City & Country: Cover Story: A high-end project that revolves around a lake

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SET in the foothills of Bukit Cermin in Subang Jaya is Putra Heights, a 727ha mature residential township that was unveiled by Sime Darby Property Bhd in 1999. Several neighbourhoods have since developed in the township and it will soon see a new addition.

Property developer Marvelane Sdn Bhd is bringing to the area a RM400 million luxury residential development called Marvelane Homes by the Lake, which will come up on 9.3ha of what was formerly a quarry.

Nestled within this leasehold parcel is a 6.5ha lake, the development’s prized feature. The developer also plans to carve a commercial component out of the 9.3ha site but the details have yet to be confirmed.

“What is unique about this development is the high water quality of the lake, which is classified as Class 1. We are going to maintain this by introducing pollutant traps and engaging specialists to ensure the water is fit for aquatic life and birds,” says Marvelane managing director Ong Choon Hock.

Class 1 is the highest water quality, according to the Interim National Water Quality Standards in Malaysia. Such water does not require any treatment.

Marvelane was incorporated in 2004 as an investment holding and property development company by a group of engineers and real estate investors that included Ong, Baharuddin Othman, Teoh Yong Hoee and Chan Kuan Yew. Ong says they began by investing in shophouses but soon decided to build their own.

This development in Putra Heights is the company’s second offering since its RM77 million Marvelane Square in Klang, comprising 22 shopoffices. The fully sold project was completed in 2013.

Marvelane Homes by the Lake is based on the developer propriety approach called M360. Ong reveals that it is a systematic way of looking at every angle, from the planning and designing to the building. Eight elements go into the planning of a project: location and accessibility, fair value, ambience, safety and community, facilities and amenities, sustainability, building quality, and design and technology.

Marvelane Homes by the Lake will feature 157 residential units in total — 46 landed homes in its first phase, The Garden Residences, and 26 lakeside homes and a condominium in its second phase, The Water Residences.

Commenting on the development’s architecture, Mok Chee Paan of Garis Architects says it draws inspiration from the natural formations on the site, especially the rock outcrops from previous quarrying works, and the vast open space. In terms of layout, he adds, each building will come with optimal natural ventilation and lighting, done by incorporating the indoor-outdoor concept into the design — many of the rooms will open almost fully to external areas. For instance, Mok reveals, the top floor of each building in the first phase will come with a family pavilion that can be extended to the terrace to create the indoor-outdoor effect.

Also included in the design are green features, such as solar photovoltaic cells, solar hot water system, rainwater harvesting for landscaping irrigation and low volatile organic compound finishes. Other highlights are energy-saving lighting in the streets and parks, bio-diversity and water body conservation, sustainable stormwater design and management, pedestrian and cycling networks, the provision of shuttle buses and power supply points for electrical vehicles such as smart cars.

The developer aims to be certified silver by the Green Building Index for building design and gold for township development.

The lake was the inspiration for the waterfront villas, says Ong, adding that the back of these homes will be cantilevered over the lake’s edge and be given full glass windows and resort-style decks.

He reveals that most developers that viewed the parcel felt it had low efficiency because of the size of the lake, which limited the space for development. For Marvelane, however, the “beautiful lake” and its water quality were reasons for buying the land, he says. Moreover, it was located in the well-established Putra Heights.

Due to the development’s lakeside cantilevered residential component, Ong says one of the challenges the developer faced was in obtaining the relevant approvals. This took about six months because a geophysical survey and additional soil tests had to be conducted.

According to Ong, most lakeside developments have to be at least 20m from the water’s edge where the ground is usually soft. “Our lake, however, has a solid rock bed and its edge is granite. Getting approvals took time but we consider this normal when you are trying to set a precedent.”

The residential component

The project’s The Garden Residences will offer 40 semi-detached homes, two bungalows and a cluster of four houses, apart from pocket parks and a garden landscape.

While these homes will not be by the lake, the residents will still have access to it and the facilities available, says Ong.

The 40ft by 80ft and 40ft by 90ft three-storey semidees have a built-up of 4,496 and 4,944 sq ft respectively. They will have 5+1 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms and a powder room and will be priced from RM2.7 million.

The 65ft by 95ft three-storey bungalows have a built-up of 6,630 sq ft, 6+1 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms and 2 powder rooms. Their price starts at RM3.5 million.

Measuring 35ft by 70ft, the 3-storey cluster homes have a built-up of 3,950 sq ft, 4+1 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms and a powder room. The approximate price of each cluster home is RM1.7 million.

All residential units in The Water Residences —  20 villas, six townhouses and 85 condos in two blocks, of which one will be build atop the townhouses — will front the lake. As this phase is still in the planning stage, Ong says the prices have not been finalised.

With a tentative built-up of 5,100 to 6,500 sq ft, the waterfront villas will come in four types, offering 5+1 bedrooms with 7 bathrooms to 5 bedrooms with 8 bathrooms.

The townhouses, meanwhile, will feature 3 bedrooms with 4 bathrooms and have a tentative built-up of around 2,800 sq ft.

As for the condos, a 16-storey standalone block will feature 45 units and the 12-storey block atop the townhouses 40 units. Their built-up tentatively ranges from 1,685 to 1,927 sq ft and they come with 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.

The gated development will have perimeter fencing with CCTV surveillance and 24-hour guard patrol. Each unit will also come with a home security system. The maintenance fee has been set at 15 sen psf.

Apart from a residents-only clubhouse, Marvelane Homes by the Lake offers an infinity swimming pool, wading pool, gymnasium, laundry, mini-market, nursery, barbecue area, playground, gardens, cycling and jogging tracks and lake viewing pavilion and activities. Broadband infrastructure is also part of the package.

Marvelane will open Phase One for preview on March 22 and officially launch the phase in May. It plans to launch the second phase about six to nine months after the first phase.

According to Ong, the development has about 850 registrants at the present time. “We find that many who registered are from within the Putra Heights community and they seem very excited about the project. The semidees seem to be the most popular, judging from the enquiries we have received while the lakefront homes have seen good response.”

The company’s target is to complete the first phase by 2016 and the second phase by 2017.

Marvelane Homes by the Lake is sandwiched between two upcoming LRT stations, Station 11 and Station 12, which are estimated to be completed around 2016. Both stations are within walking distance of the development with Station 12 just 500m away.

“With the LRT in operation, there will be RapidKL bus service in the area too. We will undertake to provide shuttle bus service from the development to the LRT stations,” Ong says.

The development can be reached via the NKVE, ELITE and LDP. Nearby amenities include a Giant hypermarket and the Putra Point commercial centre, which houses workshops, restaurants, clinics, banks, offices and others.

Its location also puts the development in close proximity to the One City shopping centre, which offers shopping, dining and lifestyle options, including office space and a hotel.

There are several schools in the vicinity, the closest being SJKC Tun Tan Siew Sin and Kingsley International School.

According to Chan Wai Seen of JS Valuers Property Consultants, Putra Heights is a good area as it is an established neighbourhood. “Landed residential developments, especially gated, are still sought after,” he says, adding that the Putra Heights area has developed a lot and enjoys good accessibility and connectivity.

On the drawing board

Ong says Marvelane’s long-term goal is to be an asset holding company in addition to being a property developer. It is drawing up plans for projects with large gross development value and aims to build a sizeable landbank over the next few years. “At present, we have about 13.4ha and we plan to achieve a landbank that will create a GDV of about RM2 billion over the next one year,” says Ong.

He reveals that the company recently acquired a piece of commercial land in the Klang Valley and is planning a mixed-use development comprising shoplots, a four-level shopping complex and serviced apartments. The estimated GDV of the project is RM800 million.

“The land is strategically located with excellent connectivity and we hope to reveal more about the location and the development in the near future,” says Ong.

The success of its maiden project in Klang has given the developer the confidence that Marvelane Homes by the Lake will do well. Believing strongly in being a trustworthy leader in the field, the company will continue to offer developments that add value to the industry, concludes Ong.

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This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on March 16 - 22, 2015.