City&Country: L&G makes first foray into Jalan Ampang with The Elements

With prime development tracts in the Klang Valley becoming increasingly scarce, Land & General Bhd (L&G), the master developer of Bandar Sri Damansara in Selangor, will focus on high-rise housing.

“We feel that building high-rise apartments and condominiums is the way forward in the industry. Not only is prime land running out but landed homes are expensive to build,” says managing director Low Gay Teck.

“Research also shows a change in building trends over the last 15 years. In those days, about 90% of homes built were landed while only 10% were condominiums. Now, 60% are landed while 40% are condominiums. Basically, it is about affordability.”

This month, in its first foray into Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, L&G is starting work on a high-rise serviced apartment project called The Elements.

The Elements

The 2.6-acre freehold tract is located near Embassy Row, the main draw of which area is its serenity as it is a distance away from the busy part of Jalan Ampang near KLCC.

The developer completed the acquisition of land in May and subsequently invited Mayland Group to form joint-venture company Elite Forward Sdn Bhd to undertake the project. One of the companies in the Mayland Group — Mayland Parkview Sdn Bhd — is a major shareholder of L&G.

So, why develop the project on a JV basis and not by itself?

This is the same question L&G’s shareholders raised at its EGM in February, Low tells City & Country.

“One of the reasons for the JV is that Mayland has a lot of experience and a good track record in building high-end high-rise apartments,” he explains. “The Elements will be a high-end project with a GDV [gross development value] of RM650 million. We want to tap the synergy of our two companies via a JV. We have built high-rise condominiums before but that was in early 2000.”
The developer’s flagship Bandar Sri Damansara was developed 20 years ago with 14,000 units of mainly landed homes.

The Elements will consist of two 42-storey towers offering 1,040 serviced apartments of 610 to 1,550 sq ft. To be priced from RM680 psf, each unit will have views of either KLCC or Ampang Hill.
It will offer an Olympic-size swimming pool, a floating gym, wading pool, indoor gym, cabana and water features, among others.

There will also be an indoor fine dining and al fresco dining area each as well as a fully equipped kitchen where residents can cook for their guests.

The size of about 80% of the units in The Elements is between 625 and 1,000 sq ft, which is aimed at young families and couples. L&G is also working towards getting Green Building Index certification for the project.

Some 3,000 people have registered for the project, with bookings for 50% of the 520 units in the first tower. Low says “a fair number” of the potential buyers could be owner-occupiers.

“It is an ideal locality as it does not front Jalan Ampang, so there will be less noise and pollution. The surroundings are quiet and also we want to create a sky garden in each tower so that the residents can enjoy a 360°  panoramic view of the Kuala Lumpur skyline. There will be nice lounge areas too for the enjoyment of the residents,” he adds.

L&G will be launching another condominium early next year, this time in Bandar Sri Damansara. The project will be located within a 40-acre park, feature 2,800 units in total and be developed in four phases over eight years. Its GDV will be RM1.5 billion.

The developer will save the trees in the park and put in boardwalks and jogging tracks so that residents will be able to enjoy the open space.

Phase 1 of the project will comprise 928 units in four towers. L&G has yet to fix the selling price, but is looking at RM500,000 onwards.

While L&G believes high-rise homes are the choice of future developments, Low says the type of development chosen will depend on the suitability of the location. In parcels furthest from the city centre, the developer will continue to develop townships.

L&G recently won a tender for a 190-acre site near the Seremban town centre and plans to build a township there.

The company also has landbank in Johor and Sungai Petani, Kedah, for which it has no immediate development plans. It is also involved in a JV with Far East Consortium Ltd to develop 2,500 acres of land in Hidden Valley, Melbourne, Australia.

The overall development master plan includes 950 approved residential allotments, an equestrian centre, tennis courts, a swimming pool, an 18-hole golf course, a golf and country club with a clubhouse, and a retirement village.

This project is in the second stage of development and so far, 487 residential allotments have been launched. Of these, 349 have already been sold, generating a total gross revenue of AS$30.11 million (RM92.8 million).

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 831, Nov 8-14, 2010

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