With numerous projects set to take off or be completed in Penang this year, the Pearl of the Orient’s real estate market has much to look forward to. - By Ong Xin Ying
Penang has always been a hotspot, particularly in terms of its property market, and this trend is showing no signs of changing if the numerous 2013 forecasts are any indication. This is largely due to its stable government, as well as comprehensive transportation and communications systems, two key elements in encouraging rapid development and strong economic growth that make it a prime destination for businesses.
The state also benefits from being able to boast a level of natural beauty, ranging from lush greenery to beautiful beaches, which few other places can compete with. This breath-taking scenery makes for a wonderful backdrop for the quintessential dream home, which is further accentuated by Penang’s rich historical background and culture.
Here are some of the developments that are bound to excite Penang’s property buyers and investors alike all year long for 2013.
Malaysian Resources Corporation Bhd (MRCB)
• Batu Ferringhi Residences
Set to occupy approximately 3.34 acres of Batu Ferringhi, Malaysian Resources Corporation Bhd’s (MRCB) Batu Ferringhi Residences will offer its future tenants a life of luxury and unmatched pleasures. Nestled on the fringe of one of Penang’s most famous beach areas, residents will be treated to an uninterrupted view of the Andaman Sea, as well as easy access to nearby restaurants and tourist attractions.
With a planned total built up area of 417,403 sq ft comprising 17 boutique villas and 48 condominium units, the development aims to seamlessly merge itself with the local landscape and waterfront in its bid to stay true to its location’s identity. Being a MRCB project, the development will incorporate an environmentally sustainable integrated design, reflecting the developer’s commitment to creating green buildings.
• Penang Sentral
Another attractive offering by MRCB, this integrated mixed commercial development worth an estimated RM3 billion is set to finally take off in 2013 after a 4-year delay. Stretched across 9.6ha of Butterworth, the project will feature a transport terminal that caters to buses, ferries, taxis, trains and the projected monorail station.
Similar to the company’s pride and joy that is Kuala Lumpur Sentral in Brickfields, the terminal will be integrated and surrounded by the project’s residential, commercial and retail components. Since the development was first proposed, more green elements have been added to the original plan in line with the growing demand for energy efficient buildings from international and local buyers.
• Penang Second Bridge
This massive infrastructure project is undoubtedly a major addition to Penang’s transportation connectivity. It measures a total of 24km and connects Batu Kawan on mainland Seberang Prai to Batu Maung on the island. The bridge is a joint project between UEM Group Malaysia’s subsidiary UEM Builders Sdn Bhd and China Harbour Engineering Company, a subsidiary of the China Construction & Communications Group.
First proposed in the Ninth Malaysia Plan, delays caused construction work to only begin in late November 2008. While the official completion date is slated to be September 2013, a report in October 2012 stated that the project was ahead of schedule by approximately two months. Once completed, the bridge is expected to significantly reduce congestion on the first bridge.
S P Setia Bhd
• Setia Sky 8 @ Setia Pearl Island
Having established itself as one of Penang’s preferred developments, Setia Pearl Island by developer S P Setia Bhd will gain a new level of grandeur with the addition of the company’s upcoming condominium project Setia Sky 8. Occupying the land where Setia Pearl Island’s former clubhouse was located, residents will be able to enjoy a wonderful view of their surroundings without any worries of it being obstructed by future developments.
Setia Sky 8 comprises 534 freehold units spread across three condominium blocks, with unit sizes ranging from 1,100 sq ft to 2,000 sq ft. Aside from sharing in Setia Pearl Island’s existing benefits that include ease of accessibility and a host of amenities, the project will also come equipped with a selection of facilities that will make it a most desirable place to live.
• The Breeze @ Setia Pearl Island
Yet another anticipated addition to S P Setia’s Setia Pearl Island development is The Breeze. The development, measuring 7.6ha, is the last piece of undeveloped land at Setia Pearl Island.
Bearing an estimated development value of RM350 million, it will integrate both low- and high-rise housing units. The development comprises 450 units bearing a price tag of RM500,000 and above, and has a projected launch date sometime in the third quarter of 2013.
• Setia Eco Forest
A mixed development project worth around RM1.1 billion, this S P Setia creation in Tanjung Bungah will, without a doubt, be a hot topic in the northeast district of Penang Island. A development of the high-end variety, it will consist of a mix of landed properties and luxury condominiums.
All in all, Setia Eco Forest has a total of 1,000 units up for grabs with prices ranging from RM600 per sq ft to RM700 per sq ft with the selling price amounting to RM700,000 and above. True to its name, the project will embody a green concept similar to the company’s existing development Setia Green, which carries a distinctive eco-living theme. Additionally, S P Setia will build a connecting road linking the project’s north area and Jalan Chan Siew Teong.
• The Qbees
Another project by S P Setia scheduled to be launched in 2013 is The Qbees, a luxury condominium project taking up residence in the established township of Teluk Kumbar. Sprawled across 1.2ha of prime land, the development will consist of 98 freehold condominium units with built-up areas ranging from 1,000 sq ft to 14,00 sq ft. Bearing an indicative price tag of RM500 per sq ft with the final price ranging approximately RM500,000 to RM700,000, the project is expected to be launched in the second half of this year.
• The Peak
Also taking advantage of its strategic location within a noteworthy township is S P Setia’s The Peak in Sungai Nibong. Comprising 341 condominium units spread across two blocks, the project is unique as it has a facade that varies from floor to floor and unit to unit, thus creating an illusion of randomness in regards to its appearance.
Another defining feature of the development is its tension swimming pool, which creates a 4-storey high waterfall that serves as the entrance statement to the project. The Peak is expected to be launched early 2013.
• Sunway Cassia (Phase 2)
This offering by Sunway Bhd promises prospective residents their very own tropical haven, and it is not an empty one. The project’s location in Batu Maung gives it an environment rich with lush greenery that is highlighted by the six thematic gardens and parks within the development.
All units in Phase 2 are 3-storey terrace houses that feature wide window openings for airy ventilation and are divided into two types. There are 43 units of Adenia, which have a gross floor area of 3,028 sq ft, and 16 units of Boronia, which have a gross floor area of 3,341 sq ft. The development enjoys the added bonus of being a short distance away from the soon to be completed Penang Second Bridge.
• Sunway Wellesley (Phase 2)
Launched in August 2012, the first phase of Sunway Wellesley in Bukit Mertajam is a collection of 31 units of 3-storey shop offices featuring modern contemporary spaces and a striking facade that is an attractive boon to businesses.
Phase 2 of this impressive development will be a mix of upmarket residential and commercial properties, and is expected to be unveiled to the public in the first quarter of 2013.
Mah Sing Group
• Southbay City
The commercial component of Mah Sing Group’s Southbay integrated township, this project is sprawled over a 34.5-acre site in Batu Maung. It is modelled after noteworthy seaside properties across the world such as the Darling Harbour in Sydney and Canary Wharf in London.
The freehold mixed development contains restaurants, residential suites, a retail mall, two blocks of hotels and other commercial and recreational attractions. It has an estimated completion date in early 2013 and, when combined with the rest of the Southbay project, will have a total GDV of RM1.35 million.
Ideal Property Sdn Bhd
• Imperial Two
Scheduled to be launched in the second quarter of 2013, the second phase of the Imperial One project by Ideal Property Sdn Bhd will comprise properties bearing expected price tags ranging from RM400,000 to RM550,000. It is expected to be located close to its sister project, which is a 768-unit condominium development built on a 9.1-acre site in Sungai Ara.
• Ideal Vision Park
Early 2013 is the planned launch date for the first phase of Ideal Property’s Ideal Vision Park development. A RM1.5 billion mixed development scheme, it will comprise a total of 1,945 units of commercial and residential properties, as well as 550,000 sq ft of availablecommercial space.
Worth a grand total of RM300 million, the development’s high-rise residential and commercial units will each cost between RM400,000 and RM600,000. Four more phases of the project have been planned, which will be launched in stages in 2014 and 2015.
IJM Land Bhd
• Penang Waterfront Convention Centre
The second half of 2013 will see work begin on the Penang Waterfront Convention Centre (PWCC), Penang’s own alternative to the existing renowned convention centres in Southeast Asia. The project is a joint effort between local developer IJM Land Bhd and Singaporean company Suntec International and is worth approximately RM5 billion.
The commercial precinct will occupy 102 acres of land next to the Penang Bridge and will be developed in stages across seven to eight years. Aside from the convention centre itself, the development will also comprise a shopping centre, four hotels and an international business district.