Cover Story: Luxury launch on final parcel in Dutamas

This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on October 9, 2017 - October 15, 2017.

Solaris Parq has a GDV of RM3 billion and is sited on an 18.73-acre freehold land in Dutamas

Some of the nearby amenities in Dutamas include Publika, Solaris Dutamas, Solaris Mont’Kiara, Plaza Mont’Kiara, 1 Mont’Kiara and Plaza Damas, which make it convenient for its occupiers

Yap: The best-selling property type in Dutamas is serviced apartments. They can fetch an average rent of RM3.80 to RM4.50 psf, and an average price of between RM850 and RM1,000 psf.

Toh: The sizes of the units offered at Solaris Parq are well thought out. Most of the units are within the 700 to 1,400 sq ft range, which are the most saleable sizes at present.

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UEM Sunrise Bhd certainly has a flair for integrated developments. One of its notable developments, Solaris Dutamas, has become a vibrant hot spot in Kuala Lumpur, thanks to its cleverly positioned components.

Its popular retail mall, Publika, has transformed the once-quiet neighbourhood of Dutamas into a trendy address, with upscale bistros and art galleries.

Launched in 2005, the RM1.4 billion, 17-acre freehold Solaris Dutamas is now fully taken up, and has attracted local and foreign homeowners and investors. Its predecessor, the 12.7-acre, RM456 million Solaris Mont’Kiara, was launched in 2004 and is also fully taken up.

UEM Sunrise is now hoping to repeat the success at Solaris Parq, the third instalment of the Solaris series in Dutamas and Mont’Kiara.

On an early Monday morning, I meet with UEM Sunrise managing director and CEO Anwar Syahrin Abdul Ajib at the company’s show gallery. “I just flew in from Seattle, Washington, last night,” he says.

“During the trip, I noticed that there was plenty of emphasis on greenery and urban farming in the developments in the US. Perhaps that is something that we can all look into. As developers, we are constantly looking at other countries for innovations and technologies to differentiate [and to improve our products]. It is always good to observe and study innovations so that we can introduce them [in our products],” says the affable Anwar, who appears fresh and energetic despite the long flight.

“Solaris Parq is our luxury launch this year. It is located on our final parcel of land in Dutamas. Considering our strong track record there, we are confident that the project will achieve a lot of success,” he says. “To date, we have received more than 2,000 registrations for the development.”

With a gross development value (GDV) of RM3 billion, Solaris Parq is sited on an 18.76-acre freehold land. The integrated development will have serviced apartments, suites, offices, retail outlets.  and a 2-acre urban park. “We are still configuring certain aspects of these components, but it will be similar to the placemaking of Solaris Dutamas, with Publika and so on,” says Anwar.

“For the time being, we are excited about Solaris Parq’s first launch — its serviced apartments called Residensi Solaris Parq,” he reveals. He believes it is one of the most anticipated projects by UEM Sunrise this year.

Modern and opulent Residensi Solaris Parq

The serviced apartments have the makings of a thriving development, remarks Anwar. “The project has plenty of unique selling points.”

In terms of design, it will exude a modern and opulent feel. “Residensi Solaris Parq is modern, yet not too contemporary as we would like to keep the overall aesthetic timeless,” he says. “We envision that the development will look luxurious with a touch of green. We will have a lot of landscaping in the towers.”

Located on a 4.67-acre parcel, Residensi Solaris Parq has a GDV of RM755 million and is expected to be completed in 2022. The two 41-storey residential towers will have 576 units, to be launched on Oct 9.

“We are targeting a good mix of owner-occupiers and investors who are young business owners and professionals. We also believe the units and facilities will suit young couples and young families,” says Anwar.

There will be several layouts to choose from — 1+1 bedroom and one bathroom (with a built-up of 721 sq ft), 2+1 bedrooms and two bathrooms (1,080 sq ft), two bedrooms and two bathrooms (1,022 sq ft), three bedrooms and two bathrooms (1,423 sq ft) and the penthouse with 4+1 bedrooms and five bathrooms (2,469 sq ft). The units are priced between RM873,800 and RM2,968,800 (RM1,200 psf) each.

“We are cautious about the size of the units. Due to the target market we are catering for, we decided to keep the units fitted and compact,” says Anwar. “In terms of price, we believe that ours is unbeatable, considering the location of the development.

“Based on our experience with our previous projects in Dutamas, the prices and values are expected to increase by a great deal. When Publika at Solaris Dutamas was first conceptualised, the asking price was about RM400 psf. Today, that has increased more than 100% and the demand and rents are still going strong,” he remarks.

“We believe this project will experience the same level of capital growth. We anticipate that Residensi Solaris Parq’s prices will appreciate by about 30% upon completion.

“The serviced apartments will be our first, and most probably the most affordable range, in the Solaris Parq development, so it is a good [buying] opportunity for our target market.”

According to Anwar, the residential development will have plenty of facilities, including a grand lobby, multipurpose hall, badminton court, tennis court, function room, private dining room, pre-function area, games room, prayer room, residence lounge, mini theatre, Jacuzzi, 50m lap pool, pool deck, aqua lounge, sun deck, party deck, grill terrace, hammock grove, reflexology path and children’s playground. The project will also have a four-tier security system.

A strategically located area

Located between Mont’Kiara and Segambut, Dutamas is known for its luxury products that are priced at a slightly lower range than Mont’Kiara’s.

Within Dutamas are the offices of the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) and Ministry of International Trade and Industry as well as the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex, KL Metropolis, other government offices and the Federal Territory Mosque. Situated not far from these landmarks are the gates of Istana Negara. All these have attracted government servants and professionals to work and live in the area.

“Some of the nearby amenities include Publika, Solaris Dutamas, Solaris Mont’Kiara, Plaza Mont’Kiara, 1 Mont’Kiara and Plaza Damas, which make it convenient for its occupiers. Solaris Parq is located in a very good location, just minutes away from Kuala Lumpur city centre,” says Anwar.

LaurelCap Sdn Bhd director Stanley Toh concurs, saying, “Solaris Parq is located in a strategic area near many amenities, and it is very convenient for future residents. It is near several international schools such as Garden International School, Mont’Kiara International School and French International School, and commercial developments such as Hartamas Shopping Centre.

“The development has good access to major highways such as the North-South Expressway, SPRINT Highway, Duta Ulu-Kelang Expressway, Jalan Kuching and Jalan Duta,” he adds.

One Sunterra Properties Sdn Bhd head of agency Terence Yap says Dutamas attracts a lot of investors. “Many investors will buy for their own stay, as well as for investment, as the yields are attractive. The owner-occupiers are mostly young families and couples,” he continues. “The best-selling property type in Dutamas is serviced apartments and condominiums.”

According to Yap, non-landed properties in Dutamas fetch an average rent of RM3.80 to RM4.50 psf, with yields ranging from 4.2% to 4.5%. The average price of non-landed properties is between RM850 and RM1,000 psf. “Residensi Solaris Parq has units that are appealing yet affordable.”

Toh says, “Residensi Solaris Parq is located in a strategic area. The price is slightly above average market range but with UEM Sunrise’s branding, I think the developer can pull it off. The sizes offered are well thought out. Most of the units are within the 700 to 1,400 sq ft range, which are the most saleable sizes at present. The project also offers plenty of facilities.

“The future outlook for properties in Dutamas is bright, with the new KL Metropolis by Naza TTDI Sdn Bhd, which will create a synergy among the surrounding developments within Mont’Kiara.”

Yap, however, provides a forewarning: “Demand in the area will always be healthy given the perceived, ‘high-end’ enclave address. It is positive for developments in Dutamas. However, ‘overbuilding’ in the area could create a huge bubble that may lead to a large price reduction in the long term.”

Corporate updates and future plans

Established in 2008, UEM Sunrise specialises in townships as well as high-rise residential, commercial, retail and integrated developments. It is the flagship company for the township and property development business of UEM Group Bhd and Khazanah Nasional Bhd. The group has an extensive portfolio of projects in Mont’Kiara, including 28 Mont’Kiara, 11 Mont’Kiara, Arcoris Mont’Kiara, Residensi22 and Residensi Sefina.

UEM Sunrise has land in various parts of the country, namely the southern region (10,162 acres), central region (605.2 acres) and Perak (2,405 acres). It also has land overseas in Vancouver in Canada and Melbourne in Australia (30.7 acres in total). Its total land bank of 13,202.9 acres had a GDV of RM110.1 billion as at Aug 31.

“Locally, we have undeveloped land in Iskandar Puteri Johor (676.9 acres), the Klang Valley (23.2 acres), Selangor (0.2 acres), Mersing (431 acres) and Tapah (2,405 acres),” reveals Anwar. “UEM Sunrise is always on the lookout for more land acquisitions but the focus now is on the Klang Valley and Greater Kuala Lumpur as the remaining land bank in the central region is only about 5% of our total land bank. We are in negotiation with a few parties.

“By 2020, the group aims to increase its land bank in the central region to about 11%. As for land overseas, we remain quite selective as we prefer those with a quick turnaround. Currently, our overseas land bank represents about 0.2% of our total land bank.”

Meanwhile, despite the market slowdown, the group remains on a sound footing. UEM Sunrise registered revenue of RM1.439 billion as at June 30. “Our total revenue increased by 81% from the RM795.6 million recorded in the corresponding period last year,” says Anwar. “Meanwhile, our profit after tax and non-controlling interest for the six-month period stood at RM155.8 million — an increase of about 170% from RM57.7 million the year before.”

As for the company’s developments, Anwar says, “We have launched projects with a total GDV of RM1.2 billion this year, with the latest being Mayfair in Melbourne, Australia. We also launched Dahlia — the new phase in Serene Heights in Bangi, Selangor — in mid-July and Phase 3E of Melia Residences in Johor in June.”

He adds that upcoming projects include Serimbun (landed terraced houses) in Iskandar Puteri Johor and Hyatt House Hotel — a component of Arcoris Hotel — in Mont’Kiara in 2018.

“Apart from that, the Arcoris Business Suites, SoHo and Residences are being handed over in stages, and we are gearing up for the completion of Bayu Angkasa in Iskandar Puteri. We will also develop a transit-oriented development master plan for the potential high-speed rail station in Gerbang Nusajaya.

“As a whole, we would like to build on our customer-centric approach. The customer experience is critical to our brand. We plan to design our projects with customer convenience and satisfaction in mind, and to increase our interaction with them,” remarks Anwar.

In terms of the group’s future outlook, he remains optimistic about the property market. “To us, the market remains exciting. We need to be careful with the management of finances, and offer the right product at the right location. We believe certain property segments, especially landed homes in accessible and good locations, will still achieve good take-up rates and good demand. We also foresee an increase in rent-to-own schemes.”

As for Solaris Parq, Anwar envisions it to be a thriving enclave, opening up yet another valuable section of Dutamas. “We are confident and hopeful that Solaris Parq will be next hot spot in the market.”