Cover Story: Debao’s maiden project targets foreigners

This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on January 20, 2020 - January 26, 2020.

Ooi (left, with Wong): We are not doing townships, as we are targeting foreigners

Photo by Mohd Shahrin Yahya/The Edge

An artist’s impression of the lobby

Photo by Debao Property

Artist’s impressions of the sky restaurant

Photo by Debao Property

Swimming pool

Photo by Debao Property

Bathroom (left) and bedroom of the show unit

Photo by Debao Property

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The sales gallery of The Landmark @ KL City in Jalan Changkat Thambi Dollah in Kuala Lumpur — just a stone’s throw away from the project’s actual site — depicts the luxury status of the development.

Upon entering the sales gallery, you will see a full-scale model of the development. The dimmed lighting and the furniture create an elegant atmo­sphere in the space.

The project fronts the country’s international financial district — Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) — and, standing at 278m, is slated to be the tallest residential twin towers in Kuala Lumpur.

Developed by Singapore-listed Debao Property Development Ltd via its subsidiary Elite Starhill Sdn Bhd, The Landmark @ KL City will be built on the freehold, 2.07-acre former site of SJK (C) Imbi in Jalan Horley, adjacent to Berjaya Times Square. The land was purchased in 2015 at RM388 million, or about RM4,310 psf, making it the most expensive deal in Imbi, as it is significantly higher than recent transactions in the Bukit Bintang and KLCC areas. Land prices in Imbi back then were typically between RM2,400 and RM2,500 psf.

It was reported that SJK (C) Imbi had decided to relocate to a 2.4ha parcel in Taman Taynton, Cheras, because of a gradual decline in enrolment, before it was approached by property developers keen to purchase its site.


Maiden project

Debao Property is a developer from Guangzhou, China, with more than 20 years’ experience in the industry. It has businesses in property development, construction, property investment and hotel management. While its projects are scattered around many parts of China, the majority of its developments are located in Foshan City, Zhongshan and Zhuhai.

The projects it has developed in China include Tianjin Boulevard (redevelopment of a leased heritage building for commercial use and a leisure mall), Danzao industrial project, Jiang Nan Ming Ju (mixed-use development) and Debao Garden (mixed-use development).

Debao Property operates commercial properties such as Debao Hotel in central Guicheng District, Foshan City, with an estimated gross floor area (GFA) of 150,000 sq ft; Longpan Hotel at Xianhu Lake, Foshan City, with an estimated GFA of 210,000 sq ft; and Sihui City Mall in Sihui City, with an estimated GFA of 1.78 million sq ft.

The developer also runs a clay mining business covering a GFA of 51 acres. The estimated value of the operation is RM1.9 billion.

Debao Property was listed on the Mainboard of the Singapore Exchange on April 12, 2010, and it has since expanded its presence internationally. It entered the Malaysian market in 2012 with equity investments in property development projects. The Landmark @ KL City is its first development in Malaysia.

Debao Property Malaysia was set up in 2012 and invested in Green Beverly Hills — a mixed residential development — in Bandar Nilai Utama, Seremban, which was developed by GD Development Sdn Bhd. The project has been completed and handed over.

Ooi Teik Kaie, project director of Debao Property Malaysia, tells City & Country: “The Landmark @ KL City is our maiden development project … We are here for the long term, so we are looking for more landbank, especially in KL. We are not doing townships, as we are targeting foreigners.

“We also have an investment in Plaza Rakyat with a 19% stake. Our partner, who is from China, 

is a new player in Malaysia. Our role in this project is to deal with the authorities. The market is soft now and there is an overhang, but I think [this] year is a turning point, if the political situation can settle down. Buyers are still out there, you just need to identify them.”


Sky restaurant open to the public

According to Ooi, The Landmark @ KL City has a gross development value of RM2.2 billion. It will have a total of 1,338 serviced apartments units in two blocks — the 72-storey North Tower and the 71-storey South Tower — with built-ups ranging from 558 to 2,165 sq ft.

The types of layout include studio, 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, 3-bedroom, 3+1 bedroom, 4+1 bedroom and duplex units, whereby some are dual-key units. About 90% of the units will have a balcony and the average selling price is RM1,800 psf, or from RM1.1 million.

Facilities include a sky infinity pool, spa, sky theatre, barbecue terrace, hydro gymnasium pool, games room, golf putting green, gymnasium and an outdoor dining lounge. It will also have a sky restaurant, which can be accessed by the public via a dedicated private lift.

Each unit will come with at least one parking bay. There is a mechanical parking system that can accommodate 811 parking bays. There are also 527 parking bays at elevated levels and 153 parking bays at basement levels.

“The Landmark @ KL City is designed by HL Design Architect, the lead architecture firm that designed KLIA 2 and Subang Sky Park. Located on the 71st floor, the sky restaurant will be the highest in Kuala Lumpur. The building will also have the highest sky infinity pool in the city, located on the 72nd floor,” Ooi says.

The development is easily accessible via public transport, with Bukit Bintang MRT station, Bukit Bintang monorail station and Imbi monorail station within a 500m radius. It is also close to various amenities because of its location in the city centre.

On Nov 2, the developer soft-launched 336 units from the 16th to 43rd floors of the South Tower. So far, more than 100 units have been booked, and sales and marketing director Terrance Wong says the developer is in the midst of preparing sale and purchase agreements, as it has recently obtained its Advertising Permit and Developer’s Licence.

“A majority of the buyers — about 90% — are from overseas, especially Hong Kong, China and Indonesia. We are expanding our projects to other countries such as South Korea, Japan and those in the Middle East,” he explains.

“We target foreign buyers more because one of the development’s unique selling points is that we are just 300m from TRX, so we are targeting the expats there. TRX, with increased job opportunities, will result in high residential and rental demand.”


Unique selling points

TRX is accessible from The Landmark @ KL City via an existing pedestrian bridge adjacent to the latter and that crosses over Jalan Kampung Attap. It is a short walk to TRX from the bridge, which Debao Property will carry out upgrading works on.

Wong says The Landmark @ KL City is scheduled for completion in 2023.

“The development will be officially launched in [the middle of this year] and all the units at the South Tower will be opened for sale. In total, we plan to have four to five launches,” he says.

“Also, as it is Debao’s [maiden] development, we will do our very best to obtain confidence and trust from the community. We also aim to contribute to the economic growth of the country while taking into account the contribution to society.”