Heng Lee's Penang Sandilands project receives good response

GEORGE TOWN: Penang niche developer Heng Lee Group's latest project, Sandilands, in the city centre has seen more than 70% take-up since its launch in late December.

Located at the beginning of Beach Street and just 10 minutes walk from Komtar, the freehold project has a gross development value (GDV) of RM330 million.

Heng Lee & Co Sdn Bhd was incorporated in January 1933. Back then, its main objective was to acquire and take over the rice and general merchant businesses. Its founder, the late well-known Yeap Chor Ee, also founded Ban Hin Lee Bank. The 5-acre (2ha) Sandilands site previously housed one of Heng Lee's old warehouses.

"Sandilands is one of Penang's first few residential developments with a Green Building Index gold (provisional) certification," Heng Lee group CEO Loo Choo Teng said. "Since our launch at end-December, we have sold about 70% and 70% of our buyers are local Penangites. This shows they have confidence in our brand," he said, adding that these buyers are mainly buying for their own occupancy.

The mixed use residential and commercial project comprises two 28-storey blocks with 403 units and commercial space of 20,000 sq ft. Built-ups of the units are between 1,338 and 2,250 sq ft. According to Loo, the basic units are priced from RM684,000 to RM798,000, or about RM511 psf.

Heng Lee group COO Janice Yeap said the group has built one commercial and two residential projects so far. They are the 2,000 apartment units (eight blocks) in Desa Permata in Air Hitam in the early 1990s, 60 medium-cost apartment units in Air Hitam in 2001, and a 460,000 sq ft freight forwarders warehouse and cargo complex in the free commercial zone (within the Penang airport complex) in Batu Maung. The developer is now operating the warehouse and cargo complex, which was completed in 2008. The three projects had a combined GDV of RM330 million.

Heng Lee is also involved in education and is building a five-storey hostel at the junction of King Street and Bishop Street, just a five-minute walk from the Disted School of Hospitality China Street Ghaut campus. The serviced hostel has 42 rooms with en suite bathrooms, 110 beds and ground floor amenities. It is expected to be completed in July.

"The estate of Yap Chor Ee donated a lot of properties to the Wawasan Education Foundation which established Wawasan Open University. The foundation also owns Disted College," Loo said.

Yeap said the group is planning some projects within the heritage enclave, which is expected to be launched at the end of this year. Initial plans include restoring the 12 pre-war shop houses in Magazine Road and converting the 0.5-acre site at the back of the shop houses into a commercial development.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on June 14, 2013.

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