The Edge, 20 Aug 2007
By Allison Lee
There was a time when many would have thought twice about moving into a condominium in Jalan Sentul, Kuala Lumpur. Now, it is a different story in the more-than-a-century-old railway town.
Five years ago, YTL Land & Development Bhd unveiled its 10-year master plan for the freehold 294-acre Sentul West and Sentul East development. While acknowledging that the general public perception of the area does linger, executive director Datuk Yeoh Seok Kian says he is proud of the success achieved in the area’s renewal.
That the RM7-billion Sentul West and Sentul East represent YTL Land’s flagship project also means success is crucial to the developer.
The masterplan boasts a mixed development project comprising residential, commercial and retail portions but the developer does not intend to be rigid. “We recognise that for a long-term masterplan to succeed, it is important to have flexibility in product offerings and to be continually attuned to market conditions. Thus, the masterplan has been designed to adapt to trends, ensuring that it remains suited to market needs at every economic turn,” Yeoh shares.
While changes abound in Sentul, Yeoh will not allow himself to forget what he describes as the colour, soul and spirit of Sentul’s rich history, which led to YTL Land’s vision for the town’s renewal.
Sentul West is a haven of greenery, anchored by the country’s first private and gated 35-acre park — Sentul Park. The area will comprise exclusive condominium residences, offices and shops. It currently houses The Maple residences, Sentul Park, The KL Performing Arts Centre (KLPac) and the Sentul Park Koi Centre (SPKC).
Sentul East is conceptualised as a blend of Malaysian flavours that sets the tone for modern downtown living. Among the housing products in Sentul East are The Tamarind, completed in 2005, and The Saffron, launched last March. A new commercial project, d7, will be launched here soon.
Evidence of YTL Land’s success in Sentul would be secondary market transactions of The Maple’s units at RM420 psf or capital appreciation of 60%. The Maple has 318 condos housed in two 30-storey towers and according to Yeoh, the units can fetch rental yields of 13%.
“The Maple is much sought-after because it is the only residence in Malaysia that offers a landscaped private gated park, akin to London’s Hyde Park. Residents get to enjoy a host of activities, like boating, jogging, scenic picnics, bird watching, camping, outdoor movies and concerts, in a rare, green lung in the city,” Yeoh explains.
Unique selling features of the project include its unusual and attractive designs, such as a one-acre landscaped podium deck, three pools, four themed gardens and a porte cochere grand lobby entrance.
“With more than 50 years of experience in construction, we are able to be creative with our designs, taking bold steps in layouts and project concepts. Also, our expertise ensures our projects are built safely at an affordable cost,” Yeoh continues.
The Maple is not the only YTL Land condominium here that is doing well. The value of the 498-unit Tamarind, the first condominium to be launched in 2002 at RM180 psf, has appreciated to RM260 psf.
The 490-unit Saffron, launched in March 2006 at RM220 psf, has since seen prices on the secondary market rise to RM280 psf. The Saffron is 90% sold with completion slated for March 2009.
One of the factors that have helped increase the appeal of YTL Land’s projects in Sentul is recent improvements to infrastructure, thanks to the Sentul Link that connects Lebuhraya Mahameru to Jalan Sentul and the Duta-Segambut Link designed to ease traffic flow at Jalan Segambut and the Jalan Duta roundabout.
The widening of Jalan Ipoh has also enhanced accessibility to Sentul. Another boon is the completion of the Duta-Ulu Klang Expressway (DUKE), which offers residents direct access to the SPRINT, Federal, North-South and Karak highways.
So, what’s next for YTL Land? According to Yeoh, while most of the components in Sentul West are already in place (Sentul Park, KLPac and SPKC), there are more projects coming up in Sentul East, like the RM80-million d7, YTL Land’s first commercial project in the area.
“d7 is perhaps the most significant point of progress in our vision because the launch of any commercial property depends on the community already having in place a solid foundation to ensure demand and value for office and retail spaces,” says Yeoh.
d7 offers 109 duplex offices, office suites and bridge units. It is open for registration and will be launched in two to three months. d7 offers lush landscaping, water features and artistic sculptures in the atrium area, and it fronts the Sentul Walk.
After d7, YTL Land will be putting on the market more condos around the Sentul Park. It is planning for the Sentul Park Fine Arts Gallery, which will be the visual arts complement to the performing arts offerings at KLPac.