Ken Rimba, said to be the country’s first green township, was launched in September 2010. The 60-acre freehold development in Shah Alam’s Section 16 in Selangor is just minutes away from i-City and less than 10 minutes from Klang.
The township’s first phase, known as Legian Residences, earned its developer, Ken Holdings Bhd, Singapore’s Building Construction Authority’s (BCA) Green Mark Gold (provisional) Award for the landed residential terraced house development.
Legian Residences, which has a gross development value (GDV) of RM120 million, was subsequently awarded Malaysia’s Green Building Index (GBI) in January 2011. The first phase comprises 328 terraced homes, with built-ups from 1,840 sq ft, while prices start at RM450,000.
Prompted by the strong response to Legian Residences, which is 90% taken up, the developer is now preparing to launch its second terraced development in Ken Rimba — Jimbaran Residences — in 2H2012.
Ken Holdings has focused on building green projects since the successful development of the award-winning Ken Bangsar, where an uncompleted office tower was transformed into an eco-friendly, 15-storey serviced apartment tower in a mature high-end neighbourhood in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. The project received the BCA’s Green Mark GoldPLUS Award as well as the GBI Gold Award. The company then went on to develop Ken Rimba.
“We are a niche boutique developer focused on green buildings. The Jimbaran plot was originally supposed to be for a condo development in our initial Ken Rimba master plan. We then changed the plans and decided to add another landed component as Ken Rimba is a green township and landed properties would mean lower density,” Ken Holdings chairman Kenny Tan Boon Kang tells City & Country.
“We could have handed over Legian Residences earlier, but we made some major changes to the landscape to make it even better for our residences. And we have appointed a Thai landscape architect from Bangkok to design for us.”
Jimbaran, which will have a GDV of more than RM100 million, will comprise 168 units that will be launched in two phases. The first phase comprising 84 units will be sold to purchasers by invitation only. Indicative prices are from RM600,000 to RM700,000.
“These units are slightly bigger than those in Legian Residences, and we are offering more design choices. As we always say, the day they [our customers] buy from us is the day they gain. We always prepare an upside for our buyers,” says Tan.
Land sizes are 22ft x 65ft and 24ft x 65ft. Built-ups of intermediate terraced units are 2,180 sq ft while those of corner lots are 2,600 sq ft. The developer aims to win a BCA Green Mark award with the improved green features, but will only reveal the details later.
Legian Residences is now 90% complete, and the developer expects to hand over the units at the end of this month — about six months ahead of schedule. Some of its green features are north-south orientation to maximise the natural north-south wind/air flow so that the house remains cool while receiving maximum natural sunlight throughout the day, transparent roof tiles and large glass doors and windows to allow maximum natural sunlight, louvred windows that can be adjusted to ensure maximum cross-ventilation in any weather condition, as well as rainwater-harvesting systems for gardening needs.
Also to be launched this year at Ken Rimba is the first phase of a high-rise development in 2H2012. The development will comprise six condominium blocks, offering a total of almost 1,000 units.
Tan says the developer is looking at affordable condo units with average built-ups of about 1,000 sq ft and indicative prices of about RM300,000 for its first phase, which will comprise 240 units. The developer is also aiming for a platinum or gold green rating for the condo developments.
Ken Rimba, which has a total GDV of RM500 million, comprises two terraced home components, two condominium developments, a commercial centre, a commercial complex and a school. So far, about RM200 million worth of properties within the township has been sold.
The commercial centre, known as Ken Rimba Commercial Centre, has a GDV of about RM100 million. It comprises 109 shopoffices, with prices starting from RM880,000. Sold in two phases since October 2010, the developer has retained 32 units (all end and corner lots, as well as the units adjacent to them) to be leased out. So far, 90% of the units for sale have been taken up.
Expanding beyond the Klang Valley
Ken Holdings is looking to expand to other states in Malaysia, and may start off with Melaka and Kelantan. Talks with the relevant parties in those states are currently ongoing.
“I hope we can go to every state in Malaysia to share our knowledge and experience. We bought a 10-acre plot of land in Melaka last year and plan to build landed properties there. Melaka still needs a lot of landed properties, and the state is developing rather quickly … it is doing well, and I believe it can be even better. We always say we are not here to compete, but to share what we have and know.”
Tan plans to launch the landed properties in Melaka in two phases. “When we launch very much depends on the approval and conditions of the approvals. If we find the conditions unsuitable, we may not go ahead.
Ultimately, we are businessmen and as we are a public-listed company, we have a responsibility to report good figures to our shareholders,” he says.
“A lot of people say Melaka has a lot restrictions, so why choose Melaka as our first venture outside the Klang Valley? I think our first venture should be the difficult one.
“Next, we will go to Kota Baru in Kelantan. We will most likely start on a joint-venture basis with the state government. We want to learn and share with people our experience in building green. Nothing has been firmed up yet as we’re still in talks with the relevant parties,” says Tan.
On his outlook for the property market, Tan says: “Land is scarce these days and land in good locations costs a lot. I say buy [properties] now, if not you will regret that you don’t own it. With the changes in the bank rules on loans, the market may soften, but quality products in good locations will continue to sell well.
“I believe strong investors will remain in the market while weaker ones will fall. There will be fewer speculators. This may also attract end-users to upgrade their homes. Nevertheless, I think the market is still very encouraging.”
Meanwhile, Ken Holdings’ green office building called Ken TTDI along Jalan Burhanuddin Helmi in Taman Tun Dr Ismail will be completed in 2014. The 13-storey energy-efficient office tower will have about 200,000 sq ft of office leasing space and will house the developer’s corporate headquarters.
This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 905, Apr 9-15, 2012