Monday, August 13, 2012
Developer Mammoth of Empire Subang fame is completing their next Empire series at Damansara Perdana. This is due for vacant possession later this year.
The Empire Damansara is a commercial/residential project located right next to the PJ Trade Center which is a wonderful building beside the LDP as you're going up towards Kepong.
The PJ Trade Center is quite a popular spot for wedding couples photographs to give people the impression that they are in some European destination... because the kind of architecture is very different to those you find in Malaysia.
Empire Damansara's claim to fame will be their location next to PJ Trade Center. It was launched around 2010, peddling hundreds of units of 333sf Studios and 445sf unit duplex SOHOs (700+sf if include the mezzanine). Back then, the studios were being sold around RM130k to RM150k, now just before VP, they are going into the sub-sale market around RM250k to RM260k. Not sure if there are any takers even as some punters are trying their luck at RM300k and above.
Perhaps the most interesting part about the studios is the layout of the floor which looks like a fan (below). Other than that, there isn't much to this as the units are just... well... a studio... rectangle box with bathroom and a kitchen sink...
A lot of this kind of properties are flooding the market. I am not sure if there is any demand from young urban professionals, who is the target market for this kind of accommodation. But certainly, these make an easy target for investors who want a low entry point with high appreciation. What happens after that, I am not so sure.
Perhaps, my greatest reservation is, there is no real public transport to this area which goes against the concept of Studio/SOHO living professed here. And no car park is provided - it has to be rented from the management on top of the monthly maintenance fees. So one argues that most modern young professionals will not own cars but where is the public transport??
The SOHO units are quite similar to the Empire Subang in that they have a mezzanine. This time, Mammoth arranged the units in shapes of L. Great for those who got the "outer-L". They have bigger windows for more day-light and more window space to display their business. The only incentive for the inner-L owners is the lower investment on curtains.
At launch in 2010, the SOHOs were going at around RM300k. Now, they are in sub-sale for over RM450k... that's like almost RM1000k psf for this leasehold suburb!
I like the location next to the PJ Trade Center, though lease-hold, but this looks to me like an investor trap. Much like Mah Sing and Mayland churn of small studio boxes. There is little thought of where these will end up in the future. i.e. I am quite happy to buy one with a RM5k booking fee and then when completed try to flog it off to someone else for a RM100k profit. The guy who buys it from me has the same plan that is to try and sell it a few years later for a profit and meantime he tries to rent it out to someone who just needs a shoe box to sleep in.
Perhaps the main thing that differentiates the Empire Damansara is the the overall development of the area which includes office complexes, chic and fashionable retail and entertainment outlets. Besides the 39 floors Empire Studio with 640 units, there are 2 SOHO blocks of 24 and 27 stories each with total 700 units, a 12 floor office tower, residential Empire Residences 277 units and 29 units of shophouses.
The architecture is also very interesting, modern and appealing to the young and trendy. This may well be a hang out place in the future. Much like how we would definitely like to own a small pad above Bangsar Telawi or Changkat Ceylon, I think many of the future or current young and trendy would like the same here. Certainly, this will be a boost to the area.
Now, Mammoth is launching another one called Empire City just across the LDP highway.