City & Country: Cover Story: Big plans to extend Paradigm brand

-A +A

WCT Land Sdn Bhd launched Bandar Bukit Tinggi in Klang in 1996. Its RM9.25 billion maiden project sits on 1,340 acres of freehold land and has a population of 65,000. WCT Land, part of the WCT Group, has since established itself as a long-term player and has several new projects scheduled for the last quarter of the year.

In November, it launched its first high-rise in the Klang Valley, Azure Residences in Kelana Jaya. One of three towers, it will be built on top of Paradigm Mall, and is 60% sold.

“Azure Residences is a unique project as it shares its tower with a hotel,” says WCT Holdings Bhd executive director Choe Kai Keong. Azure Residences and Paradigm Mall are part of a RM210 million integrated development consisting of the mall and three towers, called Paradigm Kelana Jaya. The other towers will be the Ascent corporate tower and a serviced apartment block. The entire project sits on 12.5 acres of leasehold land.

The Azure Residences will have 30 storeys, with the residential component occupying levels 6 to 17, and the hotel, levels 19 to 29. Choe says the 18th floor is allocated to recreation, separating the residences from the hotel. It will offer facilities such as a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, gym and meeting room.  

Azure Residences will have 189 units of 1+1 bedroom and three-bedroom units. The built-ups range from 756 to 1,815 sq ft, with selling prices starting at RM950 psf. The hotel will have 315 rooms over 10 floors. Choe expects the residences to be completed in March 2016, while the hotel is scheduled to start operations in the second quarter of 2015.

The second of the three towers is the 31-storey Ascent, which is available for lease. To date, 30% of Ascent has been leased, of which 25% will be occupied by a multinational company. Choe declines to disclose its identity for now. Ascent is due for completion in the second quarter of 2016.

WCT Land general manager of sales and marketing Koh Boon Teng explains that the original plan for Paradigm Kelana Jaya was for six towers comprising mainly offices. This was scaled down to three — one each for the hotel, residences and offices.

“The [first] tower [is a] hotel-style residence. It is partially furnished with kitchen cabinets, wardrobe and air conditioners, and has a sprinkler system, as the building was originally made for office use,” Koh says.

WCT Land is adding a four-level car park beside Paradigm Mall to cater for residents and hotel guests. The hotel banquet hall will be located on the car park rooftop and connected by a pedestrian bridge to the mall. Koh says the company is in preliminary talks with a hotel operator.

Down south

The Paradigm brand will make its presence felt in Johor Baru in a few months. Paradigm JB will be larger than Paradigm Kelana Jaya and will occupy 12.38 acres of freehold land in Jalan Skudai. Paradigm JB is the revival of the abandoned Kemayan City Mall project, and WCT Land is its white knight investor. The integrated development will have a gross development value (GDV) of RM1.3 billion, comprising a mall, a hotel and the Brio Residences.

Brio Residences will comprise 31 storeys with 263 apartments. The built-ups range from 520 to 1,360 sq ft and the selling prices are between RM388,000 and RM1.26 million.

Its facilities include function and meeting rooms, family recreational area, reading room, child-care centre, swimming pool, gym and sauna.

The hotel will comprise 17 storeys with 280 rooms, and the 6-storey shopping mall will offer a net lettable area of 1.3 million sq ft.

WCT Land claims that Paradigm JB will be Johor Baru’s largest regional mall complex. It will also offer the first indoor ice-skating rink in Johor Baru. The project is scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2016.

In addition to Paradigm JB, WCT Land will be launching Volt Corporate Park in Medini. This RM581 million integrated development sits on 18.3 acres of leasehold land and will comprise retail shops, a boutique hotel, a condominium block, a convention centre and an office tower.

“We’re testing the waters — the Johor property market is a bit slow at the moment,” says Koh. “The design of Volt Corporate Park is geared towards owner-occupation. The sizes of the units are fairly large, so this project targets mid-sized companies looking to relocate from town centres or ports and those serving in Kota Iskandar.

Choe says for Singaporean small and medium enterprises that have a presence in Johor, Volt Corporate Park is just a five-minute drive to Kota Iskandar.

The office units have a gross floor area of 427,640 sq ft, with the selling price starting at RM700 psf. Volt also has 55 retail shops for sale and the price starts at RM1.96 million.

WCT Land decided to go ahead with the launch of Volt Corporate Park despite the property market having softened, in order to maintain the project’s momentum, says Koh.

“Medini Iskandar is the central business district of Iskandar Malaysia. Volt Corporate Park is WCT Land’s third project in Iskandar Malaysia and was planned more than a year ago to take advantage of its strategic site fronting Lebuh Kota Iskandar. There is a growing demand for good corporate offices to support the ongoing operation of catalytic projects in Iskandar Malaysia. Volt is also the first integrated business park to serve this growing area,” he says.

Businesses in Medini can qualify for a host of financial and non-financial incentives such as 100% foreign equity, 10 years income tax exemption and no real property gains tax, he adds.

And while he admits that the “Johor market is a little quiet now and is a concern”, he is confident that the WCL group’s “strong balance sheet” will help it sail through the low period.

WCT’s first project in Medini is 1Medini Hub, comprising OneMedini, Garden Villas and Medini Signature. The mixed-use development has a GDV of RM806 million. When completed, OneMedini, Garden Villas and Medini Signature will offer 644 apartments, 18 villas and 456 apartments respectively.

New offerings

WCT Land will be launching Transtech Industrial Park, its first such development, in the first quarter of 2015. The RM190 million industrial park will occupy 38.9 acres of leasehold land in Bukit Sentosa, Rawang, and will comprise 42 two-storey semi-detached and six deatched factories. The built-ups of the units will be between 11,110 and 13,151 sq ft. Each will come with individual perimeter brick wall fencing and a guard post. The project is scheduled for completion in 2017.

Choe says the industrial park is adjacent to the Perodua factory there, and that it can be accessed via Bukit Beruntung, about 9km away.

Apart from three new products in the market, WCT Land also has new phases in its existing developments such as the RM115.94 million third phase of Laman Greenville, which will comprise 32 semidees  with built-ups of 3,151 sq ft and 21 bungalows with built-ups of 4,602 to 4,654 sq ft.

Laman Greenville sits on 56 acres of freehold land in Bukit Tinggi, Klang. The RM520 million low-density development comprise will 266 units of 2-storey semidees and bungalows when completed in 2017.

Laman Greenville, which is gated and guarded, has a clubhouse with a swimming pool, tennis court, gym, multipurpose hall, barbecue area and an open terrace. It also has a three-acre pond and 2km nature path as well as nine acres of landscaped space.

Future plans

Apart from Paradigm Kelana Jaya and JB, the company plans to extend the Paradigm brand into Kuala Lumpur. Provisionally called Paradigm KL, the mall will be situated on 57.5 acres of freehold land in Overseas Union Garden. Choe says Paradigm KL will be the biggest Paradigm mall.

“This will be another integrated development, complete with a mall, hotel, residency and, maybe, a convention centre,” he says.

Another township being developed by WCT Land is located on 690 acres of freehold land near the upcoming Transtech Industrial Park in Sungai Buaya, Rawang.  

WCT Land has 2,280 acres of landbank, of which it has so far developed 60%. The group has completed projects with a total GDV of RM11 billion as at June 30.

Choe estimates the total undeveloped GDV to be at RM19 billion, which includes township and commercial projects that will contribute to the group’s revenue for the next 5 to 10 years.

“We have a few affordable projects such as landed homes and high-rises in the pipeline to cater for the Klang Valley population next year,” Koh says.

WCT Land remains optimistic on the property market in Klang Valley, and is cautiously optimistic on the Johor property market given the soft market conditions there.

As for the impending Goods and Services Tax next year, Koh says the group is still positive on the property market and is prepared for the necessary changes.

This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on December 8 - 14, 2014.