Cover Story: Location makes Horizon Suites suitable as transit homes

This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on October 12, 2020 - October 18, 2020.
The RM560 million Horizon Suites will have a total of 1,845 SoHos in four towers (Photo by Horizon L&L)

The RM560 million Horizon Suites will have a total of 1,845 SoHos in four towers (Photo by Horizon L&L)

-A +A

Managing director Datuk Lim Kiu Hock describes Horizon L&L Sdn Bhd as a “small, humble and low-profile company that hides in a corner of Selangor and earns a modest living”.  

“We are not ambitious and our emphasis is not on high-end housing. Our aim has always been to build affordable housing for people who have jobs [with average pay] — they need a house to live in that is close to their workplace,” he says.

Although the developer emphasises affordability, it still strives to provide good-quality and well-designed housing in suburban and fringe areas.

“We have noticed that the housing quality in such neighbourhoods is not as good as that in the urban areas. So, when we put some effort into the quality and design, and include a few lifestyle elements like a jogging track and nice landscape, the purchasers are very happy and appreciative.

“That’s who we are …  we are here not just to make money but also to do a good job. This is satisfaction. We have our niche market [that we cater for] and we are happy about it,” says Lim.

The company was established in 2015 and the “L&L” in its name stands for “lifestyle living”,  which is what it strives to provide. Currently, the developer has a project in Bandar Sunsuria, Sepang, and another in Bandar Mahkota Banting, Banting.

Lim, together with chief operating officer Robert Tay, sales and marketing deputy general manager Alex Lim and marketing and business development assistant manager Kenny Lim, recently met City & Country to talk about the projects and the developer’s plans and direction.

Horizon Square and Horizon Suites in Bandar Sunsuria

In 2016, Horizon L&L bought a 13.5-acre freehold piece of land in Bandar Sunsuria, adjacent to Sunsuria City by Sunsuria Bhd and 1.5km from Xiamen University Malaysia, and divided it into two parcels.

The first parcel, which spans six acres, is where  Horizon Square is located. Launched in 2017, the development comprises 49 two- and three-storey shops.

The rest of the land will be taken up by the Horizon Suites project. The RM560 million development will have a total of 1,845 small offices/home offices (SoHos) in four towers, one of which will be launched this month.

Towers A (552 units) and B (534 units) were launched in 2018 and 2019 respectively and the take-up rate to date is 98% and 85%. Both are 60% completed. Tower D (369 units) is slated to be launched next year.

The upcoming Tower C will have 390 units with three layouts — dual key (478 sq ft), 1-bedroom (478 sq ft) and 2-bedroom (650 sq ft) — and an average selling price of RM300,000.

Tay says the developer had the buyers in mind when coming up with the price point. Though some are investors, they are mainly first-time homebuyers, he adds.

“We have identified some buyers who plan to make this their transit home. They already have a home elsewhere and bought a unit here for work purposes. This is not their long-term home,” says Tay.

The completed Horizon Square (right) and Horizon Suites, which is under construction, in Bandar Sunsuria (Photo by Horizon L&L)

Some of them come from as far as Seremban and work in Kuala Lumpur. As Sepang is half way between Seremban and KL, they decided to purchase a property there to be closer to their workplace or as a form of investment, adds Kenny.

Moreover, with the development located close to the university and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), there is a substantial number of workers and students who are looking for accommodation, says Tay.

Some of the purchasers are parents who bought a unit for their children, as the university is just next to Horizon Suites, Alex chips in.

The development will have a 100,000-sq-ft facility deck with a 2,000-sq-ft gym, two badminton courts with a ceiling that is three storeys high, a 50m Olympic-size swimming pool and a follies pavilion, among others.

A unique facility that will be provided is a 1,500-sq-ft co-working space that will be able to accommodate up to 90 people and have small meeting rooms. “It is a space for the digital nomad people,” says Alex.

As the target market is the younger generation, Tay says the co-working space will be ideal for enterprising souls who want to establish a start-up, for example.

“We are trying to address the issue of shoebox space. One might feel that a SoHo is too small to conduct business in, so there is the co-working space. It is free for all residents to use,” Kenny explains.

There will be 2,500 parking bays and each unit will be allocated one lot. The maintenance fee will be 33 sen psf, inclusive of the sinking fund.

“We also cater for young people who need a home. It is a good starter home for young newlyweds or small families. For those who buy, some of them have alternative plans — if they decide not to stay there, they can rent it out,” says Lim.

Other than KLIA, he foresees demand for housing coming from the workforce of the upcoming Digital Free Trade Zone by Alibaba and Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd.

On the ground floor of Horizon Suites will be 15 shoplots, which are not for sale, says Lim. Instead, the developer is looking to lease them out to businesses that can provide services to the residents.

Meanwhile, the RM111 million Horizon Square has been 85% sold, says Tay. Construction has been completed and the developer plans to hand over the keys to the units soon.

An express rail link (ERL) station — Bandar Baru Salak Tinggi station — is located about 2km from the development, which is also easily accessible via the North-South Expressway Central Link. Located close by are shopping malls such as KIPMall Kota Warisan and Mitsui Outlet Park KLIA.

According to Metro Homes Realty Bhd executive director See Kok Loong, there is a demand for high-rise developments in Salak Tinggi from university students and the KLIA workforce. “Depending on the intake, there is a definite demand for the next five years in the surrounding area of Xiamen University Malaysia.”

In the long run, See opines that the area will be like SS15 in Subang Jaya or Bandar Sunway, which is a self-contained township. “The prospects of Salak Tinggi very much depend on Xiamen University Malaysia and I think it will be good when the number of students increases and a university city is born.”

An artist’s impression of the developer’s project in Bandar Mahkota Banting (Photo by Horizon L&L)

Bandar Mahkota Banting

The project Horizon L&L is developing in Banting is part of Bandar Mahkota Banting by Lion Group, says Lim. “We bought over the remaining freehold plots that already have development orders and titles.”

As this is land left over from an existing scheme, he says it is difficult to estimate the acreage. “But the gross area is about 150 acres and it will last us for at least five years.” Altogether, there are 1,451 plots for commercial properties and landed houses, he adds.

Phase 1, which was launched last year, comprises Horizon Livia with 144 one- and two-storey terraced houses, and Medan Horizon with 44 one- and two-storey shoplots. The latter, with units measuring 22ft by 72ft, is 98% sold. The gross development value of the entire project is RM92 million.

The developer plans to launch the yet-to-be-named Phase 2 — comprising 260 two-storey terraced houses — in the first quarter of next year.

The houses in Horizon Livia have an average selling price of RM400,000 and measure either 20ft by 65ft or 20ft by 70ft. These standard terraced houses come with four bedrooms and three bathrooms and are fully sold, says Tay. “There was overwhelming demand and we have started registration for Phase 2.”

The target market for the development is families and those who work in the vicinity. “This scheme is more for owner-occupiers. We noticed that people with larger families prefer landed houses, and such houses are very hard to come by in urban areas,” he continues.

Moreover, the development is located close to industrial plots and Tay says there will be foreign direct investment in the area. “We expect a substantial amount of workforce there as well.”

Hence, the developer plans to build standard landed houses with an affordable price tag — similar to Horizon Livia — to cater for this demand.

Metro Homes’ See says demand for terraced houses in Bandar Mahkota Banting comes from those who live in Klang or Jenjarom, which is near Port Klang. Moreover, he notes that the upcoming West Coast Expressway (WCE) starts from Bandar Mahkota Banting.

“The supply of terraced houses there is not large, as only 11 to 13 units are allowed per acre, depending on the built-up. The area still has [a lot of] plantation land and once demand increases, the developer should be able to meet it,” he adds.

The area,  according to See,  will be an up-and-coming locale due to the WCE and its location between Klang and KLIA. “It is a good area to invest in for the medium term.”

Transaction data provided by See shows that terraced houses with an approximate built-up of 1,100 sq ft and land size of 20ft by 55ft were sold for RM250,000 to RM260,000. Larger units with an approximate built-up of 1,400 sq ft and land size of 20ft by 70ft were sold for RM420,000 to RM450,000.

One unique facility that will be provided in Horizon Suites is a 1,500-sq-ft co-working space (Photo by Horizon L&L)

Future plans

Horizon L&L only has land bank in Banting at present, says Lim. “However, we are on the lookout for land and we will buy when the right time and opportunity comes along. We are not rushing into it because we think it is not the right time to expand.”

Property development is a very competitive industry, he says, and everybody has their own niche market. “The direction we are going towards is affordability and value for money. We still want to focus on the fringe areas and continue to build affordable houses for the people.”

Alex says, “What we want to do is to provide shelter for people. Take Horizon Livia — we received overwhelming response for it. From there, we knew where we would be heading. We will improve future products and continue to provide something that the people need.”

Moving forward, Lim says the developer will focus on building a good reputation and positioning itself as a reliable, small developer that provides affordable housing for the low- and middle-income group.

“There are a lot of developments around and to find a little niche market to survive in is the direction to take. The bigger you are, the more problems you will have. So, we are happy as we are now,” he adds.