In Pursuit of Perfection|
New Straits Times, December 6, 2008
By Lim Lay Ying
For 16 years, the Malaysian chapter of the International Real Estate Federation (Fiabci Malaysia) has honoured outstanding developments in the country through the Malaysia Property Awards (MPA), recognised as the industry's most prestigious awards today.
Although architectural excellence is a factor determining Fiabci Malaysia's award winners, the MPA is not a "beauty contest". Guided by the objective of recognising superior development efforts, the awards' criteria involve factors beyond good design and superb quality.
Projects that win represent the highest standards of achievement in the development industry; standards considered worthy of emulation in areas such as financial success, innovation, contribution to the community, response to societal needs, environmental protection and enhancement as well as leadership in the real estate arena.
Hence, taking home two such awards from extremely competitive categories is a story that deserves telling.
YTL stands tall
At the recent 16th annual MPA, YTL Land and Development Bhd (YTL Land) went down in Fiabci Malaysia's history as the first developer to win both the awards under the Residential Development category for Best Lowrise and Best Highrise projects.
These bring YTL Land's total MPA tally to an unprecedented nine awards since MPA was instituted in 1992. Of these, three were in the Residential Development category, including Andalucia at Pantai Hillpark (2006); two in Commercial/Retail Development, Lot 10 (1992) and Starhill Shopping Centre (1996); the best in Resort Development for Pangkor Laut Resort (1993); and Master Planning for Sentul West & Sentul East (2007).
It was also bestowed a special Award for National Contribution for The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre last year.
Preserving the ecosystem
One of the two projects that contributed to this year's historic win is its Lake Edge in Selangor's suburban township of Puchong. Winning the Lowrise Residential category, the project is an inspiring example of what can be done when developers make conscientious efforts to rejuvenate nature.
Built on the periphery of a disused and almost dried up mining lake, the developer, instead of draining out the water, chose to embrace it and transformed the body of water into a sparkling centerpiece for Puchong's first gated-and-guarded residential enclave. By constructing an outfall structure to sustain the lake's ecosystem, Lake Edge successfully introduced a unique lakefront lifestyle to the township.
Using the 12-acre lake to create a desirable address and redefine Puchong's image, Lake Edge has set new standards for low-rise residential communities in the country. Since its debut in 2004, demand for the 300-plus homes has exceeded expected absorption rates and their prices continue to set new records for the neighbourhood.
House designs too went against the conventional typologies for residential units with prominent courtyards, huge glass wall panels highlighting the facades, and use of contemporary colour schemes.
The larger-than-usual (longer by 20 feet) Pavillion and Garden Terraces boast reflective ponds and outdoor jacuzzis, while the premier
24ft by 85ft two-and-a-half-storey Promenade Homes feature living spaces and master bedrooms offering panoramic lake views.
Recently launched at Lake Edge and targeted for completion by next year are 50 limited units of two-and-a-half storey Waterville semi-detached villas each featuring a private lap pool as its main draw. With a total floor space of 3,800sq ft, the semi-dees offer four bedrooms with attached indoor and outdoor baths, a maid's room, and a master bedroom overlooking a roof garden. Prices start at RM1.59 million.
Also available are eight completed semi-dees and eight bungalows at Parkville, an earlier phase of Lake Edge offering green appeal being situated beside a linear park. Along with Waterville, Parkville makes up part of the premium offerings at the project. Semi dees are priced from RM1.8 million and bungalows from RM2.1 million.
A winner in every sense
YTL Land's maiden condominium development in Sentul, and the only residence in KL with a private gated park, The Maple at Sentul West rounds up its remarkable achievements in the Fiabci Awards Residential category. Honoured as the best highrise development, The Maple is a winner in every sense.
The project makes up part of YTL Land's drive to help transform the once railway town, shunned by many property investors, into the stylish and respectable address it is shaping up to be today.
For those who bought the condo units during their launch in mid-2003, the faith they've put into the developer and the project has more than doubled in value. Currently transacting at between RM500psf and RM580psf, the prices have escalated by 110 per cent on average compared with the initial launch price of RM253psf.
In just over five years, The Maple has elevated the real estate value perception of the Sentul West address to be even ahead of established residential suburbs in KL such as Taman Tun Dr Ismail.
Vying to be the best
Lake Edge, The Maple at Sentul West and other winners of MPA make up the Malaysian contingent of developments that stand a chance to be recognised as "the best of the best" in the 2009 Fiabci International Prix d' Excellence (Fiabci's international level real estate awards event to be held at the 2009 World Congress in Beijing, China), where participants from over 60 countries and over 100 national associations and academic institutlons will compete.
With YTL Land's relentless pursuit of perfection in all its ventures, this global real estate recognition could be the pinnacle of its achievements.
Lim Lay Ying is managing director of Research Inc (Asia), a company specialising in market research and consultancy for all facets of real estate development.