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This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly on February 18, 2019 - February 24, 2019

Orando Holdings Sdn Bhd is launching the third tower of Lavile KL, Tower B, in April. The mixed-use development comprises four towers with a gross development value of RM1.8 billion. It is located on a 3.79-acre freehold parcel in Lorong Peel, Taman Maluri, Cheras, and will feature 1,278 serviced apartments and 35 shops.

The 40-storey Tower B will house 266 units with built-ups from 350 to 1,067 sq ft in 1, 2 and 3-bedroom layouts. Selling prices start from RM655,000.

Orando launched the first tower, the 49-storey Tower A1, in December 2016. Due to the good response, Tower A2, also 49 storeys, was opened for sale soon after, says managing director Datuk Eng Wei Chun. Tower A1 and A2 will house 740 units, which have been almost 90% taken up.

To enhance the value and improve the quality of the units in Tower B, Eng is in talks with a UK interior designer to help with the design.

“We are in discussion to engage a British interior designer to come up with an interior design for the units in the third tower. Buyers will be able to choose from several packages — from a bare to a fully furnished unit, which will be designed by the British interior designer,” he says.

Tower B will also have 35 shoplots, which the developer will keep and manage, and there will be 24 studio units that are not for sale.

“These will be available for residents to rent to put up guests, for example, family members from abroad. We will manage the studio units, which can be rented on a daily, weekly or monthly basis,” says Eng.

The shared facilities for all four towers include a swimming pool, basketball court, roof garden and badminton hall. The maintenance fee will be about 30 sen to 35 sen psf.

Nearby amenities include shopping centres — Sunway Velocity, Aeon Cheras,  IKEA Cheras and MyTown — and the Cheras police headquarters. UCSI University, Cempaka International School, SMK St Gabriel and SR (C) Nan Chiang and Hospital UKM and Prince Court Hospital are in the area as well.

Public transport includes the Maluri light rail transit (LRT) and mass rapid transit (MRT) interchange station. Eng highlights that due to the increase in footfall in the area, an advertising opportunity has arisen.

“As the development is near the LRT and MRT interchange station, human traffic there will be high. So, we will put an LED screen up on the wall for advertising. The fee will be given to the residents committee to provide additional funds so the project is not solely dependent on the maintenance fees,” says Eng.

Lavile KL is accessible via the Sungai Besi Highway, North-South Expressway, Maju Expressway, Middle Ring Road 2, Jalan Tun Razak, Jalan Loke Yew, Jalan Cheras, Jalan Peel and Jalan Jejaka.


Focusing on a different market

With Lavile KL, Orando is targeting upgraders, says Eng. “This development is not priced from RM300,000 to RM500,000 per unit, so ... it will take a longer time to sell because it is for a niche market.”

Many are not first-time buyers and about 70% are local while the remaining 30% are foreigners.

“Our policy is to open a maximum of 30% of the project to foreign buyers. I want this property to be mostly owner-occupied so it is sustainable and well-maintained,” says Eng.

Of the 70% local buyers, 60% are owner-occupiers, he says. The remainder are investors or parents gifting a unit to their married children so they can live nearby.

The foreign buyers are mostly from Hong Kong with a few from Japan, South Korea and China.

“Hong Kong people learn from young a basic knowledge of the property market and an understanding of passive and active income. So, I challenged myself to take this project to Hong Kong and see whether it would be accepted.

“Our product was welcomed and we have been interviewed by the Hong Kong and Taiwan media. This means that Lavile KL is acceptable to Hong Kongers and it meets the quality standards of the international market,” says Eng.

According to Hartamas Real Estate (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd group managing director Eric Lim, the average built-up of high-rise developments in Taman Maluri is 700 to 1,200 sq ft and average selling prices are RM900 to RM1,200 psf.

He says the demand for high-rise properties in the vicinity comes from upgraders and investors. “This is the target market in terms of income group as the lower-income group would be drawn to cheaper developments further from Taman Maluri.”

Going forward, Lim says, the mixed-use development of Sunway Velocity will set the pace for the growth of Taman Maluri. “It is not just the addition of new residences to Taman Maluri, but amenities such as a medical centre, mall and hotel. This will directly affect the value of properties in that area.”

The Taman Maluri MRT station is only two stops away from Tun Razak Exchange and three stops from Bukit Bintang, he says. And when the development of TRX gains momentum over the next two years, there will be a spillover effect.


Future plans

Eng says Orando is developing a student accommodation project in Exeter, a few minutes. away from the University of Exeter in the UK. The purchase of the land, which is less than an acre in size, is in the process.

“Brexit is an issue but I still believe in the UK market. I believe in the basic fundamentals … the foundation is still very strong in two industries — education and finance. I think these two sectors are able to sustain the country and, once the Brexit policy is clear, it will bounce back again,” he says.

Orando will own the development but Eng says a British company will manage it.

In Malaysia, Orando does not hold any land bank but Eng says the company is in negotiations with two landowners with parcels in the Kuala Lumpur city centre.

“Our policy is to build one development at a time. We want stability and to make sure each project is properly completed,” he says.

In the current market, he adds, branding is important and to build up the Orando brand, the company aims to win property awards. Eng says there are plans to venture into developed cities around the world to do boutique developments.

Other than the UK, the company is slated to embark on a refurbishment project in Hong Kong, which is in the planning stage.

Following its slogan “Build homes of Swiss-watch standard“, Eng says he hopes people will equate Orando with Swiss watch manufactures. Even though the Swiss watch factory is small and does not produce watches in huge quantities, they are of excellent quality and sell at high prices. He wants Orando to be the same — providing quality over quantity.

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