SDB's The [email protected] designed for work-life balance

SELANGOR Dredging Bhd (SDB) unveiled its first commercial office property in the Klang Valley, The [email protected] in Petaling Jaya, on June 22. Situated not far from its Ameera condominium development, this modern building will feature 13 units of four-storey retail offices and a 44-storey office tower with 276 Signature Suites. It has a gross development value (GDV) of RM337 million.

"What we are trying to do here is to create thinking, working and connecting spaces," says managing director Teh Lip Kim. "This is a commercial property, but we are trying to create a place with a work-life balance. We want to bring casualness to the work place. People no longer go to work in a jacket, shirt and tie, as they did in our parents' time. The whole idea of coming to work at The Hub is to instill creativity in the workers."

Teh reveals that a private preview on June 15 and 16 for SDB homeowners and registrants saw 30% of the units being snapped up. For those who may be sceptical about the success of this commercial office venture, Teh points out that SDB's track record is proof that its innovative products have always attracted great interest.

"We are not designing a building with a lot of glass and steel. We design buildings with a lot of interplay with the environment as well as softer elements. That is what we are trying to do at The Hub," she explains.

Teh explains that this is akin to Google's open corridor concept, where people meet in open corridors to chat and exchange ideas. The lines of a traditional workspace have blurred to allow for seamless interaction. That is why The Hub's design includes facilities such as a gym and swimming pool as well as the comfort of a living space.

"Garden spaces are also included so that when people look out onto the green spaces, it creates a more relaxed feeling, a casual ambience whereby people become more creative and inspired," Teh says.

In fact, 28,000 sq ft of the 2.51 freehold acres has been set aside for green spaces and reflective pools. Teh likens the experience of workers here to that of Wisma Selangor Dredging, which features an open area with a fountain in the centre of the building. Here people will be able to mingle, relax, work and chat with colleagues and friends in a casual atmosphere.

There are 13 retail office units priced at RM6.5 million onwards that will feature rooftop gardens at The Hub. The 4-storey units come with a lift and built-ups range from 6,965 to 7,771 sq ft. Teh explains that the rooftop garden was included so that those looking down from the Signature Suites will see greenery rather than a flat roof with air-conditioning compressors. "I wanted to create different levels of greenery," she says.

The Signature Suites feature two designs — a loft with stairs to a mezzanine floor and the typical single-level design. There are 144 lofts with 1 and 2-room configurations, and 132 single-level designs also with 1 and 2-room layouts. Built-ups range from 517 to 1,313 sq ft with a starting price of RM555,800. The loft design units have double volume high windows that allow in plenty of natural light, and the North-South orientation of the tower reduces the impact of strong sunlight. All units are wired, making it easy to set up WIFI routers.

The Hub is earthquake-resistant — a standard feature in all SDB projects. The maintenance fee is 30sen psf for the retail offices and 40sen psf for the Signature Suites. Both will contribute 10% to the sinking fund.

A shuttle service will be provided to upcoming mass rapid transit (MRT) stations in Taman Tun Dr Ismail and Section 16 once The Hub is completed. "Users will pay a small fee to use this service," Teh says.

SDB's Home Owners Support Team (HOST) will help owners and tenants if they wish to sell or rent out their units. HOST will also deal with tenant requests and issues. Estimate rental rates are from RM5 psf and yields from 6%.

As SS2 is a mature neighbourhood, Teh hopes The Hub will add some style and flavour to the area when it is completed in mid-2017.

Moving Forward

Teh is positive about the property market now that the general election is over. "The property market will show steady growth," she opines. Her sales target for the group's FY2014 ending March 31 is RM800 million for the Malaysian market.

Future plans include the launch of a mixed development project in Kota Damansara in 4Q this year. Located a short distance from the proposed Sungai Buloh MRT Station, details of the project — which sits on less than five leasehold acres — are still being ironed out. Also on the drawing board and slated for launch next year are superlink houses in Melawati which will sit on 8.2 freehold acres.

SDB's on-going developments include Windows On The Park, located at Bandar Tun Hussein Onn, Batu 9, Cheras Selatan, which features plenty of open spaces and greenery. Sitting on 8.98 freehold acres, the RM430 million project was launched in October 2012 and is 80% sold. It will feature three towers with a total of 540 units ranging in size from 916 to 4,311 sq ft. The launch price was from RM550,000.

SDB's Penang project, By The Sea along Batu Ferringhi Road, features 138 units in three low-rise blocks from 5 to 11-storeys high. Launched in November 2011, it is about 70% sold. Built-ups range from 1,030 to 3,038 sq ft, with prices from RM1.5 million onwards. It has a GDV of RM231 million.

SDB's latest project in Singapore, The Village, is located at Pasir Panjang. Sitting on 2.47 acres, the project was launched in December 2012 and has a take-up rate of 60% sold so far. The development has a GDV of SG$260 million (RM653 million) and offers 148 units spread across nine 5-storey blocks. Built-ups range from 818 to 2,303 sq ft.

This story first appeared in The Edge weekly edition of June 24-30, 2013.

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