Saturday July 21, 2012
Sunway shines with green concept
By THOMAS HUONG
SUNWAY Bhd's concept of integrating the beauty of nature with stylish architectural designs amid a low density gated and guarded community is a popular draw with well-heeled property buyers.
Both the property and construction company's Rymba Hills in Sunway Damansara and Sunway Montana @ Desa Melawati feature sizeable private forests and well-planned park-inspired environments that adopt the LOHAS (lifestyles of health and sustainability) concept.
Sunway Rymba Hills, which is a joint venture with Selangor State Development Corp (PKNS), consists 80 units of leasehold three-storey villas on 19.72 acres in Sunway Damansara, Petaling Jaya.
The villas have standard lot sizes of 45 x 90 ft, and gross built-ups ranging from 4,442 to 4,650 sq ft.
Gross prices range from RM4mil to RM4.9mil per unit.
The group's managing director (property development Malaysia) Ho Hon Sang tells StarBizWeek that Rymba Hills' 6.5-acre private forest park forms the character of the residential development.
Rymba Hills also has nature trails, meditation pavilions and exercise par courses.
All hillside villas are designed to look outwards towards the forest park, or the landscaped strip gardens. Ho points out that Rymba Hills, which has its name derived from the Malay word meaning “primary forest”, has only 4.1 units per acre. “It is very low density, in an area that is known for quite a number of high-rise residential developments,” says Ho.
He points out that Sunway had initially planned for 960 condominium units on the Rymba Hills site, before changing the plan about five years ago. “Even then, it would not have been such a high density development, with about 50 units an acre.”
It is worth noting that had Sunway stuck to the original project plan for the condominiums, the gross development value (GDV) would have been between RM700mil and RM800mil (compared with the GDV of RM270mil for the three-storey villas in Rymba Hills).
“Yes, we would have made a lot more money. But Sunway is always a responsible developer. We respect the environment, and the social aspect of development for this area. There are a few thousand condominiums around this area (Kota Damansara, Mutiara Damansara and Damansara Perdana).
“So, when we decided to change the development plan to one with a much lower density, the authorities were only too happy to approve the conversion,” Ho recalls.
Highlights of Rymba Hills, which is scheduled to be completed by end-2012, include a fully equipped clubhouse with a gym, recreational pool deck and infinity pool.
Rymba Hills has eight landscape garden themes, namely nature trail, fruit orchard, herbal/kitchen garden walk, terrace nursery, jogging and par course area, deck and recreation pond, linear garden, playground and water cascade area.
There are four villa designs, where Type A and D come with lifts.
Type B has a contemporary design, with its entrance at the centre of the unit or the middle floor.
Type C has a master suite (bedroom and dedicated pantry and study room) on the highest floor, linked to roof garden.
Ecological design features include large balconies offer solar shading and anti-glare by way of their generous overhangs, while sun shading screens are placed on the north western part of the levation to screen off the strong afternoon sun.
Building layouts are designed to facilitate natural and cross ventilation. Other passive thermal design strategies include the use of cavity walls for western facing wall, sun shading screens and use of insulation in roof space. The development was also given a provisional Green Mark Gold award by Singapore's BCA (Building and Construction Authority).
“About 30% of the units are still available,” says Ho.
Rymba Hills is located near colleges, hypermarkets, lifestyle neighbourhoods (such as Sunway Giza), commercial areas (Dataran Sunway) and shopping malls such as 1 Utama and The Curve. It is accessible via Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP) and New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE).
Ho points out that Rymba Hills is among the newer phases of Sunway's 450 acres in the Kota Damansara area. “Our landbank here is about 90% developed, since we started development about 17 years ago.”
Completed Sunway projects in the area include Sunway Sutera and Opal Damansara condominiums, Laman Impian garden villas, Challis Damansara and Parkview townhouses as well as Sunway Damansara Technology Park.
Presently under development is Sunway Nexis, which is a commercial development consisting of three-storey retail shops with sizes ranging from 4,133 to 8,718 sq ft, 13-storey office suites with sizes ranging from 925 to 1,636 sq ft, and a 20-storey flexi office block.
“The upcoming My Rapid Transit (MRT) station will be nearby, at Sunway Nexis @ Dataran Sunway. We have very strong take-up rates for Sunway Nexis,” says Ho.
Meanwhile, the group recently launched the first phase of the 56-acre Sunway Montana @ Desa Melawati, Kuala Lumpur.
Ho says the development will have terraced villas and semi-Ds on elevated freehold land, with a 14-acre private forest. “We have sold more than half of the 107 units in the first phase, which is priced RM1.7mil to RM2.7mil.”
According to Ho, the group was not too concerned about the perceived slowdown in the demand for mid-high and high-end residential properties this year, due to stricter bank lending guidelines.
“Our buyers know our branding. They appreciate and continue to see value in Sunway properties.”