.3 million borne by Amona while the remainder was funded by DBKL. It was officially opened last June.

On complaints that the stalls were too small and not strategically located, Che Hasnadi says the group had built the stalls according to DBKL’s specifications. “We are in no position to question their plans,” he remarks.

According to Amona’s website, it had been involved in two township developments in Iran and the reconstruction and renovation of the Resalat offshore facilities and oil field development by the Iranian Offshore Oil Company in 2008. The group had inked a US$1.5 billion deal with the Iranian government for the project, according to news reports.  The group currently holds a 50% stake in the project.

In Ampah, Barito, in Indonesia’s Central Kalimantan, Amona also owns a 50% stake in an Indonesian company that holds a coal-mining concession spanning 2,686ha, of which 7.88 ha is currently being exploited.

Future plans
Saville Bangsar @ the Park is just the shape of things to come in Pantai Dalam, says Che Hasnadi. Indeed, Amona has grand designs for Pantai Dalam, which lies between Petaling Jaya and Bangsar in Kuala Lumpur.

The group is poised to ink a privatisation deal with DBKL to transform a 60-acre tract next to Saville Bangsar into Pantai Dalam Sentral, a mixed-use development that will feature homes, shops and offices sprouting up amid lush landscaping and a lake.

The development is set to benefit from a ramp that will connect it to the NPE, just before the Pantai Dalam toll. Currently, both parties are still finalising details of the redevelopment. The major selling point of the mixed-use development is a 85.5-acre recreational park that will cost RM20 million. It will be developed by DBKL and is expected to be completed by 2016.

Bernama has reported Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin as saying the park is expected to benefit 200,000 to 300,000 residents of Lembah Pantai.

Work on the first phase of the park, which is already 58% complete, includes clearing the area, installing lights and building car parks, pedestrian walkways, drainage systems and facilities for the disabled.

The second and third phases will entail the construction of a management office and wooden bridges, installation of furniture and signs as well as landscaping.


 

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 901, Mar 12-18, 2012

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