Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mayland's Regalia Hit By Stop Work Order!

City Hall issues stop-work order after airspace intrusion outrage
Monday, March 21st, 2011 12:38:00

Villa Puteri Condominium

ON HOLD: Work on the Regalia service apartments has been suspended until City Hall and the developers find a solution — Pix: Arif Kartono

KUALA LUMPUR: After three years of filing complaints about noise, dust pollution and traffic congestion to KL City Hall, residents of Villa Puteri and Villa Putera condominiums in Jalan Tun Ismail here finally got what they wanted on Saturday when a stop-work order was issued to developer Mayland View Sdn Bhd and their contractor Bina Puri Sdn Bhd from continuing construction work on the neighbouring Regalia service apartments.

The order came after a site visit by a City Hall enforcement team led by Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Ministry deputy secretary-general Datuk Adnan Ikhsan, following a report by The Malay Mail last Friday in which residents expressed outrage over a flyover beam that allegedly intrudes into their airspace.

Adnan, accompanied by City Hall planning department director Mahadi C. Ngah, also met with Villa Puteri residents and management committee.

"Clearly, there are some safety measures which the Regalia contractors have not been adhering to," Adnan told The Paper That Cares.

"Based on the site plans provided by the condos' management committee, it appears the residents' complaints that a flyover beam has intruded into the condos' airspace is true, although we will have to wait for an official report by a surveyor on this."

Adnan assured residents he would monitor the case closely.

"I instructed City Hall to work with the residents and developer to find a solution acceptable to all."

During the weekend visit, residents expressed their frustration, anger and disbelief about City Hall's reaction to their complaints over the years.

When asked how approval could have been given for the Regalia project due to its extreme proximity to the Villa Puteri condo, Mahadi said: "The original plans allowed three developments and there were no problem when the whole land was under one ownership. In the early 1990s, the land was sub-divided into three different lots under three different owners. However, the Regalia developer carried out the project based on the original plan before it was sub-divided."

When asked by the Villa Puteri management committee why it took so long for City Hall to act on their complaints, Mahadi said he had no knowledge of the current developments and he was not aware the situation was that severe.

Residents call off protest

Shaharuddin Dollah

SAHARUDDIN: Protest halted after order issued

Sim Kok Yew

SIM: City Hall kept informed of the situation

VILLA Puteri residents called off a protest yesterday after City Hall issued a stop-work order to the developer of the neighbouring Regalia service apartments.

"Due to City Hall's latest action, we did not go ahead with the protest and removed all our placards," said Villa Puteri building manager Saharuddin Dollah. He said the management committee was planning the next course of action with its lawyer.

"We hope this matter will be resolved soon, although some residents want legal action to be taken against those involved in approving the flyover beam into Villa Puteri's airspace."

The management committee's lawyer Sim Kok Yew, said they were surprised City Hall was not aware of the flyover beam despite the committee keeping it informed of the situation every month for the past three years. He said the commitee had raised with City Hall the problems of dust, noise pollution and traffic congestion.

Villa Puteri resident Michelle Lim said: "I will believe the stop-work order when the developer demolishes the flyover beam. Most of the time, City Hall is all bark and no bite."

Another resident, Peter Chin, 52, said: "We are grateful to Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Ministry deputy secretary-general Datuk Adnan Ikhsan and City Hall for coming here and issuing the stop-work order, but we want to see real changes to the situation here."

Bandaraya's 6Capsuare

6Capsquare is going to be BRDB's 2nd condo on their flagship Capsquare located at this locality, which is like an island flanked by the green Bukit Nanas on one side, the seedy Dang Wangi and vibrant Masjid India on another side. For a very long time, the commercial Capsquare mall has not really taken off. The place has a cinema, some shops and chic bars and cafes but business has not been fantastic from the looks of it. Clark Hatch also has a gym here.

But is this all going to change? From the way BRDB is pricing their latest project, the 6Capsquare, it seems they are quite optimistic about it. Among some notable changes, is a brand new Grade A office tower built on Capsquare. As usual, the smaller 1br units which is priced from RM850k have all been snapped up (by staffs and directors of BRDB?) and sales for the bigger units, nothing less than RM1.2million are expected to pick when they go on a roadshow later this quarter.

Typically there are 8 units on each block, served by 4 lifts and 2 service lifts. Unlike nearby St.Mary, almost all units enjoy excellent forever unblocked views of KLCC or the greens of Bukit Nanas and Bukit Tunku or the vibrance of Masjid India.

Also, unlike St. Mary, the layout of the units are also incredibly liveable. Every unit comes with a wet and dry kitchen, suitable for an Asian lifestyle and at least one bathroom has a window with a view.

I especially like the corner Type D1 which has a nice almost wrap-around balcony to enjoy that fantastic view. It is however a pity that the architect chose to have both bathrooms located inside the bedrooms so it is not that convenient to have guests over for dinner...

So, how is this place going to do against the competitors?

I think as long as Capsquare can be raised into a destination on it's own, in the near future, there will be a potential. The problem is, it is suffering from a too near to walk and too far to drive syndrome. For example, St.Mary and Vipod has Pavilion, the Raja Chulan/Sultan Ismail business district and commercial Bukit Bintang as neighbours. The KLCC condos obviously have... well... KLCC and that huge park... and the Bukit Ceylon posse has Changkat. So, how can 6Capsquare justify that kind of KLCC pricing? For what you have to wait 3 years of construction for, you can get an immediate move in unit at Marc or Idaman Residence. And I doubt expats paying close to RM8k to RM10k rental would like to get lost in Masjid India or venture into any of the neighbouring LRT stations as proven by the lacklustre K Residence. And crossing the road to go clubbing at Maison may get oneself robbed...

But, price and location aside, I like this 6Capsquare. It is that "liveability" factor, the nice layout and good views. So, for long term keep and own stay, it's OK especially with the Residential Title unlike most of the city center developments these days all sitting on commercial title. However for investment, it would be tough competition especially with the steep outlay to stay afloat.

Pics courtesy of BRDB's capsquare brochure....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

YNH's 188 Suites

YNH has been pretty aggressive lately. It's hard to imagine, this one time contractor from Sri Manjung, Perak has grown to become an established luxury condo developer in the KL City Center. They've even established a trade mark for themselves, aligning with a reknown Serviced Apartment brand such as Fraser.
My brush with YNH was when they launched Lot 163 with a fully-furnished studio unit going for as low as RM333,000. That was the time when one can get a unit at Parkview or Somerset SBC for less than RM300k. I recall I was looking at a 1-bedroom higher floor unit at around RM580k. When I went back to place the booking a week later, they have increased the price to RM800k. Clearly, shortly after that YNH announced that Fraser will be managing Lot 163 as serviced suites. What I can't comprehend is, when launched, YNH was touting an 8% 5 years guaranteed rental return for Lot 163. So, with the increased price, obviously the returns would be much lower - down to about 5%. And yet people are still buying for investments...

So backed by this experience, YNH is at it again with 188 suites. Honestly speaking, this is probably the worst location there is for a "KL City Center project". The site is flanked by a Muslim graveyard on one side and a busy elevated highway on another side. 188 is located directly opposite Cendana which has not really been doing very well. At least Cendana is shielded from the graveyard by another project, The Crest and thanks to 188 suites, Cendana will soon be shielded away from the noisy AKLEH highway as well. Cendana also has a direct link to the popular Rennaisance hotel next door.
The biggest drawback is also the narrow one way access from Jalan Sultan Ismail. Unfortunately, the access entrance is only 50m away from the Jalan Ampang junction which is one of the most congested intersection in KL. So, you would imagine getting stuck in traffic on your way home and on your way out in the morning. If you have left the access road and realized you left something at home, you'll have to make a huge turn via Jalan Ampang and Kampung Baru to get back - a journey that would easily take you 45 minutes during the rush hour.
Yet, it is odd to find that besides Cendana, The Crest and now 188 Suites, there will be at least 2 more new luxury project coming up in this Leasehold location. Developer Sunway and PV both have plots next to 188 Suites. The pricing of 188 Suites which starts from just over RM900psf for a larger 1200sf unit to over RM1300psf for the popular studio units is not quite surprising. Not surprising not because the property will be managed by Fraser, but the attractive 8% guaranteed returns over 5 years. That would give you a positive cash flow of over RM2000 per month over 5 years which totals RM120k - which means a contribution by the developer of more than RM200k for the smallest unit. So, as the smallest 610sf unit is priced at RM790k, it means the real value should really be RM590k.... the "smart developer" has built the "Guaranteed Rental Returns" into this purchase.
Buyers would be attracted by the 0 entry cost because during this pre-launch period, the developer is offering a 10% discount which is taken off the down payment and interests absorption during construction. Investors will see no upfront investment and will be able to reap at least RM120k worth of rent over 5 years and hopefully will be able to flog it off with a 20% capital appreciation at the end of the 5 years. This is the exact modus operandi of the other successful YNH project at Lot 163 which is now known as Fraser Suites. However, the risk is in what happens after the 5 years and what happens if Fraser packs it in...
Flippers would find it tough to off-load at a premium due to the limit on the Guaranteed rental return. And in the 1st 5 years, one is not able to rent it out except via Frasers. It will be bound by an exclusive contract. The 8% returns has also not deducted costs. And obviously, one has to look into the burden of re-investing to patch up wear and tear after the initial 5 years...
Having said all that, most of the choice units especially the studios facing the swimming pool have all been snapped up by repeat YNH buyers...