For sale: A new way of life
New Straits Times (Property Times), 12 July, 2003

By Lim Lay Ying

Less than 5km from the heart of downtown Kuala Lumpur, and surrounding a large green space, formerly a public golf course, is the 294-acre Sentul East and Sentul West development.

It is a privately undertaking, master-planned to be a community that Malaysians have not seen before. However, gauging from the sales of units at The Tamarind at Sentul East – the first condo offering in the development that made its debut about a year ago – domestic buyers have indicated that they like it... a lot.

“We’ve sold close to three-quarters of the entire 498 units of three-bedroom condos,” says Datuk Victor Yeoh, deputy managing director of YTL Corp Bhd, the company that is driving the development of Sentul. “And this was over a three-month period from The Tamarind’s official launch in July 2002.”

Prices of the condominium at The Tamarind averaged RM200,000 or RM185 psf (per square foot) for the 1,079sq ft homes, RM210,000 (RM188 psf) for the 1,115sq ft ones, and RM250,000 (RM185 psf) for the larger 1,345sq ft units.

Other than the price factor, buyers were also drawn to the array of amenities (swimming pool, jacuzzi, tennis court, gymnasium, and children’s playgrounds) integrated against a backdrop of cascading water features as well as bamboo and hanging gardens.

The second offering, The Maple at Sentul West, also won over many buyers and it didn’t take an "official launch" for the developer to close deals for over 30 per cent of the units.

At a starting price of RM388,000 (or RM253 psf) for the 1,535 to 1,707sq ft condos, every owner will get to own strata titles to two covered car park bays.

Unique design features
But it is probably the design of the three-bedroomed homes as well as the amenities that helped to persuade buyers. The exceptionally wide expanse of glass (10ft floor-to-ceiling windows) framing the views from the lounge and dining areas, and the generous balcony space named ‘sky terrace’ lend an aura of luxury and grandeur.

The Maple’s swimming pool is no ordinary pool too - it is a 25-m cantilevered "infinity" lap pool featuring a jacuzzi and floating decks that offer views of the parks and themed gardens below.

Besides squash and tennis courts, a basketball court, a gym, and children’s play area, residents will also get to enjoy privileged access to the gated Park at Sentul West, which at 35 acres is equivalent to the size of St. James' Park in London.
YTL's piece of greenery is expected to replicate 18th century English gardens and to add value to the houses surrounding it, in much the same way the parks in Notting Hill (in west London) and Gramercy Park (in New York City) have made their surrounding residential units highly sought-after by the rich and famous.

In Kennington, Southeast London, houses in St. Mary’s Garden and West Square command a premium of at least a 20 per cent because of the private park factor.

"On sale," said YTL's Yeoh, "is a way of life - an urban neighbourhood offering a blend of low- and high-rise buildings, and an eclectic mix of cultures and lifestyles centred around residential, commercial, and recreational facilities.

What sets Sentul West apart from Sentul East will be the lifestyle tempo, where the former will offer a quieter pace while the latter will be more upbeat. Orientated around commercial activities, Sentul East residents will be immeresed in retail amenities and services such as a hypermarket and a marketplace. An array of other commercial, civic, and institutional components will blend in to complete the revival of Sentul.

The plans to transform the area and readapt the historical buildings can be considered a landmark effort in Malaysia. instead of of growing on an ad-hov basis without a pre-determined master-plan, which can lead to the emergence of spiritually cold and pedestrian unfriendly communities, YTL intends to programme life and soul into Sentul from the outset.

A rare find
A tract of freehold land as large as Sentul is rare find in a fast-expanding and land-scarce KL.

The old Sentul Raya Golf Course with its unpolluted streams and ponds will soon become a major amenity, serving as the focal point of the new community.

The readaption of historical buildings such as the century-old rail workshop and train station into more productive uses will be another focus, as will the overall development's design and amenities.

Sentul has a lot going for it, especially because it is located within KL, a city of 1.4 million which serves a larger hinterland of 4.2 million residing in Selangor. And while this may be a key factor in drawing buyers and investors, its highway access and rail service will push it to greater heights.

From the city centre, access is presently via Jalan Ipoh, but by 2005, this will be enhanced with a connection from the Jalan Duta highway's Taman Duta junction near the Indian High Commission. There will also be the proposed Mahameru Highway linking Jalan Mahameru to Jalan Perhentian, and the proposed KL North-East Expressway (KLNEE), which will connect the area to the Damansara and Petaling Jaya suburbs via SPRINT and the Federal Highway. This has been scheduled for completion by 2006.

Over the next seven to eight years, a variety of homes serving several market segments will be gradually dotting the skyline of Sentul. A total of 7,000 residential units (3,000 in Sentul East and 4,000 in Sentul West) will address people’s growing desire to get out of traffic and live closer to where they work.

“It will be no ordinary mixed-use development,” said YTL's Yeoh.

For a company that prefers to lead rather than follow – judging from its accomplishment with Bintang Walk and Pangkor Laut – this statement should be taken seriously.

For Sentul, new concepts of living such as chic loft apartments and private park homes will be gradually introduced to the Malaysian public.

Themed parks and gardens will prevail throughout the development and residents can be rest assured of reasonable upkeep and maintenance from a developer bent on making a difference.

Lim Lay Ying is the Managing Director of Research Inc. (Asia) - a marketing research and consultancy firm affiliated to Insigniar Brooke (HK). Readers can also access this article at the website at www.researchinc.com.my. For inquiries, call +603-2092 4966
Sentul Sales Office
Lot 268, Jalan Strachan
Off Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur
Time: 10 am – 5 pm

For more details, please contact:
JUDY LOO
Sales & Marketing Manager
Sentul Raya Sdn Bhd
Tel : +603–4041 0822
Fax : +603–4041 7655
E-mail : sentul@ytlland.com
Website: The Maple at Sentul West website

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