OCR targets younger buyers for The Mate signature suites in PJ

This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on December 7, 2020 - December 13, 2020.
The Mate development will offer 268 signature suites with a  co-working,  co-living component and retail units  (Photo by OCR Group)

The Mate development will offer 268 signature suites with a co-working, co-living component and retail units (Photo by OCR Group)

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The Mate @ Damansara Jaya, an integrated signature suites development by OCR Group Bhd, will offer 268 signature suites, four retail units on the ground floor and a co-working and co-living component on Level 6, and have a gross development value (GDV) of RM140 million.

Situated behind 3 Damansara Shopping Mall (previously known as Tropicana City Mall) on Jalan SS20/27 in Petaling Jaya, the project, developed by the group’s wholly-owned subsidiary OCR Construction Sdn Bhd, occupies a 1.01-acre freehold parcel.

OCR Group’s managing director Billy Ong Kah Hoe tells City & Country via an email interview that the company is introducing the co-living and co-working concept at the development, owing to demand for short-term accommodation as well as for flexible office space in a good location. “The Mate, being centrally located in the heart of Petaling Jaya, is an ideal location for young professionals and entrepreneurs who are just starting out, as well as for students and interns who are living away from their families.

“Both the co-living and co-working space at Level 6 will be operated by a third-party operator, and owners and residents are welcome to use the shared spaces for a minimum subscription fee,” says Ong.

According to the developer, owners at The Mate can also opt to appoint OCR Care, the group’s hospitality arm established in 2013, to manage the development. “The Mate will introduce a new community that brings new vibes to the mature neighbourhood and its vicinity,” says Ong.

“The Mate is uniquely positioned to meet the needs of the gig economy, which is on the rise, and it is a testament that OCR Group is a visionary developer attuned to the lifestyles and affordability levels of intergenerational buyers.”

Ong: The Mate is uniquely positioned to meet the needs of the gig economy, which is on the rise (Photo by OCR Group)

The suites come in studio layouts of 270 to 486 sq ft as well as one- and two-room units of 554 sq ft and 635 to 675 sq ft respectively. The co-working and co-living floor plate on Level 6 has a net floor area of 8,209 sq ft.

Unit prices start from RM295,000 and monthly maintenance charges, inclusive of a sinking fund, is 44 sen psf. The facilities include a swimming pool, gym, garden terrace, changing room and washroom, mail room and prayer room.

The development is strategically located at the intersection of the LDP and Sprint highways and is in proximity to established areas such as SS2, Bandar Utama, Taman Tun Dr Ismail and Damansara Uptown, which offers a good range of amenities including shopping malls, hotels, plenty of F&B options, schools and tertiary education institutions.

“At The Mate, residents can already enjoy existing amenities and connectivity, including MRT and LRT services,” says Ong. The MRT TTDI station is 2.2km away from the development while the Kelana Jaya LRT station is 3.5km, and the upcoming Kayu Ara LRT station, 2.3km.

Ong believes the project will appeal to a wide pool of buyers mainly from the younger generation who are looking to do start-ups and embark on their own entrepreneurial or freelance journey. “This project is aimed at young entrepreneurs, key opinion leaders and freelancers who need a flexible working space as well as anyone who is looking for work/life balance.

“It is a place where they can work and play, and they’ll have gyms, cafés, shopping and entertainment — all the conveniences at their doorstep,” he says.

The suites come in studio layouts of 270 to 486 sq ft and one- and two-room units of 554 sq ft and 635 to 675 sq ft respectively (Photo by OCR Group)

“It is also ideal for those who wish to stay close to their families in Petaling Jaya as well as for students from colleges nearby, young working adults from outstation and those looking to live in an urban and hip neighbourhood.”

Ong also believes The Mate will appeal to the investor market. “With a small investment, we believe the project will offer a potentially high rental yield. Thus, we are very confident that this will be an attractive offer.”

OCR plans to build a socially connected community at The Mate. “The strength of the community will be essential in helping people connect, build networks and support each other.

“We believe the development will complement and add value to its surrounding community, just like our previous developments. At OCR, we believe in being flexible and accommodative.

“For example, we believe we are one of the first developers to introduce the dual-key concept in the market with our Residence 8 development in Old Klang Road. Being innovative and positioning ourselves to complement the surroundings has always been in the company DNA.”

Plans and opportunities

In addition to The Mate @ Damansara Jaya, OCR Group has two other ongoing developments — Isola @ KLCC in Jalan Yap Kwan Seng, KL, and Priya @ Penor in Kuantan, Pahang. The three projects have a total combined GDV of RM583 million and unbilled sales amounting to more than RM228 million.

Isola is a 0.4-acre development comprising four residential towers with 140 condominium units, each with a 180 view of KL city. According to Ong, the project has achieved a sales rate of 82% so far, with a good mix of international and local buyers.

The 100-acre development Priya comprises 1,124 terraced houses and semidees, and is 98% sold. The RM169 million project is a joint venture with Yayasan Pahang and is the largest affordable housing scheme in Kuantan, Ong notes.

An artist’s impression of the swimming pool at The Mate (Photo by OCR Group)

Meanwhile, the group’s construction business is involved with YOLO Signature Suites @ Bandar Sunway — a develop­ment by OCR Properties, which has directors in common with the group.

The company’s third core business is its project management consultation (PMC) business, which is managing more than 25,000 affordable housing units for Yayasan Pahang over the next 15 years, the first phase being Priya @ Penor.

The group recently entered — via its 40%-owned associate company Landasan Surimas Sdn Bhd — into a 70:30 joint venture agreement with Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Pahang (PKNP) to set up Taraf Raya to provide PMC services for the mechanical and civil works relating to the East Coast Rail Link project in Pahang.

Formerly known as O&C Resources Bhd, the company returned to profitability last year. “It has definitely been a very challenging but fruitful year for OCR. After returning to the black in 2019, the group continued to register a net profit in the first quarter of 2020 before the government implemented the Movement Control Order, which halted all construction works,” says Ong.

“During this period, the group implemented various initiatives to manage cash flow and operational risks, including off-site/virtual marketing, funding realignment and site planning optimisation. Sales have been relatively healthy during this period, especially for our Priya @ Penor development in Kuantan, which has recorded sales of more than 100 units from March to May.”

The group has RM434 million worth of launches in the pipeline for the Klang Valley and Kuantan — its second core market. OCR’s upcoming launches include Boulevard Gardens Residence @ Damansara, a RM127 million condominium development comprising 88 units; and Vertex @ Kuantan City, a RM255 million serviced apartment project with 822 units. It plans to launch both projects in the next two years.

“Despite the challenging business environment, we will also be on a constant lookout for potential opportunities across property development, construction and the PMC business,” Ong says.