City&Country: First water park condo in Penang

Penang-based developer Island LandCap Properties Group upholds five core values — perfectionism, dedication, innovation, integrity and passion — and its executive chairman Oon Weng Boon hopes that building on these core values will make the company the preferred developer for innovative and premium properties.

The 42-year-old Penangite hopes he can help the government fulfil its home ownership programme while ensuring that its properties and developments provide good investment value to buyers.

“We put in a lot of effort to develop excellent workmanship, and this is our commitment to purchasers. We want our buyers to own blue-chip properties in terms of capital appreciation and rental yields. My previous projects have become landmarks because of their designs. We will keep improving (our projects) by being creative and innovative. If you do not innovate, others will outperform you,” he says.

Oon is the chairman of the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce’s Young Entrepreneurs Section. A science graduate with a major in physics and a minor in management from Universiti Sains Malaysia, he already knew he wanted to be a property developer when he was in his second year at university.

After all, he says, physics and property development share similar principles that have served as the foundation for his career in property development.

“My vision was to become a businessman and venture into property development. After graduation, I worked in a property consulting agency as a marketing manager for about seven years,” he tells City & Country in Kuala Lumpur.

Slowly but surely, he worked towards his dream and in 2000, he and a business partner set up Island LandCap. Since its first project, the 10-acre Taman Tun Hussein Onn in Seberang Jaya, it has developed eight projects on Penang’s mainland with a total gross development value of RM200 million.

Taman Tun Hussein Onn is the first 2½-storey residential scheme in Penang, and has a gross development value (GDV) of RM50 million. Oon purchased the freehold land in the late 1990s.

Pinang Laguna and Palma Laguna
The developer’s emphasis on innovation is evident  in its latest project on the mainland — the Pinang Laguna and Palma Laguna condo project — dubbed the first water park condominium project in Penang. This RM200 million project, on seven acres of freehold land in Seberang Jaya, will also feature the tallest building in Butterworth. It is the single largest project in Butterworth with a GDV of RM200 million.

The first block is the 27-storey Pinang Laguna with 350 units. It was soft-launched at end-2009 and was 90% taken up by July last year. The units have built-ups ranging from 935 to 1,010 sq ft.

Island LandCap subsequently launched the second tower called Palma Laguna in August last year, offering 382 units with built-ups ranging from 1,040 to 1,100 sq ft. The 38-storey Palma Laguna, slated to be the tallest building in Butterworth with the tallest sky garden in Penang, has seen a 75% take-up.

Its buyers are mostly young, local couples aged 21 to 35. The units are priced from RM200,000 to RM270,000. The project also has a medium-cost apartment component comprising 220 units.

A unique living experience
The water park is sustainable, Oon says, describing it as an enhanced version of an ordinary swimming pool offering more than 20 types of water activities.

“The water park spans over 50,000 sq ft and will provide a unique living experience that only residents can enjoy. This is a result of the company’s emphasis on innovation. Purchasers nowadays do not just buy a home, they buy a new living experience, lifestyle and concept. The younger generation especially does not go for ordinary homes. The trend here is now for a gated environment and a high-rise condominium lifestyle,” Oon notes.

The water park will have facilities like a multi-layer water fountain, a lap pool, an outdoor Jacuzzi and spa, a 100m adventure “river”, integrated children’s water playground, an aqua tower, water slides, a wading pool, water tunnel and children’s pool. The Laguna Island, which is within the water park, will offer water sports like pool volleyball and basketball, plus there will be a clubhouse with a cafeteria, a gymnasium and a BBQ area.

Having a comprehensive water park could mean higher maintenance fees, but Oon says the maintenance cost will be minimal because the design of the water park facilitates easy maintenance.

“The lap pool is 4ft (deep), the children’s pool is about 12 inches, while the wading pool is 2ft,” Oon notes.

He likes scouting out new buildings and staying in 5- or 6-star hotels for inspiration. He is also a strong believer in corporate branding to promote the company’s core values.

He adds that many parties have approached Island LandCap for joint ventures. Currently, the company has about 30 acres of landbank (its own land and that of its joint-venture partners) on Penang island as well as on the mainland.

“Property development is a localised industry. My plan for the next five years is to
venture into Kuala Lumpur. My preference is still outright purchase [of land]. I also hope that my company can be IPO-ready in the next five to seven years,” he says.

Going forward, Oon is positive on the property market in Butterworth, especially once the second Penang bridge is completed and the first carriageway as well as the development of a 1000-acre industrial site in Batu Kawan is ready in 2014.

“The 1000-acre industrial site in Batu Kawan is currently under construction. Together with the better accessibility (via the two carriageways that are expected to help traffic move smoothly between the island and mainland), these will give the supporting industries on the mainland a boost,” says Oon.


This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 852, Apr 4-10, 2011

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