When IJM Land embarked on its maiden property development in the KLCC address, it chose to differentiate itself from the rest

While IJM Land Bhd is no newcomer to the property development scene, the developer did recognise that in order to be successful in the competitive Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) address, it had to offer something different. As such, unlike many of the developments in this enclave where the view of the iconic Petronas Twin Towers is one of the main selling points, IJM Land adopted a more inward-looking design at Ampersand on Jalan Kia Peng.

“We realised that with the development and completion of the other components of KLCC eventually, the view of the Twin Towers would be blocked so instead of selling the view of the KLCC we focused on the interior and views of the garden,” says managing director Datuk Soam Heng Choon. He says the verdant views is also heightened thanks to the existing rain trees that have been preserved at the site. The developer has also included a water feature for each of the units, be it a reflecting pool or a swimming pool.

While the 2-acre leasehold development is IJM Land’s maiden foray in the KLCC address, Soam points out that IJM Corp Bhd is the contractor of no less than six projects in the KLCC area; including The Binjai, The Troika and Park Seven. And as a result, IJM Land — the property arm of IJM Corp — has picked up a few lessons along the way. “We learnt that if we were to put up a high rise development we would be no different from the rest,” says Soam.

As such, Ampersand is a low-rise, low-density development boasting only 71 units of upmarket condos with built-ups ranging from 2,613 sq ft for a 3+1 bedroom unit to 5,852 sq ft for a 5+1 bedroom unit. “That this is a low-density development sets it apart from the rest. At Ampersand, the density is just 35 units per acre; at the other projects, we’re looking at about 80-90 units per acre,” says Soam.

He adds that particular aSoam says IJM Land picked up some tips from its experience as contractor for a few projects in the KLCC area. Photo by Kenny Yapttention was also paid to the entrance façade, the finishes and security aspects. Elaborating on the design, the developer says Ampersand is truly designed for the tropics. Its architects have taken into consideration the heat, humidity, and sun and rain by incorporating movable timber louvered panels along the external balcony. The development also boasts vertical fins and walls to provide sunshading especially for the west facing façade — these elements together provide interesting shadows and provide shades to area where there are full height glazing. In addition, the black granite wall at the front gives the overall façade an identity of its own.

Getting the concept and design right
Launched in 2007, to date, 65% of the units have been sold. Soam says the units were initially pegged at around RM700-800 psf; today the units at Ampersand are priced at RM1,200 psf. That sales were encouraging when the project was first launch is testament that the developer got the concept and design right, says Soam, pointing out that at the time prospective buyers were spoilt for choice when it came to properties in the address.

“Inner city living is a trend that’s catching on and many of our prospective buyers are those who are looking for a downtown apartment,” he says. The buyer profile, he discloses, are high net worth individuals, with 60% of the buyers being locals while the rest are from Hong Kong and Singapore.

As for the remaining units, Soam discloses that the developer is planning to relaunch the property in the first quarter of 2010, coinciding with its completion. “With the market turnaround we see opportunities…already we’ve been receiving many enquiries from prospective buyers,” he says not discounting the possible revision of the selling price.

Almost RM1 billion worth of properties launched
For the current financial year ending 31 March 2010, IJM Land has announced plans to launch RM1 billion worth of properties and according to Soam, the developer is on track towards meeting this target. To date, he adds, IJM Land has launched RM800 million worth of properties and in the coming months will be putting a few more properties on the market.

These include The Light Point condominium at The Light Waterfront development in Penang, a RM5 billion project to be developed over the next 12 to 15 years and designed to rival landmarks such as Canary Wharf in London and the Docklands in Melbourne, Australia. The Light Point, says Soam comprises 88 condo units in a single 28-storey tower block. Built-ups for the condos range from 1,830 to 4,500 sq ft and the units are pegged at an average of RM600 psf.

The developer is also excited about the upcoming launch of its 2 and 3-storey shop offices at 1 Lagenda in Melaka. Having recently opened its sales office in Melaka, Soam says the development has been attracting interest from prospective buyers so much so it’s planning to sell the shop units by ballot. “We believe that this is a first for Melaka,” says Soam. Comprising 207 units in total, the developer plans to initially offer 69 units in the first phase. The 2-storey units will be pegged from RM680,000 while the 3-storey units are priced from RM1.2 million.

At the end of this month, the developer also plans to offer 50 units of 2-storey shop offices, priced from RM500,000, at its One Avenue 9 development in Sandakan.

For more information, call (03) 2145 8000/ (03) 7985 8189

This article appeared in Luxury Living, the special focus pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 782, Nov 23-29, 2009.