SkyArena Sports Complex.
SkyArena master plan.
Ascenda Residences @ SkyArena.
Aerial view of Setapak.
SkyWorld property gallery in Setapak.

SETAPAK, formerly a tin-mining and rubber plantation area, is one of Kuala Lumpur’s oldest suburbs.

Despite the property market slowdown, it is one of the few areas in Kuala Lumpur that is seeing growth, compared with other locations that are experiencing a plateau.

The earliest settlers of Setapak were the Orang Asli and Minangkabau. Now, Setapak has transformed itself from a sleepy municipal into a thriving area within Greater Kuala Lumpur.

“Setapak is the next investment gem because the infrastructure and facilities are already in place. It is a matured development,” said SkyWorld Development Sdn Bhd founder and group managing director Datuk Ng Thien Phing.

Setapak covers Setapak Jaya, Wangsa Maju, Jalan Gombak and the first few kilometres of Jalan Pahang.

Jalan Genting Kelang is the arterial road of Setapak and also a hotspot when it comes to property investment.

SkyWorld, which is focused on delivering quality, innovative and superior products, is the biggest and most active developer in Jalan Genting Kelang.

In 2014, SkyWorld launched the first phase of its 11.6ha SkyArena mixed-development project, known as Ascenda Residences @ SkyArena. Comprising 650 high-rise units with a gross development value (GDV) of RM399 million, Ascenda Residences is almost fully sold.

In 2015, SkyWorld launched Phase 2, known as Bennington Residences @ SkyArena, featuring 580 high-rise units priced at more than RM584,000 each. The project has a GDV of RM447 million.

As of this month, Bennington Residences is 73 per cent sold and Ng expects the take-up rate to pick up in the second half of this year.

“We believe the market will improve slightly towards the end of this year and demand will start to come in,” he told NST Property.

One of the unique features of SkyArena is the 3.8ha sports complex. It will have an Olympic-sized swimming pool equipped with a diving board, a fitness and dance centre, badminton, squash, indoor futsal, tennis and basketball courts, as well as indoor rock climbing, a football field and field facilities.

There will also be a sports medical centre, childcare centre and cafes.

Ng said Phase 3 and Phase 4 of SkyArena, which would be launched next year onwards, were Curvo Residences and a commercial development.

SkyWorld’s other upcoming launches in Setapak are SkyAwani 3 @ SkySanctuary and The Hub @ SkySanctuary.

SkyAwani 3 @ SkySanctuary will have a GDV of RM570 million. The project with mixed-product offerings was launched last month.

The Hub, slated to be launched in the fourth quarter of this year, would have a GDV of RM100 million and would be mainly commercial, said Ng.

TRANSFORMING CITIES FOR SUSTAINABILITY

SkyWorld, established in 2008, has about 53.8ha of prime land in Kuala Lumpur with a GDV exceeding RM13 billion.

It has chosen areas such as Setapak, Sentul, Setiawangsa, Jalan Ipoh, Bukit Jalil and Taman Desa to undertake mixed-development projects in its drive to help transform cities.

“As Malaysians progress and the city population grows, high-rise living becomes the inevitable choice. All major cities of the world are adopting this urban living solution.

“Our population is growing at around two per cent a year and will reach 38.6 million by 2040; urbanisation is increasing and the demand for urban living solutions will naturally increase.

“We know that by 2020, at least 70 per cent of Malaysia’s population will stay in cities under the urbanisation process. Our focus is to build properties for high-rise living as we believe there will be strong demand for houses in cities. Land is scarce, especially in Kuala Lumpur. The only way forward is to build upwards.

“We are a city developer but we won’t just build anywhere. We will develop properties in areas that are strategic and close to the city centre and is supported by infrastructure such as road and rail.

“Although the market continues to face headwinds, we believe SkyWorld has the right product mix to appeal to the broad market, where there is sustainable demand for properties in good locations which have great accessibility, a good mix of amenities and most importantly, attractive pricing,” said Ng.

MARKET PROSPECTS

Ng said prospects this year were expected to remain challenging but stable.

“We hope it will pick up in the second half of the year. Generally, consumers are satisfied with the gradual but stable appreciation of property prices, particularly in the key urban epicentre of Kuala Lumpur.

“We believe there will still be pockets of opportunity for property developers as there is demand for properties in good locations with great accessibility and attractive pricing, particularly in the Kuala Lumpur region.

“When we plan and launch our developments, we put a lot of thought into all the underlying factors. But more importantly, the winning formula is always location, location and location.”

Ng also said the strong emphasis on SkyWorld’s three key strengths would give the company an edge in marketing its products.

The three key strengths are value creation (strategic location, good quality — Quality Assessment System in Construction and Construction Quality Assessment certified, and potential for appreciation); integrated sky living experience (harmonious living — reminder of kampung life, abundant facilities, green building initiative compliance and city farming); and, innovative concepts and designs (practical layout with big lanai space for family gatherings, storeroom next to car park and garage in front of the unit).

“Before we launch a project, we will always do a feasibility study. Thanks to our dedicated team and support from our business associates, we are able to craft the right product mix and enter the market at the right time to get the right target,” said Ng.

Ekovest plays major role in Setapak transformation

EKOVEST Bhd, which is headquartered in Taman Sri Setapak, is playing a significant role in transforming Setapak and the surrounding neighbourhood.

The developer is involved in the rehabilitation of Sungai Gombak and the KL River City project.

Ekovest will rejuvenate and transform a 3km stretch of Sungai Gombak into a vibrant riverfront development by 2020.

It will be revitalised to match some of the world’s landmarks, such as Australia’s Yarra River and San Antonio River Walk in the United States.

The KL River City project will have several components for business, leisure, shopping, living, hospitality and wellness.

According to Ekovest’s website, more than 129.5ha of river-fronting land will be transformed in one of Klang Valley’s most ambitious urban rejuvenation projects.

KL River City will feature several developments, namely EkoGateway, EkoPark Place, EkoAvenue, EkoTitiwangsa and EkoQuay.

These projects are expected to generate a gross development value of RM16 billion collectively.

EkoQuay, which is a mixed-development on the western side of Jalan Pahang, will be launched next year.

Ekovest said in April its unit, Ekovest Properties Sdn Bhd, had sealed an agreement to buy two adjoining parcels of land from Ekovest’s substantial shareholder, Lim Seong Hai Holdings Sdn Bhd, for RM26.77 million for the proposed development.

The project, with a gross development cost of RM293.8 million, is expected to take four years to complete. It will feature serviced apartments and retail shops as well as commercial blocks.

Upon completion, there will be seamless integration of the transport system (Duta-Ulu Klang Expressway, mass rapid transit, light rail transit and water taxi), in addition to the serene landscape and self-sustaining developments.

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