City&Country: Ken Holdings to build Malaysia’s first green township

Developer-cum-contractor Ken Holdings Bhd is building the first green township in the country — KEN Rimba in Shah Alam — following the completion of its first green building, Ken Bangsar, in Kuala Lumpur.

Ken Bangsar, which has received Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) Green Mark GoldPLUS Award, was an abandoned office tower which the developer transformed into an eco-friendly, 15-storey serviced apartment tower. The project has also received the Malaysian Green Building Index (GBI) Gold Award and is one of the most high-end condominiums in the Bangsar area, fetching more than RM1,200 psf on the sub-sale market.

KEN Rimba
The 60-acre freehold site for KEN Rimba was acquired from Hock Hup Development Sdn Bhd in 2003 for RM25 million. Kampung Rimba Jaya was relocated under Selangor’s squatter resettlement programme to make way for the development. Low-cost flats, completed in 2008, were built for the villagers on a nine-acre plot nearby.

Turning the RM500 million development into a green township means that every project in KEN Rimba will have to be green-certified. Ken Holdings executive director Sam Tan, an engineer who believes that green is the way forward for sustainable living, will fully utilise his expertise to create the first green township in the country.

One of the concepts that will be adopted here is to build terraced homes with a north-south orientation to maximise the natural north-south wind/air flow so that the house remains cool while receiving maximum natural sunlight throughout the day.

Louvered windows that can be adjusted will also be used to ensure maximum cross ventilation in any weather.  A “breathable roof” system, comprising cool roof technology and perforated eaves, will allow hot air to rise and flow out through the roof, keeping the house cool.

Transparent roof tiles and large glass doors and windows will be installed for maximum natural sunlight in the house, while a rainwater harvesting system will provide water for gardening needs. There will also be 20ft green walkways between the end lots.

KEN Rimba will comprise two terraced home components, two condominium developments, a commercial centre, a commercial complex and a school.

One of the terraced home components, KEN Rimba Legian Residences, offering 328 units with built-ups from 1,840 sq ft on a 1,300 sq ft lot, is the first landed home development in the country to be awarded a BCA Green Mark Gold (Provisional) Award. Comprising four phases, the developer has already launched 228 units in three phases since the middle of last month. With prices starting from RM450,000, they are almost fully sold. Phase Four — priced from RM500,000 — and the commercial centre were launched on Oct 2.

The commercial centre has also received a BCA Green Mark Certified (Provisional) Award. It will have 109 shoplots, with prices starting from RM880,000. The developer plans to keep all the end lots, corner lots and units adjacent to these units to be leased to banks and F&B outlets. To take its green steps further, it is also looking at renting the units to green-related businesses at a discount to the market in support of green products, technologies and industry.

Green buildings involve more planning and costs, but the developer has chosen to build KEN Rimba as a model and incubator for green living in the country, says Tan.

“This is where the country can learn what being green really means. The company believes that everything starts from education and through that, it hopes to change the industry.

“We are a developer and we are responsible for delivering homes that can change people’s lives. We want our buyers to live comfortably,” Tan adds.

Going forward, Ken Holdings plans to diversify its property business into property investment for recurring income. The developer has a total landbank of 129 acres in Lata Kinjang in Perak, Genting Highlands and Penang.

The company will begin work on an office tower in Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI), Kuala Lumpur, this month once the existing structure on the land is cleared. The site was previously leased to a restaurant.

Sandwiched between two petrol stations along Jalan Burhanuddin Helmi, the developer plans to build a green office building called KEN TTDI, which will house its corporate headquarters. The 13-storey energy-efficient office tower will take three years to complete.

The developer bought the site, comprising two adjoining parcels of freehold commercial land totalling 1.2 acres, in early 2007 for RM16 million from ProKhas Sdn Bhd. ProKhas is the manager of the remaining assets of Pengurusan Danaharta Nasional Bhd, which was wound up in 2005.
Earlier plans for a 20-storey building were scuttled when residents of the area protested. The developer has since reduced the height of the proposed building.

The office tower, will be equipped with facilities equivalent to that of a 5-star hotel. It will have four levels of basement parking, food and beverage outlets as well as a ballroom that will also double as a conference room. Recreational facilities will include a swimming pool, gym and sauna for tenants.

As part of its property investment portfolio, Ken Holdings will also start work on a 90-room boutique hotel with green features next year. The hotel will sit on 2.53 acres of freehold beach-front land in Batu Ferringhi, Penang. The developer plans to bring in a hotel operator to manage the hotel when it is ready.

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 826, Oct 4-10, 2010

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