City&Country: Green Hill off to a good start

Green Hill Development Sdn Bhd may be the new kid on the block but it is led by a team with 50 years of combined experience. Formed only two years ago, the company is headed by good friends and co-directors Datuk Amir Arif Kamarudin and Tan Hong Lai. Amir is a professional town planner with a degree in urban and regional planning while Tan is a quantity surveyor.

“We have known each other for about 15 years, but it was only recently that we decided to start this company together,” says the 42-year-old Tan, who graduated from the University of Greenwich, UK.
Sharing a passion for building quality homes, the duo started the company in 2007, and initially envisioned it as a boutique property developer.

“However, we decided that would be limiting ourselves as we think we can produce many types of products,” says Tan. Drawing from their experience working with developers such as The Lion Group, Olympia Land Bhd, and Glomac Bhd, the two decided that “concept living” was the way to go with their first project, Greenhill Residences in Section u10, Shah Alam.

Resort-inspired living
Green Hill entered into a joint venture in 2007 to develop 75 acres of elevated land next to the Bukit Cerakah forest reserve in u10, Shah Alam, along the Shah Alam-Batu Arang Expressway, owned by Permodalan Negeri Selangor Bhd.

altIt decided to build a residential development called Greenhill Residences, consisting of twin villas and bungalows, which it considered suitable for the leasehold site.

“The development emphasises inspired resort living, targeted at families who value a nice landscaped environment and security,” says Amir.

Plans are for more than 3,000 homes with a gross development value (GDV) of RM500 million. Green Hill  hopes to complete the development in five years.

“We modelled the development after successful developments such as Setia Eco Park and Kota Kemuning and improved on them,” adds Tan.

At the entrance of the development are two 1-acre man-made lakes (known as North Lake and South Lake) sitting on five acres of open landscaped area with a bird island, a putting green, a wading deck, themed gardens, fountain, and fitness stations. This is one of the project’s unique features.

“Imagine coming home from work and being greeted by two scenic lakes on each side with the forest reserve hills as the backdrop. It would be like coming back to a resort home,” says Tan.

“Other similar developments have pockets of green in the middle but we thought it would be more attractive to have it at the front to greet residents [when they come] home,” says Amir, adding that RM4 million will be spent on the landscaping.

Also at the front is the Greenhill Waterfront commercial development, comprising 14 units of dual-frontage shop-offices facing both the South Lake and the Shah Alam-Batu Arang expressway.

“These shop-offices are strategically placed as they are easily accessible by residents and are very visible from the highway. We are happy to report that we have sold all the units and will complete construction by mid-2011,” says Tan.

The units have built-ups of 1,540 sq ft each with prices starting from RM579,900. “These units would be excellent spots for alfresco dining as they provide a view of the lakes and esplanade streetscape,” he adds.

“Our product offering is unique in the area where there are mixed developments with mainly terraced houses. Greenhill Residences will be purely semidees and bungalows and we hope to establish our project as a landmark in u10 Shah Alam,” says Tan.

He describes the area as an “affluent catchment” with other residential townships such as Cahaya SPK, Nusa Rhu and Alam Budiman nearby.

“However, we are not looking at competing with them due to our different product offering. Rather, we are hoping to grow with them,” he adds.

Good sales for first phase
Green Hill Development has seen good sales for its first development from roadshows at malls and word-of-mouth alone, says Tan.

The twin villas (semi-detached units) have an indicative land area of 4,480 sq ft and 4,704 sq ft, and built-ups from 3,000 sq ft. The units are priced from RM978,000.

Since its launch earlier this year, Green Hill has sold all 28 units of Phase A1 and 70% of the 32 units of Phase A2. Both phases have a combined gross development value (GDV) of RM98 million.

“For a new developer like us, we are very happy with the encouraging sales,” says Tan.

The twin villas feature a modern contemporary design with five bedrooms, each with its own attached bathroom.

At the twin villa show unit, Tan points out the 12ft-high ceiling and the generous driveway that can accommodate four cars.  “We have done our research and found little improvements such as these go a long way,” he says.

The twin villa has another notable feature: walking out of the kitchen at the back, one is greeted by a spacious 1,280 sq ft garden.

“Most of our visitors are pleasantly surprised to see such a spacious backyard. The space can be used to build a swimming pool or for children to run around and play,” he adds.

Tan also emphasises the use of good quality materials to construct the units.

“We believe in using quality materials as we want to ensure customer satisfaction. It is imperative that we offer quality products,” he says.

Due to the success of the twin villas, Green Hill will launch Phase 1B comprising 30 units of bungalows with a GDV of RM35 million by the end of the year. Each unit has a built-up  of 4,000 sq ft and land areas of 5,500 sq ft and 7,280 sq ft. Each unit comes with seven bedrooms and eight bathrooms. Indicative prices for the bungalows start from RM1.5 million.

Growing with the buyers
Tan adds that the buyers of the villas are a good mix of investors and owner-occupiers.

“There is a good mix of buyers who are buying to live in the units and those buying for investment. We believe in the value of capital appreciation and want our buyers to grow with us,” says Tan.

He assures that the prices of the houses will not drop before completion. “Instead, we will ensure the prices appreciate. In fact, the units we have sold have appreciated by 5% since they were launched early this year,” he says.

Certainly another motivation to purchasers is the Home Extra Easy Ownership Plan where buyers only need to pay a down payment of RM8,000 until vacant possession (VP) for the twin villas.

“Buyers will not have to pay instalments or make interest payments until the keys are handed to them. All interest charged by the banks will be borne by the developer,” says Tan.

Buyers also benefit from free legal fees for the sales and purchase agreement and loan agreement.

“In addition to that, there will be a 10% rebate for early-birds and free maintenance for two years from VP. Monthly repayments are affordable at only RM3,200 with a loan tenure of 40 years, based on 85% financing,” he adds.

Construction of the whole project is expected to be completed in five years, adds Amir.

Future plans
At the moment, only 50 acres have been approved for development. “We are still in the planning process to determine what to build on the remaining 25 acres at the back of the site,” says Tan, adding that there are plans to build another retail development next to the shopoffices.

“Although we are a new company, we have many years of experience in the industry. We have also hired the best landscape consultants, architects and designers — people who have worked with big developers,” says Tan.

Meanwhile, Green Hill is in the  process of securing 12 acres of  land in Kajang via another joint venture to build semi-detached and bungalow homes.

“We are looking at building another resort-living concept development in Kajang, which we hope to secure by 3Q2010. In the meantime, we are looking at other properties as well,” says Tan. He adds that it is the company’s strategy to increase its landbank via joint ventures.

Tan adds that the positive sentiment in the property market right now will draw buyers to their products.
“The market is very good right now because of the low-interest rates, supportive banks, and the quality of products being offered. With such positive vibes, I believe that our products will do well,” he says.

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 809, June 7-13, 2010

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