Hotel-inspired concept at Villamas' Verde

PROPERTY developers are coming up with unique concepts to stand out in the competitive high-rise residential market in the Klang Valley. Among them is mid-sized builder Villamas Sdn Bhd, which recently introduced a hotel-inspired concept for its serviced apartment project Verde in Ara Damansara, Petaling Jaya. At Verde, which means green in Spanish, residents will be treated as if they are in a hotel from the moment they enter the premises all the way to their units.

Villamas CEO Gan Teck Seong says the units are conceptualised as serviced hotel suites so that residents can enjoy living with the kind of amenities and level of luxury expected of a contemporary hotel.

"We wanted to emulate the hotel concept and one of the design features that we ended up with is a large lobby entrance similar to a resort hotel, complete with concierge service to guide and greet residents and visitors," he explains.

The grounds will be attractively landscaped while a dedicated lift will whisk residents from the ground floor straight to the event hall on the rooftop for parties or gatherings.

The freehold development, with an estimated gross development value of RM380 million, is located on a 4.8-acre commercial plot and comprises four 13-storey towers. There will be a total of 409 units, with built-ups of 1,383 to 2,110 sq ft, while prices start from RM600 psf and range from RM790,000 to RM1.5 million.

Facilities include a park, a 40m swimming pool, sauna, Jacuzzi, gymnasium, nursery, half basketball court, reflexology area and yoga space, among others.

"We try to include a hotel ambience in the units," says Gan. For instance, some of the units will have glass walls separating the bedroom and the bathroom, like those found in certain international hotels.

To create a resort-like ambience, environment-friendly features such as lush tropical landscapes, gardens and water features including biological ponds and cascades will be incorporated in the project. Services like laundry or house keeping will depend on the management company hired to manage the project, Gan adds.

Villamas has confirmed the appointment of Burgess Rawson Malaysia to manage Verde. The firm is affiliated to Australian-based Burgess Rawson & Associates Pty Ltd and was set up in 1994 to provide services in property valuation, management, consultancy and real estate agency in Malaysia. The developments it manages include Plaza Mont'Kiara and Mont'Kiara Banyan in Mont'Kiara, Kuala Lumpur, and NeoCyber in Cyberjaya.

Villamas held a preview of Verde on Nov 10 and 11, with more than 5,000 people registering their interest in the two months leading up to it. To date, more than 90% of two of the four towers (A and D) open for sale have been taken up. Gan believes subsequent releases will be well received as well.

His confidence is due to the strong demand for good quality residences in the area and  the project's location in Ara Damansara. Verde is on Persiaran Ara Sejahtera and near Seri Pilmoor by Sime Darby Property.

"Affordability is not an issue as long as we provide good value for our products," he says, adding that Ara Damansara is a well-planned, mature and affluent neighbourhood.

"We have a golf course and shopping malls nearby ... the combination of a good product and mature neighbourhood will support the performance of our product," he adds.

Verde, true to its name, will feature green features including a rainwater harvesting system, Smart Home System that encourages a paperless environment as well as the usage of low volatile organic compound (VOC) emitting materials such as paints, adhesives and sealants. There are also plans for biological ponds with active aqua life, a herb garden and a sky garden exclusively for the use of residents. The project has already obtained a provisional gold Green Building Index rating, says Gan.  

Meanwhile, in Bukit Katil, Melaka, the developer recently soft launched Sierra, a small gated and guarded community, on 80 acres of leasehold land. The project offers 46 bungalow lots with sizes ranging from 5,113 to 13,939 sq ft, priced from RM118,400 to RM296,200. Facilities include a private clubhouse and recreational park.

Villamas has undeveloped landbank in Kinrara, Bukit Serdang and Cyberjaya. Its most recent acquisition was a land parcel in Kajang.

Plans for the 2.8-acre and 7-acre parcels in Bukit Serdang have been finalised, says Gan, but the details are not ready to be disclosed. "We are going to keep ourselves busy with Verde and Bukit Serdang next as well as Cyberjaya," he says. "We are also looking to develop the rest of our landbank.

With land becoming scarce, especially within a 25km radius of the KL city centre, Gan believes more land will be available for development depending on the location of infrastructure upgrades. "For instance, when the South Klang Valley Expressway (SKVE) became  operational, it opened up a lot of land in the area," he says. "Plus, there is a lot of land further away."

The Villamas group, whose core businesses are property development and construction, was established in 1985. The company has ongoing and future developments exceeding RM1 billion in gross development value.

Most of its projects are in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Melaka. Developments it has completed include Villamas Apartments in Puchong Jaya, Villa Pavilion Apartment in Bukit Serdang Selangor and Atmosfera in Bandar Puchong Jaya. Among its ongoing projects are Taman Melaka Perdana in Melaka, Serin Residency in Cyberjaya and Zefer Hill Residence in Puchong.

Asked about the negative feedback from some buyers on the quality of its Atmosfera condominum, Gan acknowledges there were some problems but says precautions have been taken to avoid similar problems at other projects.

On the other hand, Villamas has many recurring buyers, says Gan, which he believes is a testament to their confidence in the company.

This story first appeared in The Edge weekly edition of Dec 3-9, 2012.

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