Chic condo units for a niche market

  • Business
  • Monday, 03 Apr 2006

Property Talk: A weekly column by S.C. Cheah 

IT takes a lot of nerve to launch the Verve suites in the current soft property market. 

Well, this was what I thought when I heard that Bukit Kiara Properties Sdn Bhd’s (BKP) latest project would have 881 units on 4.63 acres of freehold land. 

However, knowing Malaysia's “Condo King” Datuk Alan Tong Kok Mau and his son N.K. Tong, they must have a good product to show. 

After viewing the four show units at The Pavilions of Bukit Kiara (BKP’s large one-stop sales cum exhibition centre), I am convinced that BKP has created new demand in a highly niche market. 

The apartments are furnished in style and are housed in four blocks (27, 31, 35 and 36 floors) with names like Vox, Viva, Vogue and Vibe towers.  

They are so chic that those who have seen the show units by a New Zealand designer would find it hard to say “No” and it would be risky to attempt your own designs or buy your own furniture, as one cannot afford to make mistakes for apartments of such modest size. 

The Verve suites would appeal to “like-minded” people who prefer to live in a compact but “five-star” home: the ultimate “pad” for people who want a residence that is high in style and low in upkeep. They must be disciplined enough to cut out the clutter to ensure a tidy home. 

This is because the sizes are from 633 sq ft (the size of a low-cost flat) to 903 sq ft and priced around RM360,000 and RM450,000. The large units range from 1,144 sq ft to 1,213 sq ft. Each block has between 210 to 240 units.  

The compact Verve condo unit has a Zen style

The units are mostly one and 1+ 1 bedroom units. Only 25% of them have two bedrooms. There are also nine garden pool villas that have their own small pools.  

Purchasers need only to move into their fully furnished home (except the mattress and plasma TV set) comprising among others a fully equipped branded kitchen set (including refrigerator and microwave oven), nice bedroom and living room sets, and central air-conditioning system.  

It is amazing to find so much storage space where all sorts of storage areas “pop up and slide out” from everywhere, be it a closet, built-in cupboard, bathroom medicine box or a compartment concealed in the floor!  

There’s the “hidden” door in the bedroom that is disguised as part of a wardrobe but opens into a sunken bath.  

One of the four standard designs called City Sleek with 861 sq ft size has a master bedroom and a study area where you can sit snugly in a sunken computer workstation.  

The Fusion Chill, a 672 sq ft unit has a Zen style. It has a sliding dining table matched with expensive Italian swing lights. The living room has tall glass windows that slide open to a low grille that makes the living room appears to have a balcony. 

I don’t quite fancy this as owners might fence up or lock the entire windows for safety. Also those who are used to sleeping on King-sized beds may have to make do with the Queen-sized beds that come with every unit.  

The Verve suites would be ideal for yuppies, singles, retirees, newly weds and even childless couples. Expatriates, particularly the Japanese will feel very comfortable living in such a compact apartment where flexible use of space is being optimised.  

Apart from the usual tennis, squash and badminton courts and recreation landscaped decks with barbeque facilities, it also boasts of three swimming pools, one of which is a heated pool. Two blocks are linked to the other two blocks via a 74-ft long and five-floor high sky bridge. 

Although the Verve suites may lack in size when compared to other residences, it boasts of a 55,000 sq ft of “living room” in the form of its recreational deck and the project’s best selling point, the Vertigo Lounge, a duplex rooftop private club of up to 6,000 sq ft of space. One can dine, play snooker, workout at a sky gym, watch the latest movie in a theatrette or relax in a jacuzzi tub. 

The project (BKP’s third in the area after Aman Kiara and Hijauuan Kiara) also boasts of a stylish retail centre called the Verve Shops with 50,000 sq ft of lettable space over 4½ levels and 240 parking bays.  

BKP is not selling the shops but keeping them to ensure the right tenant mix and proper management control.  

BKP chief operating officer Vincent Lim said the average price of about RM530 psf per unit was only around RM426 psf if one were to deduct the RM80,000 to RM100,000 worth of top quality furnishing, fixtures and electrical appliances. 

BKP managing director N K Tong said there were people who could afford a five-star home but they ended up with a four or three-star furnishing. 

“Some people have asked for an empty unit as they think they can do it better but they are going to spend a lot more. We have the economies of scale as we buy in bulk,” he said, adding that response had been so encouraging that “we’re no more doing the marketing activities but concentrating on preparing the Sale & Purchase Agreements.”  

“This new project has captured people’s imagination,” he added.  

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