And he believes the company has found the perfect vehicle to take it into its next phase — Nadayu at Taman Melawati.
Nestled in a quiet and hilly part of Taman Melawati in Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, the 80.27-acre freehold development consists of 142 bungalows, with some semi-detached homes, superlink houses and boutique commercial units. With a gross development value (GDV) of RM1 billion, Hamidon sees Nadayu as the company’s flagship lifestyle project. Its official launch is scheduled for this June, though it is already open for registration.
Hamidon joined Mutiara Goodyear as executive deputy chairman in December 2007, before being appointed executive chairman in March 2008.
The company has several projects under its belt, including Taman Lagenda Mas in Cheras, Taman Mutiara Gombak in Gombak and the Bandar Tasek Mutiara a 1,086-acre township in Seberang Perai Selatan.
“Mutiara Goodyear already has a good base, from which we aspire to create better products... in the medium cost or high-end category, both residential and commercial. It’s about running that extra mile and thinking out of the box,” says Hamidon.
Nadayu is designed to evoke a sense of going back to nature, he says. “Home in the context of Nadayu is an interesting concept because you are surrounded by green. It’s about how you interact with nature. For example, in the design of the bungalows, the interaction of the interior space with the outside space is critical.
“Respect for the environment is very important. It’s easy to talk about being environmentally-friendly without taking the steps to actually define what it’s all about. We want to harness our own water supply to be used for the landscaping, as well as look into solar energy to cut down on energy consumption. Even things like your waste system, how you clean the streets, are important. As a responsible developer, we want to bring all these together for our purchasers... We’re not 100% successful but with each successive product, we add more points from what we have learned.”
Much thought was put into planning the development, he says, from the design, footpaths, landscaping and the lighting of the landscape to ensure a seamless integration with the surroundings.
“This parcel of land is over 80 acres. You can maximise the space and create another concrete jungle, but we chose not to do so. We’ve kept the density low, so it will be a very pleasing environment to live in,” he says.
Innovation is key too. An example of which is Nadayu’s use of glass. Featuring floor-to-ceiling glass walls, careful consideration was given to the orientation of each home to ensure maximum natural lighting. “Of course, if you don’t like natural lighting, you can put up drapes,” says Hamidon. “The design elements have been carefully thought out. We don’t just design a house and go buy ready stock in the market, put it together and call it our product. I believe that it is that little extra touch that will make us different and make ours a better development.”
As Nadayu is situated on hilly land, safety concerns are expected, but Hamidon says, “Nothing must go wrong for us when we address the terrain. The word, ‘hillslope’ is very important... because we have seen failures before. I think failures are man-made. It’s called a failure because it is a mistake, and that happens when the problem is not addressed properly. We... have worked closely with geotechnical and structural engineers to address soil stability and land forms,” he says.
He acknowledges that it has not been an easy journey. It took two years and more than RM70 million to prepare the site.
“Cutting cost is not an option... considering we have spent RM70 million and have not sold a single house,” he laughs.
Security is also a major concern for home buyers. Hamidon says, “We must be sensitive to the overall security of the place... Monitoring security over 80 acres is not easy... we have to be creative.”
There are four designs of bungalow, with built-ups ranging from 6,477 sq ft to 8,401 sq ft priced from RM5.5 million. The first phase of 21 bungalows will be launched in June. Construction is scheduled to begin in August and it is expected to take three years to complete the entire development.
“There will be six phases, and depending on the response to phase one we might permute our business model. The next phase might be bungalows, or maybe superlink houses instead. At the end of the day, we also have to ensure the best returns for the company,” says Hamidon.
The plan is to build the superlink houses and semidees in the first phase on the lower end of the land near the entrance to the development. There will also be a small area allocated for commercial units, which will be accessible to all residents of Taman Melawati.
With these components, good security and a green environment, Hamidon believes the company will create a good community and a sense of belonging, which will benefit the whole development. He also notes that Nadayu will become more or less a precinct by itself and foresees a significant increase in value three to five years down the road.
“Even though we are a bit further away from the city centre, this can be the residence of choice. For me personally, this is an opportunity to capture something very abstract and create something that people will look to and would like to copy. It’s taking a step forward in innovation and making it work,” he says.
But, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, offers Hamidon. “The real testament will come when the purchasers take the keys from us. That is when we will know whether or not we have been successful,” he says.
RM1.6 billion worth of new launches
The year 2010 will be a very busy one for Mutiara Goodyear with several new launches worth over RM1.6 billion, including Nadayu, in the works.
Hamidon is excited about a 68-acre mixed development in Kajang, comprising 19 bungalows, 106 superlinks, 243 link houses, 24 semidees, 2 blocks of low-cost apartments and commercial outlets.
“If you look at Kajang and what it was 20 years ago, and what it is today, there has been a very drastic mindset change in the population there. We noted that and are trying to address that by giving them products that may cost a little bit more than the norm in a gated and guarded environment. The design will remain innovative and I do believe the response will be good,” says Hamidon.
The development, for which earthworks have just started, has a GDV of RM390 million with prices from RM300,000 for landed properties. Registration will open next month with the launch in July 2010.
Another development scheduled for launch in the second half of the year is a high-end condominium and terraced house project in Bukit Gambir, Penang — Mutiara Goodyear’s first project on Penang Island. The 3.5-acre freehold development offers one 10-unit condominium block and 49 three and 4-storey terraced houses. The expected GDV is RM40 million.
Lastly, the developer may also offer some serviced apartments at a 4.7-acre leasehold mixed development in Bandar Sunway. The RM220 million GDV development will also comprise shop/offices.
While Mutiara Goodyear has some commercial projects on the drawing board, its main focus will be on these four projects for now.
“Four projects may seem like nothing to the likes of S P Setia and Glomac, but to us this is big and we want to make sure we give it our best,” says Hamidon.
As for its land bank, Hamidon says, “The 1,000-plus acres we have under development are enough for now. The four major projects we have now will take up the next three years so we are not in a hurry to acquire more land at the moment.”
Hamidon is positive about the market for the next two years. “I believe the demand for properties will grow in the next two years and developers will be facing a population that is even more discerning and critical. The younger generation know what they want — cleanliness, security and community development. Our products can no longer be run-of-the-mill.”
“We will not be a big developer but we will be a good developer. We will be a size which allows us to harness our resources to deliver the products. We want to be small, efficient and ahead of the game. If we go too fast, become too big too fast, then our products suffer and purchasers would have to live with it. I always say, my product is me, I take full ownership. We are not in a race with anyone, we are in a race with ourselves.”
This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 797, Mar 15 - 21, 2010
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