Eco Botanic — located in Iskandar Puteri, Johor, and launched in 2015 — was one of the earliest projects by Eco World Development Group Bhd. The 270-acre township is now 70% developed.
The developer subsequently unveiled other projects in different parts of Johor Baru. According to its divisional general manager Phan Yan Chan, Eco Spring and Eco Summer in Tebrau are both 60% developed while Eco Tropics in Pasir Gudang is 45% developed.
After the successful launches of these developments, EcoWorld is looking to expand its southern portfolio with Eco Botanic 2 by the end of the year. In a recent interview with City & Country, Phan says the upcoming 200-acre Eco Botanic 2 is an extension of and is located next to Eco Botanic.
New homes to choose from
Eco Botanic 2 will offer landed properties and apartments that target the middle 40% (M40) group. The landed properties will be priced from RM500,000 to RM900,000 while the apartments will be less than RM500,000.
There will be 1,676 units of 2-storey terraced houses as well as 108 units of 3-storey shopoffices in Eco Botanic 2, which will have a gross development value of RM1.67 billion. The details of the apartments are still being finalised. About 27 acres will be a green reserve.
“We have targeted the M40 group because they are mainly young, upwardly mobile individuals and families whom we can continue to serve as their needs and investment capacity grow over time. We plan to launch in the fourth quarter of this year if the application process is smooth,” says Phan, adding that there will be a bumiputera discount of 15%.
Phan expects the residential component of Eco Botanic 2 to be completed within five years. The first to be launched will be the Tate series, which will offer various land sizes — 20ft by 65ft, 22ft by 65ft, 20ft by 70ft and 30ft by 60ft and built-ups of 1,701 to 2,360 sq ft. The series will comprise Tate Alton, Tate Bilston, Tate Callington, Tate Dalton and Tate Eton.
“In the current situation, the majority of our products are priced between RM500,000 and RM700,000, and we focus on design efficiency. This price range is very much in demand by the buyers in Johor, who are mostly first-time homebuyers,” says Phan.
He adds that the registration response to Eco Botanic 2 has been very encouraging and that the potential buyers will be mostly owner-occupiers. EcoWorld assists potential buyers in doing pre-loan checks.
Phan says Eco Botanic 2 will only offer terraced and garden homes, so there will not be any bungalows or semi-detached houses. The development is owned by a special purpose vehicle (SPV) jointly held by the state government and EcoWorld.
“For EcoWorld, our projects are always about the location … Eco Botanic and Eco Botanic 2 are in Iskandar Puteri, which is the heart of Iskandar Malaysia. The connectivity is good and there are many amenities such as schools, healthcare centres and business hubs. There is also a huge population,” he says.
These two townships are easily accessible to major highways such as the North-South Expressway, Second Link Expressway, Iskandar Coastal Highway, Pasir Gudang Highway and Skudai Highway. They are also near several major destinations, including EduCity, Marlborough College Malaysia, Gleneagles Medini Hospital and the Johor State Administration Centre.
Over the years, the developer has seen a shift in its buyers’ demographics. Phan points out that when Eco Botanic was launched in 2015, about 50% of the buyers were Generation X. Lately, however, almost three-quarters (70%) of the buyers are Generation Y and Z, who are probably supported by their Generation X parents.
As for the remaining undeveloped land bank in Eco Botanic, Phan says they are slated for the development of larger units such as bungalows and semidees.
He adds that EcoWorld’s projects focus on its DNA concept, which stands for design (architecture designs that stand the test of time), nature (landscape) and arts (unique concepts). It is about building houses with timeless designs that come with landscaping and unique concepts that maintain the value of the development. For instance, the timeless design and unique concept of the English white house can be seen in the facilities such as the roundabouts and gazebos in EcoWorld’s developments.
In Eco Botanic, this translates into an environment with green living, accompanied by family-friendly parks and community-oriented designs such as green backlanes and walkways that are connected to each other. The residential and commercial components are also connected via a bicycle lane. In terms of security, the developer is working with about 30 auxiliary police officers on top of the security guards.
The other facilities in Eco Botanic include a playground, basketball court, skating rink, clubhouse, viewing deck, multipurpose plaza and pond. Some 14% of the township is occupied by a central park and greenery. The bicycle path and walkways are 53km long.
“At EcoWorld, there are three things that we cannot compromise on in our products. First, the entrance must be big and tall, at least 8ft by 4ft. Then, the ceiling is 12ft high and the staircase is 4ft wide. The houses are also smart-home ready,” says Phan.
A total of 1,084 units in Eco Botanic have been completed and handed over, with 81% already occupied or currently under renovation. As the buyers are mostly owner-occupiers, the fee collection is high at 94%, he says.
About 10% of Eco Botanic is used for the commercial components, of which 200 units of 3-storey shops have been built and handed over. “The shops are 92% occupied; the remaining ones are bumiputera units. There is a street mall that is currently under construction,” says Phan.
“In Eco Botanic 2, about 20% of the township has been earmarked for a commercial component that will offer shops and three apartment blocks. It sits adjacent to the commercial component of Eco Botanic, making it a combined commercial area of 50 acres.”