This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly on June 13, 2022 - June 19, 2022
On a balmy Thursday morning, we arrive at Eco World Development Group Bhd’s (EcoWorld) Eco Spring in Tebrau, Johor Baru. Houses with European-inspired designs can be seen upon entering the township.
We settle into our seats at Eco Spring’s sales gallery for an interview with EcoWorld divisional general manager Phan Yan Chan, who is excited to tell us about a number of new launches the company has planned in Johor this year.
From June to September, EcoWorld will unveil residential phases in its existing townships in the southern state, namely Eco Tropics in Pasir Gudang and Eco Botanic 2 Iskandar Puteri, as well as industrial components in Eco Business Park 1 (EBP 1) in Tebrau. The developer also launched a residential phase in Eco Spring in Tebrau on June 11.
“What’s great about these projects is that they enjoy the advantage of excellent infrastructure, built-environment and comprehensive amenities within maturing EcoWorld townships. Our projects focus on the company’s DNA concept, which stands for ‘design’ (architecture designs that stand the test of time), ‘nature’ (landscape) and ‘arts’ (unique concepts),” says Phan.
“It is about building houses with timeless designs that come with landscaping and unique concepts that are able to maintain or increase the value of the development. We believe in co-creating innovative, sustainable and relatable products with our residential and business communities.”
With the reopening of the country’s borders, Phan says many Malaysians who work and live in Singapore have been visiting EcoWorld’s sales galleries in Johor. He expects the developer’s southern developments to see increased interest this year and believes that now is a good time to be rolling out new projects.
“We believe EcoWorld has something for all buyers, whether it is residential, commercial or industrial. We aspire to innovate and co-create spaces, be it layouts, gardens or infrastructure, for the convenience and enjoyment of people from all walks of life,” says Phan.
Following the success of Phases 1 and 2 of the Garden Homes Series in the Rosé precinct of Eco Spring, which were launched in 2019 and are fully sold, Phan anticipates a good response for the third and final phase of the series.
EcoWorld’s Garden Homes are 2-storey terraced houses with 10ft-wide side gardens and 20ft-wide common back-lane gardens.
Phase 1 of the Garden Homes Series comprising 250 units was handed over in April this year while Phase 2 (152 units) will be handed over in the third quarter (3Q2022).
Phase 3 will comprise 162 units of Garden Homes with a gross development value (GDV) of RM183 million. The 4-bedroom,
4-bathroom units will have sizes measuring 30ft by 60ft and 32ft by 65ft, with built-ups of 2,184 and 2,237 sq ft, and are priced from RM1.07 million and RM1.1 million respectively. Phase 3 is due for completion in 2025.
Phan says the design of the Garden Homes is inspired by European houses with conservatories.
According to him, the Garden Homes in Phase 3 resemble semi-detached houses whereby each unit will come with a 10ft-wide private garden that is connected to the dining area, as well as a 20ft-wide back lane. “The houses will have a fully extended open-concept layout that offers hassle-free renovation, with a north-south orientation that comes with [optimum] window-to-wall ratio to help reduce sun exposure while allowing an abundance of natural light.
“This will also keep the buildings cooler, with less reliance on electricity for air conditioning,” says Phan. He adds that the material chosen for the roof and the roof insulation will also keep the house cool.
For the 2,184 sq ft homes, Phan says there will be an open family area on the first floor, which can be converted into a home office, or a children’s or hobby room. As for the 2,237 sq ft homes, while there will be no family area on the first floor, the bedrooms will be more spacious.
“These units will be suitable for large and growing families, as well as multigenerational families. Unlike the previous phases of the Garden Homes in the Rosé precinct that are enclosed with individual gates, the houses in Phase 3 will be the first residential phase in the Eco Spring township to have a gateless concept, allowing one to park up to four cars in the porch,” adds Phan.
Residents of the project will have easy access to Rosé precinct’s 18-acre urban central park, which offers facilities such as a basketball court, football field, outdoor gym, cycling track, grand gazebo and pedestrian lanes. There will also be an exclusive indoor clubhouse in the township, where residents will need to pay a monthly membership fee of RM265 to access the facilities there, such as a swimming pool, fitness centre, children’s playground and badminton court.
The 614-acre freehold Eco Spring township has a GDV of RM5.87 billion, and offers landscaped and green spaces that make up about 13% or 78 acres of the entire development. “The township boasts a 2.47-acre dedicated nursery space for growing and propagating trees and shrubs that can later be used in the landscaping of the township. This will minimise the environmental impact from transport as they are all grown on site. So far, more than 50,000 shrubs and plants have been grown there,” says Phan.
Launched in 2014, the gated-and-guarded development comprises terraced houses, semidees, cluster homes, bungalows and four commercial parcels. The township is 70% developed.
At Eco Tropics, EcoWorld is planning to launch North Garden or the second phase of the Breezegate precinct comprising 2-storey terraced houses at end-June, as well as the first phase of the Fieldsgate precinct comprising Co-Home units in August.
Inspired by the architecture of The Hamptons resort in Long Island, New York, houses at North Garden are designed for breezy and casual garden living.
North Garden has a GDV of RM64 million and will comprise 316 units of 2-storey terraced houses measuring 20ft by 70ft and 20ft by 80ft. The homes will have 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom layouts, with built-ups of 1,787 and 1,827 sq ft and prices starting from RM620,000 and RM660,000 respectively.
Phan says North Garden’s practical layouts are designed to maximise the usage of space and are ideal for contemporary lifestyles. The homes will be fitted with modern bay windows to increase natural light and to make the interior spaces look more expansive.
“There will be a 10ft-wide private garden and 20ft-wide back lane in each unit for residents to do gardening and for children to have a safe outdoor play area,” he says.
Phan notes that these units are affordable starter homes for young families and upgraders who are looking for spacious and good quality homes in a maturing township that offers good investment potential.
The Fieldsgate precinct, which is adjacent to the Breezegate precinct, will offer 164 Co-Home units in the first phase, which has a GDV of RM67 million. The Co-Home units will have 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom layouts and built-ups of 1,041 and 1,113 sq ft. Prices start from RM428,000 for the 37ft by 50ft units and the homes are expected to be completed in 2025.
Phan explains that a Co-Home resembles a 2-storey terraced house that has been split into two units, with each stratified unit occupying one floor and offering single-level living with spacious, practical layouts that can accommodate a family.
According to him, the Co-Home was designed to address the primary needs of aspiring homebuyers seeking a landed-living lifestyle and affordability. “The units are catered for first-time homebuyers, young couples, small and extended families as well as retirees. The idea of the Co-Home was to create a spacious landed setting for those who earn a monthly income of between RM3,000 and RM4,000.
“We have launched Co-Home units in Eco Horizon in Bandar Cassia, Penang, and Eco Grandeur in Bandar Puncak Alam, Selangor, both of which have been well-received. Thus, we intend to introduce this product to buyers in Johor,” he adds.
“The Co-Home was created to look and feel like a 2-storey landed home with four side-by-side, covered parking bays in front of each house, with two bays for each unit. The Co-Home also has a width of 37ft, similar to that of a semidee, and is wider than the usual townhouse that measures about 24ft to 26ft.”
Residents will have easy access to the 30-acre West Lake Gardens public park, one of the largest parks in Johor Baru, within Eco Tropics, Phan notes. “West Lake Gardens boasts a scenic lake and offers facilities such as gazebos, outdoor gyms and playgrounds. The park also features a smart design that makes it a reservoir for rainwater, which will be collected and reused to water the many landscaped areas in Eco Tropics.”
The freehold, 743.6-acre Eco Tropics is a gated-and-guarded development featuring landed homes, a commercial hub, grocer, primary school and Eco Business Park 3. Launched in 2015, the RM3.4 billion mixed-use township is 40% developed and will be built according to an eco-master plan that demarcates sizeable green pockets scattered across the development.
Over at Eco Botanic 2, EcoWorld plans to launch The Commune, comprising 604 units of garden cluster homes, in September. The development is the final landed residential precinct in the township.
Sitting on a 54.42-acre parcel, The Commune has a GDV of RM527 million and the homes will come in sizes of 20ft by 85ft, 22ft by 85ft and 24ft by 85ft. Priced from RM1.05 million, the 4-bedroom, 3- or 4-bathroom units will have built-ups of 2,043 to 2,629 sq ft and are expected to be completed in 2025.
According to Phan, these garden cluster homes are the “first of its kind” in Iskandar Puteri, with an open-plan concept for more natural light and better ventilation. Wide windows and sliding doors will be incorporated in the landed strata properties, thereby integrating outdoor and indoor living. “Each unit will have a 10ft-wide private garden on the ground floor, which provides sufficient space for residents to create their desired green spaces. Residents can also enjoy the view of the private garden from the living room, kitchen and dining areas and bedroom.”
Phan states that houses in The Commune have been designed to be larger than the average 20ft by 70ft terraced homes. The larger built-up areas will suit multigenerational families, while taking into account the requirements to work or study from home, he adds.
“The units will measure 85ft in length and there will be no back lane garden, so the houses will appear longer in a rectangular shape and come with practical internal layouts. Some of the units will also come with double-volume ceilings and spiral staircases.”
According to Phan, the units will have a spacious room on the ground floor, which can be used as a bedroom or converted into an audiovisual room, children’s playroom, study room or exercise studio, offering flexibility to suit a family’s evolving needs. “The master bedroom on the first floor will have a wide balcony, as we have noticed that the importance of balconies has increased along with demand for more outdoor space in both landed and high-rise properties post-pandemic,” says Phan.
Launched in 2020, the 193-acre freehold Eco Botanic 2 has a GDV of RM1.67 billion. The mixed-use township is 50% developed and comprises 2-storey terraced houses, 3-storey shopoffices and a commercial parcel. This development is an extension of the first Eco Botanic township — launched in 2015 — and is located adjacent to it.
In August this year, EcoWorld will be launching the remaining 108 units of 60ft by 150ft cluster factories at Phase 3 of its Eco Business Park 1 (EBP1 Phase 3) development in Tebrau.
The developer previously launched the first 84 units of cluster factories in EBP1 Phase 3, measuring 60ft by 120ft, in December last year, of which 60% have been taken up.
EBP1 Phase 3, which has a GDV of RM330 million, occupies 73.2 acres and will comprise a total of 192 units of cluster factories with built-ups of 3,160 and 4,172 sq ft priced at RM1.75 million and RM2.14 million respectively. EBP1 Phase 3 is expected to be completed in 2025.
Over in Senai, EcoWorld launched in March Eco Business Park 2 Phase 3 (EBP2 Phase 3), of which 60% has been taken up.
With a GDV of RM227 million, EBP2 Phase 3 comprises 16 units of cluster factories measuring 70ft by 150ft and 68 units of semidee factories measuring 80ft by 160ft, 80ft by 180ft and 80ft by 200ft on 51.3 acres. In terms of built-ups and prices, the cluster factories are 6,027 sq ft each and priced from RM2.44 million while the semidee factories come in sizes of 6,874, 7,982 and 9,090 sq ft with starting prices from RM3.09 million. EBP2 Phase 3 is due for completion in 2025.
According to Phan, EBP1 and EBP2 are highly secured gated-and-guarded business parks equipped with well-designed facilities to serve a wide range of non-polluting light industrial players and other types of businesses.
He notes that factories in EBP1 and EBP2 will provide a flexi-space concept to allow for future expansion of the mezzanine floor, if required. “Phase 3 factories [in both business parks] have a floor loading capacity of up to 10kN/m2, making the space suitable for showrooms, warehouses and corporate offices. The units will feature double-volume ceiling heights of 7.5m and 7.8m for high-racking system purposes, as well as a skylight that helps reduce the use of artificial lighting, ultimately lowering maintenance cost.
“There will be a 24ft strip of land along the side [of the factories] that can be used for loading and unloading purposes or future expansion. The premises will have four entry lanes and two exit lanes, which will reduce traffic congestion,” he adds.
The industrial properties at both business parks can be tailored to suit varying business specifications and requirements, says Phan, adding that EcoWorld also offers business solution services to owners in setting up their businesses during the construction phase, including dealing with the authorities and various licensing agencies.
According to Phan, companies in the business parks include those involved in food packaging, electrical appliances, food and beverage, furniture, logistics and warehousing, and hardware supplies.
“Our business parks also provide good opportunities for young entrepreneurs to explore new ventures,” says Phan.
Both EBP1 and EBP2 have several green features, including a rainwater harvesting system, clear roof design and full-height glazed windows to enhance natural lighting and ventilation, LED street lights for lower energy consumption as well as multiple well-placed green lungs to reduce the heat island effect.
With a GDV of RM2.59 billion, the 612-acre EBP1 is located in Flagship A of Iskandar Malaysia and comprises cluster, semidee and detached factories, whereas the 383-acre EBP2 is located in Flagship E of Iskandar Malaysia and consists of cluster and semidee factories with a GDV of RM1.93 billion.
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