This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly on March 6, 2023 - March 12, 2023
When the doors of the lift open to The Minh’s show unit, time and space seem to be transformed into a Vietnamese-style resort brimming with French flair — the pattern and motif tiles, Indochine-style ornaments, and wooden door and window frames.
“We never sell houses; we sell homes and lifestyles. That experience comes as soon as our customers step into the show unit. Here, what you are seeing now — the ornaments and tiles, the design style and details — will be used in the common areas of The Minh,” says UEM Sunrise Bhd chief marketing officer Kenny Wong as he welcomes City & Country to the show unit at UEM Sunrise Showcase in Mont’Kiara, Kuala Lumpur.
Indochine is a unique ambience that is quite unlike any other — it is the result of French colonial rule in Vietnam, resulting in a peaceful yet vibrant atmosphere, Wong explains.
“In the past, we have come out with a lot of nicely curated projects. However, this is the first time we are putting it with a theme. We found that there are many unique elements of Vietnamese tradition and French colonial fusion architecture, which set a very nice ambience for everyday life at The Minh, such as the signature pattern and motif tiles for the swimming pool and the French garden. It is also why we named the project after Ho Chi Minh City, the most popular city for Indochine culture in Vietnam,” he says.
“And in Vietnamese, ‘Minh’ means bright, which is very close to the core value of our corporate brand image. The Minh is also the acronym for ‘Mont’Kiara Indochine-inspired Nature Homes’.”
Located in a serene and quiet neighbourhood on an elevated 6.2-acre freehold site adjacent to Bukit Kiara Hill along Jalan Kiara 7 in Mont’Kiara, The Minh has a gross development value (GDV) of RM970 million and will be launched in 2Q2023. It will be the first project launched by UEM Sunrise this year.
The low-density development has only 496 units, which are spread over two towers of 42 storeys each, with only six units per floor. Four layouts are available, with built-ups of 1,607 sq ft, 2,076 sq ft, 2,733 sq ft and 3,010 sq ft. Every unit has at least three bedrooms, three bathrooms and two parking bays. The selling price of The Minh ranges from RM1.4 million to RM2.8 million, or an average of RM960 psf.
While the two biggest layouts come with a private lift lobby and touchless lift feature, it is worth noting that every unit is like a semi-detached home or a bungalow.
“We emphasise the use of space and seamless transition from one area to another. All units at The Minh have an open and spacious layout for better space planning according to the needs and lifestyle of the buyer,” says Wong.
“We also throw in a versatile lanai for the two biggest layouts to give buyers an option in how to utilise the extra space — wall it up to make another room, as the lanai connects to a balcony, or let it be an open space for hobby, work or study purposes.”
With lifestyle aspirations akin to the best-in-class hospitality offered by many top hotels and resorts in Vietnam, The Minh provides a bespoke environment and premier resort living with its extensive facilities that include a garden terrace, Jacuzzi, kickabout lawn, poolside cabana, sauna and halotherapy room, steam room, residents’ lounge, yoga and ballet studio, dining terrace, French garden with barbecue area, two lap pools and a kids’ pool, bicycle station and an automated waste collection system. The maintenance fee is 35 sen psf, including the sinking fund.
Every unit has a 16-amp socket-ready parking bay for electric vehicle charging. There are also EV charging points in the visitor parking area.
“The Minh is located close enough to the Mont’Kiara business district, yet far away from the hustle and bustle [to provide] a peaceful living environment. As the project site is on elevated land, almost all the units get to enjoy unobstructed views of KL, PJ, Mont’Kiara or Banjaran Titiwangsa,” says Wong, adding that the project is easily accessible via Jalan Kiara 7 from major highways, including Sprint Expressway and Penchala Link.
“Due to the natural shape of the site, our six-storey parking podium on the ground is almost not visible from the main road level, meaning that our buyers will be welcomed by the serene environment and landscape right from the main entrance,” he says.
“We also designed an express ramp to the parking podium. Imagine the ramp as a large circular turn that leads to the entrance of most of the car park floors, eliminating the need to go around every floor if your parking bay is at the bottom. It is one example of the many design details we thought about in the planning stage for the ease and convenience of our buyers.”
“We are targeting both the upgrader and downgrader for The Minh — buyers who are looking to upgrade to a bigger space for their growing family, as well as buyers who are downsizing from bungalows as they no longer need a big house, especially after their children have grown up and moved out,” says Wong.
While he does not deny that the target market is niche and the market segment is highly competitive at the moment, he believes it is full of potential, especially since borders have reopened and economic sectors are almost back to normal.
“The fact is, there are people who are looking for such products [like The Minh]. How do we know? When we launched Allevia two years ago, we received quite a lot of feedback asking us to launch bigger layouts. This is why we have a 3,010 sq ft layout for The Minh,” he explains.
Allevia Mont’Kiara is a freehold condominium project launched by UEM Sunrise two years ago. It offers six layouts, with the smallest built-up at 1,703 sq ft and the biggest at 2,634 sq ft. The project was 80% sold as at last month and is slated for completion in 1Q2025.
Wong emphasises that before beginning any project, UEM Sunrise always conducts extensive survey and research, and The Minh is no exception. Apart from the feedback from the launch of Allevia, the developer also opened registration of interest, as well as conducted exclusive preview sessions for its Trésor loyalty programme members since January this year.
“The feedback has been overwhelming. We have received almost 2,000 leads [from the registration of interest] and people were eager to know when The Minh would be launched after every exclusive preview session. The amount of market interest received has given us the confidence that we will be able to hit a 50% to 60% take-up rate when the first tower is launched in 2Q2023,” he says.
He also attributes the positive market responses to the brand name of UEM Sunrise as the leading developer of Mont’Kiara, as well as the prime location of The Minh.
“The target market is niche and very competitive, hence the location is very important.
Mont’Kiara is an international address, a well-known location ... We believe that once borders have fully reopened, the demand [for projects like The Minh] will only increase,” says Wong.
“Of course, we will not go crazy. We spaced out similar project launches so that the market has enough time to absorb them. A similar launch [to The Minh] was Allevia two years ago. The Minh will be the only launch under the Club Edition for UEM Sunrise this year. We have two to three more projects like The Minh but are not in a hurry to roll them out.”
On Feb 22, UEM Sunrise unveiled a new initiative called Happy+. It is a residential product series that comes in five categories, namely Kasih, Rise, Nest, Club Edition and Luxe Collection.
The Kasih series is a starter home programme in line with the government’s initiative to encourage homeownership. The Rise series is designed as flexible and agile spaces for young first-time homebuyers. The Nest series will include projects designed for multigenerational living. The Club Edition is curated residences offering high-end features that emphasise a prestigious resort lifestyle. The Luxe Collection showcases unique and exquisite products with an emphasis on sophisticated and privileged living.
“Happy+ will form an identifiable DNA of our products and allow our customers to find the right products that meet their individual needs at different stages of [their] life. This initiative came from extensive research and years of understanding our customers’ behaviour,” says Wong.
The new developments will carry its Happy+ DNA starting this year with the launch of The Minh, as it will be the first project under the Club Edition.
“Our focus this year is to gear up for more launches. We are planning to launch projects with a GDV of RM2.5 billion and are aiming at RM1.5 billion in sales this year. If you have been following UEM Sunrise, we did not launch many products in the past 2½ years due to the pandemic. This year, we are ready to get our products out into the market to boost our unbilled sales and balance sheet,” he says.
With Happy+ in place, it also means an adjustment in the company’s direction to offer a full spectrum of products, from affordable housing to luxury residences.
“Yes, we will bring more choices to the market as UEM Sunrise aspires to cater for the various lifestyle needs and life-stage demands of our customers and future homebuyers, guiding them and making it more straightforward for them to identify a specific one based on their preferences for their dream home,” says Wong.
“This year, we will focus on the Rise and Nest series as this is where the major demand is. However, when the time comes, we will roll out projects under the Club Edition and Luxe Collection. The projects under these two series, however, require very good locations and excellent project planning. So, it will take some time.”
Apart from The Minh, two key projects — both under the Rise series — to be launched this year are a residential development in Taman Connaught, Cheras, and the second phase of Kiara Bay in Kepong.
“We are always on the lookout for land and opportunity, be it locally or internationally. We are looking to expand by ourselves as well as work with a strong JV (joint-venture) partner,” he says.
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