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City&Country: UOA builds a beach in Le Yuan @Happy Garden

Condominiums are gradually peppering the urban landscape in the Klang Valley as space becomes a premium. And over the last decade, more developers have strove to come up with unique living concepts that will set their projects apart from the rest and capture both the fascination and purse strings of the increasingly savvy consumer.

In its latest condominium offering Le Yuan @Happy Garden in Kuala Lumpur, UOA Development Bhd impresses with a two-acre man-made beach located four floors above the ground. The RM450 million, 6.5-acre freehold development offers 670 residences in two blocks.

While the concept of a beach in a condominium might not be entirely new to those who have been following the property scene (Bukit Kiara Properties Sdn Bhd’s Verve Suites comes to mind), Le Yuan, which means “happy garden” in Mandarin, amazes with the sheer size of the undertaking.

Says David Khor, COO (development) of UOA Development, “Response has been good. We sold 80% of the first block to registered buyers on the weekend of the preview sale on Nov 19. We opened for registration two months before the preview and attracted about 4,000 interested buyers.”
To complement the beach resort experience, Le Yuan offers a comprehensive range of recreational facilities, such as a gourmet kitchen for residents to use during parties and gatherings, a covered lounge area, function room, laundrette, games room, steam room, sauna, children’s playground, wading pool, Olympic-size swimming pool and an infinity lap pool, an indoor badminton court and a floating gym.

These facilities and the beach are located on the 3.5-acre resort deck on the fourth floor.

When asked for the reasons for the brisk sales, Khor says, “Le Yuan has the advantage of being a freehold development nestled in a mature and peaceful residential area bordering Sri Petaling and Kuchai Lama. It is surrounded by link houses and bungalows. This factor, coupled with accessibility to the location via major highways such as the New Pantai Expressway, North-South Expressway and Kesas Highway, makes it very attractive to buyers.”

The prices of the condos start at RM410 psf while sizes range from 1,164 to 1,782 sq ft. Prospective buyers can pick from eight layouts. The larger units of Le Yuan face the “beach” while the smaller ones offer a city view.

At the moment, the closest luxury condominium development is Seringin Residences by See Hoy Chan Sdn Bhd Group, where the units are 1,707 to 2,638 sq ft in size and cost RM530,000 to RM4.3 million. Other recent condominium projects in the area are G Residence by Kelang Lama Land Sdn Bhd and 288 Residency by Akisama Group.

“We have observed that Le Yuan appeals to a younger demographic — most of our buyers are between 30 and 35 years of age. The larger units were bought by upgraders and the smaller units by first-time homebuyers,” Khor remarks.

Most of the registered buyers seemed to know the area well and had been anticipating the preview because of the size of the units, he says, adding that 1,600 to 1,700 sq ft condos appear to be quite popular in the market at present.

“However, we also noticed a small number of senior citizens buying homes for their children. They generally live around the area and want their children to reside nearby,” observes Khor.

“We’ve already started earthworks on the site and are targeting to complete Le Yuan by December 2013,” he adds.

UOA will appoint a service contractor to maintain and upkeep the man-made beach upon its completion. Maintenance charge at Le Yuan is 22 sen psf inclusive of the sinking fund.

The financials

UOA Development was listed on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia in June this year with a market capitalisation of more than RM3 billion.

“Our IPO listing has enhanced the company’s profile as it marks our commitment to improve our position as one of the market leaders in Malaysia and our financial capacity to expand our operations in Malaysia,” says Khor.

UOA performed strongly in 3Q2011, recording a net profit of RM79.21 million on revenue of RM157.06 million. The group recorded YTD sales of RM640 million on the back of strong demand for its properties with revenue and net profit reflecting equal contributions from both the residential and commercial segments.

UOA’s landbank constitutes a saleable area of over 1.4 million sq m, including its flagship project Bangsar South. Khor believes the company’s other upcoming developments will sustain its growth over the next five to seven years.

Future developments
Next year looks set to be very busy for UOA Development with its projects in Taman Desa, Bangar South, Glenmarie, Kepong and Segambut.

In 1Q2012, the group plans to launch Desa 8, which comprises 24 luxury condos and has an estimated GDV of RM50 million. The units are between 3,700 and 4,000 sq ft in size and cost RM700 psf onwards.

Also set to be launched in 1Q2012 is The Vertical, which consists of 420 strata office units and will feature the first small office units (800 to 1,300 sq ft) in Bangsar South. It has an estimated GDV of RM400 million.

The company’s project in Glenmarie will be launched in 2Q2012. The development offers 11 blocks of 14 to 16-storey office towers consisting of shops and SoHo units. Its potential combined saleable and lettable area is 1,982,077 sq ft.

In the works too are a landed development in Kepong and a residential development in Segambut. Both are scheduled to be launched in 3Q2012.

“UOA will capitalise on its strong balance sheet and continue to seek strategic development land while maintaining its focus on good locations within Greater Kuala Lumpur,” says Khor.

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 888, Dec 5-11, 2011

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