Sunday 19 May 2024
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This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly on April 24, 2023 - April 30, 2023

Arte Solaris is a new serviced apartment and office suite development coming up on a 1.01-acre parcel next to Solaris Mont’Kiara, Kuala Lumpur. Developed by Solaris Ceria Sdn Bhd, whose shareholders are also behind the Arte Corp (formerly Nusmetro) brand of developments like Arte Mont Kiara, Arte +, off Jalan Ampang, and Arte Kuchai Lama, the leasehold development has a gross development value (GDV) of RM460 million and comprises 603 units of office suites and serviced apartments.

Representing the shareholders, Solaris Ceria Sdn Bhd head of sales and marketing Ivy Liew says that the site of Arte Solaris is [one of the last pieces] of land in Mont’Kiara (MK), which the developer acquired in November 2016. “Not many knew there was land there. We purchased it because it was the last piece of land in Solaris MK. Two years after acquiring the site in KL Metropolis [for Arte Mont Kiara], we started looking around and found this parcel, which is very strategic because from the site, you can walk directly to the [Solaris] retail lots.

“Also, there is no new condominium [next to] Solaris MK. The old ones, such as La Grande Kiara and Kiaraville, were completed some time ago. So we think it’s about time we launched a new design and catch up with the market. The wider Mont’Kiara area is also well established, and since 163 Retail Park opened a few years ago, the whole place has become [more vibrant],” she says during an exclusive interview with City & Country at the eclectically ornate Arte Sales Gallery in Arte Mont Kiara. Its interiors seem to be a mix of Baroque-inspired ceilings, pillars and Art Deco-style flooring.

Arte Solaris is also the first project under the new Arte Corp brand. Liew shares that the shareholders first started developing properties under the Nusmetro name in Penang around 1996. “We started developing small landed housing and slowly moved to high-rise developments, mainly on Penang Island and some in Bayan Lepas. The brand then expanded to the Klang Valley in 2012, with Arte Kuchai Lama. That was when the Arte series started. With Arte, which means ‘art’ in French, our designs started to kick in more substantially.

“After the first project in the Arte series, we did our last project in Penang, Arte S. We then completed Arte Subang West and Arte +, which has a more futuristic style, and moved on to Arte Mont Kiara, our flagship project, which has a French-retro-inspired design,” she adds.

Completed in 2020, the RM1.2 billion Arte Mont Kiara project was launched in 2016 and comprises 1,707 units of serviced apartments and office suites that have built-ups of 442 to 1,851 sq ft and priced at approximately RM1,000 psf, as well as 15 retail lots. According to Liew, the project, whose components are spread across three towers on a 3.3-acre parcel in Dutamas and within Naza TTDI’s KL Metropolis development, is fully sold.

Liew: We are targeting the younger demographic of buyers who want to move to Mont’Kiara, as well as those looking for investment products priced under RM500,000 (Photo by Shahrill Basri/The Edge)

Scheduled to be officially launched next month, Arte Solaris was soft-launched on March 1. “The project’s hoarding was up about three to four years ago and we started some piling and substructure works. We initially wanted to launch two years ago but Covid-19 happened. The project is currently 55% sold.”

Located in Jalan Duta Kiara, Arte Solaris will offer 433 units of office suites (19 units per floor) and 170 units of duplex serviced apartments (17 units per floor). The office suites will have built-ups ranging from 477 to 964 sq ft, while the duplex serviced apartments will have sizes from 790 to 2,051 sq ft. These units, which will come semi-furnished, will have one to three parking bays.

Units at Arte Solaris are priced from RM477,000, or an average of RM1,000 psf. Unit owners can expect an estimated sinking fund, excluding the sinking fund, of 40 sen psf. The project is slated for completion in 4Q2026.

Arte Solaris will have one lower ground and three basement car parking levels, seven podium car parking levels and two facility floors. “The office suites will start from the ninth level, which we call Level 1, up to Level 23. Level 23A to 33 are the serviced apartments. The facility floors are the eighth level, which we call Level R, and Level 33A, which is the topmost floor of the 52-storey building and which will house the sky facilities,” Liew explains.

Arte Solaris

Just like Arte Mont Kiara’s hard-to-miss futuristic building exterior, Arte Solaris is designed to stand out from the crowd. “This being a small building of only one tower and in such a prime location with a price point of about RM1,000 psf, we want to make Arte Solaris even more luxurious. So we have incorporated a palatial or palace-theme design,” says Liew.

“While Arte Mont Kiara has a more modern design, we will go full on with the palace design for Arte Solaris. So everything you see at Arte Solaris will be a lot more majestic, and the designs will be stronger.”

At Arte Solaris, the developer aims to create a theatrical display of architecture and design with an intense dramatisation of spaces achieved with exterior projections consisting of things like wings, columns, ornaments, corbels, sculptures and paintings.

Some of the noteworthy facilities at Arte Solaris will include, on Level 33A, the Royale Palais Room, which will boast Baroque-inspired interiors with lofty ceilings decorated with chandeliers and fitted with alcoves to sit in; the Winged Sky Deck, an open-air viewing deck that provides panoramic views of Mont’Kiara and beyond; and the Venetian Fountain Bridge, an ode to Venice for its architectural masterpieces, which will be decorated by canals, ornamental fountains and diamanté chandeliers.

A show unit of a 1,109 sq ft duplex serviced apartment (Photo by Shahrill Basri/The Edge)

The other facilities that are on Level R will include the Royale Reception, which is inspired by the grand New York Cafe in Budapest; the Royale “Trevi” Pool, which is conceptualised after Rome’s Trevi Fountain; the Arte’s Luxe Gym, which will boast embossed moulded panels and gilded chandeliers framing the grand ceiling artwork and floor-to-ceiling windows; and the Royale Treillage Garden, which will boast French trellises inspired by the Gardens of Versailles.

The façade and interior designs of Arte Corp developments are selling points, Liew says, which makes the projects self-marketable. “When people get their keys, they will start taking photos and sharing them [on social media] as it stands out from most of the projects in the Klang Valley. For example, the Level 66 restaurant at Arte Mont Kiara, which has a similar concept, went viral after people took photos and shared them.”

Liew believes that design plays a strong role in appealing to the younger demographic. “The [target]market now is between the ages of 20 and 40, and we think such designs appeal to them. Hence, we put a lot of focus on the façade because we believe that this is what will keep the brand going.

“Even for our brochures and photos, we always put in a wow factor. We want to create something new and I’d say we are one of the first to have such a building façade design in the country. We do this simply because no one has really done it.”

She also notes that Arte Solaris will be the second tallest tower in Mont’Kiara at 52-storeys high. “The first tallest is Arte Mont Kiara, whose Tower 2 is 66 storeys tall.”

Location is the next main feature for Arte Solaris. “The surrounding area is quite developed, especially the Solaris retail, so location is a very strong selling point. There are three proposed MRT stations in the surrounding area, just minutes away from the site. One of them is at KL Metropolis (Dutamas station),” says Liew.

(Anti-clockwise from top left) Artist’s impressions of the Winged Sky Deck, Arte’s Luxe Gym, Royale Treillage Garden and Royale Palais Room

Located directly adjacent to the Solaris Mont’Kiara commercial area, it will give residents convenient access on foot to amenities such as grocers, Korean marts, restaurants, cafés and other F&B outlets, banks, medical clinics, pharmacies and beauty and wellness centres. The project is also near Publika, 163 Retail Park, KL Metropolis and schools like the Mont’Kiara International School, Gardens International School and the French School of Kuala Lumpur.

Its strategic location ensures convenient access to major highways including the Duta-Ulu Klang Expressway (DUKE), Sprint Expressway, New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) and the Damansara-Puchong Expressway (LDP).

The other main selling point is the entry price: “[Selling prices in] the whole Mont’Kiara area are generally above RM1 million. But we are starting at RM477,000 and this price point can open the project up to a wider market range as it is more affordable. Especially after Covid-19, we observe more buyers looking at properties below RM500,000.

“We are targeting the younger demographic of buyers who want to move to Mont’Kiara, as well as those looking for investment products priced under RM500,000. We are seeing interest from [the Klang Valley] and outstation, from investors and younger generation buyers,” she adds.

In terms of unit sizes, Liew is confident that they will be sought after. “There is definitely demand for such unit sizes. Using Arte Mont Kiara as a comparison, the smaller units there, which are about 500 to 600 sq ft, were the ones that sold out the fastest. Arte Mont Kiara has an occupancy rate of 80%, catering to both owner-occupiers and tenants, including short-term rentals.”

She notes that rents at Arte Mont Kiara are around RM250 to RM400 per night for a typical one-bedder and that 40% of the units are rented out.

“The smaller units sell the fastest because there are many younger buyers who want to live in Mont’Kiara but cannot afford RM1 million to RM2 million properties. Also, there aren’t really small units available in Mont’Kiara. Hence, we are confident of using the same model at Arte Solaris,” she says.

Arte Corp

The same shareholders behind Arte Corp are planning to launch more developments in the Klang Valley this year. “They are targeting to launch another RM1 billion worth of developments by 4Q2023, including one in Sungai Besi near the Salak South KTM station and a minute away from Bandar Malaysia; and another one in Subang West, right opposite Arte Subang West, which is completed.”

According to Liew, the shareholders also have plans to acquire more land in the Klang Valley for more Arte developments. “The focus is the Klang Valley because there is demand here.”

An ongoing Arte project is Arte Cheras, a RM700 million development comprising 1,319 units of office suites with built-ups ranging from 868 to 1,013 sq ft and priced at approximately RM650 psf. “This was launched four years ago and the development has a fashion theme. We are currently waiting for CCC (Certificate Of Completion And Compliance) and the project is about 99% sold.”

Meanwhile, the brains behind Arte Corp will continue to “create fantastical designs that push beyond the boundaries of imagination”, as stated on its website.

Says Liew: “Arte Corp’s developments will always stand out from the normal, conventional designs in terms of façades and interiors. This has been our main selling point so far.

We engage skilled craftsmen from all over the world as third-party contractors while our project façades, interior designs, perspectives and show galleries are done by our in-house ID department. These are crafts that no one can copy,” she says.

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