It has been a couple of years since Franky Group received The Edge Malaysia PAM Green Excellence Award (Special Mention) for its resort, the Mangala Resort & Spa, in Gambang, Pahang. The diversified group — which is also involved in construction, mining, quarrying and hospitality — plans to unveil a residential project, Arunya @ KL North, in Kepong in December.
In the brightly lit boardroom of Franky Group’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, managing director Datuk Franky Chua Goon Eng tells City & Country about the upcoming launch and how the company’s other businesses are doing amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Through our subsidiary KLN Land Sdn Bhd, we plan to launch Arunya in KL North, our first high-rise project in the Klang Valley. Despite the pandemic, we have received a good amount of interest (reservations for 180 units) and we are confident that it will perform well,” says the affable Chua.
“Arunya means ‘the first ray of the sun’ in Sanskrit. The name represents our branding in developing projects that are green and focus on residents’ well-being,” he reveals.
The 3.29-acre Arunya will comprise 631 serviced apartments in two towers — one 35 storeys and the other, 36 storeys. The project, which has a gross development value (GDV) of RM412 million, is due to be completed in September 2024.
With built-ups of 743 to 2,077 sq ft, the units will have 1+1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, 3-bedroom, 3+1-bedroom and duplex layouts.
Each unit will be allocated two to four car parking bays. Four lifts will serve nine to 11 units per floor.
“The units will have smart-home features. There will be electric vehicle-charging stations as well,” says Chua.
Prices of the freehold units start from RM380,000. “We believe our selling prices are competitive. For this project, we are targeting first-time homebuyers, young couples, young families and retirees. We hope the project will have a good mix of owner-occupiers and investors,” he adds.
Arunya forms part of the group’s development — of about 80 acres — in Kepong. “Our plan is to create a development that is user-friendly and beneficial to the residents of the area,” Chua says.
KL North is located on Pintasan Segambut near Kepong Baru and Jinjang. Nearby amenities include Brem Mall, Aeon Big Kepong and Aeon Metro Prima. The development, which is accessible via DUKE Highway and Jalan Kepong, will be just 2km from the Segambut KTM Station. “KL North will be just 600m from the Jinjang MRT Station, which is currently under construction,” adds Chua.
The first ray of the sun
Franky Group recognises Arunya @ KL North’s potential as a contemporary yet green offering for city dwellers. The group is banking on the project’s strategic location — with uninterrupted views of the Kuala Lumpur skyline — and design to appeal to its target market.
All units will have a north-south orientation and sufficient natural light. “We are particular about the units’ orientation, so that it will be cooler for residents in this tropical weather,” says Chua. “The units will have a semi-detached layout, with functional and sizeable spaces. All the bedrooms will be able to fit queen beds.”
Chua emphasises that about 20% of the project will be allocated to open, green landscapes. Arunya will feature a 1.2-acre deck with three wellness-themed terraces (pilates garden, yoga garden and zen garden) as well as 33 facilities including a half Olympic-sized swimming pool, jogging path, Jacuzzi, aqua gym, pavilion, reading nook, club lounge and amphitheatre promenade. There will also be other unique facilities such as a hammock nook, cocoon swings, campsite, glamping park, treehouse and children’s jungle gym. In terms of security, Arunya will have a three-tier system and facial recognition access at the ground floor.
“Arunya is a fully integrated development where residents can live, work and play. We believe the project will have substantial room for capital appreciation in the long term. We predict the units may be able to appreciate up to 20% upon completion,” says Chua. “Our overall hope and vision is to transform the Kepong area [to incorporate] 21st-century city living with careful design [considerations] that ensure safety and relaxation.”
Meanwhile, Franky Group is always on the lookout for landbanking opportunities. “We are nimble but careful in our funding, but [in the same regard], we are open to acquiring land. Currently, we have [a few hundred] acres of land bank in the Klang Valley, Kuantan and Kedah,” says Chua.
He adds that the company will be focusing on Arunya for the rest of the year. The group (with its subsidiaries KLN Land and Franky Land Sdn Bhd) has launched several residential and commercial projects in Kayu Ara, Selangor, and Jeram Estate, Taman Aman Perwira and Kempadang Bay in Kuantan.
Occupying a 60-acre site within 400 acres of former mining land and completed in 2011, the Mangala Resort & Spa, which comprises 65 villas and one bungalow, is doing well. “[During the Recovery Movement Control Order,] we received an influx of local tourists consistently every month, despite the hospitality industry suffering from the pandemic. We are positive that we will consistently do well in this area. In fact, we are receiving bookings for future company retreats and so on,” he says.
“We are quite conservative [in our spending], but we do gain support from the financial institutions. As long as there is no over-gearing, we are confident that we will be able to weather the current challenges in the industry and also amid the pandemic.”