City&Country: Coming home to a garden in Seri Pilmoor

Visitors to the gated and guarded Seri Pilmoor development in Ara Damansara, Petaling Jaya, are greeted by an unusual looking guardhouse. Not only does it sit on elevated land, but its walls are almost completely camouflaged with creepers. The boom barriers are also located further away from the small structure, making it a far less imposing sight.

This was the first of many unconventional features City & Country found during a visit to the high-end residential enclave in the 762-acre Ara Damansara township developed by Sime Darby Property Bhd.
Seri Pilmoor is among the handful of residential plots left in Ara Damansara, and the developer seems to have saved the best for last.

The most exclusive development built by Sime Darby Property thus far, Seri Pilmoor has a gross development value of RM469 million. Comprising 74 bungalows located in precincts Bayu Utara and Bayu Selatan and 34 semi-detached homes in precinct Bayu Timur, this stratified freehold project was launched on March 12.

Sime Darby Property managing director Datuk Tunku Putra Badlishah Tunku Annuar explains that the project was named after Pilmoor Estate, which once occupied what is now known as Ara Damansara. Since “seri” means light, Seri Pilmoor is a place “luminously splendid in its beauty”, according to the developer.

The theme of the 28-acre project, spanning two sites separated by a man-made lake, was decided with the Green Building Index (GBI) in mind. The bungalows take up 22 acres while across the lake, the semidees utilise six acres. Both “sites” have their own entrances and guardhouses.

Tunku Putra Badlishah says the developer wants the project to be as user-friendly as possible and for residents to come home to a garden instead of a “fortress”.

Transverse layout
The homes, in a departure from the norm, boast a transverse layout and a wide frontage of 100ft — similar to colonial-style homes. This layout also offers better ventilation and views.

“The transverse layout of the units follows the path of the sun which keeps the home cool and thus reduces energy consumption; otherwise needed to cool down the place. Such a layout, with a relatively wider glass façade, also permits the flow of more natural light into the living room and bedrooms,” Tunku Putra Badlishah tells City & Country.

It is noteworthy that construction materials used in the project are from renewable and recycled sources, such as bamboo for the floor and asphalt shingles for the roof. Also, the ratio of homes to greenery has been set at 50:50.

The low-density project will see each acre housing only four semidees or 2.5 bungalows. There will be, in total, 108 units of 2½-storey bungalows and semidees with rooftops, which the developer calls “pavilions”. Buyers can choose their own pavilion layout — open or entertainment deck or garden — that will feature either a water treadmill, Jacuzzi or reflection pond.

With built-ups starting at 6,500 sq ft, the bungalows come in three designs and six different pavilion layouts while the semidees, with a built-up of 4,600 sq ft, offer two different pavilion layouts. The bungalows cost RM4.57 million onwards and the semidees RM2.8 million onwards.

The monthly maintenance fee will be from RM800 to RM1,200, depending on the lot size.

Green belts
“Seri Pilmoor will adopt an open concept but we do have a privacy wall made of clay bricks for a natural look. We have many green belts within the development [with trees] and the bedrooms are designed in such a way that all of them will have a view of a green belt,” says Tunku Putra Badlishah.

Sime Darby Property also worked with a Chinese feng shui expert on the project. According to the developer, the feng shui reading is that the site gets life-giving Qi from the surrounding hills.

“That’s why 90% of the units here are north-south-oriented [after feng shui consultation]. Some units are east-west-oriented which we can’t avoid, but these are fronting the lake [water body] which also brings Qi into these homes,” he adds.

Residents are not allowed to park their cars along the road or the “plazas” — these areas have been designated by the developer as common areas for leisure activities or playgrounds, following the “kampung” style of living.

Residents have to park their cars in their porch or on their 30ft-wide driveway, which can accommodate at least four vehicles.

Visitors are not allowed to drive up to the homes. They have to leave their vehicles in the allocated visitors parking area.

True to the digital smart-home concept, each home will be equipped with fibre-optic cables that can support up to 10Mb broadband services as well as home communication. This means residents will be able to, for instance, make video conferencing calls to medical specialists and consultants in the Sime Darby Medical Centre in Subang Jaya.

Security wise, a non-lethal electric fence with the intelligent intrusion detection system — which is capable of detecting and differentiating between an intrusion and a false alarm — will be installed.

The 2-storey residents-only clubhouse, dubbed The Lanai, features a swimming pool and wading pool, a play space for children and a meeting room. The open area on the ground floor, with a kitchenette, discussion room and washroom, can accommodate 100 people for parties.

With the development of Seri Pilmoor, the developer will be left with only 45 acres undeveloped in Ara Damansara which was launched in 1995. These undeveloped parcels comprise mainly prime commercial land tracts.

Projects on the developer’s drawing board are super high-end executive suites, a community square and other commercial projects.

Before Seri Pilmoor, the developer unveiled Ara Hill, a mix of high-rise and low-rise villas. A total of 218 units were launched in November 2006, followed by another 182 units a year later. So far, about 91% of the units have been sold. The remaining units are all of the high-rise type.

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 797, Mar 15 - 21, 2010

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