City&Country: Serviced suites coming up in Bangsar South

Bangsar South in Kuala Lumpur, formerly known as Kampung Kerinchi, will soon see the development of the only serviced apartments in the township. The developer, UOA Holdings Sdn Bhd, is planning to bring in a serviced residence operator to manage half of the units while the remaining units will be sold.

Called Camellia Service Suites, the 34-storey serviced apartment block is scheduled to be launched by the end of the year. Terms have been agreed to in principle with the serviced apartment operator that is being brought in as a strategy to attract expatriates working in Bangsar South.

The block, on a 2.68-acre site, will offer 480 units. Buyers of the units to be sold will be given the option of leasing them back and possibly a rent guarantee scheme, says David Khor, general manager of UOA Holdings.

“Eventually, this whole development [Bangsar South] will have MSC status and we will see a lot of foreign companies coming in that will need accommodation for their staff. Some don’t need large houses and a unit of about 1,000sq ft is ideal for them. The serviced residence operator will do the housekeeping for them. Besides, there are no serviced residences nearby,” he tells City & Country.

A 210,000 sq ft clubhouse, with facilities like a swimming pool and gym, will be built next to Camellia Service Suites. There will also be jogging tracks.

Last year, UOA Holdings launched two condominium blocks at The Park Residences. Called Begonia and Acacia, these comprise 470 units with built-ups of 1,200 to 2,100 sq ft. Sold at an average price of RM350 psf, they are now 80% taken up. Khor says the units, which have been completed, are now going for RM450 to RM550 psf at sub-sale level.

The Park Residences — Bangsar South’s residential precinct — is separated from its commercial precinct by Jalan Kerinchi. The commercial precinct, which consists of boutique office The Horizon, lifestyle mall The Sphere and The Vertical office towers, will have 11,038 parking bays when it is completed.

Kampung Kerinchi in Pantai Dalam was acquired by UOA Holdings some five years ago. Access to the site is via the Kerinchi exit off the Federal Highway.

Since the middle of 2007, the developer has expanded the main road leading into the area into three lanes, built pedestrian walkways and carried out landscaping works. The bus stop near the Universiti LRT station has been upgraded while a food court has been built for the traders who used to operate by the roadside. A recent addition to the township is a police station.

Bangsar South, which is the developer’s single largest project with a gross development value of about RM6 billion, will take another seven years to complete.

Six-acre central park
Phase 1 of The Horizon, consisting of 14 blocks of 10 and 11-storey boutique offices with an average gross floor area of 55,000 sq ft, was completed in June last year. The developer is keeping four blocks to be leased out, including the one that it is occupying. Of the remaining 10 blocks, nine were sold en bloc three years ago at RM650 psf. Khor says three blocks in Phase 1 have been awarded MSC status.

Among the corporations that call Bangsar South home are Al-Batha Group, Takaful Ikhlas, F-Secure Corp of Finland, Malaysia Electronic Payment Systems and Dagang.NET Technologies.

The 2-storey boutique mall The Sphere is  located in front of Phase 1 of The Horizon. It boasts a net lettable area of 80,000 sq ft and will eventually be redeveloped into a shopping mall when the township’s population increases.

UOA Holdings is determined to provide value-added public facilities for the neighbourhood in the commercial precinct. By giving up three office blocks, it has provided the township with a bigger green space.

The developer had initially planned 10 blocks of 13 to 20-storey boutique offices with a total floor area of 1.5 million sq ft as well as a central park in Phase 2 of The Horizon. However, it then decided to scrap two of these office blocks, and another one in The Vertical towers nearby, to create a six-acre central park. Initially, only 2.5 acres were set aside for the park.

“The government has been pushing the green agenda, so we decided to support the cause and took out the three blocks to create a bigger central park with a water feature that will be open to the public and the neighbourhood,” Khor says.

Construction on four of the eight blocks in Phase 2 of The Horizon started in March and  two blocks have since been sold. They are scheduled to be completed by January. Work on the other four began recently.

Pedestrian bridge extension
The developer, which is a subsidiary of Australian Securities Exchange-listed UOA Ltd, is also looking at improving accessibility to the township. Last year, it acquired almost three acres of freehold land located diagonally across Wisma Pantai on the Federal Highway. At the moment, there are some billboards and squatter homes on the land.

UOA Holdings plans to develop this site in three to five years’ time, when work on the 60-acre Bangsar South is about 70% to 80% complete. Meanwhile, it is looking to capitalise on the parcel to create better accessibility to Bangsar South.

The pedestrian bridge across the Federal Highway that now connects Wisma Pantai to the three-acre parcel will be extended to the Bangsar South development, says Khor.

“The 178m extension will make the total length of the bridge 250m. It will allow people to walk from the Kerinchi LRT station to the commercial precinct in the north sector of Bangsar South. We are in the midst of getting the squatters to leave and will start construction by the end of the year,” he explains.

The extension of the bridge will be completed in three months. When ready, it will end at the common basement level of the commercial precinct of Phase 2 of The Horizon and the other office buildings. There will also be a link between the commercial precinct and the clubhouse in the residential precinct.

Khor says a new LRT station will be located on Jalan Kerinchi, making the township even more accessible in the future.

More upcoming projects
Meanwhile, UOA Holdings launched Binjai 8 — a 40-storey SoHo development located behind Nikko Hotel in Kuala Lumpur — in May. The one-acre freehold project offers 310 partly furnished units of 753 to 1,784 sq ft, priced from RM1,100 psf.  Take-up of the units, which come in six designs with 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms, currently stands at about 60%.

Binjai 8 comes with 500 parking bays categorised as common property to be leased out to the residents. The site was purchased, together with a development order for serviced apartments, at about RM2,000 psf, Khor says.

The developer is also launching an apartment project — Setapak Green — in Setapak by the end of the year.

UOA Holdings completed several projects in Setapak, including Plaza Prima apartments, Prima Setapak and Prima Setapak II condominiums. In Old Klang Road, Kuala Lumpur, its projects include Villa Yarl in Taman Yarl, Halimahton as well as some mixed developments of terraced and semi-detached homes and bungalows in Happy Garden.

The developer has also begun construction on Villa Pines, a gated and guarded community in Segambut Dalam. The freehold project offers 20 units of 2½-storey linkhouses with built-ups of 3,937 to 5,040 sq ft that will be sold at a later date.

Some 35 units of 2½-storey warehouses in Kepong Business Park, located within Segambut Business Park, are under construction as well. These freehold units have built-ups of 9,000 to 21,000 sq ft and are tagged from RM5 million to RM10 million. Half have been sold since June.

Next year, UOA Holdings plans to launch a condominium project in Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur, and a commercial project in Glenmarie. It still has about 100 acres of undeveloped landbank in areas like Setapak, Kepong and Taman Desa in the Klang Valley, with a development value of RM5 billion.

Says Khor, “We are looking for development opportunities outside the Klang Valley, but there is nothing concrete as yet.”

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 829, Oct 25-31, 2010

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