Boutique developer Urban Hallmark Properties Sdn Bhd (UHP) is looking to launch its second project, a 25-storey serviced residence called Latitud3, before the end of the year.
Located along Lorong University A off Jalan Universiti in Petaling Jaya, Latitud3 has an estimated gross development value (GDV) of RM52.5 million. It comprises 96 units of partially furnished residential studios and suites, with built-ups ranging from 653 to 853 sq ft.
Latitud3 sits on a 0.4-acre leasehold tract and the boutique development offers a rather new design twist aimed at maximising space and comfort, UHP managing director Datuk Jeffrey Ng tells City & Country. For example, Latitud3’s versatile transformation concept for its 1+1 studio unit (653 sq ft) features efficient sliding doors/walls which converts or divides the open-plan interior layout into separate spaces — a living/kitchen area and a 350 sq ft master bedroom.
The same unit has the luxury of two bathrooms, high-gloss finish kitchen cabinets with a European-brand induction hob and cooker hood, two air conditioners and two water heaters.
Ng says the 12ft solid top kitchen with cabinets is normally used in larger units of 1,200 to 2,000 sq ft. “The kitchen is one of the more important places [in the home]. We see a global trend of the kitchen area being a place where families congregate. Some could be just sitting around making a cup of coffee, another could be on the computer. So we made an effort to come up with something more than what the industry norm gives,” says Ng.
Ng is no stranger to the property industry, having being in the business for the past 28 years. He set up UHP after a stint as managing director of Asia Pacific Land and senior executive director of the Low Yat Group. He is currently the CEO of Sunway REIT Management Sdn Bhd, the manager of Sunway Real Estate Investment Trust (Sunway REIT).
“As a boutique developer, when it comes to the convenience of the owners, these are not things we will stinge on. For instance, there will be three lifts to serve six units per level. This way, waiting time is reduced and eventually, I think buyers will also appreciate such convenience,” he adds, describing the units in Latitud3 as high-end, individualistic, signature units.
“Our design aims to be practical and functional — that is our key approach. We then go an extra level of exclusivity by providing high-end finishes and interaction that the end-user will have with the unit,” UHP project assistant and project architect Bhupinder Singh explains.
Elaborating further on the transformation concept, Bhupinder says the kitchen area doubles up as a party or entertaining area while a hidden foldaway bed in the living area can be put down when in use and folded up into the wall when a bigger space is needed. This concept is seen throughout the project. The developer is also offering a promotional package, for a limited time only, which includes a pull-down bed (excludes mattress), a washing machine and a dryer.
The project’s other unique features include the Urban Park (on the ground level), its facilities area (Level 7) called Haven, and a sky park on the rooftop (Level 25). In total, the Urban Park and the whole landscaped (perimeter) area is about 4,500 to 5,000 sq ft in size, which can be seen as the lift door opens up on the ground floor.
“It gives you a very calm and soothing feeling as we also have a water body there, which marks the entrance of the whole complex,” Bhupinder adds.
The development is in the vicinity of the proposed University Malaya Health Metropolis, part of the government’s Economic Transformation Programme for the health industry, where pharmaceutical and health industries will be concentrated. It is also close to the Section 13 commercial belt.
“The Health Metropolis and Section 13 commercial belt is very exciting if we look at what is to come for the areas surrounding Latitud3. There will be an increase in population and more commerce aspects, in relation to healthcare here. The strength of the location speaks for itself and there is prospect for future growth,” says Ng.
Haven offers facilities such as a gymnasium, a pool, a BBQ deck and a reading lounge while the sky park will have a dedicated function room, as well as an indoor and outdoor activities area for private functions.
The project has some green features as well, including rainwater harvesting and energy-efficient lighting (see box).
Focusing on the unique
As a boutique developer, Ng says UHP does not want to compete with the big players: “The reality is, as a boutique developer, we have the entire team focused on a project to really look at what we need to deliver to the market place and at the same time, bring up the uniqueness of each project.
“Our prices are in line with the surrounding market values but product-wise, we are offering more than what is (currently available) on the market. Thinking outside the box is the unique ingredient for us — doing small projects yet being able to withstand future trends. If we, under UHP can set trends, it is good for the industry.”
The development targets buyers whom Ng describes as urban professionals. “These are well-travelled and educated professionals as well as the transient population working in the city centre looking at Latitud3 as a one-stop centre for their weekday needs before they move on to their main residential house in the suburbs. It is a concept that is being established quite efficiently in China as well as India.”
Ng is hoping to attract more owner-occupier buyers for the project. “Once they start using and experiencing the functionality of the place, they would be able to appreciate all the unique features being offered.”
The developer is also looking into state-of-the-art security technology to be implemented in the project.
Nearby ongoing projects include Cherish Springs Sdn Bhd’s Centrestage, which was first launched in 2010m that offers three retail duplex units, a 325-room hotel and 775 office suites in two blocks, and Island Circle Development (M) Sdn Bhd’s Pacific Star project, comprising an office tower, a block of office suites, as well as a retail podium and three blocks of serviced apartments above.
The 25-storey building includes a 6-storey podium car park, 15 storeys of residences and a sky deck on the rooftop. There are six units on each level which are served by three lifts. The units are priced from RM496,800 to RM683,300, or between RM764 psf and RM805 psf. Each unit comes with a minimum of one parking bay and will be completed by early 2015.
UHP’s maiden project was Zephyr Point in Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur, an exclusive gated and guarded luxury project with a GDV of over RM75 million. The build-then-sell project, comprising only seven units — three penthouses and four villas — was launched in April 2010. Ng says there are three units left — two villas and one penthouse. The three-level villas have built-ups ranging from 8,000 sq ft to 10,000 sq ft, while the penthouses are sized from 10,000 sq ft to 12,000 sq ft, spread over one level.
Moving forward, Ng says UHP is drawing up plans for the refurbishment of a “green” bungalow in Bangsar, as well as redeveloping its office premises along Jalan Kemajuan in Petaling Jaya into a modern office showroom. The developer is also on the lookout for opportunities to develop other boutique projects in Kuala Lumpur.
This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 926, Sep 3-9, 2012
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