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Houses are more than just shelters for most people. Homebuyers now expect so much more, such as a nice façade, a pleasant environment and facilities that can enhance their quality of life. In fact, lifestyle developments are becoming the norm in Malaysia’s highly competitive residential market.
Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd deputy chairman Datuk Ewe Swee Kheng is determined to set a new benchmark for lifestyle living with its new residential project in Penang: City of Dreams.
According to Ewe, the 3.67-acre project is part of the 50-acre Wellness City of Dreams development, which will cover part of a 110-acre freehold reclaimed tract in Bandar Tanjong Pinang. The development of the remaining 60 acres has yet to be determined.
Ewe says the parcel was given to Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd (CZBUCG) by the Penang government as compensation-in-kind for the building of the upcoming RM6.3 billion Penang Tunnel, which will include three road bypasses.
Ewe has confidence unit prices for City of Dreams will be competitive. – Pic courtesy of Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd, January 26, 2016.Public-listed developer Ewein Bhd, which was founded by Ewe, later formed Ewein Zenith with CZBUCG to develop Wellness City of Dreams. The development has a potential gross development value (GDV) of RM13.89 billion. Ewein owns a 60% stake in Ewein Zenith and CZBUCG, the remaining 40%.
City of Dreams, which has a GDV of RM800 million, is the first component of the overall development. The luxury seafront serviced apartment project will comprise two 38-storey towers with 572 seaview units. Their built-ups range from 1,097 to 2,350sqft.
Bandar Tanjong Pinang is an established mid- to high-end residential district with 90% of the developments being homes. It is a self-contained township not too far from the busy Gurney Drive, making it popular with investors and homebuyers, according to Raine & Horne International Zaki + Partners Sdn Bhd senior partner Michael Geh.
“Bandar Tanjong Pinang offers views of the sea and is within walking distance of the retail marina (Straits Quay) and Tesco hypermarket. Property prices in Bandar Tanjong Pinang should remain strong because it is strategically between Gurney and Batu Ferringhi, the shopping and leisure paradise in the north of the peninsula,” he says.
The two main towers in the complex are named after Ewe’s wife and child. – Pic courtesy of Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd, January 26, 2016.
However, he foresees high-rise condominiums facing some competition because there are a few upcoming developments nearby, such as Mont Residence, Skyridge Garden, Mira Residence, Alila 2 and HH Residence, which are priced lower.
“Nevertheless, Bandar Tanjong Pinang condos’ advantage is the location. Property prices will adjust accordingly to new demand and supply,” said Geh.
As the latest development in the area, City of Dreams offers a better view as it sits on the opposite shore of Gurney Drive. Its positioning ensures that all its units face the sea and Gurney Drive. There are only 10 units on each level and each unit has its own lift lobby.
City of Dreams will be connected to the planned Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR), making access to the other parts of the island easy. The RM1 billion PORR is an 18km toll expressway linking Gelugor in the south, near Penang Bridge, to Tanjung Bungah in the north.
All units are expected to have a sea view. – Pic courtesy of Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd, January 26, 2016.
The façade of City of Dreams, which is inspired by a diamond, is set to change the scene in Bandar Tanjong Pinang.
“I want this project to shine like a diamond in Penang. Just imagine how shiny it will be when the glass façade reflects the sunlight. Also, diamonds are precious, very much like your family and home. This is also my reason for naming the towers after my wife, Elaine, and my daughter, Chloe.”
He added that naming the towers after his family members showed his commitment to his second residential project.
Ewe’s first project was a low-density condominium, The Palazzo, in Pulau Tikus, which was completed and handed over to buyers in 2006. It was developed by Ewein Holdings Sdn Bhd, the property development arm of Ewein Bhd.
Ewein Bhd has embarked on a diversification programme since 2011. The counter was reclassified from the industrial product sector on Bursa Malaysia to the property sector on December 23, 2015.
The project will have direct access to the Penang Outer Ring Road. – Pic courtesy of Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd, January 26, 2016.
Ewe said currently, the company was focusing on City of Dreams, which had been well received since it was opened for registration at end-2013. “So far, we have received over 1,200 registrations.”
The developer is looking to officially launch the project as planned, in 1Q2016.
“We are targeting local buyers. However, we have received registrations from all over, with the majority from the northern part of Peninsular Malaysia. We are also looking at having 20% foreign buyers. We will hold roadshows in China, Singapore, Indonesia and the Middle East soon,” Ewe said to “City & Country” in an interview at the project’s sales gallery in Penang.
City of Dreams will have more than 50 unique facilities, which are creating a buzz in Penang’s property market. Apart from the standard serviced apartment facilities like a swimming pool or gym, it will boast many special features and amenities such as an eight-tier security system, Rolls-Royce limousine and private yacht charter service, seaview steam and sauna rooms, free WiFi access in the lobby and emergency transport and room.
“I imagined how I wanted my dream home to be and what kind of lifestyle I wanted. This was how I came up with the facilities for the project,” Ewe said.
The ground floor will include a main lobby, reception desk and VIP parking. – Pic courtesy of Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd, January 26, 2016.“
For example,” he added, pointing to a Rolls-Royce parked outside the sales gallery, “People want to stay in a nice home and drive a nice car, but how many can afford both? And how often do you get to ride in that luxury car? In City of Dreams, we’ll have a Rolls-Royce at your service; all you need to do is book the car via a residents’ facility management mobile app and pay a fee (the rate has yet to be determined).”
The facilities will be on the ground floor and levels 1, 6, 36 and 37 of the towers. On the ground floor, there will be the grand lobby and reception desk, 116 VIP parking bays, an automated car wash system, a driver’s room and an emergency room.
On level 1, there will be a business lounge, meeting rooms and a mail room with mail sensor detector post boxes. The developer is also looking at the possibility of sending mail arrival messages via the residents’ app in the future.
Level 6 will feature indoor and outdoor facilities such as a salon, gym, sauna and steam room, jacuzzi, pre-function gallery for cocktails before a sit-down event at the grand ballroom (sits up to 240 people), swimming pool, barbecue area, karaoke room, private cinema, bowling alley, three-in-one court for tennis, futsal and basketball, and a mini garden for residents who want to grow their own vegetables, for example.
On level 36, there will also be sky lounges, a daybed area and sky terrace. On the next level, there will be a sky library or reading room, dining room with a kitchen for private events, wine room and cigar bar as well as a gallery that presents a brief history and development story of City of Dreams.
To ensure the quality of service and lifestyle as promised, Ewein Zenith will form a management committee with a hotelier to manage the development.
In line with the wellness concept of the Wellness City of Dreams development, there will be more than 20 wellness fittings that can be added to the units before the handover to buyers (at a cost that has yet to be finalised) such as air purifiers, Vitamin C-infused showers, posture supportive flooring or blackout shade.
The apartments are priced from RM1,172psf. According to Ewe, the price is lower than those of the neighbouring projects, some of which are as high as RM1,800psf. The maintenance fee of City of Dreams is only 30 sen psf, compared with 60 sen to 80 sen psf in the nearby projects.
“Every unit will contribute more than RM300 a month if I charge 30 sen psf for maintenance fees. With more than 500 units, I will get at least RM200,000 a month. Did you know that with that amount a month, you can manage a hotel?
“Furthermore, City of Dreams is a green development. We will install a solar power system and a rainwater harvesting system, hence, the maintenance cost will be low,” Ewe said, adding that the project’s design was Gold Green Building Index-compliant.
Other green features include a food waste processing machine and centralised water filter system.
Level 6 is expected to include a swimming pool. – Pic courtesy of Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd, January 26, 2016.Beside City of Dreams, Ewe will be adding three more residential blocks, which will occupy 4.43 acres. He declined to share details about the project, which is currently referred to as “City of Dreams II”, except to say: “It will be another landmark project with an estimated GDV of RM1 billion. It should have a similar concept as City of Dreams, but will have smaller units... more affordable for the younger generation.”
Last month, Ewein Bhd announced the land acquisition of City of Dreams II from CZBUCG for RM162 million.
Ewe is optimistic about the take-up of City of Dreams II despite the property market slowdown.
“The property market is not doing well now, but that has never been a reason for me to stop launching projects as planned,” he said.
He believes the success of a launch in Penang depends not so much on the market sentiment but on the uniqueness of the project and its quality.
“As a Penangite doing business here, Penang people always spend wisely, especially when it comes to property purchases. Hence, I will not hold back City of Dreams II. Once everything is ready to go, I will announce its launch.”