Cover Story: ‘The location sells itself’

This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on July 23, 2018 - July 29, 2018.

Facilities at The Societe will include a swimming pool, sky deck and gymnasium. Pictures by SCP Group

An artist’s impression of The Societe.

Chuah (right) and Wong. Photo by Suhaimi Yusuf

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SCP Group would be a familiar name to many. Formerly known as Systematic Corporate Parking Sdn Bhd, SCP Group is one of the country’s largest car park operators. Established in 1999 in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis, its parking division — SCP Parking — controls more than 14,000 parking bays nationwide.

It launched its property development division in early 2011, banking on the experience of the directors. Over the past seven years, it has completed 10 projects in the Klang Valley and Sabah with a combined gross development value (GDV) of more than RM4 billion.

The completed projects in Kota Kinabalu include Capital and Ashton Tower in Kota Kinabalu. In the Klang Valley, the group was behind Dataran Wangsa and Damaisari in Wangsa Melawati; Plaza Azalea in Shah Alam; Lido Residency in Jalan Loke Yew; Seasons Garden in Wangsa Maju; KL Traders Square in Jalan Gombak; and Cheras Traders Square Phase 1 in Cheras Selatan.

Today, property development contributes 90% to group profit, says general manager Chuah Jin Teik. He believes SCP’s focus on mature locations, pricing and design is a winning formula.

“Our current land bank includes parcels in Segambut, Setapak and Balakong in the Klang Valley and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah. We are still actively looking for land — mostly in mature areas,” he says.

 

The Societe

SCP Group plans to launch three new developments within the next 12 months, including the highly-anticipated The Societe in Desa Sri Hartamas, Traders Garden in Balakong and The Birch at Jalan Ipoh. The projects have a combined GDV of RM840 million.

The first to be unveiled will be The Societe — a 33-storey small office, home office (SoHo) tower. Scheduled to be launched next month, the freehold project sits on a 0.54-acre site, which was once an open-air car park, at the junction of Jalan 19/70a and Jalan 27/70a.

The development, which has a GDV of RM240 million, will offer 334 SoHo and and 16 duplex SoHo units on top of an 8-storey retail and car park podium. The units are sized from 498 to 643 sq ft, and the duplexes, between 801 and 1,044 sq ft.

Construction started last year and has reached Level 10, Chuah tells City & Country.

“We have not started selling even though we started construction last year because we are confident of the location. We believe the location sells itself and we are holding back to get the right timing and pricing.”

There will be four shops on the ground floor, which the developer will retain for recurring income. Two of the shops are currently being renovated into a sales gallery for the project.

The car park podium will have more than 400 parking bays, which will not be bundled with the SoHo units. Instead, the car park will be owned and managed by the group, and be open to the public.

“When we first started construction, there were complaints that there were not enough parking bays. I think these people will be happy once construction is completed because there are so many,” says Chuah.

Project manager Lucas Wong says the facilities will include a swimming pool, sky deck, gymnasium as well a business lounge.

The SoHo units will be priced at an average of RM1,100 psf, with selling prices starting at RM535,000.

“We decided to do a SoHo development because with smaller sizes {and hence lower prices], it is easier for buyers to get a loan,” he explains.

“Desa Sri Hartamas is a nice address and many young people like the place ... it is like an open-air shopping mall where you can find all kinds of services and food. It is also near various shopping malls such as Hartamas Shopping Centre and Mid Valley Megamall. We are targeting the younger generation who do not need a big space but would rather have a nice address.”

Chuah says the emergence of many start-ups in recent years is one reason SCP Group is developing a SoHo block there.

“For many start-ups, they will feel it is good to have a nice office instead of renting a shoplot,” he says, adding they could also use it for residential purposes.

“Also, Desa Sri Hartamas is a nice address with many conveniences and is easily accessible via various links ... It is about the lifestyle and the address.”

After The Societe, SCP will launch serviced apartment Traders Garden — part of Phase 2 of Cheras Traders Square in Balakong — by the end of this year. Cheras Traders Square Phase 1, launched in May 2015, offered 196 units of two-storey showrooms and shopoffices. More than 90% of the units have been taken up and were handed over last year.

The leasehold Cheras Traders Square sits on a 30-acre leasehold parcel next to Aeon Cheras Selatan and Mitraland Group’s C180 development. Phase 1, with a GDV of RM600 million, took up some 20 acres.

Phase 2 will be developed over two stages. The first stage, Traders Garden, will occupy 4.5 acres and has a GDV of RM300 million.

“Phase 2 will complement Phase 1. It will have more than 760 serviced apartments in two 31-storey blocks and 16 units of one-storey shops on the ground floor,” Chuah says. “We have made this very affordable at about RM550 psf for units sized from 600 to 800 sq ft. The second stage of Phase 2 will offer similar products, but everything is still at the planning stage now.”

The shops, with built-ups of 600 to 1,500 sq ft, will have price tags starting at RM1 million.

The third project is RM300 million apartment project, The Birch on Jalan Ipoh, which is slated to be launched by the first quarter of next year. Just 300m from the upcoming Sentul West MRT station, the freehold project will offer 681 units in two blocks on a 1.8-acre site.

The units will be sized from 500 to 850 sq ft, with an average price of RM650 psf to make them affordable to more buyers, Chuah explains.

“There are several new launches in that area but they are not exactly at the same location. With our pricing strategy, proximity to the MRT station and our designs, we are positive this project will stand out. Also, we see sales picking up at existing projects after the recent general election and we are confident our projects will sell well. We believe that location sells,” he says.