Now, E&O is trying their luck to set another benchmark. The condo market. Never in the history of Penang, even with the super luxurious condos along Jalan Gurney and Tanjung Bungah has anyone tried to peddle condominiums at RM800k to RM900k for a studio or 1 bedroom unit and almost RM1million for slightly larger 2 bedroom units. They have even thrown in a 10:90 financing scheme but take up has somewhat been rather cautious. I suspect like most other E&O projects, the initial rush in bookings are actually from their own directors and staffs who are offered to profit from the project through an attractive discount (20% for St Mary's, I wonder if it's the same here).
So for this seafront Quayside resort condominium, I do not know what is the actual take up from actual buyers and investors (who are not E&O staff). Official launch is this end of January 2010.
When I visited the showroom at the Seri Tanjung Pinang site, I was attracted by the design of the corner 1+1 bedroom unit. It has a very nice view of the coast of Tanjung Bungah. But strangely most buyers have opted for the inside corner facing the other block and also some side view of Penang city and Gurney Drive. This corner seems to be almost sold out.
The nearest competitor to Quayside is probably the Infinity (picture below), now almost completed at Tanjung Bungah. Apparently there are still units available but I did not have enough time to visit the showroom. Unlike Quayside, the Infinity actually offers a beach front. However, the location is towards the end of Tanjung Bungah, it's close proximity to a mosque and the dirty condition of the beach and water may be pulling its value down. Nevertheless, prices start from RM1million but the units have bigger layouts compared to Quayside.
Seri Tanjung Pinang is marketed as the next location to be in Penang after Tanjung Bungah, Batu Feringgi, Gurney Drive and Bukit Jambul's expatriates enclave.
The concept is certainly attractive, gated communities with club house and marina facilities (pic above), an international school and a Tesco will be built on this piece of land beside the Quayside (picture below).
The entire plot of land that Seri Tanjung Pinang is sitting on is actually reclaimed land (picture below). Many Penangites and environmentalists are unforgiving, blaming the reclamation on the heavy silting of the sea off Gurney Drive and the stronger than usual currents off the North-Eastern Penang Coast. The reclamation will however not stop there. There is a grand plan which when it takes off will see new islands hosting luxurious residential and office buildings complete with a golf course taking shape off the coast of Seri Tanjung Pinang. Current Purchasers may be well assured that any future tsunami coming their direction will be fended off by these islands but hopefully the islands themselves do not turn out to be an environmental catastrophe for Penang.
The planned Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR) which is currently shelved, if materialized will take commuters right to the entrance of Seri Tanjung Pinang. Along the way, the PORR will pass the door steps of the luxurious condos along Gurney Drive, turning an idylic seafront into a raging expressway. The seafront of Gurney Drive will be no longer. The land will be reclaimed and turned into a park, until the next development takes place with more condos and buildings, effectively killing off Gurney Drive as competitor to Seri Tanjung Pinang.
Perhaps another big disappointment of Seri Tanjung Pinang is the vicinity. Much like Sierramas in Sungai Buloh where everything is nice and spanky inside but once you go outside, the scenery is chaotic, dusty and dirty. Opposite the entrance of Seri Tanjung Pinang is the old Malay Kampung which is currently in a state of controversy, being played into the hands of politics. The unfriendly Federal ruling party in the Federal government is scheming a plan to raze down the Kampung for development by their crony company UDA. Like the mainly Indian Kampung Buah Pala village earlier, this is expected to create animosity against the State government and racial tension in Penang as part of ther Federal government's effort to undermine their opposition.
(*Penang is ruled by the Federal Opposition party)