Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ara Greens Residences - Retro Is Back

Ara Greens is located in Ara Damansara, the plot opposite Saujana which is along the Subang Airport Road. Ara Damansara has more or less become an established neighbourhood since it was launched over 10 years back on one of Sime Darby's last plots of palm oil estates. But in my opinion, Ara Damansara has never made it on its own as a self-contained township unlike places like Subang Jaya, Damansara Perdana or Kota Damansara. There are commercial zones within Ara Damansara but they lack the conveniences of banks and shopping. The neighbourhood mall, the Citta Mall still "bercita-cita" to make it as a real shopping destination and Ara Damansara has to rely on neighbouring malls such as those in Sunway, Subang Jaya and Paradigm Mall in Kelana Jaya for excitement. 

So, when Ara Damansara launched at around RM750psf to RM800psf to rival See Hoy Chan's  Uptown Residences, Glomac's Reflection and other recent projects around this price point, the big question was what does Ara Damansara offer? My immediate response is, you'll need a car... It doesn't exactly answer the question but I was just trying to press home the point that if you're going to need a car to do just about every essential of your life like getting to work, banking, shopping, see the doctor, eat etc.... why won't you consider buying landed properties at Ara Damansara, PJ, DU, Subang or even Desa Park City if you're going to have to pay well over a million for 1500sf 3bedroom apartment?

Freshie developer, HSB's response is probably Lifestyle. They've got every facility in mind under the sun or off the sun - swimming pool la, BBQ la, gym la, putting green la... even the not so common ones like karaoke and herb garden. The list goes from A to Z in the brochure and the maintenance fee is only RM0.30psf including sinking fund. How do they do this? They have  700 over units spread over quite a large plot there is surely a lot to maintain - the danger is many facilities will fall into disrepair in the future especially after the owner's committee takes over.

Ara Greens is one of those new GBI (Green Building) concept. Perhaps the secret lies here as I can tell you electricity is single biggest consumption of your maintenance fees, way more than salary. This concept however is largely untested and the fact that Ara Greens is commercial titled, any gains from electricity savings would be superseeded by the higher utility costs.

They have 6 blocks and recently launched Blocks D and E. The layout is rather interesting. Units are arranged in a triangle. But triangle represents fire in feng shui, so they rounded the sharp edges. The form of the building is also rather organic which gives it that unique look. But that means many units have odd shapes that the Cina Apek in us may find them as grotesque waste of space.

Units consists of small 1+1 or 2 bedroom units from 680sf to 800sf, 2+1 bedroom units around 1100sf, 3+1 bedroom units from 1400sf to 1500sf, 4+1 bedroom units from 1800sf to 2000sf and 5 bedroom units from 2100sf to 2600sf. Like every new launch before our eyes, all the smallest units were fully sold.

Developers need these small units to survive their marketing. They can't holler prices averaging RM1.5million because nobody is going to pay attention. But if they say, our prices start from RM520k, they would garner more attention. Then why not just build small units and screw the large ones - the municipal council won't have such high density approved (unless you are Mayland who can con them into believing you are selling hotel suites ;)

So yes, the sales board was plastered with stickers all over the small units. They were as good as gone. The cheapest one when I was there today was the RM820k 1129sf 2+1 bedroom unit on the 2nd floor. Not too exciting considering I can also get a 4 bedroom double storey link house in a gated Ara Damansara for the same price.

The small units are quite nicely decked out but not necessarily built for the Asian style, for example the kitchenette which shares the living room below.

But I like the way the main bedroom and the small bedroom both share the bath which saves an extra bathroom or needing the occupant of the small bedroom to go outside of the room to get to the bath.

I also like it that the bathrooms all have windows and in fact all the units emphasized on a lot of natural daylight. This is not wasted on the larger units as well. The biggest contrast between Ara Greens and Uptown Residences is perhaps the flow and shapes of the units, Ara Greens being more artistic compared with the boxy Uptown Residences. 

The larger units also get up to 3 car parks but unlike Uptown's private lift lobby concept, Ara Greens have 3 lifts serving 8 units per floor - albeit with less number of floors per tower... They are giving away 5% rebates during this promotion period, with DIBS and all the usual buffs thrown in and although I was really excited by the interesting concept and architecture, I couldn't find myself falling over other buyers to snap up a unit. Not with that commercial title, location and at that price...


Anonymous said...

this is newbie developer
but has the gut to price the project as the bigger one

Live Long MU Fan said...

Sin Leong, have you gone to see Ara Hills at Ara Damansara? It is a completed condo... last I heard, the buyers had a difficult time unloading the properties. Banks refusing to finance the loans and this was before Bank Negara stifle the housing loans..

sinleong said...

last i was at ara hills was before they started construction. looks like a nice project with large units only and was selling quite well... this was years ago... but why would banks refuse to finance it?

oon stephen said...

How you found on Ara Green Residence project after 3 years ?