PETALING JAYA: Despite the current downturn in the property market, developer Ken Holdings Bhd is going ahead to develop an office tower in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur.

 It aims to submit for building plan approvals "in a few months' time" and start work on the project by the end of the year, its executive director Sam Tan said on March 6.

Earlier plans for 20-storey high buildings were scuttled when residents in the area protested against the project. The developer reduced the height to 12-storeys in its revised plan, said Tan.

The developer purchased the site of the project comprising two adjoining parcels of freehold commercial land totaling 1.2 acres along Jalan Burhanuddin Helmi two years ago for RM16 million from ProKhas Sdn Bhd. ProKhas was set up to manage the residual assets of national asset management company Pengurusan Danaharta Nasional Bhd which wound up at end-2005.
Although the site came with a development order for a 12-storey building, the developer submitted applications for a higher density development - two 20-storey buildings comprising an office tower and an adjoining serviced residence.
“The cost for acquiring the land was quite high, close to about RM300 psf, so we asked the authorities to allow a higher density project. However, residents in the area protested to the height of the buildings, so we did not receive the approval last year,” Tan explained.
According to Tan, the developer hopes to start work on the 12-storey office tower, equipped with facilities equivalent to that of a 5-star hotel, with four levels of basement parking by the end of the year.
The office tower would have food and beverage operators on the ground floor while an entire floor would be a ballroom that can double up as meeting rooms.
According to Tan, there will also be recreational facilities such as a swimming pool, gym and sauna for tenants. While Ken Holdings intends to retain the building for lease, it is also considering managing the property as its corporate headquarters would eventually move there. On the range of rental and maintenance fee it may impose, Tan said it has not worked out the rates.
Tan declined to reveal the gross built-up space for the project. He however said construction cost which were worked out when prices of steel bars were prices of steel bars ranged from RM1,500 to RM1,800 per tonne, amounted to between RM40 million and RM50 million.

“Although the prices of building materials have dropped today, prices for steel bars for instance are above the RM2,000 per tonne levels. So our cost may have to go up,” he said.
Costs may also rise if the developer' decides to offer an energy efficient building by employing the use of glass and fins externally while internal features may incorporate green elements and top-of-the-line air conditioning.
“It’s not cheap to build and maintain an energy efficient building as we are also considering obtaining Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA)’s Green Mark rating,” he added. The BCA Green Mark is a green building rating system to evaluate a building for its environmental impact and performance.