City&Country: Villamas’ family-focused condo project

The most important things in life are relationships and family rather than material things. Ironically, the quest for a better standard of living often leaves little time for family interaction. Developer Villamas Sdn Bhd seeks to resolve this dilemma with its new condominium project Zefer Hill Residence in Bandar Kinrara, Puchong. According to the developer, the condo received its name from the word “zephyr”, which means soft gentle breeze.

The main design concept of Zefer Hill Residence is to use space to foster greater interaction among family members. “The design of the living room, kitchen and balcony area is one open space which allows the occupants to interact with each other,” says CEO Gan Teck Seong.
“I decided on this design because families nowadays don’t spend enough time together. And if the spaces were separated, there will be less chance for interaction.”

The RM230 million Zefer Hill Residence sits on a five-acre freehold plot within Bandar Kinrara and will have two towers with 346 units. Tower 1 will have 220 units spread over 21 storeys, while the 22-storey Tower 2 will have 126 units. Built-ups range from 1,356 to 2,139 sq ft with selling prices starting from RM546,500 to RM1,000,500. The units will have standard features like hot water storage tanks and granite tops in the bathrooms.

Larger units of 1,700 sq ft onwards will have a unique open-air shower area in the master bedroom that allows in plenty of natural ventilation and daylight. Don’t worry, peeping toms won’t be able to look in! The condo will come with full facilities like swimming pool and gym, and a three-tier security setup.  Moreover, both towers have an observation deck. For Tower 1 it will be on level 17 and for Tower 2, level 21.

Villamas is also working to make the condo Green Building Index certified and will include green features such as a rainwater harvesting system, selection of water efficiency sanitary ware, T5 lighting system in corridors and motion sensor lights in selected common areas. The completion date for Zefer Hill Residence is slated for April 2015 and maintenance charges are 26 sen psf, of which 10% will be allocated to a sinking fund.

The project’s target market includes upgraders from around Puchong and the Klang Valley as well as those looking for a luxurious home. So far, response to Zefer Hill Residence has been positive. Targeted to be launched on March 31, the project was open to registrants last December and a sales preview was held on Feb 25 and 26. To date, Tower 1 is 60% sold while for Tower 2, it is 25%.

Gan believes one reason for the encouraging response is the developer’s focus on giving what the customers want. “We put ourselves in the shoes of the customer and think like the customer. And so we give the value that the consumer wants,” he adds.

While the current trend for condos seems to be heading towards building smaller units, Villamas is going the other direction with Zefer Hill Residence. Gan explains that the elevated land Zefer Hill Residence sits on was ideal for a more elegant design concept rather than small high-density units. “Malaysians don’t deserve to live in shoeboxes,” he says.  “The decision to build larger units was deliberate so as to offer something different from the general market. And there is a lack of larger condo units serving Puchong and the Klang Valley except in KLCC and Mont’Kiara,” he says.

The site of the project was acquired in 2004 and to ensure the land was safe to build on, stringent tests and rigorous approval processes were taken to ensure the safety of the slope. To allay any concerns, the developer will conduct quarterly soil monitoring checks.

Gan says Puchong property prices are on an uptrend and he believes the area will only perform better due to its location and good accessibility via major highways such as Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong, New Pantai Expressway and Jalan Puchong. “As Klang Valley grows, Puchong will grow,” he says noting that there are not enough quality condos in Puchong and, as a result, values of good quality projects will likely appreciate.

Moving up the ladder
Villamas is a family-owned company established in 1985 by Gan’s father, Gan Sin Poo. It started off as a construction company before moving into property development in the 1990s. Since then, the company has built a variety of products from terraced homes and condos to commercial units. It has projects in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Melaka. Before Zefer Hill Residence, Villamas had developed five other high-rise residences on freehold land in the Klang Valley — Villamas Apartment, Villa Park Condominium, Atmosfera Kondominium, Villa Pavilion and Serin Residency.
The earlier projects were medium-cost ones but Villamas has edged up to cater to the medium-high market recently. Gan believes the company’s competency levels have risen enough to now develop projects to cater to this market segment.

Launched in February last year, the Serin Residency is a medium-high end project situated on 10 acres of freehold land in Cyberjaya with a gross development value (GDV) of RM240 million. It will have four blocks with a total of 600 units. Built-ups range from 965 to 3,527 sq ft with selling prices from RM320 psf or about RM300,000 upwards. About 90% of the project has been taken up and the expected completion date is December 2013.

The company’s first high-rise was Villamas Apartment launched in 2004. It had a GDV of RM42 million. The selling price then for the 260 units was between RM139,656 and RM305,538. It was completed in 2005 and is 100% sold. This was followed by Villa Pavilion in Bukit Serdang, which offered 326 units with a GDV of RM50 million. It was launched in May 2005. The units were fully sold for between RM126,900 and RM244,800. The project was completed in 2008. Next up was Villa Park Condominium, also in Bukit Serdang, with a GDV of RM73 million. Launched in 2007, it has 396 units fully sold at between RM152,800 and RM251,800. Built-ups range from 956 to 1,414 sq ft.

In May 2009, Villamas launched Atmosfera Kondominium in Bandar Puchong Jaya. The RM150 million project has two blocks named Ixora and Rosella, with a total of 453 units. They were sold for between RM297,240 and RM709,892. Built-ups start from 1,200 to 2,775 sq ft for duplex units. It is 99% taken up.

Villamas also dabbled in landed properties with one of its first projects being terraced houses in Kepong Baru that were going for around RM338,000 in 2000. In Melaka, it has an ongoing residential development — the 100-acre Melaka Perdana Resort Homes in Ayer Keroh, Melaka, with an estimated GDV of RM60 million. Gan says it is mainly focused on the local market. It offers buyers the option to purchase plots of vacant land or land with bungalows. The vacant land is sold at RM25 psf. Plots start from 8,000 sq ft. For those opting for the 2-storey bungalow, prices start from RM650,000. Currently, 80% of the project has been sold with 40% of the land sold being developed so far.

Future prospects
Villamas is on the lookout for land, particularly in the Klang Valley. “Our strategy is to acquire land in matured areas that is ready for development,” Gan says. On average, the time frame after acquiring land to launching a development is two years, he adds. The developer estimates it has landbank of 42 acres of undeveloped land. It has already developed 123 acres.

In the next two to three years, Villamas will be launching new projects with a total GDV of RM1 billion. These include a serviced apartment project in Ara Damansara, Petaling Jaya, to be launched in June or July with an estimated GDV of RM280 million. Units will have built-ups starting from 1,300 sq ft.

Another project in the pipeline is a gated and guarded development on an 11-acre site in Cyberjaya, which Gan says may be launched sometime end of this year or early 2013. It has an estimated GDV of RM240 million.

In Bukit Serdang, Gan says Villamas still has two parcels of land measuring 2.8 acres and 7 acres respectively for low-rise and high-rise residential projects. It is currently in the approval process. Other projects are on the drawing board, he adds.


This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 902, Mar 19-25, 2012

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