If you have not visited S P Setia Bhd’s Setia Eco Park in Shah Alam for a while, you might not recognise it today.
The Green-Canopy Lifestyle Biz-Park, covering some nine acres, is the first thing you see in the 791-acre development. S P Setia’s 4-storey corporate headquarters and Canopy Club, the residents-only clubhouse covering 3.5 acres, are located here.
Koe Peng Kang, the CEO of Bandar Eco-Setia Sdn Bhd — a subsidiary of S P Setia — takes City & Country on a tour of some of the completed phases of the development in a buggy and as the former highway engineer talks about the project that began began five years ago, his enthusiasm is palpable.
Setia Eco Park, which won the International Real Estate Federation (Fiabci) Prix d’Excellence Award for World’s Best Master Plan in 2007, will be home to 11,600 residents in 2,900 homes when it is completed. Sharing the ample green space is a diverse range of flora and fauna, including various species of butterflies, birds, fishes, ducks and other animals.
S P Setia has also been ranked No 1 for four consecutive years since 2005 in The Edge Malaysia Top Property Developer’s Awards.
With 400 acres of Setia Eco Park remaining to be developed, the whole development is expected to be completed over the next six years or so. The developer has decided to slow down the frequency of its launches upon reaching its sales target for the year. “It’s all about preserving our landbank and we want to focus more on value creation in our homes and the amenities in the township,” says Koe.
For its 2009 financial year ending Oct 31, the group has chalked up RM500 million in sales to date. Setia Eco Park alone contributed more than RM150 million. The group has set a sales target of RM1.1 billion for FY2009.
In January, S P Setia launched the Setia 5/95 home loan package that is applicable for 11 of its developments in the country.
Under the 5/95 scheme, the buyer makes a 5% down payment with no other cash outflow until completion. The developer bears all legal fees, stamp duty on SPA, loan agreement, memorandum of transfer and also services the interest during the construction period.
“To date, the overall unbilled sales at Setia Eco Park stand at RM200 million,” says Koe. The scheme has been extended for another three months until July 19.
Innovation drives sales
Despite the state of the economy, sales of the Setia Eco Park homes have been good. Phase 7’s Street of Arts semidees were launched in January last year. With a starting price of RM1 million, the 126 semidees boast land areas of 3,498 sq ft onwards with built-ups of 2,900 sq ft and above. To date, 70% of these homes has been sold.
For this phase, the developer built a row of 14 show units with eight different facadés to gauge market interest. This is not the first time S P Setia has gone big on its show units — it introduced the Street of Dreams, featuring 16 tropical-design semidees and bungalow show units in mid-2005. Then in 2007, it invested more than RM20 million in seven eco villas with solar roof panels and rooftop garden named after the constellations in the Street of Eco Villas.
“As a leading developer, we pride ourselves on being innovative and we are adventurous enough to read the market. If we think the market can take it, we will go for it. For our latest Street of Art homes, we are taking a gamble on innovation. If it can’t sell, it will be a series of mistakes because the entire street will see homes in daring shades,” Koe laughs.
Yet another innovative product is Phase 9’s 1½-storey Summer Garden Villas. These have smaller built-ups to cater for retirees, couples or small families and the prices start at RM1.2 million. The land area of about 5,000 sq ft offers built-ups ranging from 2,700 to 3,100 sq ft. Of the 117 units launched in conjunction with the unveiling of the 5/95 home loan scheme, some 70% — with a total value of RM120 million — has been sold.
According to Koe, these 3-bedroom units can be expanded to two levels as the developer has ensured the foundation can support it. “We want to offer our purchasers the flexibility to upgrade their home in the future.”
But purchases have not been limited to these semidees and bungalows with small built-ups. This March, the developer sold three of its most exclusive homes in Setia Eco Park’s Phase 6C, dubbed The Rainforest Villas. In this phase are eight units of lake-view and hillside bungalows next to the 3,000-acre Bukit Cahaya forest reserve. These units have large built-ups of between 8,000 and 9,000 sq ft while the land areas are 9,929 to 13,412 sq ft. The villas cost RM5.2 million onwards and according to Koe, the most expensive bungalow left is tagged at RM5.4 million.
Later this year, the developer will unveil the Spa Villas, an extension of Phase 6C, and which are targeted at nature lovers. The 25 spa villas with individual titles and a gross development value of RM108 million will sit on a 7.5-acre gated enclave.
The building plans are ready and the developer is now working with environmental non-governmental organisations to understand the natural habitat of the forest reserve. The homes will enjoy cross-ventilation features that will cool down the house while the surrounding temperature is expected to be at least 2C lower because of the forest foliage, Koe explains.
A unique feature of these 2½-storey homes would be its integrated spa offering a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, steam and even massage rooms. “We have one level dedicated to the spa concept and this phase is very similar to our Setia Hills’ project, which featured spa villas that were sold out,” Koe says.
Setia Hills is a 14.92-acre project located in Ampang’s Bukit Indah, featuring 45 tropical-style bungalows with lot sizes ranging from 5,814 to 30,195 sq ft.
With an indicative pricing of over RM3.1 million each, Setia Eco Park’s Spa Villas offer land areas of between 7,000 and 16,000 sq ft and built-ups ranging from 8,000 to 10,000 sq ft. The homes also come with a private lift and air filters.
This year marks the completion of Setia Eco Park’s first five-year phase, which focused on bringing in the masses. “To date, we have hit RM1 billion in sales and delivered 750 homes, including bungalow lots. There are about 450 to 500 families that have moved in,” Koe says.
In the second six-year phase of Setia Eco Park’s development, the developer plans to focus on commercial products at Green Canopy. Boutique offices and shops will come up in two phases on the remaining 5.5 acres in the business park.
Green Canopy’s second phase is scheduled to be ready by end-2011 to serve as an extension of the clubhouse as the population in the park increases. However, it is still in the planning stage.
The bungalow lots in Setia Eco Park were launched five years ago at RM63 psf. In March this year, some of these lots, with an average size of 8,300 sq ft, changed hands at RM95 to RM103 psf, says Koe.
Four years ago, the first batch of semidees and bungalows in Phase 2 was unveiled. The semidees, with land sizes of 3,500 sq ft and built-ups from 2,900 sq ft, were sold at about RM614,000 while the bungalows (land size: 4,478 sq ft; built-up: 4,000 sq ft) were sold at RM912,000.
According to Koe, during the September-October period last year, these semidees were transacted on the secondary market at more than RM850,00 while the asking price for the first batch of bungalows was RM1.4 million.
It is all about market differentiation and value creation, says Koe. “To add more value to the township, we completed the RM150 million Setia Alam Link interchange in 2006. We also built the Tenby private and international schools, which have started operations,” he says. With a student population of 700, the Tenby educational facilities have attracted foreign residents, including those from Britain, South Africa, Namibia, the Philippines, Japan and South Korea.
In May 2007, the developer introduced Phase 5, featuring 32 Eco Villa bungalows. With land areas of 4,400 to 7,000 sq ft and built-ups of 3,500 sq ft and above, these homes were sold out in four months at RM1.2 million onwards. Now, they are going for over RM1.6 million on the secondary market, says Koe.
The same year, the developer launched more bungalows in Phase 6B’s Villas Exclave. These were tagged from RM1.6 million onwards, with the most expensive one costing RM3.1 million. At press time, 65% of the 42 units had been sold. These homes have land areas of 4,500 to 12,000 sq ft and built-ups of 3,500 sq ft onwards.
In Phase 7C’s Solar Enclave, the developer launched 39 bungalows with solar roof panels and rooftop garden in August last year. The average land size of these units is 4,478 sq ft while the built-up is 3,942 sq ft. Prices start from RM1.8 million and 70% has been sold.
For Koe and his team, their next challenge is to churn out ideas and designs for future products. “We can afford to plan ahead… we don’t have to worry since we do not copy others. Our in-house design team has gained experience over the years and is confident. Even our landscaping is done in-house,” he reveals.
Still, Koe concedes that to retain its reputation as a leading developer, S P Setia Group has to up its ante in driving innovation.
This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 753, May 4 – 10, 2009.
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