City&Country: E&O’s Quayside sees benchmark pricing

Condominium launches at Eastern & Oriental Bhd’s (E&O) Seri Tanjung Pinang development in Penang have been setting benchmark prices for luxury condos on the island.

“The prices of our properties at Seri Tanjung Pinang reflect the market’s acceptance of our pricing levels as fair and commensurate with the value that we offer. We experience a high conversion rate when potential buyers visit the site and see for themselves the existing homes, amenities, landscaping and seafront setting of Seri Tanjung Pinang,” E&O executive director Eric Chan tells City & Country.

Micheal Geh of Raine & Horne International Zaki + Partners Penang had revealed when commenting on The Edge /Raine & Horne International Zaki + Partners Penang Housing Property Monitor for 2Q2010 that the “benchmark price is moving from RM750 psf to RM1,000 psf for newly launched condominiums there.”

Tower 1 of the first high-rise development within Seri Tanjung Pinang known as Quayside was launched in February at an average of RM700 psf and has seen a 70% take-up.

“Our buyers were local Penangites from Kuala Lumpur and Penangites who are living elsewhere looking to purchase properties there, as well as countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong and China,” says Chan.

The developer launched Tower 2 early September at an average price of RM770 psf with a more regional target. It held launches in Beijing and Tokyo. So far, 30% have been taken up. In fact, a  few choice units in Tower 2 were recently sold at RM900 psf.

Quayside has a gross development value of RM1.8 billion on a 21-acre freehold tract right next to the marina. It comprises seven blocks of condominiums (7 to 28 storeys) with a total of 1,208 units, housed in five high-rise towers and two low-rise seven-storey towers. It also includes a 4.5-acre private waterpark and clubhouse. The private park is about the size of 2½ football fields.

“Quayside offers a unique seafronting position, and residents of choice units get views of the Andaman Sea, Gurney Drive and Penang Hill.

“Aside from great views of the sea and innovative designs, residents can enjoy Straits Quay and its unique offerings,” Chan says.  There are 298 condominium units within Towers 1 and 2. Depending on market conditions, Chan says they plan to launch the two low-rise seven-storey condominiums next.

Located just 15 minutes from George Town and five minutes’ drive to Gurney Drive, the freehold Seri Tanjung Pinang launched its first homes back in 2005. The Ariza courtyard terraces sold from RM735,000 while similar units were sold during its second launch a year later from RM795,000. Ariza terraces are 2 ½ -storey terraced homes with built-ups from 3,200 to 3,800 sq ft. The final launch of Ariza in 2009 saw the homes being sold from RM1.15 million.

According to Waterside Realty principal Ang Boon Beng, recent secondary market transactions for the first launched Ariza courtyard terraced homes have shown prices reaching around RM1.15 million to RM2 million. “The market is active there. We have seen many local buyers, and some of them are Penangites living elsewhere but buying for investment purposes or for their families. The Ariza seafront terraced homes have also set a benchmark pricing for such homes in Penang, at RM1.5 million recently,” he says.

Aside from property development, the E&O group has been present in Penang via its hospitality and lifestyle division with the E&O Hotel.

In fact, the E&O Hotel, built in 1885, is currently undergoing extension works and the annexe is expected to be completed next year.

Meanwhile, upgrading works of  its Lone Pine Hotel was recently completed and it has since reopened on Nov 1. Back in 1996, E&O first acquired the land where Lone Pine’s signature restaurant, The Bungalow, was sited. The acquisition of the entire Lone Pine Hotel was completed in 2008.

Seri Tanjung Pinang
Seri Tanjung Pinang is Penang island’s largest seafront development. Besides that, it is also one-of-its-kind as the developer plans to have water limousine service to transport guests/visitors to and from E&O Hotel just 15 minutes away sometime next year, as well as Penang’s first retail marina Straits Quay which will open end-November.

Seri Tanjung Pinang, as a whole, involved the reclamation of 980 acres, based on a multi-island and headland concept. When completed, it will comprise seafront villas, courtyard terraces and semi-detached homes, condominiums, commercial and retail precincts, recreational parks, marina and sea-facing esplanades. The whole development consists of two phases.

“The first phase is 240 acres with a GDV of RM3 billion. It is 90% completed. Phase two is being planned to be even more international,” Chan says.

Also within the first phase of Seri Tanjung Pinang is the Suites at Straits Quay comprising 217 one to two-bedroom serviced apartments with built-ups of 850 to 2,753 sq ft. Launched within three phases, the first 160 units were sold between RM520 psf and RM730 psf in mid-2007. The last 33 units were tagged from RM780 psf to RM860 psf in mid-2009.

Straits Quay is a 270,000 sq ft retail hub offering a wide range of amenities including alfresco dining, gourmet restaurants, cafés & bistros, wine bars, spas and fashion boutiques. The developer plans to open its biggest Delicious outlet there, as well as Royal Selangor’s northern flagship retail store. The 12.4-acre retail enclave is scheduled to open end-November.

““When potential buyers visit the site and see for themselves the existing homes, amenities, landscaping and seafront setting of Seri Tanjung Pinang, they see it and believe it. It is no longer just a concept,” says Chan.

While E&O has seen a high number of repeat buyers, he adds that they have also experienced a high conversion rate, or rather, people wanting to upgrade or invest in Seri Tanjung Pinang once they have seen and experienced the township.

He says it is the E&O passion to create a lifestyle for their homebuyers and guests. “Seri Tanjung Pinang is like the new Damansara Heights of Penang but here we are actually building on our heritage,” he stresses.

Penang’s property market was somewhat insulated from the effects of the downturn and the outlook remains positive, he says. “The series of post-crisis property launches is a clear barometer of this. Local demand continues to drive the property market there.

“Foreign demand should also be on the rise based on factors such as foreign direct investment making a strong comeback to the island and this is highly positive in terms of spurring expatriate demand for residential properties and Penang being a favourite Malaysia My Second Home destination,” he elaborates. Chan adds that George Town’s listing as a Unesco World Heritage Site has enhanced the appeal of Penang and the overall demand for properties was also encouraged by the significantly increased air connectivity.

Chan says Penangites have always had very strong purchasing power, as evident by the number of locals buying Seri Tanjung Pinang homes. “Their mantra may be ‘value for money’, but they are willing to pay if the product is worth it. I am glad to say when E&O came onto the scene, we were able to fill the dearth of distinctive quality homes and an overall innovative world-class development project, which has evidently appealed to the Penang market,” he says. Penangites, he adds are among the most discerning markets, they look for capital appreciation, location (accessibility), design and aesthetics, and master planning.

Meanwhile, the developer plans to launch 33 units of villas-by-the-sea and super semi-dees soon, also within the first phase of Seri Tanjung Pinang.  While they are still in the midst of determining the pricing, the villas have built-ups of 5,678 to 10,403 sq ft while the semidee built-ups are around 5,913 sq ft. Aside from that, E&O will also launch the remaining Quayside towers as well as seafront terraces next year.

Going forward, Chan says aside from Penang, they will continue looking at the Klang Valley for future developments as they are familiar with the Klang Valley after being involved in pocket developments there. High-end developments in Kuala Lumpur by the developer include Dua Residency condominium along Jalan Tun Razak and Seventy Damansara comprising 12 exclusive bungalows tagged back in 2006 from RM6 million to RM8 million.

Dua Residency units were sold around RM600 psf, and upon completion in 2007, the price soared to about RM1,700 psf. In addition to that, Idamansara in Damansara Heights — comprising 82 semidees and 9 bungalows — was launched in 2006, with RM3 million for semidees that are now going for RM4 million.

Meanwhile, St Mary Residences in Jalan Tengah, comprising three towers of serviced apartments and a retail podium, was officially launched at the end of last year. It is strategically located within the central business district of Kuala Lumpur and is being jointly developed with the Lion Group. Two of the three towers have seen a 75% take-up. The third tower is to be returned to The Synod of the Diocese of West Malaysia as consideration for the land.

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 833, Nov 22-28, 2010

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