More Than Just A Township Expert
GuocoLand (Malaysia) Berhad shares its strife in creating comfortable and enjoyable lifestyles for its customers
MAKING TOWNSHIPS A PERSONAL MATTER
GuocoLand envisions itself to be the catalyst of growth that would ignite the interest and future development of Greater KL, particularly in areas such as Sepang and Rawang. In fact, the Company wants to be the one to set the trend and benchmark to spur other aspirational developers’ sights outside of the already-congested Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya areas.
“What sets us apart from the rest in the industry is our strength and aspiration in building townships. GuocoLand currently has 10,000 acres of land banks across the country, and we are constantly on the lookout for more with good and long term strategic value.” shared GuocoLand (Malaysia) Berhad ‘s Managing Director Tan Lee Koon.
But therein lies a question: what does the perfect township entail? Is it just about including public spaces like playgrounds, parks and water features into the plan? Or is it about thinking through how families would spend their leisure time?
Although local market sentiments are not so favourable at the moment, GuocoLand (Malaysia) Berhad – the property arm of the Hong Leong Group
– is looking at ways to add value for their customers, rather than just the usual four walls of a home.
As a company that takes quality to heart, GuocoLand is always taking steps to make their idea of an ‘ ideal township ‘ a reality — one that provides a comfortable and enjoyable lifestyle in a fine location with quality environment, life and experience. These have to be constantly maintained, taken care of or upgraded when necessary. In other words, it must be self-sustainable, scalable, timeless in design and have features that are in tune with the people’s needs.
To translate all of the above, promoting high interaction amongst its residents through activities as well as various usages of the land is right at the top of this developer’s to-do list. In fact, they aspire to support the local economy that eventually promotes high real estate values through their developments.
These could also mean little things we take for granted like transportation access and linkages as these ensure greater, safer, better and greener connections for a comfortable and aesthetic view that’s pleasing to the eye. At the same time, GuocoLand sees thorough township planning as creating environmentally friendly spaces that integrate well with technologies such as high-speed internet or Wi-Fi connection in public areas, whilst other technological innovations like parking technology, solar energy, rain harvesting, CCTV etc. promote convenience and state-of-the-art living experience.
CRAFTING VALUE-ADDED OFFERINGS
As the Company’s motto states “Creating Thoughtful Spaces “, GuocoLand’s comfortable and self-sustainable townships has certainly lived up to these words — addresses such as Emerald Rawang is a clear example and testament to the Company’s aim of providing more than just the basic needs of residents, and Pantai Sepang Putra is now emulating the same successful model and strategy.
Today’s customers are well travelled and exposed to a larger variety of information. They tend to seek value-added propositions with reasonable yield and long-term capital appreciation.
“Customers today are not just interested in buying the house alone; they also take into consideration the environment, surrounding areas as well as the potential lifestyle that they are going to experience,” said Tan.
He added that home owners yearn for the convenience of being able to buy their groceries, do their banking, take their pets out for a walk or entertain their friends and family without having to go out of their neighbourhood. On top of that, Tan is envisioning this trend to last for a while more in future, hence GuocoLand’s decision to develop self-contained townships that constantly evolve to meet people’s needs.
Since these townships are pre-planned, the amenities provided along with easy connectivity to major cities and abundant space for daily conveniences bring great value to properties in the development, be it residential or commercial.
What’s more, customers also look for enhancements like facilities, convenience and technological innovation that are balanced out with a preserved environment.
“Customers today are wanting more for less in their purchases. For example, they seek innovation in design, architecture and technology. Also, a smooth and impressive arrival experience that blends the overall development into its environment is a highly sought after factor. Safety and convenience are equally paramount in their list of needs as most of them would have families,” explained Tan.
STRENGTHENING TOWNSHIPS WITH AVAILABLE AMENITIES
Understanding that expectations amongst savvy customers are constantly evolving, GuocoLand continuously equips itself with the latest market/industry intelligence and insights. “There’s a need to differentiate ourselves from other developers, particularly during times like this,” mentioned Tan.
Various indicators started to show over the years that there would be a land shortage and potential over-congestion problems with the growing, pent-up demands of living in the popular Kuala Lumpur / Petaling Jaya area. On top of that, rising property prices in the KL / PJ area were pushing customers to look beyond, mainly to the northern and southern regions that had been in the process of advancing into new suburbs. All these came at the right time and opportunity when GuocoLand began to develop their extensive land banks outside the above areas.
Besides that, GuocoLand had already envisioned that the connectivity and access to these new areas at that time would one day blossom into various highways and transportation systems that we see today. The company has correctly predicted that it was only a matter of time that these areas would eventually mature into well-planned townships that are complete with various infrastructures and amenities.
Take Emerald Rawang for example — it has attracted more developers, retailers and educational institutions to settle in Rawang and it has been a positive value-adding trend that would increase the value of GuocoLand’s property.
With the possibility of settling down in mind, close proximity to schools, essential services, neighbourhood amenities along with commercial properties are some of the things that give these areas a plus point.
“The fact that our property has a strong presence has added to the appeal of these areas, to the extent that people are considering them as credible areas as they have been well-planned with a good design and adaptability to the consumers’ ever-changing needs,” shared Tan.
It has become obvious that the reasons for Rawang’s success has been due to improved infrastructure, highway connectivity as well as amenities. With good accessibility to KL, PJ and Shah Alam, you’d be able to travel to Emerald Rawang via the North South Highway, the New Klang Valley Expressway and the Guthrie Corridor Expressway respectively — believe it or not, it only takes about 20 minutes from the Jalan Duta toll plaza to reach the Rawang toll plaza!
Moreover, a new AEON shopping centre is less than five minutes away from Emerald Rawang, with a newly opened McDonald’s drive-through outlet and a Chinese primary school situated adjacent to it.
According to Knight Frank Estate Agents, Tenby International School and a private hospital are also in the works to boost the area’s appeal and population even more.
Pantai Sepang Putra (PSP), on the other hand, has close proximity to both KLIA1 and KLIA2 along established roads and highways that connect Sepang to Kuala Lumpur. In fact, the proposed extension of the existing B20 road that will link KLIA to PSP will cut the travelling time from the existing 40 minutes to at least half.
Additionally, GuocoLand is also developing other notable areas in Kuala Lumpur, such as the upcoming Murfree project at Alam Damai in Cheras that sports a dual key concept for multi-generational living, multi-tiered security system, perimeter fencing, multiple CCTVs and guard houses with round-the-clock security monitoring.
A CITY WITHIN A CITY AT THE HEIGHT OF AFFLUENCE & EXCLUSIVITY
Townships aside, GuocoLand’s ambition to create thoughtful living spaces in the heart of Klang Valley is achieved through its Damansara City (DC) integrated development in the Damansara Heights that is anticipated to become the next business district when DC is fully in operation in coming months.
This one and only luxury integrated development in Damansara Heights stands out from the rest because of its premium address that is ideal for a variety of purchasers, tenants, travelers and investors alike. To begin with, it can be accessed through multiple existing highways and through GuocoLand’s very own integrated traffic management system, involving an investment of RM48 million in new tunnels and pedestrian crossings. Once completed in 2016, the project will also benefit from a MRT station that is almost right at its doorstep, linking it to central gateways like KL Sentral, KLIA and KLIA2 as well as the upcoming KL-Singapore High Speed Rail Link.
As its name suggests, Damansara City is a city within a city that is integrated in every sense. It is also dubbed as the Jewel of Damansara Heights that integrates two Grade-A office towers; two towers of luxury branded serviced residences known as DC Residency; an F&B-centric lifestyle mall; and a 5 star international hotel. The potential to flourish is infinite as the level of integration at Damansara City is very tight and seamless. It is worth looking into from a quality and investment valuation point of view.
In fact, Hong Leong Group is the first of several prominent brands that is in the process of moving their corporate headquarters to Damansara City. This is apart from other prominent local and international brands that are already securing in-principle agreements to take up spaces at DC’s retail and corporate entities.
“We are the only luxury integrated development here in Damansara Heights that will definitely help re-energise the Damansara Heights neighbourhood value, leading to more capital appreciation,” shared Tan.
STEADY CONFIDENCE FOR THE
Besides the four walls that make a home, customers are also on the look-out for value-added features. Generally, they seek a total package that would stretch their Ringgit and make it work for them.
At the same time, developers like GuocoLand are facing constant challenges like rising construction costs, less-than-ideal market sentiments, and also a situation where potential customers are finding it difficult to get a home loan due to the Government’s tightened cooling measures. Nonetheless, the Company knows the strength of its niche.
“Depending on the location, the phases and types of property for each development would range from RM450,000 to over RM4 million. Given such a wide range of options available in our current portfolio of developments, suffice to say there is a property type that would suit everyone’s taste, especially for long term appreciation and quality value-added developments,” highlighted Tan.
STANDING OUT IN THE CROWD WITH CUTTING-EDGE EXCELLENCE
“GuocoLand is a great believer in product innovation and the use of new building and construction technologies. In an increasingly competitive market environment where customers are spoilt for choice, developing homes that meet their expectations during good or challenging times are no longer good enough. We need to offer compelling products that exceed their expectations,” Tan explained.
That explains why the company has been generously investing in incorporating some of the latest and technologically inspired features into their products, for example smart home facilities and state-of-the-art security systems for their upcoming Murfree homes and Damansara City residences which have drawn positive feedback from some discerning buyers.
“There are many factors that contribute to a good product, and savvy buyers these days often seek technologically driven and innovative features that make their lives comfortable and convenient while in the meantime preserving the environment. We want to make this an important aspect in all our product research and planning, and subsequently use it as one of the key enablers to position our products as among the top in this very competitive market,” Tan explained.
THE FINISHING TOUCHES TO RAWANG AND SEPANG
Going forward, the Company will also be engaging prominent and well-established consultants in the industry to look into the re-planning of Pantai Sepang Putra and Emerald Rawang.
“GuocoLand is committed to meeting the highest standards in quality and processes to include sustainable features in its developments and delivering the product in a timely manner,” pointed Tan.
In fact, new and cost-effective building and construction technologies have become necessary to negate the rising costs and inconsistent supply of conventional building materials. Besides that, some of GuocoLand’s focus will be building homes and townships that will center itself around the theme of green environments that are safe, secure and equipped with technology-driven features, just like the upcoming Murfree development.
“Another building philosophy that has always influenced our product development is that we tend to blend the properties and townships we build into natural surroundings, be it a forest setting, water features or hilly terrains,” mentioned Tan.
“We want to create a place for people to lead an all-rounded lifestyle as well as engage within these public spaces via activities that will keep in with the motto, ‘Creating Thoughtful Spaces’.”
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