JUDGING from the positive response to the preview of Exsim Development Sdn Bhd's new offering — the 33 and 34-storey Twin Arkz @ Bukit Jalil — in the southern part of Kuala Lumpur, one can safely conclude that the population in the area has embraced the idea of high-rise living.
When City & Country caught up with Exsim sales and marketing director Michael Yam recently, about 70% of the 363 upscale freehold serviced apartments had been taken up since their preview on Sept 8.
What is impressive is that the developer managed to sell all its 41 two-bedroom units for a cool RM800 psf, setting a new benchmark in Bukit Jalil for similar properties. This comes up to RM576,000 to RM600,400 for a 721 sq ft unit. Prices for other types of units in the development start at RM650 psf.
Exsim is spearheaded by brothers Lim Aik Hoe and Lim Aik Kiat. Four generations of their family had been involved in the timber business.
During the global financial crisis in 2008, the brothers realised many were cashing in their land and decided to take advantage of the opportunity. They spent RM105 million on acquiring 29 acres in Bukit Jalil, Sungai Besi, Kota Damansara and Bukit Rimau. Exsim's property arm was founded a year later.
The company's first four projects were industrial lots under the Nouvelle banner — Nouvelle Kota Damansara (gross development value, RM70 million), Nouvelle Kemuning Business Park (GDV, RM65 million), Nouvelle Industrial Park 2 (GDV, RM55 million) in Shah Alam and Nouvelle Lot 10 (GDV, RM50 million) in Kota Damansara.
At the moment, only Nouvelle Kota Damansara has been completed, according to Yam, with the sub-sale price of the lots having increased 30% to 40% from the original launch price of RM3.2 million. The other industrial projects — which have all been taken up — are set to be completed within this quarter.
After successfully launching all its industrial projects, Exsim unveiled its maiden residential development — The Treez condominium — in Bukit Jalil. With a GDV of RM190 million, the project sits on 2.6 acres.
According to Yam, construction is about 70% complete and the project is scheduled to be handed over in eight months. The average launch price of The Treez, which was launched in the last quarter of 2010, was between RM530 and RM550 psf. The units are now transacting at RM650 psf on the secondary market.
When completed, Twin Arkz — the group's third residential project — will be the tallest development in the area, soaring into the Bukit Jalil skyline. The project was designed by Wang HC Architect, which also worked on Exsim's other developments — The Treez, The Leafz and The Rainz.
Twin Arkz is Exsim's third development in KL South. Its earlier projects there are The Treez and The Leafz in Sungai Besi.
With a GDV of RM280 million, Twin Arkz is sited on 1.8 acres of freehold commercial land adjacent to the Bukit Jalil Golf & Country Resort, Bukit Jalil International Park, Calvary Church and Technology Park Malaysia.
On the response to Twin Arkz at its preview, Yam says, "About 70% of our units were sold pre-launch." He adds that Exsim hopes to launch Twin Arkz officially after the Chinese New Year.
"The majority of [the buyers] are young couples in their early thirties who are buying their first home and upgraders who are staying or renting in the area. Many of them have family and friends living in the area." There is also a small percentage of investors and foreign buyers from Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong, he adds.
Yam attributes the strong demand for medium to high-end high-rises to better security and the inflated prices of landed property, among others. Buyers are now also more knowledgeable and selective about product offerings, demanding more facilities, quality fittings and good designs. Among the types of units offered by the group are SoHos, retail and dual key units, lofts, 2 and 3-bedroom apartments and penthouses. Sizes range from 721 to 2,563 sq ft.
In line with the high-end market that the developer is targeting, all units will come with fibre-optic technology and quality finishing, such as laminated timber flooring, dual keys, inverter air-conditioning, Astro HD, water heaters as well as wardrobes and kitchen cabinets. Electrical appliances such as refrigerators, cookers and hobs, washing machines and dryers will also be included.
Every home will be equipped with access cards and CCTV systems and a 24-hour multi-tiered intercom security system that will be linked to the guardhouse. Patrol services will also be provided.
"It's all in the details," says Yam. "We will hire a reputable management team to take care of the day-to-day running of the development. The maintenance fee is 38 sen psf [inclusive of sinking fund].
"We aspire to achieve Green Building Index provisional silver certification for Twin Arkz soon."
The common recreational facilities will be located on the 5th, 6th, 31st, 32nd, 33rd and 34th floors. These will include a gym, an eco-themed kitchen, a nursery, indoor squash, tennis and badminton courts, a multi-purpose hall, a lobby lounge, a playground, a swimming pool, a wading pool, a water splash playground, a viewing deck and a sky pool. There will also be four levels of parking bays.Up-and-coming KL South
There have been quite a number of new condominium launches and projects in KL South in the past few years, especially around Bukit Jalil and the surrounding areas such as Sungai Besi, Bandar Kinrara, Kuchai Lama and Taman Desa.
Some of these new developments include:
• Bukit Jalil: Z Residence (Trinity Group Sdn Bhd), Covillea (Berjaya Land Bhd) and Kiara Residence 1 and 2 (Kiara Resources Properties Sdn Bhd);
• Taman Desa: Desa Green and Le Yuan (UOA Development Bhd);
•Sungai Besi: Midfields (YTL Land & Development Bhd);
•Kinrara: Zefer Hill Residence (Villamas Sdn Bhd) and The Zest (Trinity Group); and
• Kuchai Lama: Seringin Residences (See Hoy Chan Sdn Bhd), Desa Residency (Vision Development Concept Sdn Bhd) and Arte (Nusmetro Development Sdn Bhd).
How does Yam feel about the competition?
"I think it is healthy. This means the public is starting to recognise KL South," he says, adding that it is an up-and-coming area due to the improved accessibility via numerous highways and the extension of the light rail transit line with proposed stations at Overseas Union Garden, Kinrara and Puchong.
He says three malls have also been proposed in the area, thus adding value to the Bukit Jalil location in the near future. They are WCT Bhd's Paradigm in Overseas Union Garden and Berjaya Land and Ho Hup Construction Co Bhd's yet-to-be-named commercial developments in Bukit Jalil.
Exsim will be launching two more condominium projects in the vicinity this year — The Petalz on Jalan Kelang Lama (at the end of 1Q2013) and The Rainz in Bukit Jalil.
The developer is also set to launch a yet-to-be-named serviced apartment development on Jalan Tun Razak in 3Q2012. It would not divulge the details of its upcoming projects, but says it will be targeting different market segments.
Exsim's development arm has about 12 acres of landbank in the Klang Valley, located in Jalan Kelang Lama, Bukit Jalil, Tun Razak and Kota Damansara (excluding the projects that are being developed).
"Like everyone else, we are aggressively scouting around for residential land in the Klang Valley for condo development and if we can get a big enough plot in a good location, maybe even a township development," Yam says.
Exsim is interested in a few plots in KL South as that is where it has a strong following, he adds.
The group has no development plans outside of the Klang Valley at the moment, but should a good opportunity present itself, it will no doubt take on the challenge, Yam concludes.
This story first appeared in The Edge weekly edition of Feb 4-10, 2013.