Nadi Cergas builds to meet current market demand

This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on March 19, 2018 - March 25, 2018.

Subahan (centre), seen here with Wan Azman (right) and Tang, says the development represents a win-win situation

An artist’s impression of the sky garden

An artist’s impression of the living room of a unit

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The interior of Antara Residence’s sales gallery is finished in red brick, giving the space a rustic feel. The exterior, meanwhile, is all glass panels, which let plenty of sunlight into the gallery.

A quick chat with Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal, the director and co-founder of property developer Nadi Cergas Development Sdn Bhd, during the photo shoot for our interview reveals that the plan is to convert the gallery into a café. Indeed, the surroundings are very Instagram-friendly and likely to attract the younger crowd.

Antara Residence is located in Precinct 5 of Putrajaya and will be officially launched at the end of this month by Nadi Cergas.

According to Subahan, the company has constructed a number of high-rise developments as a contractor but as a property developer, Antara Residence is its first high-rise and third property development.

The two-acre freehold project is a joint venture between Nadi Cergas and the Asean Football Federation (AFF), which had purchased the land in 2014 to construct its headquarters.

The seeds of the JV were sown when Nadi Cergas was approached to build AFF’s HQ. “In return for constructing their office — a 5-storey building — on one part of the land, we get to develop a serviced apartment project on the remaining land. It is a win-win situation as everybody benefits,” explains Subahan.

The government, he says, plans to turn the surrounding area into a football city. Other than AFF’s HQ, the Football Association of Malaysia and Asian Football Confederation will also be in the area.

“The whole stretch will be a football central and it is quite an attractive element, which I think a lot of people would like to be a part of.

“Also, the population in Putrajaya is mostly Malay and in the middle-income group. So we thought it would be good for us to be part of this scenario because we believe there are going to be potential customers coming in. There is no way to go wrong,” Subahan adds.

Antara Residence consists of a 29-storey tower with 458 serviced apartments and an estimated gross development value of RM200 million.

It will offer three types of layout (1+1 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, 2+1 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, and 3+1 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms) with built-ups of 583 to 1,006 sq ft. The selling price ranges from RM316,000 to RM600,000 while the maintenance fee is 33 sen psf.

The units will be partially furnished with kitchen cabinets, water heater, built-in wardrobe in the master bedroom, air-conditioning points in both the living room and master bedroom, and built-in counter under the bathroom sink.

Facilities include three-tier security, a swimming pool, herb garden and gym. The development will have a total of 675 parking bays and each unit will be allocated one or two.

Themed “Hanging Gardens of Putrajaya”, every floor of the development will have a 2,500 sq ft sky garden that only residents of that particular floor can access.

The sky garden will promote social interaction between the residents and become a place for them to rest or gather for small parties.

“Interestingly, most developments, even the luxury ones, have one sky garden on the rooftop that everyone living in the building shares. But in Antara Residence, every floor has a sky garden, which is unique considering that the development is in the price range of RM300,000 to RM600,000,” says Henry Butcher (M) Sdn Bhd chief operations officer Tang Chee Meng.

Henry Butcher is the development’s appointed sales and marketing agent.

Antara Residence also offers unobstructed views of Putrajaya Lake and is located just 1km from Heriot-Watt University.

In Malay, antara means among, shared by or between. Nadi Cergas managing director and co-founder Wan Azman Kamal says the development is located antara (between)

Putrajaya and Cyberjaya. Also, as every floor has a sky garden, the residents will gather there — antara (shared by or among) one another.

Construction of the project will commence in the second or third quarter of this year and it is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022.

Based on the Valuation and Property Services Department’s records, there is no transaction record for serviced apartment in that area, says Metro Homes Sdn Bhd director See Kok Loong. Condominiums are priced at RM450 to RM530 psf.

He notes that the Putrajaya market will remain stable as there is a policy that states that government servants will be given a special rate for a purchase but restricted  from selling for a certain number of years.

“Currently, the supply of high-rise developments is sufficient as there are other projects in neighbouring areas such as Cyberjaya and IOI City. The demand will come from the younger generation as well as the public or corporate sector with links to the federal government,” he says.

Affordably priced and uniquely designed

Antara Residence branches out into three wings with the lift lobby at the core. “This concept is to give the residents a sense of privacy,” says Wan Azman.

He explains that each wing will have six to eight units and even though each floor has a maximum of 20 units, the residents will not feel the high density because of the separation.

An access card will be needed to enter the different wings, ensuring security is not compromised, he adds.

From the 19th floor upwards, the units are designed with 3.5m-high ceilings. “The usual apartments have a clear height of 3m to 3.2m. So, with the additional height, we will be including a loft so that residents will have an extra bedroom or storage space,” says Wan Azman.

He explains that the developer cannot offer a loft in every unit because of the height restriction in Putrajaya.

“For this project, we are targeting government servants, young professionals and couples, and growing families working here. There are 25 universities and 51 government offices around here,” he says.

Subahan points out that the developer is also targeting the neighbouring areas, such as Cyberjaya, Dengkil and Kajang.

The selling price, which is within the affordable range, is the attraction, says Wan Azman. “There is no other development in Putrajaya that has the kind of facilities and concept that we will be providing at this price range. It is affordable,” he adds.

Pre-launched on Feb 10, Antara Residence has received 80% bookings to date, which is evidence that there is interest in the development, he says. “On the pre-launch day itself, we received 70% bookings within five hours. We were surprised to see a huge crowd queuing up so early in the morning and some were from other states.”

Henry Butcher’s Tang notes that there have not been many new launches in Precinct 5 for the past few years. “All the launches were in Precincts 8 to 15. There is a gap for developments in this price range in this precinct, as well as the supply. So, there was so much interest.”

Being contractors themselves, they know how to save costs without compromising the quality, which is translated into lower pricing for the purchasers, says Subahan, adding that they will be using in-house contractors to build Antara Residence.


About Nadi Cergas and its future plans

Nadi Cergas was set up by Subahan and Wan Azman in 1999 as a construction company. “We have done a lot of government-related jobs but now, we are moving into private development. We believe that the future for private development is big,” says Subahan.

As contractors, they were involved in a number of projects in different states, such as the German-Malaysian Institute in Bangi, Selangor, University Science Malaysia, Penang, and Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia, Pahang.

In 2008, Nadi Cergas diversified into property development by building 55 bungalows and a clubhouse in Kemensah Heights, Hulu Kelang. The GDV was RM39 million.

Subsequently, it developed Hevea Kemensah in Hulu Kelang, a gated community that comprises 3 and 4-storey townhouses, 2½-storey semi-detached houses, 2½-storey cluster houses and a multipurpose hall. The GDV was RM80 million.

Other than property development, Nadi Cergas is also involved in concessions and utilities. Its main source of income is construction but moving forward, construction and property development will go hand in hand, says Subahan.

According to Wan Azman, the company is seeking listing on the ACE Market.

“We are planning to use the proceeds from our listing exercise to develop more affordable homes under the government schemes, such as Rumah SelangorKu, PR1MA and RUMAWIP. The market is shifting into affordable homes and it is very prudent to be involved,” he says.

The company currently owns about 100 acres of undeveloped land with the bulk of it located in Ulu Yam. It also has a 22,000 sq ft of space in Kuala Lumpur, behind the Chow Kit road.

This year will see the launch of 447 landed homes in Ulu Yam and 450 apartments in Alam Damai Cheras, both of which are 1Malaysia Housing Projects for Civil Servants (PPA1M) projects.

The company will also start planning the development of the space in Kuala Lumpur, which will be an open market affordable development.

“Half of the 100 acres in Ulu Yam will be for PPA1M projects while the rest will be for the free market. This year, we will launch the PPA1M projects first,” says Wan Azman.

On adding to the company’s land bank, Subahan says management is looking at it and will work on opportunities that present themselves.

Wan Azman adds that the company will be concentrating on the Klang Valley for now but will consider expanding to the other states should there be a good chance.

In the future, it will be focusing on developing affordable homes, whether it is private sector or government-related projects.

“We are not ambitious. When we can find good land in a good location, we will definitely consider and study the market as to whether it can absorb the kind of development we are planning. When the best opportunity comes, we will grab it,” Wan Azman concludes.