SDB in Penang debut with By The Sea

Selangor Dredging Bhd (SDB) will be making its debut on Penang shores, literally, with a breezy project known as By The Sea.

The foray into the island's famed Batu Ferringhi beach comes just several months after the launch of its fourth project in Singapore.

The Kuala Lumpur-based developer has completed several projects in the Klang Valley.

“I believe I could do something different with this piece of land in Penang,” says SDB managing director Teh Lip Kim.

The move by the property developer is seen as a strategy to extend its branding into cities favoured by the expatriate community and Asia's well-heeled, says the Real Estate and Housing Developers' Association Malaysia (Rehda) Penang chief Datuk Jerry Chan.

According to a survey by ECA International on 254 cities, George Town, the capital of Penang, is the eighth most liveable city in Asia, while Singapore is Asia's most liveable city.

The project comprises 138 units of serviced suites spread over three blocks of between five and 11 storeys. There will also be a low-rise commercial block to provide basic amenities to the residents and the public. The site of the development is located between Bank Negara's holiday complex and a community mosque.

The two hotels closest to it are the Hard Rock Hotel and Park Royal, both of which are just less than five minutes' walk away in opposite directions.

Teh's confidence in providing something different stems from the fact there will be two major focal points in the development that sits on 4.7 acres.

The first focal point of the RM230mil development is the beach which it will share with some of the island's most popular five-star and boutique hotels Shangri-La's Rasa Sayang Spa and Resort, Golden Sands Resort, Hard Rock Hotel and the newly-refurbished Lone Pine.

Her second focal point is Sungai Satu, or One River, which flows through the land. The development will use the river as a border to separate the suites from the amenities block. The river, which flows past a cluster of squatters, will be cleaned and rehabilitated by the time it flows into By The Sea.

“The rubbish will be cleared and the water clarity improved considerably by the time it flows past the project and enters the sea,” she says. The river banks will be landscaped to add to the serenity and ambience of By The Sea.

Because beaches are public areas, the project will be set 60 m inland in order to create a park and a recreation area for residents.

“There will be value in the open space,” Teh says.

Priced at an average of RM1,200 per sq ft, By The Sea will be setting new benchmark in a predominantly tourist-centred area dotted by hotels. It is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2016.

At that price and in today's uncertain economic climate, Teh says she is targeting the Penang diaspora who would like to return to the island. The company is known for setting new benchmarks. In Puchong, the gated and guarded development AmanSari has set new standards in what was then a fairly ordinary township, while Ameera and Five Stones adds a new dimension to high-rise living in SS2, Petaling Jaya, an established township with predominantly landed terraces.

Teh's main forte is landscaped housing, and this normally comes with a premium. She will use the same formula in the Penang property.

While SDB's lifestyle concept developments may be new to the local Penang population, buyers in the Klang Valley and Singapore are familiar to its style and concept.

In Singapore, the company recently launched Hijauan on Cavenagh in District 9, one of the city state's most prestigious areas and just minutes away from Orchard Road. The six-storey residential block sits on a half-acre plot and will have a total of 41 apartments with units ranging between 463 sq ft and 1,884 sq ft.

The units are priced between S$1.3mil and S$3.5mil each.

It will be built on the former Cavenagh Mansion land. Hijauan is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2015.

Cavenagh Road was named in honour of Maj-Gen William Orfeur Cavenagh, the last India-appointed governor of the Straits Settlements who governed from 1859 to 1867. Hijauan will have a combination of garden units, penthouse and typical units but all will enjoy the greenery in a coveted green lung within walking distance from Orchard Road and a tree-lined passageway besides the Istana and adjacent to 25,000 sq ft of lush state land.

The Istana is the official residence and working office for both the President and Prime Minister of Singapore and is also the place where they receive and entertain state guests.

A link bridge will connect Hijauan to Orchard's Centrepoint shopping mall. Twelve of the 41 units have been sold.

Besides Hijauan, SDB's other project in the city state includes Jia, OKIO and Gilstead Two. The company recently bought two acres in Singapore's Pasir Panjang near the National University of Singapore.

With today's concerns about eurozone, Teh says Singapore, like Britain, is seen as a safe haven for property investment, particularly if they are located in London's zone 1 and zone 2.

“Similarly, I see the same in Singapore. For me, (whether it is Singapore, Klang Valley or Penang), I want to do something different,” says Teh.

Next year, Teh says SDB will launch a development in Cheras that will set tongues a wagging.

For now, her focus will be By The Sea and Singapore's Hijauan. - By Zazali Musa and Thean Lee Cheng (The Star)

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