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Bön-ding Generations Through Realty

BÖN Estates Sdn Bhd Managing Director Goh Soo Sing, a young and passionate developer, had much to say during Property Insight’s recent visit to the swanky sales gallery located off Jalan Maarof and situated on Jalan Penaga in Bukit Bandaraya, Bangsar in Kuala Lumpur. Goh, 34, who hails from the Pearl of the Orient, majored in Accounting and Finance at the London School of Economics and was attached to the banking sector in London.

Thereafter, he realised that this professional career route was not his cup of tea and came back to Penang to concentrate on his family’s construction business. The family’s maiden residential development venture in Gelugor, Penang comprised three-storey terraced houses going by the name Minden Garden Residence and White Lily.

White Lily comprises 73 terraced residences while Minden Garden Residence consists of 94 units of terraced and semi-detached residences – concepts which proved a hit back then.

Initially, Goh faced some difficulties during his early years as a new developer in gaining the confidence and attention of the bankers and related stakeholders. Nevertheless, he managed to move forward with the sheer power of perseverance coupled with a focused mindset. Goh felt that the family’s existing construction company PPM Realty Sdn Bhd – established since year 2009 -needed a change in perspective and vision.

PPM Realty Sdn Bhd was rebranded to what is now an exclusive boutique development company named BÖN Estates. Originally based in Penang, the company is now based in the Klang Valley in a move to concentrate on developing its upmarket land banks that are mainly located in South Bangsar and Mont’ Kiara in Kuala Lumpur.

“We found this ideal parcel of land in South Bangsar. We wanted our name to present a dynamic appeal to the younger generation,” adds Goh.

THE COMPANY AND THE CRAFT

“BÖN Estates, with the ‘BÖN’ brand crafted from an in-depth philosophy hailing from the Tibetan culture,  inculcates the union of five natural elements representing holistic living amidst nature-like surroundings,” says Goh.

The developer stands apart from other developers with its different high-end project and hands-on approach as evident in its flagship project launched called The Estate.

Being the new kid on the block didn’t stop BÖN Estates from winning Property Insight’s Prestigious Developer Awards 2017 (PIPDA) under the category of “Best Luxury High Rise Development”. The freehold niche development comprises a low-density, luxurious project sited on a 3.68-acre parcel along 112/h Street at the Bangsar locale.

Uniquely, The Estate is designed for generations of families to stay together under one roof. Each floor houses four units per floor. The two 46-storey towers contain a total of 328 units. The dual-key concept is one of the many features offered by the developer to its buyers.

Furthermore, he adds that the units are competitively priced from RM800 psf, which is reasonable as compared to nearby high-rise developments commanding between RM900 – RM1,200 psf. The development, which has a gross development value (GDV) estimated at RM650 million, is expected to fetch rental yields of between 6% and 10% which is considered attractive to investors.

Goh shares that 90% or the majority of The Estate purchasers comprise professionals, business owners, savvy investors and elite families buying for their own stay.

Retirees in their 50s, he adds, also prefer downsizing to live in a comfortable unit instead of a large bungalow. The majority of high-end segment buyers are locals from the Klang Valley who anticipate significant capital appreciation over time at this eco-modern living sanctuary. This prestigious project is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2020.

LARGE UNITS FOR THE FAMILY

Typically, standard units with built-up sizes ranging from 2,346 – 3,110 sq ft come with options of 4+1 bedrooms while dual-key units, which make up 40% of the project, come with 5+1 bedrooms layouts. The development’s eight penthouses with built-up sizes averaging 4,187 – 7,057 sq ft are priced at RM5.8 million.

Facilities here include a 3,000 sq ft gymnasium, yoga room, meditation room as well as child-friendly facilities such as an open play area with a sunken lawn, custom play area and an indoor playroom. Amazingly, the development has five pools which comprise two sky pools at each tower, a lap pool, family pool and kid’s pool. Sky decks at both towers come with a barbecue area, dining area, lounge area, party rooms and a dipping pool as added features for the exclusive twin towers.

Renowned landscape architectural firm Seksan Design Sdn Bhd will undertake the landscape design for the development while incorporating the ‘BÖN’ elements to liven up the surroundings for the buyers. Already, he shares that more than 65% of the units have been sold.

“We conducted a thorough study on the feasibility of the demand and supply considerations for the project. Even the planning of desirable materials used for the units were carefully selected from top-notch suppliers to give the best value-added features for buyers that is worthy of every penny,” shares Goh.

He adds the company aims to build long-term sustainable homes that are aligned with its mission and objectives. Quality of workmanship with essential products like sanitary fittings, full brass taps, Polypropylene-random piping right down to granite tiles and engineered wooden flooring or marble finishing seals its reputation for excellene.

In addition, the project was rated with a Building Sector Energy Efficient Project (BSEEP) by United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) and Jabatan Kerja Raya (JKR). The contractors and supervisors involved in the construction comply with Qlassic standards which have the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) certification.

“The Estate was launched despite the slow market. We saw a gap in the market in a prime location like SOUTH BANGSAR,” says Goh.

The developer also believes in being firmly rooted in order to build sustainable homes and be known as an enabler to provide a better quality lifestyle for the community at large.

“BÖN Estates’s mission is to be known as crafters of good living and community builders,” asserts Goh.  

MOVING INTO MONT’ KIARA

After witnessing the sweet success of The Estate project, the developer is now confident and determined to create a new platform of opportunities that would enable the younger generation, especially the Millennial-generation, to get involved in entrepreneurial and lifestyle activities.

This can be seen translated in its four-acre BÖN Kiara mixed development project located in Mont’ Kiara offering a sneak preview of its project with a different streak. Ultimately, BÖN Estates is keen to entice buyers with commercial elements that complement lifestyle components including incorporating spaces for cafes, gardening or nature-inspired eco-systems.

At a recent event, The Bloc Party, a prototype layout based on a fact-finding survey to invited guests served to gather feedback on ideas and expressions by potential investors on building something within a physical space. The survey serves as an incentive for young home seekers to participate and express their ideas to win a trip for two to Bangkok or to win a home at BÖN Estates’ exciting new project in Mont’ Kiara.

“The price bracket for BÖN Kiara would be between RM400,000 to RM800,000. The market survey was very effective which saw about 1,200 people participating. We’re targeting first-time home buyers who have financial support,” adds Goh.

Due to the strategic location in a matured neighbourhood, buyers can expect excellent rental yield and immediate capital appreciation of approximately 20% for its high-rise development located on freehold land in time to come. The 40-storey tower with units ranging from 650 sq ft to 1,200 sq ft he says will be the next happening project in the high-segment enclave of Mont’ Kiara.

“We have engaged in a joint corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative with EPIC Communities, a community-driven non-governmental organisation (NGO) which shapes unified communities by creating a cooperative, resilient and sustainable living environment,” shares Goh.

This partnership will shape many activities that promote green concept lifestyles to encourage a holistic symmetry such as “Grow Your Greens” programme at BÖN Kiara. Subsequently, it would promote best practices in waste management as well as enlighten a community on ways to put waste to good use by turning it into fuel for energy-savings or towards achieving sustainability.

In the long run, Goh shares that its existing land banks located on Penang island spanning about 200 acres could be utilised for the hospitality sector in the future. There is no rush to develop this as he feels that the land would appreciate well when held for the long term. Another land bank is located in Bangkok, Thailand. BÖN Estates prefers to be selective in their projects by choosing the right place for its upcoming distinguished landmark developments. 

BEATING THE ODDS

Despite being young and strong-willed, Goh says he faced many hurdles in his real estate journey. In the beginning, it was tough to get people including contractors, bankers, lawyers and even buyers to believe in his vision for the company.

Undeterred, he strived diligently to gain the confidence and trust of the stakeholders.

“If I continue to fight for what I believe in and am consistent in my efforts, then people will eventually realise my serious commitment to property development over time,” asserts Goh.

He recalls the moment the breakthrough occurred when Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) agreed to finance the project’s RM300 million bridging-term loan and opened doors for the company’s flagship project – The Estate – and the rest, as they say, is history!

Goh has a team of young and innovative people under the sales and marketing team who directly handle the clients. Having direct communication with potential buyers is seen as a forward moving strategy in BÖN Estates.

“Risks can be minimised at work stations by hiring the right person with the right attention to details for the execution of projects. If there are any mishaps, the site manager needs to play his role. I believe in job delegation and taking responsibility,” adds Goh.

POSITIVE FUNDAMENTALS

Goh believes that the right mindset and continuous learning from more experienced seniors and bosses from previous companies that he worked at has shaped him to be more constructive in delivering on the company’s promises.

On the work front, Goh looks up to his project director Liew Kok Earn who has vast experience. Having been trained from Taiwan to set parameters on timelines for projects, he also regularly keeps up with open discussions on work related matters with Liew.

His parents too have played an integral part and set positive influences in his growing years. The recent book Goh read is by author Elon Musk which has taught him not to give up easily and if there are problems, to persevere and eventually find solutions.Goh is always encouraged to do the right thing at the right time.

In conclusion, Goh looks forward to realising his ideas in the real world.

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