Ipoh's first Garden Township

Kinta Properties CEO Dr Tan Chin Yong talks about its RM1.3 billion development

Low cost of living, slow-paced quality lifestyle and affordable housing are some of the factors that are drawing locals and foreigners alike to set up home in the former tin mining town of Ipoh.

Local property players such as Taiko Properties and Keris Properties are being joined by developers from other states, including MK Land Holdings Bhd and Sunway City Group (Suncity), who are looking to capitalise on the untapped potential of the area.

Although some of the developers are sticking to building small townships and niche projects consisting mainly of 2-storey terraces homes, there are also those who are a bit more adventurous and creative.

One of the local property players is Kinta Properties Group, with its latest township project, Bandar Baru Sri Klebang (BBSK). Touted as Ipoh’s first eco-city garden-themed township, it incorporates spacious homes amidst a landscape of lush gardens and natural greenery.

Its chief executive officer, Dr Tan Chin Yong (pix), tells PropertyPlus about 30% of the 650-acre freehold township has been completed with 836 homes already handed over since the first launch in 2001. It is expected to be completed in 2015 with a gross development value (GDV) of RM1.3 billion.

“Our properties in BBSK are targeted at the medium- to high-end market as there are very few choices for Ipoh residents when it comes to high-end homes,” he says, adding that most local developers there seem to focus on small-scale terraced housing projects.

According to him, 60% of the buyers are local families and upgraders while 40% are from the outstation and overseas market. “Twenty per cent of our buyers are foreigners, who are
either under the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme or have family ties in Ipoh.

More than 50% of the self-integrated BBSK has been allocated for detached and link bungalow development while the remainder comprises of terraced homes and shoplots. The township also
has 85 lots of bungalow land, averaging 8,000 sq ft in size, which have been fully sold out.

“The aim is to create an enviable bungalow community with ample parks and open spaces, so that the area has an excellent upside potential in the future,” Tan says.

BBSK is located along the Jalan Kuala Kangsar trunkroad that links Ipoh to other townships in the north. It is only 5km away from the PLUS Highway Jelapang Toll and 15 minutes from the city centre. The area is recognised as the second fastest growing corridor outside Ipoh by the Ipoh Municipal Council.

The developer has a track record of more than 30 years, with the establishment of communities such as Meru Valley Resort, First Garden, and Taman Perpaduan Jaya in Ipoh as well as projects in Alor Gajah and Melaka Tengah, Melaka.

Tan says there are good prospects in the Perak property market, despite the rise in material and fuel cost and drop in public disposable income.

“There is big potential in the MM2H programme in Ipoh, as many (foreigners) prefer the quiet lifestyle that the city offers,” he says, adding that Perak is strategically located between Kuala Lumpur and Penang and accessibility to the state would be made easier with the expansion of the Ipoh Airport.

Tan says property prices in Perak are steadily going up. “When our first phase of 2-storey detached homes were launched in 2002, they were priced at RM268,800. Today, we are pricing our detached homes at between RM400,000 to RM550,000,” he says.

Garden theme

To live up to its name as Ipoh’s first eco-city garden-themed township, the developer is in the midst of planning a riverside forest, where residents can walk under canopies of tropical trees and enjoy a stroll along a river, which runs through the township.

Tan says BBSK’s show village was opened in 2005 to help educate the public on the importance of sustainable development and becoming a permanent exhibition of an example of an eco-village.

“The purpose (of the show village) was to help instil a feeling of civic mindedness within the public to create a green environment by planting more trees in their homes and to bring nature back to housing communities,” he says.

Kinta Properties is also looking at the option of using eco-friendly building materials and methods for the construction of the residential clubhouse and future phases in the township.

“The clubhouse will feature open, insular and shady design with overhangs, solar power energy, and built-in catchments of rainwater for various uses,” he says. The clubhouse currently has a driving range and tennis court but the second phase, comprising a swimming pool, gym, café, and multipurpose hall, will be completed in 2009.

The group’s latest launch in the township is Parklane Residences, which consists of 62 units of 2-storey bungalows with built-ups of 2,978 sq ft onwards, with prices starting from RM419,800. “About 50% of the units have been sold to date since they were launched in February this year,” Tan says.

Future launches in the township for next year include 2- and 2 ½- storey link houses and 2-storey link bungalows. The link houses have built-ups ranging from 1,850 sq ft to 2,850 sq ft while the link bungalows have average built-ups of 3,050 sq ft.

Tan says prices for those properties have yet to be determined but adds that they would be generally valued at about 10% to 15% higher than the current phases. Terraced units in BBSK are currently priced from RM163,800, while semi-dees are priced at RM299,800 onwards.

Kinta EcoCity Sdn Bhd (formerly known as AMZ Corporation Sdn Bhd) was incorporated in 1980 to develop 876 acres of land in the Klebang estate near Ipoh, Perak. The project, however, did not take off under the former shareholders, and in late 1996, the Kinta Properties Group took control of Kinta EcoCity.

In 2001, 200 acres of the project’s landbank was sold to the MK Land group, which is now in the process of developing terraced houses as well as shoplots in its township called Klebang Putra. MK Land has also built a community clubhouse in its vicinity.

The balance 676 acres is being developed into BBSK, which comprises the elements of a mixed-eco-township featuring detached, semi-detached and terraced homes amidst parks and gardens, with amenities such as shops, a public driving range, a proposed clubhouse, and a proposed commercial centre.

The main commercial feature in the master plan comprises a new commercial centre modelled after the Greentown Business Centre in Ipoh. This proposed business centre will house a shopping centre, an entertainment and international food centre, and shop offices.

The developer has also recently donated 13 acres of land to Poi Lam primary and secondary schools, whereby the schools will be relocated into BBSK within five years. A second reserve of 15 acres has also been allocated jointly with MK Land for a government school in the future.

By theSun (by Yap Yew Jin)