Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mont Kiara MK28

I never liked Mont Kiara, and this latest trip reaffirmed that position. I think Mont Kiara is the most high density residential area in the whole of Malaysia. It is a victim of its own success , causing every developer to want to build something there. The place looks like it is perpetually under construction. Now, the borders of Mont Kiara has even expanded into Segambut. The road has already been linked (below).

The position of Mont Kiara as an expat enclave can only be stamped due to the presence of the international schools there. Or else, I cannot understand why expats would want to live in such a high density construction zone when better options in next door Sri Hartamas, Bangsar and Damansara Heigths are available. But I've recently learnt that the rental market in Mont Kiara now has been suffering due to the over-building. An expat friend is apparently paying only RM2000/month for a fully furnished 2 bed-room unit in I-Zen Kiara II which is worth more than RM600k. I am sure not all owners are so desperate but there are really many units vacant from the looks of it.

So, developer Sunrise has launched yet another super luxury condo in Mont Kiara... This one is located on the same row as Mont Kiara International School - so I guess it is catering towards that market of locals or expats who put their children there. The units sizes start from 2500sf - this is definitely a family oriented type setting with rental expectation no less than RM10k for a fully furnished unit.

Facilities-wise, they're pretty standard... swimming pool, tennis court, bla bla bla... in a very resort-like setting. This is probably something of a luxury now in Mont Kiara as land is getting pretty scarce and developers are starting to put small-ish pools and facilties on their roof top to manage space - similar to KLCC these days. So, MK28 is leaving nothing to make this a truly luxury experience.

The show room is a 2700sf unit which really is quite comfortable for a family of 4 with a maid. The dry kitchen has an open concept that opens out to the living and dining room.

Inside, there is another kitchen... for heavier cooking and this is linked to the maid's quarters and washing area. The maid has her own entrance.

It has to be noted that, each unit has its own private lobby with 3 serving lifts (below).

The thing I liked about the unit is the bright and airy layout. From the maid quarters all the way up to every room in the unit has a window which is due to the corner layout - it's more like a bungalow in the sky as there are 3 sides to corner unlike the 2 sides to most corner units. There is also a very nice study area tucked in the middle of the layout.

Every one of the 3-bedrooms has its own bathroom. Interestingly, the bathroom showers have a full glass door that opens out to the balcony (below). I would imagine that at the point of life when one can afford to buy or rent this unit, one would be too fat and wrinkled to worry about anyone finding it worthwhile to climb up to the balcony to take a peek... if anything, that would have been a bonus...

The walk-in closet that opens out into this large bathroom is well thought out.

Construction is in progress... The northern flank of the condo faces the busy NKVE just past the Duta Toll, so I would avoid this view due to the noise. The Southern view which also faces the school should be sought after. Prices start from around RM700psf, round about where KLCC was a year ago. This is after consideration of the horrendous traffic and dense location. There is no public transport however that would not be necessary for people who can afford to live here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

KL Sentral - Our Capital's Transportation Hub

My company has recently relocated to KL Sentral and now I am beginning to see 1st hand this location in terms of the development and investment potentials. It is quite different from just passing through this place in the trains on the way to the city. 1st of all, being on the ground one notices straight away how badly managed this place is. Everything is quite chaotic and dusty, and this is not just due to the ever continuing development. The place is just badly managed... that sums it all. From the touts pestering you, the pasar malam environment in the station, the potholes, traffic, dirty toilets, expensive parking, lack of parking, illegal parking and bits and pieces of the building falling off, one can say it's just very badly managed.
Yet, we have 2 upmarket properties here. One is Suasana Sentral. When it was launched in the late 90s, one can get a 3 bedroom unit here for around RM350k. But of course, back then, RM350k was big money that yours truly did not have. One would only salivate and watch those MNC executives walking in and booking their choice units in the sales office. Suasana Sentral's price today has more than doubled - not difficult as almost everything has more than doubled in the past 10 years. Ascott used to be part of this building but pulled out some time ago - possibly to focus on something less complicated...

Last year, The Loft was completed and was touted as another success. But I guess, even if you build a cave in KL Sentral, it would be a success because at least you would have a huge market base in the MNCs based in Plaza Sentral. But I wonder if this would be a long term kind of tenancy or short term serviced apartment residents. This location is extremely high density. You can see from the pic below, how close The Loft is from Plaza Sentral. You can possibly just jump out of bed, open your window and leap into your office chair.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Yes Haruki, you are right... it is Damansara Residence... right in the middle of Damansara, hence the developer's marketing call, it is really Damansara. This is due to every "neighbouring" area, near or far catching on to the name Damansara... we have even Kota Damansara which is more than 12km away. So, developer Glomac has been able to eke out this piece of land which is located between Damansara Kim and the old Desa Kiara condo. So, this is really the heart of Damansara...
Interestingly, Desa Kiara is located right beside a Muslim graveyard - with full blown view of it. This is quite a popular graveyard with many prominent Muslims buried here. Some years ago, I read that due to the scarcity of plots, this graveyard now employs the double storey burial which means that one gets buried on top of another... sort of like a strata title for the plot...
Fortunately, Damansara Residence is blocked from the cemetery view by Desa Kiara...

This is a mixed project on commercial land. There are 2 blocks of offices flanking 2 towers of serviced residences, with commercial title. Shockingly, prices are almost RM1 million for a 2-bedroom unit which I've never heard of for this location.

Yet, according to the sales chart, they are almost fully sold now with only the larger units left.

Most popular are the 1000 sf units (plan below), which is an intermediate unit with a dark-window less back part. I suppose these were probably launched earlier on at a lower price circa RM600k to RM700k hence the popularity. Usually, this is not an indication of popularity as they are normally snapped up by the developer's staffs or directors at a special discount. They'll later flog them at "market price" upon VP...

There are 6 units per floor, served by 4 lifts as per layout below. And as you can see, probably not so clearly, the Type-A are squashed in the middle between the Type-B and C, which in my opinion are probably a better buy considering the corner layout.

But who would want to rent a serviced apartment in the middle of Damansara, going at a price of RM1m, which means the rental would be no less than RM6000/month. Glomac thinks it will be a snatch. There will be offices and a shopping mall within the project. They are even moving their corporate office to this location. Well, not so smart to publicise that since Glomac employees are mainly local, so where are the expat tenants going to be from? Judging from other Glomac projects, they have not really been very succesful at making office complexes or even shopping malls successful... take Kelana Center Point for example. Other Glomac projects may boast a better occupancy rate but I won't rate any of their office complexes as any where near grade B... even C...

The shopping mall will have some interesting lots starting from 1000sf up for grabs at a starting price from RM2mill upwards... again, I am sceptical about the tenancy. Malls with individually owned lots tend to be quite haphazard with bad tenancy mix... case examples are Berjaya Times Square and Summit USJ. Desperate owners then turn to Sg Wang plaza bazaar type tenants and dodgy massage outlets. So we can really see where this is heading to.

So, despite the Damansara address and the resort-like facility of the "luxurious" serviced apartments, I am really not convinced this would make a good investment. There are more interesting projects on the other side of the Sprint highway with SS2 mall and Tropicana City Mall and projects such as Ameera Residences and Five Stones...