Malton on aggressive drive

With construction costs escalating, it is only natural that the buck would eventually be passed on to property buyers. While some developers are increasing the prices of their properties to maintain margins, Main Board-listed Malton Bhd says it will not take that route.

The developer is keen to maintain prices of its residential and commercial properties, with contingency plans and cost compression methods up its sleeves. Tracey Lai, Malton's director of sales and marketing, tells City & Country that the company is on an aggressive drive to push its products, in current market conditions, without compromising on price and quality.

“Buyers of our products can rest assured that we are not going to push up prices despite the rising costs of cement and steel," says Lai. According to her, the company acquired numerous tracts of land many years ago and is in a comfortable position today to carry out its projects without having to increase prices to match costs.

Another cost-saving strategy is the use of in-house contractors for all its projects, she adds.

“Although sales were rather slow the past few weeks as a result of the recent general election and fears of a slowdown stemming from the US subprime crisis, things are looking up now because people realise that our country's economic fundamentals are strong.

“There's still a lot of money in the market and people are asking where to invest" says Lai.

According to her, more than 200 prospective buyers have registered for its 35 luxury bungalows in Taman SEA, Petaling Jaya, even before the project's soft launch, which is targeted for the middle of the year.

“The bungalows, of 5,300 sq ft and above, in a gated and guarded community, will be pegged at RM3 million onwards each. The response has been overwhelming. We are awaiting final approval before launching the project," says Lai.

Meanwhile, its Amaya Saujana condominium in Saujana Subang has also registered a good take-up rate, prompting the developer to launch Phase 2 on April 19. The first phase, comprising 126 units, is more than 80% sold.

Amaya Saujana comprises a total of 378 units in three blocks, on a 6.02-acre tract along the main road leading to Subang Airport, near the Saujana Hotel, Saujana Golf & Country Resort and the Glenmarie Golf & Country Club. Prices range from RM605,000 to RM918,000 with built-ups starting from 1,569 to 1,827 sq ft, which works out to an average of RM400 psf.

Lai says Amaya Saujana comes in a resort setting, with full clubhouse facilities, and has a gross development value of RM276.1 million.

On Malton's VSQ@PJ City Centre in Jalan Utara, along the Federal Highway, Lai says it is going to be a new concept for commercial development. The 2.58-acre tract, which used to house a Lutheran church, is next to the Tun Hussein Onn Eye Specialist Centre.

The development will comprise two blocks of corporate towers and three office blocks. The RM207 million project seeks to address the growing needs of the business community and has included a swimming pool, a gymnasium and various retail outlets in its development.

“Our concept is called 'Trends of Tomorrow'," says Lai, adding that VSQ is designed to offer a stylish working environment in a prime location.

On increasing its landbank, Lai says Malton is looking outside the Klang Valley. In Penang, it is planning to launch a 36-storey condominium block on Cantonment Road, and in Seremban, a mixed development project with bungalows on Jalan Tun Dr Ismail.

The company reportedly held talks with a party in Vietnam to embark on a development project, but Lai says nothing has materialised on the international front.

“We certainly have to spread our wings to keep up in this era of globalisation," says Lai. Among the countries the company is eyeing are China and Thailand.

At present, almost 70% of Malton's projects are high-end, while the rest are mixed developments. This year alone, the company has lined up projects, with a combined GDV of RM2.1 billion, for launch. These will keep it busy for the next three to four years.

Among the projects are Pearl Villas in Section 16, Petaling Jaya. The RM110 million freehold project comprises 42 three-storey semidees in the enclaves of Section 16. Prices range from RM3.9 million to RM6.37 million. Other niche developments to be launched later this year include Ukay Springs, an upmarket residential enclave in Hulu Klang, comprising 150 two-and-a-half-storey semi-detached houses and bungalows on a 56-acre tract, and high-end residences on a 67-acre site in Sungai Long, with a GDV of RM330 million.

On the commercial front, there will be a mixed commercial development on 2.7 acres in Taman Maluri, Cheras, comprising service apartments, office suites and a retail mall, with a GDV of RM195 million.

Malton is behind the development of the townships of Bukit Rimau in Shah Alam, Mutiara Indah in Puchong and Mutiara Puchong.

It is also involved in project management. The company was the project development manager for The Pearl @ KLCC, a high-end condominium project on Jalan Stonor, Kuala Lumpur, comprising 177 luxurious condominiums in a 41-storey block, with sizes of 3,000 to 20,000 sq ft. Located on a 1.8-acre plot, opposite the Vietnamese embassy, The Pearl is within walking distance of the Petronas Twin Towers. Malton is also the project manager for the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, the latest commercial hub located in the heart of the Golden Triangle. - By The Edge Daily

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