East vs West
The Star Online, 21 June 2003

By Thean Lee Cheng

Maybe he likes parks. Maybe he likes homes in parks. Look, ducks.

Maybe he knows people like homes in parks with ducks.

The launching of The Maple, the maiden project in Sentul West will provide Datuk Yeoh Seok Kian with a benchmark for comparison.

“It will tell us how property purchasers view park-home high-rise versus downtown high-rise,” says the YTL Corp Bhd deputy managing director.

Yeoh should be able to make that comparison after July 12 and 13 when the freehold property is officially launched. He’s excited about it actually because more than a year ago, he introduced The Tamarind, the maiden project in Sentul East, another freehold parcel.

So it will be a west versus east comparison, which would give an idea how development of the overall Sentul would proceed henceforth. The plans are more or less there already, though.

Yeoh says: “We could always have larger units, lower density development or smaller units, higher development.

“Whatever it is going to be, it will not be a rush job. We are going to pace ourselves. We have up to seven years to develop the RM7 billion Sentul project.”

The Maple, at about RM250 per square feet (psf), is located on the former Sentul golf course, and has, as its playground, what will one day be a 35-acre park. It is the first of nine phases for Sentul West.
The Tamarind, at about RM200 psf, on the other hand, is located in what would one day become the commercial hub of Sentul, in Sentul East.

“It’s a different market. But the two, both east and west, come together to give a complete product of what we have in mind – a place where one live, work and play within a certain radius. This is the concept we are introducing to Malaysian homebuyers,” says Yeoh.

Sentul East would have the bright lights and the dynamism of the old Sentul with new contemporary architecture. Maybe another Bintang Walk?

Sentul West offers solitude, with bird sanctuary, frog ponds, canals and private passages from homes to parks. Security and privacy would come with a premium.

Incidentally, the 35-acre park is only for Sentul West folks and their guests. No brownie points for guessing why park goers protested when the grounds became off limits.
Sentul East, occupying 110 acres and Sentul West (184 acres, of which 35 acres is park land) are part of a scheme driven by the developer to turn the area into a coveted address. It’s part of the developer’s plan to turn the old, rough and tumbled down Sentul into a hip joint.

The fact that 30 per cent of choice units in the first block of The Maple has already been sold has pleased Yeoh to no end. The Tamarind, launched more than a year ago, is about 75 per cent sold.

“Choice units, which face the park, carry with them a premium. The fact that they have been taken up says something about the project. People do not mind paying a premium for the view,” says Yeoh.

The official launch next month would see the opening of the second block for sale. Both blocks, on a total acreage of 5.3 acres, would have a total of 318 units.
“People think we are mad to keep 35 acres of the park intact, but there is a reason for it,” says Yeoh.

“Because Valencia (a development in Sg Buloh by Gamuda Bhd) has a park, the prices of its properties are about 20 per cent above that of Sierramas which does not have a park. They are next to each other, with Sierramas being an established community.

“And look at Kirana Kondominium. It overlooks the park at the KLCC. It is about RM700 per square feet.”

The bottom line: Yeoh is adamant that the potential of The Maple can triple from its current RM250 psf in years to come.

He declined to name a time frame, however. Like all things fluid, prices being one of them, Yeoh is positive that given time, the capital gain would be tremendous.

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