Saturday 13 Apr 2024
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This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly on October 2, 2023 - October 8, 2023

Aspen Group plans to launch Block B of Versa — the first affordable housing project in Penang initiated by the private sector — next month. Block A was launched in July and has seen a take-up rate of 70%. 

According to its president and group CEO Datuk M Murly, the tagline of the development is “Everyone should be given the opportunity to own a home”, as the developer aspires to offer homes without the hefty price tags.

Occupying 5.37 acres, the RM380 million develop­ment is part of the 247-acre Aspen Vision City in Batu Kawan, Penang. It will have 980 serviced apartments in two 37-storey towers. These 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom units will have built-ups of 703 to 868 sq ft and be priced from RM360,000.

The facilities will include a pneumatic waste management system, outdoor gymnasium, games room, multipurpose hall, barbecue area, skating rink, bicycle lane, bicycle parking bays and an electric-vehicle charging station.

“We seek to offer homes for first-time buyers, investors, parents securing accommodation for their college-going children, and employees working at the Batu Kawan Industrial Park (BKIP). It will have a practical layout for young families and come with full-fledged facilities on the ground floor, level five and level 35, including a swimming pool, multipurpose sports court capable of accommodating futsal, basketball and tennis matches, and various community facilities,” says Murly.

Murly: We seek to offer homes for first-time buyers, investors, parents securing accommodation for their college-going children, and employees working at BKIP (Photo by Aspen Group)

The freehold, Green Building Index-rated development, which overlooks the 25-acre Central Park, is within walking distance of the Klippa Shopping Centre and IKEA Batu Kawan. It is also less than 500m from BKIP.

Accessible via various highways such as the Second Penang Bridge (Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Bridge), North-South Expressway, Bandar Cassia Interchange and the upcoming Tambun Interchange, Versa is located close to educational institutions (Peninsula College’s The Ship Campus, UOW Malaysia KDU Penang University College and Vitrox College), shopping centres (Design Village Outlet Mall and Vervea Commercial Precinct) and clinics (Pluxhealth Clinic, Mediklinik 360 and Klinik Pergigian Ahlan).

An upcoming project in the area is Columbia Asia Hospital, Batu Kawan.

Murly expects the additional homes at Versa to help promote sustainable economic growth in Batu Kawan as well as provide more affordable housing options with comprehensive amenities tailored for residents working at BKIP.

“With industrial developments at Batu Kawan continuing to generate massive interest and investments from multinational companies, the state government has launched further extensions of BKIP, namely BKIP2, BKIP3 and the Bandar Cassia Technology Park (BCTP),” he says.

Aerial view of the 247-acre Aspen Vision City in Batu Kawan (Photo by Aspen Group)

“Situated in the vicinity of BKIP and the upcoming BCTP, Versa is strategically located to meet the pent-up demand for affordably priced houses among first-time homebuyers, property hunters and employees at Batu Kawan. We believe that by reducing the time to commute to work and with the inclusive amenities on offer, Versa residents will have the chance to enjoy an enhanced quality of life.”

With Versa, Murly hopes to achieve exceptional customer satisfaction by building a pleasant, comprehensive and quality environment, enabling homeowners to enjoy an urban lifestyle, greater social interactions within the community and a sense of pride.

“For investors, we are confident that Versa’s appeal stands out as a more rewarding choice for real estate investment in the northern region. With Versa, we are also seeing the potential to boost the growth of the local population and, in tandem with the continuing industrial developments, to be a catalyst to spur Batu Kawan’s economic activity,” he says.

Aspen ventured into Batu Kawan with Aspen Vision City in 2015 and has since made it a landmark by bringing in IKEA Batu Kawan. Murly reckons that most property developments there, whether residential, commercial or industrial, have been doing well.

“The performance of some of them is even outstripping that of other areas in Seberang Perai and Penang Island. BKIP, for instance, is proving to be the new industrial success story, welcoming several multinationals and Fortune 500 companies. Industrial growth at Batu Kawan is set to accelerate even further in the years to come, with BKIP2, BKIP3 and BCTP in the pipeline,” he says.

“With that in mind, we are optimistic about Batu Kawan’s outlook. We could now see a more vibrant township taking shape, with an uptick in commercial activities, property sales and subsales, and leases for residential and commercial developments. Various entities are rushing to provide better facilities and services in the area. The emergence of Batu Kawan as a thriving satellite city has the potential to set a new benchmark for the real estate sector.”

One of the floors with full-fledged facilities (Photo by Aspen Group)

Future launches

Other than Versa, Aspen’s upcoming launches include Viluxe Supreme Terrace (Phases 2 and 3) in Aspen Vision City, which will offer 2½-storey terraced homes in a gated-and-guarded community. The freehold development is expected to be launched by year’s end. There are also plans to launch 40 two-storey shophouses by year’s end and a serviced apartment in 1Q2024 in the township.

On Penang Island, the developer is looking to launch HH Park Residence in the first quarter.

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