City&Country: Planter homes-inspired Rimba

Up in Kemensah Heights behind Zoo Negara in Kuala Lumpur, Kenoza Sdn Bhd is building a boutique development called Rimba, offering 16 bungalows the design of which harks back to the style of planter homes.

Kenoza is no stranger to boutique developments. In 2008, it launched 14 luxury villas with a gross development value (GDV) of RM50 million in a one-acre project called The Madge on Jalan Madge, Ampang. All the villas are sold.

Rimba, which was launched early this year, is all about going back to basics, says the company’s executive director Kee Ju-Hun.

alt“I was inspired by what was done in the past, like the old plantation houses with large gardens and plenty of space, and I wanted to bring that back,” he tells City & Country.

Sitting on about five acres of freehold land, Rimba is a guarded community and consists of 13 units with two designs called Cendana and Jati and three units which can be designed according to client specifications. All units will come with a 12-metre swimming pool. The project has a GDV of about RM60 million and is expected to be completed by 2Q2012, says Kee.

At press time, six units — one bespoke, one Jati and four Cendana ­— had been sold through Kee’s contacts.

alt“The bespoke units sit on 12,000 to 15,000 sq ft of land and have an average built-up of 7,000 sq ft,” Kee says. “The selling price starts at RM5 million.”

The Cendana (eight) and Jati (five) units showcase a 12ft-high ceiling in the living area and offer unobstructed views. These start at RM4 million.

The land size of the Cendana units ranges from 9,256 to 15,532 sq ft (Jati units: 10,000 to 19,848 sq ft) while the built-up of all units is 7,000 sq ft.

The Jati homes also have a back road that can be used as another entrance — ideal for, say, caterers to drop off food and equipment without blocking the front of the house.

The modular layout of the houses means several generations of a family can live under one roof, a feature that Kee is particularly proud of. To cater for an extended family, Kee had the houses designed with east and west wings linked in the centre by the dining area and kitchen where most family activities take place.

“The houses are also culturally harmonised to cater for different religions and races. For example, for Muslims, the designated guest room can be converted into a prayer room. It is built in such a way that one faces a view rather than a blank wall when praying. For the Chinese, the houses are built according to feng shui principles,” Kee explains.

The houses are all lift-ready. “The foundation is laid for the installation of a lift if required, especially for the aged,” Kee says.

Each house also comes with a generous backyard of over 3,000 sq ft of land and pool. This is ample space for children to play safely and can be built upon once the children have grown up, extending the house for the next generation, says Kee.

Furthermore, each unit can easily accommodate four to seven cars and residents get to own several visitor parking bays. Kee says all homeowners have to sign a deed of mutual covenant (DMC) regarding parking, which can be a problem, especially when a large number of people are invited for a function. There is a clause in the DMC which allows the visitor parking bays of houses to be used by the guests of other residents.

altThe Rimba development is part of a 12-acre landbank in the area owned by Kenoza. About five acres have been used for the RM22 million Tiara Kemensah that was launched in 2000. The project features nine bungalows and 34 semi-detached houses, with prices starting at RM800,000 and RM400,000 respectively. All units were sold within four months of the launch, Kee says.

According to him, the values of these homes have appreciated. One of the bungalows had an asking price of RM1.9 million while a semidee was recently sold for RM900,000 on the secondary market.

Kee remembers Kemensah Heights as a mature area where people were looking to upgrade. “There were a lot of terraced houses in the area then and ours was the first development there in over a decade.”

Kenoza has used up close to five acres for Rimba, leaving roughly two acres for a future condo project. “The remaining land is for a mid-range condominium catering for ‘empty nest’ clientele,” says Kee. No start date has been set for the project.

Up-and-coming location
Kemensah Heights is considered to be an up-and-coming area for  developments. “The price of land there has gone up to an average of RM80 psf from RM30 psf about two to three years ago,” says Allan Soo, managing director of CB Richard Ellis (Malaysia). “This is because the area is within Kuala Lumpur and close to the city centre ­— during off-peak periods you can get to KL in just about 15 minutes. There are gated communities there, accessibility is good and some big developers have projects around the area.”

CEO of Zerin Properties Previndran Singhe agrees. “The location is good, but it has to keep to low density developments,” he remarks. “It is not far from Melawati and is a mature neighbourhood with good amenities. The air there is clean and the place has connectivity.”

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 817, Aug 2-8, 2010

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