City&Country: Titijaya goes from strength to strength

It is always heartwarming to learn how someone rose from poverty and hardship to attain success and affluence. Such is the story of Datuk S P Lim, founder and managing director of Titijaya Group.

What started out as a small construction sub-contracting outfit is now a property development company,  with completed projects worth over RM900 million, mainly in Klang, Selangor, Lim’s hometown. The group is now set to expand to Sabah and possibly Kota Baru in Kelantan.

altAs Lim shares his experience and humble beginnings in a mix of Mandarin and Malay, with his 28-year-old son Poh Yit translating, one can only admire the man’s hard work and resilience which have brought the business this far. Coming from a poor family, he only had five years of schooling and began working at the age of 12 at the Klang market as a labourer, loading and unloading items.

When Lim turned 17, he decided to take up construction skills as his job at the market was only earning him RM40 to RM50 a month. “Those days, there were no concrete machines, you had to learn how to do it manually,” he recalls.

When he was 22, Lim started his own small company as a sub-contractor and got his first big break. He made his first RM1 million when he was 28, building a holiday home in the hill resort town of Fraser’s Hill in Pahang. “Nobody wanted the job as it wasn’t easy transporting materials up and down the hill. With the money I made, I bought land and developed small projects like in Bukit Cheras and bought oil palm estates in Meru, Klang.”

Lim’s property development and construction business grew from there, and he professes that there is no substitute for hard work and careful, detailed planning. He believes this is the reason the company’s projects attract many repeat buyers. Among the developer’s significant projects are the new transport hub in Klang, known as Klang Sentral, and serviced apartments E-Tiara (next to Carrefour and Subang Parade) and Casa Tiara, completed in Jan 2007 and May 2008 respectively, in Subang Jaya.

Today, Lim’s daughter Charmaine and son Poh Yit helm Titijaya Group as director and CEO respectively. They lead the company’s operations in the Klang Valley, while Lim senior focuses on growing new business in Sabah. He travels and spends a few days a week there. In fact, Lim tells City & Country that he has set up an office in Kota Kinabalu and is looking at developing a township in five to six months while actively looking for land there. Back in Selangor, the developer is planning the launch of Subang Parkhomes, a RM330 million high-end low-rise residential development in SS19, Subang Jaya. There are also plans to launch high-end bungalows in Kemensah, Kuala Lumpur, by year-end.

Subang Parkhomes
Subang Parkhomes is on a 10-acre freehold tract in SS19, Subang Jaya, next to the developer’s almost fully sold project SoHo Subang apartments. Subang Parkhomes comprises 478 condos housed in four 5-storey blocks and three 9-storey blocks. Built-ups of the units range from 1,200 to 2,500 sq ft. The tract was purchased four years ago.

The development is in two phases, with completion expected in 2013. The first phase comprises three blocks. The first block within phase one was opened for sale to registered buyers in January and was sold out at RM525 psf. The second block has an 80% take-up rate at RM535 psf. The developer plans to officially launch Subang Parkhomes and the third block on April 16. Units in the third block will be priced from RM545 psf. Meanwhile, the second phase will be launched in September with an indicative price of RM590 psf.

“We have planned a 100,000 sq ft landscape facilities area in the centre of the development along with full condo facilities and a clubhouse. Our Subang Parkhomes is possibly the last such low-rise development in Subang Jaya. Land is getting scarce here,” Lim says. Furthermore, with land prices going up, developers would prefer to go for high-density developments, he adds.

“I knew when we acquired this land four years ago, that it would be a secure and exclusive development. It is like an island — near the town centre but exclusive as we have our own private access road leading to the development,” he says.

Subang Parkhomes is accessible from the neighbourhood mall Subang Parade via Jalan Kemajuan, about 1.5km away. It is also easily accessible via the North Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE), Kesas Highway, Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (LDP), Federal Highway, New Pantai Expressway (NPE) and Elite Highway. Lim says the Subang-Kelana Elevated Highway currently under construction will further increase accessibility to the area.

Target buyers for the project are those living in Subang Jaya, USJ and Bandar Sunway. The developer also expects purchasers from Petaling Jaya, Bangsar, Damansara Heights, Shah Alam and Puchong. The development is only a 10-minute drive from the Saujana Golf & Country Club as well as INTI College, Taylor’s College and Metropolitan College.

Aside from Subang Parkhomes, Titijaya Group will be launching two new projects and a few new phases at its existing projects within Klang Valley. In May, the developer will launch 42-acre Zone Industrial Park in Klang, comprising semidee factories priced from RM188 psf. Built-ups are from 5,324 sq ft with a total of 110 units. Lim says they are also planning to launch high-end bungalows in Kemensah on a 13-acre tract by year-end.

In June, 3-storey and 4-storey shopoffices in Sentral Walk, next to Klang Sentral, will be launched. Freehold Sentral Walk consists of 74 blocks of 3-storey and 4-storey shopoffices with built-ups from 4,200 sq ft. Town houses, single and 2-storey terraced houses in mixed development Sungai Kapar Indah in Klang will  also be launched in November.

Lim says Klang Sentral has full modern facilities including retail spaces and air conditioned waiting area. Currently, the express buses are operating at Klang Sentral terminal. The local authority, he says, is still working with the Commercial Vehicles Registration Board (LPKP) to station local buses at Klang Sentral.
Titijaya’s 600-acre landbank includes tracts in Subang Jaya, Meru and Kapar. The developer is also looking to buy land in Kota Baru for future developments.

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 801, Apr 12 - 18, 2010

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