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Trion: Breaking Through The Skyline

The 66-Storey Mammoth Along Jalan Sungai Besi

By: Jotham Lim

In 2017, the old Sungai Besi Royal Malaysian Air Force base was scheduled for relocation, opening up the previous project height limit of 50 floors in the Sungai Besi area. And yet on April 17th this year, the Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad has declared that the population density for new housing developments in the city will not exceed 1,000 people per acre of land.

This has put Binastra Land’s latest project – Trion, in a unique position of being the tallest project in the Sungai Besi and Chan Sow Lin area in the foreseeable future, at least until the new governmental regulation says otherwise.

This gives Trion the perfect scenic view of all the four golden gems of Kuala Lumpur – The Petronas Twin Tower, Kuala Lumpur Tower, Tun Razak Exchange and the Merdeka PNB 118.

A soon-to-be landmark in the Jalan Sungai Besi and Chan Sow Lin area, Trion is definitely worthy of your attention if you do have plans on investing in the Kuala Lumpur region.

WHO IS CHAN SOW LIN?

The Chan Sow Lin area plays an integral role in Sungai Besi. One of Kuala Lumpur’s earliest entrepreneur and philanthropist, Chan Sow Lin is known as the Father of Iron Works, and also one of the most famous tin tycoons in Malaysia’s history. In fact, he was dubbed one of the “founding fathers” of Kuala Lumpur, with such prominence that there is an entire district and two stations named after him.

There was a booming tin mining industry in Malaya back then, and Chan started out as a common tin-miner, accumulating enough wealth to start his own tin-mining business in Taiping. It was then where he met Wong Loke Yew, which will later become the richest man in British Malaya. The two of them banded together and moved to Selangor, became pioneers in the Selangor General Farm and soon became the two largest tin mine owners in British Malaya.

Being a philanthropist, he has funded multiple schools, charity halls and temples for the local community. Examples include being the co-founder of Chan She Shu Yuen , the Chan Clan Temple, and Tung Shin Hospital. His legacy lives on, and his name still holds significant weight to the elderly folks who have lived and grew in Kuala Lumpur.

Property Insight has gotten in touch with Tey Keng Sin, the senior manager, and Gan Yook Peng, the general manager of the Trion to get more insights on the particular project.

Trion has unit sizes between 689 sq ft until 1,055 sq ft which also includes a ready for dual-key concept. What is the rationale behind this decision?

Gan: I believe that our unit sizes have a great balance between practicality and affordability. Sizes between 700 to 1,000 sq ft is ample enough for the Kuala Lumpur lifestyle. We are actually building this project with both homeowners and investors in mind. The dual key layout brings a lot of flexibility for our buyers in the
sense that they can do more with their unit than a standard layout.

Tey: Correct. Imagine if you are a young professional working in the city. You have other commitments in life, like planning for a wedding or a new car to travel to and from work. Living alone, you have the option to rent out one side of the unit in order to reduce your financial burden. It is not like you need that much space, and the dual-key layout can give plenty of privacy. Being a commercial titled project, you are free to rent out the other half for AirBnb, which is harder for residential titled units due to tighter regulations and policy changes.

Once you have a family and a few children, you can stop renting out one side of the unit and merge the two halves together for your own stay. The key phrase here is “having an option”. A dual key layout allows for more opportunities than a standard, typical layout.

Why Jalan Sungai Besi of all places?

Tey: Let us be real, Kuala Lumpur has only so much limited space left for housing development. Anything within a 5km radius of the city centre is mostly matured and heavily occupied. Chan Sow Lin and Sungai Besi are part of the few remaining land left for development that is relatively close to the city centre. Sooner or later, development projects will move towards the outskirts of Greater Klang Valley.

Gan: For Sungai Besi in particular, it is because there are many “property boosters” in the area. You have access to so many major roads and highways. You have Jalan Tun Razak, Jalan Istana, MEX highway, Jalan Sungai Besi, Besraya Highway, and so much more. You also have easy access to nearby public transport like the Chan Sow Lin LRT Station and the proposed Chan Sow Lin MRT Station as well, which can be slightly confusing. We will offer our own shuttle bus service to and from Trion to these two stations.

Tey: Even without our shuttle bus service, these stations already have their own existing feeder bus systems. And to be honest, both the LRT and proposed MRT is only about a 15-minute walk away, but the Malaysian weather can be slightly problematic which is understandable. But all in all, I believe that public transport is hardly an issue for this project.

Gan: Besides public transport and accessibility, the nearby Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) will be completed soon. When that happens, there will be a huge influx of office workers and retail lot employees moving into the Sungai Besi district, which will significantly increase demand and land value of the area.

Currently, if you were to rent a 1,000 sq ft unit about in size in the heart of KLCC, you are looking at a monthly rental of R M5,000 to R M7,000. Here in Sungai Besi, it is left than half the cost below around RM2,000++. I am confident that the price difference would attract a lot of tenants towards the area, and investors can expect a steady increase in returns as time goes by.

The Bandar Malaysia project has recently been revived, and The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project has just been confirmed. If everything goes according to plan, the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project might just get the greenlight as well. While most projects in other matured townships remain stalled in terms of growth, the Sungai Besi area is expected to increase in value with each mega project.

Tey: Take a quick tour around Jalan Sungai Besi and Chan Sow Lin and You can see that this place is in need of an upgrade. Who knows? Maybe there will be another cycle of rapid development in the area. But, we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves. These are just speculations which may or may not come to be. Despite that, Trion, I believe, is still a great buy since it is priced at current market value.

IMercure Kuala Lumpur is found from Level 38 to 56 in one of Trion’s blocks. Why the unique collaboration?

Tey: If you notice, there are no nearby four or five-star luxury hotels, yet there are plenty of offices and agencies in the vicinity. When these businesses receive outstation clients, or they plan on hosting a gala dinner, they are required to travel deep into the city centre to find the nearest four or five-star hotel, which is not at all convenient.

There is a demand for a luxury hotel in the region and The Mercure Hotel seems to fill in the gap. We have a great view of the city skyline, great accessibility, and proximity with the city centre and nearby businesses. These are the necessary ingredients to make for a hotel’s success.

Gan: Incorporating the hotel into the project helps add value to the residential sector as well. Residents will have easy access to luxury components and services, and their visiting family and friends can have a nice place to stay if space is an issue as well.

The Kuala Lumpur City Council has set a population density limit for new housing development. Will this affect Trion in any way?

Tey: We do agree that population density is definitely an issue. But land space, or the lack of it, is not a uniquely Malaysian problem. Singapore, London, Hong Kong is facing this issue as well, and there are only two ways around this; either you build taller buildings or you build deeper underground. The new guideline for 1,000 people per acre is going to be tough for all developers, not just for us.

But to address our buyer’s concern, we have spoken with the lead architect after the news was announced, and there is no need to be worried. The construction is already underway and we have the necessary black and white documents from the government approving this project. We are lucky to develop Trion at such a narrow window of opportunity. We expect that once Trion is completed, it will be the one of the tallest project within the vicinity.

Our independent research and survey with the sales agents show that plenty of Trion buyers are actually existing buyers of Binastra Land’s projects in the past. Why is that?

Tey: We cannot speak on behalf of our buyers, so it is quite difficult to comment on this. But here at Binastra, we let our projects speak for themselves. Homebuyers nowadays are smart. They will do their prior research online through forums, through friends and families, before purchasing a unit. Word of mouth is a very powerful marketing tool, and I believe that we have a solid reputation within the industry.

Gan: One of the advantages we have in Binastra Land, is that we started from a construction background, and we only expanded the property development arm after that. With that, we can reduce our operating costs, which in turn, makes the home more affordable.

We take great pride in our build quality. With our solid track record in the past, I think that is why existing buyers have more confidence in our products and trust that we will deliver.

The editorial team also approached the lead architect for the Trion project, Francis Chew Zee Keng, to gain a better understanding of the design concepts behind the project.

BANKERS BACK BINASTRA

We have also conducted an exclusive interview with representatives from the panel banks, to get their thoughts on the Trion project. In one unifying tone, they all agreed that Binastra Land has been a joy to work with.

One of the banks has also funded 15 of all Binastra Land’s projects including Trion.

A local banker commented, “I have worked with Binastra Land on several projects. CitiZen 2 on Old Klang Road sold out 80% in six months and the Sinaran project in Wangsa Maju managed to sell out 90% in just a year.”

“When the project is doing well, pricing at about RM500,000 to RM600,000 which is easily absorbed by the market, it is very easy for customers to get a housing loan,” he adds.

Tang adds that for the Trion project so far, the approval rate is about 70%, which is relatively better than most projects he has dealt with.

What are the aspects that you take into account when designing Trion?

Chew: Take a quick drive through the area at night, and you will notice that despite being close proximity with the city centre, there is a lack of nightlife here in Sungai Besi. It is understandable, seeing that the land around here was blocked as a light industrial area.

However, with more and more young professionals moving into the area, we do understand that there is a need for more commercial retail stores in the district. Hence, we have put all of our retail stores down on the street where there is plenty of footfall to and from any nearby public transport. We have also injected a huge landscape area in front of the retail store, to attract passerby’s and to give the residents ample space to relax and explore.

Trion has a total of 4 acres of land space to work with. My team and I decided to use 1.2 acres of the land purely for green landscape space. We would like to distance ourselves from the concrete jungle alongside the Kuala Lumpur city streets, and we would like to inject a bit more greenery into this project. Trion is primarily a residential project, and having ample green space within the project makes it more comfortable and welcoming for residents who are leaving and entering the building on a daily basis.

In fact, we have just received the Green Building Index (GBI) certification, for having an herb garden and a rainwater collection system to automatically water the plants.

Would having the Mercure Hotel be on the top floor pose a security threat for the residents living below it?

We understand the security concerns and did take this fact into account when designing Trion. We had even brought in a security consultant to walk us through the necessary steps to ensure that the project is safely secured. First of all, one must realise that Mercure Hotel is a prominent luxury hotel brand, and the guests entering and leaving the area will most probably be prominent people as opposed to hooligans that may cause trouble to the residents.

In addition to that, we have dedicated private lifts that provide immediate access to the upper floors straight to the hotel. Hotel guests are unable to access the residential portion of the building without having the proper access cards.

As a matter of fact, we have planned for a total of four entrances for the three blocks and one hotel respectively. We have taken into account the project on the macro scale down to the micro details. Security in the area is something we definitely have taken into account and have properly prepared for.

Property Insight has also approached Michelle Ng, project director from MKM Group PLT, that is handling the sales of the Trion project, to obtain a better understanding of existing buyers of the Trion project.

Michelle explains that most of her prospects looking to buy for own use are actually local residents residing in the Klang Valley region. Those who are looking to invest come from all across Malaysia. “Those who are residing in the local area know for a fact that this project is priced at below market value, 30% lower than other launches in the area.They can see the value in this project.”

Kit Au Yong, a property valuer from Asiacap Valuers and Property Consultants Sdn Bhd, believes the area is primed for higher value.

“For the Sungai Besi andChan Sow Lin region, smaller units that are priced half a million or lower will generally face less resistance when it comes to sales. However, projects that offers a wide array of facilities should command a higher premium,” Kit hinted.

“Speaking of the recently revived Bandar Malaysia, it should have a positive effect on the project in terms of location branding and agglomeration of economics. For the physical, direct impact however, it is still very much dependent on the master plan of the Bandar Malaysia. However, having easy access to public transport does help increase the value of the land,” Kit further commented.

When asked about future projects planned by the company, Tey could not divulge any information regarding Binastra Land’s potential future projects.

Our corporate philosophy is to build one project at a time and give it our full attention,” Tey explains.

However, Tey did mention that the company does have existing land across the entire Klang Valley, including a sizeable land bank in the Sungai Besi area as well.

“In fact, this showroom in which you are standing on right now, the land is actually owned by us. Who knows? There might be a Trion 2.0 right at your feet,” Tey said.

Once completed, it will definitely be an icon of the Jalan Sungai Besi and Chan Sow Lin area, a definite sight to behold, towering above the nearby buildings. Hopefully, Trion will live up to the expectations of the local community, just like the land named after a legend the project is built on top of.

Property Insight is definitely looking forward to the completion of Trion in five years. -JL

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