The buzz at the moment in Penang is about Mah Sing Group Bhd’s plans to develop a modern township in Batu Maung that will change the face of the southern area of the island.
Named Southbay, it is strategically located just two minutes away from the Second Penang Bridge which is due for completion in 2013. Penang International Airport is just 10 minutes away.
Mah Sing Properties Sdn Bhd COO Teh Heng Chong believes the Southbay township could become the place of choice to live on the island, even more popular than George Town, due to its accessibility and innovative new concepts, which include the first gated and guarded residential area on Penang Island.
“Southbay is the beginning of a new city. It may even become more prominent than George Town in time to come as George Town is an old town,” Teh says.
The southern region of the island is often perceived as the less developed and more remote part of the island. But in fact, Southbay is located near many facilities such as shopping malls like Tesco and Giant hypermarket, healthcare facilities like the Pantai Mutiara Hospital, education institutions such as University Sains Malaysia, and hotels as well as recreational facilities.
Teh describes Penang as a “unique market, an island city that has enormous growth potential”. As the company already has a foothold in the growth centres of the Klang Valley and Johor, Tan says Penang is a natural choice as Mah Sing’s next growth target. The company is seeking to build up its landbank there.
“There has been a good response to our project in Penang ... If the response is good, why stop?” he quips.
Penang has the third largest property market in Malaysia after the Klang Valley and Johor Baru. “Contributing to the robust demand for real estate on the island is the fact that it is second only to Selangor in its rate of urbanisation and level of monthly household income,” Teh explains.
The completion of the second Penang Bridge will be a major boost to the 88.11-acre township that comprises three main components: [email protected], [email protected] and Southbay City.
The freehold project has attracted many local buyers, especially upgraders, as well as foreigners — mostly Singaporeans who are attracted by the geographical and demographic similarities the two islands share.
“There is also a growing number of direct flights between the two islands,” Teh says.
Gated and guarded
Mah Sing is the first to introduce the gated and guarded concept of development on Penang Island. Both its landed residential areas — the [email protected] and [email protected] are gated. The projects also feature green street concepts, lush landscaping and community parks offering the owners a resort-like sanctuary in a secure environment.
Teh says there has been a tremendous response. Of the 284 three-storey superlink homes in the 25.80-acre [email protected], 70% was taken up within two weeks of the launch in mid-2009. The project is scheduled for completion by the end of this year.
“To date, the take-up rate is over 90%,” Teh says, adding that The [email protected] is also the first residential development in Penang to incorporate a private clubhouse.
“The Southbay township is a high quality residential enclave ... providing more security ... and complemented by hotels, shopping complexes and SoHo offices,” he says.
Another residential project, to be launched in the Southbay township this month, is the 27.81-acre gated and guarded [email protected] that consists of 3- and 4-storey bungalows with land areas from 7,500 sq ft and built-ups from 6,400 sq ft. Prices start from RM3.6 million. The gross development value is RM355 million.
Teh says the 76 bungalow units to be built on elevated land are ideal for three-generation families and offer breathtaking views of southern Penang. [email protected] won the Asia Pacific Residential Property Awards this year for Best Architecture (Multiple Units) Malaysia Category.
The three-unit-per-acre development is to begin construction in 2H2010 and is due for completion in three years. The low-density neighborhood will boast its own residents-only clubhouse.
The bungalows come in five designs, each with a private lift, swimming pool, security system and spacious car porch for at least four cars. Besides the clubhouse with a gym and a community hall, there is also a two-acre rejuvenating park with a jungle track.
The main commercial centre in Southbay will be the 34.50-acre Southbay City comprising serviced residential suites, retail lots, Grade A offices, office suites as well as hotels and resorts. The entire Southbay City has seven phases. The first, Southbay Plaza, takes up about 4.19 acres.
Southbay Plaza will have two towers connected by a retail podium. There will be 21 units of retail shops on levels 1 to 4 and the residential suites will occupy Level 9 upwards of both towers. There will be approximately 700 parking bays. The shops will have a net floor area of 74,475 sq ft with unit sizes ranging from 1,270 sq ft onwards. Indicative selling price starts from RM420 psf. The serviced residences range from 1,028 sq ft to 1,645 sq ft and are priced from RM400 psf.
“The suites come in 1-bedroom, 1+1, 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom variants,” Teh says.
Southbay Plaza is expected to be previewed in 3Q2010 and completion is due three years later.
“We anticipate that Southbay City will come alive once the second bridge is completed. This is when new opportunities will be opened up and we will be ready for them,” he says.
Mah Sing still has approximately 35 acres of undeveloped land in Penang, including Southbay City and a tract in north George Town.
This article appeared in Special Focus Property, The Edge Malaysia, Issue 815, July 19-25, 2010
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