Best developers of the southern region showcase their projects and discuss the Johor market
The night September 18 was a celebration for most developers and also a time for contemplation to improve themselves. It had been tough for the judges to pick the winners because of the stellar entries from the eager participants.
Gracing the StarProperty.my Awards 2018: Jewels of Johor awards night was the Johor Ruler himself, Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, and prince Tunku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim. With so many prominent faces and experienced developers gathered under one roof, there’s bound to be many interesting opinions thrown around as the professionals discuss the Johor market as well as their esteemed projects.
Optimism for Johor market
The expression of people’s confidence is best noted in their actions. Major players in the field of development have entered the fray and they are going big, with an expectation for bigger returns in the foreseeable future.
“Johor is one of the most aggressive places after Kuala Lumpur,” said UMLand Seri Austin chief executive officer K.K. Wong, adding that there were developments going on at a fast pace, especially with the “big boys” from Kuala Lumpur coming down to Johor Baru.
Wong said that the investments and projects coming in would cause a boom in population and employment.
Country View Bhd head of sales Andrew Tan claimed that a cumulative investment flow of up to RM262bil had been channelled into the state in the first quarter of 2018. He said the High Speed Rail (HSR) project, due to commence in 2020, would also make a difference.
Sunway Iskandar Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Gerard Soosay likened the proximity of Johor and Singapore to the Shenzhen and Hong Kong model, stating that there is much potential. “This is probably why Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah invested in 1,800 acres of land in Johor with gross development value (GDV) of RM30bil,” he said.
Front Concept Sdn Bhd project director Quay Chew Keong was concerned about the current property glut, saying there was over-development in the high-rise sector.
However, he notes that some bright spots remain in the market. “For the last two years, we have managed to clear all our stocks and we are now launching new projects,” said Quay.
He added that the 650 high-rise units that the company developed were mostly taken, leaving a surplus stock of less than 10%.
With the Rapid Transit System (RTS) connection coming in, Quay believes that the market will be receptive towards more affordable and quality products.
Mah Sing Group Bhd Southern Region senior general manager Benjamin Ong said developers who catered to the owner-occupier market should have no problem selling their products. “In the current Johor market, most property buyers are owner-occupiers – be it industrial, commercial or residential,” he said, adding that the investor market was still soft but with potential for growth.
Standing out in the crowd
Competition among industrial peers often requires them to up the ante. Some developers make bold statements while others weave intrinsic values that are subtle yet captivating to house buyers. Regardless, these elements elevate one township from the another.
“The key to a good development is sustainability because we aim to grow along with our customers for the long term,” said AME Development Sdn Bhd marketing director Cheryl Lim.
She added that i-Park development incorporates a well-managed green industrial park with integrated amenities, which is complemented by infrastructure and easy access to seaports, airports and highways.
Soosay said the build-own-operate model that formed Sunway’s core was a deciding factor in differentiating themselves from competitors.
“We have 12 business units, among them hospitals PH World Development Sdn Bhd group chief executive officer Joseph Pang receiving merit award for The Best Landed Development for the D’Art 18 Collection 2@Taman Tropika. and malls,” he said, adding that they make up Sunway’s integrated development. “We own it, build it, and operate it.”
Soosay said that the Big Box, a project lined up for 2019, will look into large functional format retail while keeping cost low. “That is going be something unique because I don’t think it has been done in Malaysia before.” He said that the X Park, which will be coming up next to the Big Box, will feature sports such as go-kart, paintball, badminton and futsal. Others include water sports on the lake. “Also, we have 288 units of hotel and office space, all in one location,” he added.
Distinctive Resources Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Lim Ech Chan mentioned that the defining features of their development are the facilities.
“We have heated pools on the sky lounge as well as two badminton courts plus the landscape park,” he said, adding that an architect from Bali was brought in to create the feeling of living in a resort in the city.
Emphasising the concept of art, nature and people, PH World Development Sdn Bhd group chief executive officer Joseph Pang believes that the integration of these elements would create a sustainable and emotional space for buyers. “People are the ultimate users of space, hence we have to be people centric when designing the space and approaching our customers.”
Celebrating the workforce
The bedrock of every functional organisation involves the spirit of unity and cooperation. UEM Sunrise Bhd managing director and chief executive officer Anwar Syahrin Abdul Ajib echoes this statement by celebrating the people who drive the company.
“What makes us successful is the passion shown by the workforce within UEM Sunrise,” said Anwar. “We are very blessed to be receiving the award, and getting to catch up with old friends.”
Johor Land Bhd managing director Lukman Abu Bakar is thankful for being part of a larger group that is Johor Corporation (JCorp) and benefiting from the support of the parent company.
He said the company had been in Johor for over 46 years. Today it has 700 employees and a good track record, especially with the developments in Pasir Gudang.
Horizon Hills Development Sdn Bhd general manager Jim Woon thanked his team members and parent company Gamuda-UEM Sunrise for “giving us the opportunity to develop such a beautiful property in Johor.”
The project are also featured in “Jewels of Johor: Johor’s Most Exceptional Development 2018/2019″ coffee table book. StarProperty.my is giving out 100 copies of the book. Register at bit.ly/2xUGbSy to be among the lucky recipients. Visit bit.ly/jewelsofjohor2018 to learn more about the awards.
Members of the public are invited to view the winning projects at the StarProperty.my Awards 2018: Jewels of Johor Showcase which will be held from Oct 16 to 21 (Tuesday to Saturday), 10am- 10pm, at Aeon Mall Tebrau City and Aeon Mall Bukit Indah, Johor Baru. Go to fair.starproperty.my for more information.