City&Country: Green office building in Golden Triangle

Berjaya Land recently launched its latest commercial project, a 46-storey green office tower in Kuala Lumpur's Golden Triangle.

The freehold Ritz Corporate Suites office tower, located at the corner of Jalan Ampang and Jalan Sultan Ismail, is next to the Ritz-Carlton Residences — a serviced apartment tower. A retail podium connects the two.

altMah Siew Wan, Berjaya Land senior general manager of properties marketing tells City & Country that the office office tower is designed to obtain the Gold Green Mark certification from Singapore's Building and Construction Agency. "We are going for the Green Mark as the certification is more established than Malaysia's new Green Building Index," says Mah.

She says unit owners and the building management will benefit from the office tower's eco-friendly building management technology as it will minimise utilities usage and create a healthy working environment.
Among the smart green features are floor destination control system lifts to reduce waiting time, a smart building management system for monitoring and minimising power and utilities usage and a carbon dioxide monitoring system on all floors.

"The carbon dioxide level monitoring system checks the level of carbon dioxide in the office. Too much carbon dioxide in the air and employees become sleepy and lethargic. Once the system detects an unusually high level of carbon dioxide it will release more oxygen into the environment," Mah explains.

The tower will have 2.9m-high ceilings to ensure efficient airflow and ventilation, while an intelligent air-conditioning system that incorporates a variable refrigeration volume system will maintain a constant temperature inside the office despite changes in the weather outside.

Mah says the construction of the office tower on a 2.7-acre site has begun and is expected to take about three years. The foundations and basement car park structure have been completed. The office tower itself has a potential gross development value (GDV) of RM500 million, she says.

Strata titles
The office lots are for sale, which Mah says is an advantage in the market as there are few strata offices available for sale.

"Currently, all the office buildings in the Golden Triangle are sold on an en-bloc basis to institutional investors or for leasing only. Ritz Corporate Suites is a rare opportunity for investors to own strata-titled office suites in a Grade A office tower ... in the heart of KL's Golden Triangle and central business district," Mah says.

The Bukit Nanas monorail station and the Dang Wangi LRT station are also nearby.

Knight Frank Malaysia executive director Sarkunan Subramaniam says high-rise offices sold on a strata basis are "not common". Offices likely to be sold on this basis are usually low-rise.

Mah says there were enquiries from retail investors and corporate buyers at the office tower's launch on May 18, when 207 lots were on offer. Prices range from RM1,000 psf to RM1,350 psf.

"We expect all the units to be taken up by the time the building is completed. We are committed to the three-year deadline for completion by 2012, but a shorter period is achievable and we should be ahead of schedule," Mah says, adding that the tower will have three levels of basement parking with another 7-storey elevated car park with a mezzanine with approximately 643 parking bays.

Berjaya's original plan had been to build the RM700 million Berjaya Central Park, but in 2009 the company announced plans to team up with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co to develop a twin-tower luxury serviced apartment project.

The residences were to be managed under the Ritz-Carlton brand, but Berjaya then decided to turn one of the towers into offices — The Ritz Corporate Suites.

Each floor has a net saleable floor space of 12,024 sq ft  to 13,100 sq ft offering a range of two to seven office lots per floor. Level 10 to level 30 offer seven office suites per floor with sizes ranging from 775 sq ft to 2,831 sq ft. Moving up, from level 32 to level 43A, there are four office suites per floor with sizes ranging from 2,379 sq ft to 4,069 sq ft, while levels 45 and 46 accommodate two office suites per floor with sizes from 5,201 sq ft to 7,890 sq ft.

Every suite comes with an ensuite executive bathroom with shower facilities and designated lifts for easier access and better security. The tower will also have high-speed Internet access

The Ritz Carlton Residence, meanwhile, is scheduled to be launched next year, says Mah. It is also designed to achieve Gold Green Mark certification. The details, however, have not been finalised.

Berjaya Land is currently working on a boutique development called Vasana 25, located within the 41-acre Seputeh Heights in Taman Seputeh, Kuala Lumpur. Mah says the four-acre development comprises three bungalows and 22 link villas with an estimated GDV of RM157.2 million.

The bungalows, with land areas from 6,316 sq ft to 11,524 sq ft and built-ups of 5,743 sq ft to 7,665 sq ft are priced from over RM7 million each. The link villas have built-ups of 5,947 to 7,616 sq ft and land areas of 4,971 sq ft to 12,944 sq ft. They are priced at RM5.7 million to RM6.5 million.

"Seven units, including one bungalow, have been sold. Buyers are a mix of locals and foreigners. There will not be a launch as previews are by invitation only," Mah says. Previews began in 4Q2009.

Mah says almost all the homes within the freehold development will have views of the city skyline. An additional touch of luxury in each of the 3-storey homes is a glass-clad lift. Full completion of the Vasana 25 project is expected in early 2011

altMah says Vasana is a Sanskrit word which means abode. "Seputeh is an established neighbourhood in a strategic location and we are offering a limited number of units with undisrupted views of the city," she says. 

Berjaya Land's first project in the Seputeh area was a high-rise development called Robson Condo back in the 1980s. The company started developing Seputeh Heights in 1997, with 103 bungalow lots sized from 7,992 to 23,100 sq ft sold at an average price of RM200 psf.

"Other projects we are currently working on are the Covillea Condominiums in Bukit Jalil, link bungalows at Seputeh Heights, exclusive bungalow lots at The Peak @ Taman TAR, 1Petaling Residences & Commerz @ Sg Besi and the Hazel 2-storey link homes at Berjaya Park, Shah Alam," Mah says.

Overseas developments
Berjaya Land is involved in six mixed development projects in Vietnam, two in Hanoi and four in Ho Chi Minh City.

The Hanoi projects are Amber Court, Bien Hoa City Square, Topaz Twins, Bien Hoa City Square, The Canal Park, Phase 1 of Thach Ban Garden City, and Thach Ban Garden City. In Ho Chih Minh City, Berjaya land is building the Vietnam Financial Centre and Vietnam International University Township.

In China, the company has proposed a mixed retail, leisure and theme park development called the Great Mall of China in Hebei province, while in Thailand the company is looking to build a mixed development in Bangkok. 

In South Korea, berjaya land is currently undertaking the US$2.6 billion (RM8.3 billion) Yerae integrated resort development on a 183.8-acre site in Jeju Province. Mah says the development of the Berjaya Jeju Resort will go on until 2015. It has a potential GDV of US$3.6 billion.

Berjaya recently cancelled a US$200 million joint-venture, themed village project on a 145-acre parcel of freehold land in the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province in South Korea. Mah says Berjaya intends to focus on the completion of the Berjaya Jeju Resort "before expanding our investment in other provinces".

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 815, July 19-25, 2010

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