Waterfront living


  • Business
  • Saturday, 12 Apr 2003

BY THEAN LEE CHENG

IF enthusiasm were contagious, the folks at Glenmarie Cove Development Sdn Bhd would be laughing to the bank. 

But it is not. At the end of the day, money and confidence would still hold the key.  

Be that as it may, Glenmarie Cove Development sales and marketing manager Fiona Thong and head of department Michael Wong are excited about the RM600 million project. Likewise, so is Comtrac Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Ng Tet Min. 

Covering 246 acres of freehold plantation land, Glenmarie Cove Development is a joint venture between Comtrac and Hicom Holdings Bhd, both subsidiaries of DRB-Hicom

The brief about the project itself evokes a fair amount of interest. 

It will be Klang Valley's first waterfront project, with bungalows facing the 120km-long Sungai Langat and Carey Island beyond. As construction manager, it will also be Comtrac's first foray into the landed residential sector. 

Until recently, the company was mainly a turnkey contractor for building projects owned by others, such as the RM150 million Petronas Philharmonic Hall, RM68 million Wisma DRB-HICOM and four-star Pan Pacific Glenmarie hotel. 

“We had not develop any property of our own until a few months ago when we embarked on a RM107 million commercial-cum-residential development in Cheras,” Ng reportedly told a business magazine recently. 

But Comtrac is ambitious. It wants to carve a name for itself as a niche property developer.  

Nothing mass-produced. 

It would like to embark on a branding exercise, much like Sime UEP created a brand for mass housing in the Subang Jaya and USJ area. 

However, Ng says there is nothing mass-produced about Glenmarie Cove Resort.  

Although the project is about five times larger than its previous baby in Glenmarie Court, this new project will also be low-density, “although not as low-density as Glenmarie Court,” Ng says. 

For the sake of comparison, Glenmarie Court is about a fifth the size of the project in Klang. Both are guarded communities. There are only bungalows and semi-detached units for both projects. The similarity stops there. 

When Glenmarie Court first came on the market, empty bungalow lots were sold. There were a total of 22 lots of 1 acre and above, about 20 between 8,000 and 17,000 sq ft and 118 units of semi-detached units. 

Over at the Glenmarie Cove project, there will be more than 1,000 units when the four phases are completed. The land is also cut smaller “to cater to affordability.”  

The majority of the bungalow lots in this project is between 5,500 sq ft and 6,500 sq ft. There are a few larger units of about 12,000 sq ft with prices varying from RM40 per square feet to RM68 per square feet.  

The semi-detached units are priced between RM480,000 and RM600,000 and the bungalows, from RM680,000 to RM800,000. 

Wong says some of the semi-detached units in neighbouring townships are already going for RM650,000 to RM700,000. 

“So our prices are really competitive,” says Wong.  

Ng adds: “We want to see the buyers' response. The second phase will not be at these prices, maybe 20 per cent more. Why sell ourselves short?” 

When Glenmarie Court first came into the market, the golf course was the perk, security was priority and the smell of living next to the moneyed created a certain atmosphere. 

Glenmarie Cove would be roughly about the same. Exchange the golf course for the river. The smell of money may still be there.  

Both Ng and Wong have bought the properties, confident the lifestyle waterfront will take off. The well heeled and some directors from DRB-Hicom have also booked choice lots. 

“We are targeting the professionals in Klang and Banting who want to upgrade,” says Ng. 

At this point, 40 per cent of the 51 bungalow lots and 30 per cent of the 106 semi-detached units have been sold. Glenmarie Cove Development is currently on a drive to show potential buyers the site.  

Says Wong: “You have to see it to appreciate it. Many people were not impressed when they first came to the entrance. They saw just oil palm trees.  

“But they were quite pleased when they saw the river and we have built a platform for them that overlooks the river and the island. 

The 35-minute ride from Petaling Jaya, first on the NKVE and then connecting on to Kesas Highway, is pleasant enough.  

Along the way are neighbouring townships like Bukit Tinggi, Bandar Botanic, Kota Bayumas and Bandar Puteri.  

So one will not get the feeling that one is in no man's land. It's either the tolled roads or the Federal Highway, bypassing Klang town. 

“We are creating a market, or selling a lifestyle, while leveraging on the facilities and amenities that are already there in Klang, for example, the established township and the commercial aspects,” says Wong. 

The Glenmarie Cove project is different from the run-of-the-mill mass development. Some of its bungalows will front the river or the man-made lagoon. Its four-room semi-detached units may or may not have any view. For the first phase, there are 15 lots with a river view, and six with a lagoon view. 

The project, which comes in four phases and to be completed in four to five years, also boasts of a 2-km boardwalk, pool facilities and a small commercial area.  

Each of the four phases will have its own entrance. Serving the four phases will be two entrances and exits.  

In short, there will be two levels of security. There is a monthly maintenance charge of about RM250 for bungalows and RM180 for the semi-detached ones. 

When asked why a waterfront project? Ng said: “We want to be unique, we want to give buyers something different”.  

Indeed, a waterfront project is something very different. The companies involved are trying to promote a lifestyle few privileged Malaysians have lived out. 

Wong says the land will be elevated by about two metres to avoid flooding during the rainy season. During the dry periods, he says the river will not smell, as the water is not stagnant.  

Incidentally, waterfront residences are a hit in Australia, Europe and the United States. They command a premium. It is a lifestyle envied by many, but enjoyed by few. Be it in Sweden, Australia, the Mediterranean or Florida and Long Island, it is a life next to the river, lagoon or sea. 

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