Saturday, 6 May 2017

(The Star) A vibrant sanctuary

Eco World’s Eco Sanctuary City in Kota Kemuning to be next hotspot

Kota Kemuning, with its myriad of facilities and amenities, may be considered a matured township today.

But unbeknown to many, the township is in fact gearing up for a new level of growth and is set to be the next property hotspot in the Klang Valley.

Among the upcoming developments is Eco World Development Group Bhd’s 308.7-acre leasehold project, Eco Sanctuary, which boasts a gross development value (GDV) of some RM8bil.

Situated at the south of Kota Kemuning in Shah Alam, the gated-and-guarded eco-themed haven will be a mixed development comprising residential and commercial properties that will include landed homes, shop-offices, a strip mall and an abundance of green spaces, according to Eco Sanctuary divisional general manager Ho Kwee Hong.

Part of the 308-acre development will be the company’s 62-acre Eco Sanctuary City, which kicked off with the launch of its Eco Somerset lifestyle shop-offices last year.

“Today, all 88 units have been snapped up,” she tells StarBizWeek.

Ho: ‘We always feel that where there’s a challenge, there are opportunities.’

Eco Somerset consists of two and three-storey lifestyle shop offices with built-up of between 3,000 sq ft and 6,000 sq ft. The selling prices start from RM1.9mil.

The next phase, starting off with Eco Somerset 2, will comprise 66 units of two and three-storey lifestyle shop-offices.

“Eco Somerset 2 will create vibrancy within the township. It will be the heart of Eco Sanctuary City as well as the south of Kota Kemuning,” Ho says, adding that the units will be launched within the next couple of months.

“We’re doing awareness campaigns for the units now,” she says.

With a GDV of RM200mil, the units will start from RM2.1mil.

Apart from shop-offices, Eco Sanctuary City will also be home to a three-storey shopping complex, called Sanctuary Mall, to add vibrancy to the project.

Targeted to be opened by the fourth quarter of 2018, Ho says the shopping centre will be more unique than conventional malls as it will offer al fresco dining.

“About 45% of the mall will comprise food and beverage (F&B) outlets, 30% conveniences and 25% family and households,” she says, adding that the mall will be developed in phases.

“With a cost of RM30mil, the first phase of the 3.5-acre mall will have a lettable space of about 130,000 sq ft. It will have roughly 50 lots, ranging from 100 sq ft to 20,000 sq ft.”

The slowdown in the current property market is one of the reasons Eco World is developing the mall in phases, says Ho, adding that response from potential tenants for the Sanctuary Mall has been very positive.

Catchment advantage

“We know that supply of retail space is quite high at the moment, which is why we have no intention of building a regional mall. It’s a neighbourhood, lifestyle mall.

“For the second phase of the mall later, we’ll be adding 500,000 sq ft.”

Ho says Eco World expects its tenants for Eco Somerset to commence their business at around the same time its Sanctuary Mall opens its doors.

“Eco Somerset 2 will commence their businesses around six months after that,” she says.

Ho explains that Kota Kemuning is easily reachable from the Kuala Lumpur city centre and is conveniently accessed via a number of major expressways and highways.

This includes the Shah Alam Expressway (Kesas), Kemuning-Shah Alam Highway (LKSA), South Klang Valley Expressway and North South Expressway Central Link (Elite), which connects seamlessly to Shah Alam, Subang Jaya, USJ, Petaling Jaya, Puchong, Cyberjaya and Putrajaya.

“We have a population of 50,000 within a one-km radius and 150,000 people within a five-km radius. In five more years, the population will easily hit 200,000, especially with the new developments coming up.

“All these people will need a place to congregate and spend their time.”

In spite of the slow property market, Ho says she is optimistic about Eco Sanctuary City’s prospects.

“We always feel that where there’s a challenge, there are opportunities. Yes, the segment is soft, but we believe if we can be in the right location, target the right market at the right time, we can capture the market.

“We have customers that have been staying in the surrounding location for 20 years and want to upgrade. Plus, with the slowdown, some developers have either stopped or slowed down their launches. So that gives us the opportunity to attract potential customers.”

According to Ho, in September last year, the company sold almost RM1bil worth of products – in just one day!

“On that day we launched four projects – Eco Ardence, Eco Grandeur, Eco Business Park 3 and Eco Bloom.

“So this tells us that the market is actually not that bad.”

Eco World is targeting sales of RM4bil for its current financial year ending Oct 31, 2017.

The company’s net profit surged 461% to RM116.17mil in the first quarter ended Jan 31, 2017 compared with RM20.67mil in the same period last year, due to a gain on dilution of its equity interest in Paragon Pinnacle, a unit of the company.

The percentage increase in net profit was significantly higher than the percentage increase in revenue mainly due to the inclusion of a gain of RM94.8mil which arose from the application of FRS 10 – consolidated financial statements to recognise the impact of the change in the company’s interest in Paragon Pinnacle from a 100% subsidiary to a 60% joint venture.

The developer saw revenue for the quarter jumping to RM592.71mil against RM463.51mil previously.