Focus Malaysia - 27 June 2015 - Tropicana Aman hits the right note

27 June 2015

WITH a golden opportunity to develop some 345ha (853 acres) into a Klang Valley township, Tropicana Corp Bhd knew it needed to nail the sweetspot in the concept for the multibillion-ringgit project. With potential buyers more demanding and sophisticated, the developer thought long and hard about meeting their needs and requirements with the Tropicana Aman township near Kota Kemuning, Selangor. "Buyers have been growing and changing into smarter consumers. They are buying not only a house but also the lifestyle they want to be living" Tropicana group managing director Datuk Edmund Kong tells FocusM. Having garnered feedback from potential buyers.

Tropicana identified that key desires were open, green spaces, good security and amenities. Pushing the boundaries The developer then went the extra mile, with Kong saying the unique feauire of this township is its 34ha central park. "The most important element is the open space. The green space enhances the development. In the past and even as we speak, most residents kept to themselves and avoided outdoor activities because of insufficient green space and amenities as well as security issues," Kong explains. "Most developers use maximisation in township development but we prefer optimisation. We create green space in the heart of the development. While people may ask why we sacrifice valuable land for the development of green elements, we feel this is necessary as it will create value for the neighbourhood" he adds. Kong says the land for the central park could have been used for the development of at least 800 terrace houses, translating to about RM560 mil in gross development value (GDV), However, the group felt it necessary to do something different from other mature townships such as Subang Jaya and Bandar Utama, he adds.

He notes that some developers locate green space in a corner of the Kong is confident Tropicana Aman's central park will enhance the value of the township township just to comply with minimum requirements of township development regulations. However, if the park is too far away or inconvenient for residents to use, it will usually end up in a dilapidated state. Tropicana Aman's central park will be an active one and will enhance the liveability of the township. As it is in the middle of the development, it will connect the township's residents. Tropicana aims to encourage people to bond by having the green park equipped with 100 ft-wide walkways, "We encourage people to walk. The walkway is provided for each parcel to connect residents from their areas to the central park and this promotes healthy living. In this way, we can discourage people from driving and reduce the carbon footprint in the township" Kong says. "When we conceptualised the master plan, the green space was injected from the beginning with two tiers of open space; one is within the parcel and the other is the central park, open to the public. The first tier is available only to the community within the parcel" He also says each parcel is set at around 20ha to minimise maintenance costs, 'If you share a guardhouse for a parcel of residences of around 30 acres, the cost is higher' says Kong. Tropicana's concept for the township appears to have been well received, with an overwhelming response to the recent first-phase launch consisting of 432 terrace houses. Tropicana originally purchased 474ha from the state government for the Tropicana Aman project (the area was previously known as Canal City), News reports indicate the developer subsequently sold 128ha to Eco World for RM470.67 mil cash. Tropicana has 345,2ha left and is not looking to sell any moreCompetitive environment rropicana Aman is part of a triumvirate of property developments by major developers in the area.

Neighbours are EcoWorld Development Group Bhd's Eco Sanctuary and IJM Land Bhd's Bandar Rimbayu. Tropicana believes this will create a healthy competitive environment which will benefit buyers. "Though we have other players in the vicinity, They are creating a healthy competitive environment and eventually buyers will be the biggest beneficiaries ' says Kong, who believes property prices in the vicinity will rise. While older townships such as Subang Jaya and Kota Kemuning have successfully evolved into mature neighbourhoods with dense populations, there are invariably issues concerning security and connectivity that can be improved.

Kong says the group is conscious of these issues and management has been undertaking the necessary improvisations and changes, focusing not only on housing design but also on the whole concept of a township, While open space is seen as the key factor to be considered by most new buyers, security and amenities are hugely important. Given security concerns, Kong says, the developer plans to isolate parcels from each other "We don't do it by chance, we know what it takes to fulfil security requirements. There are 20 parcels and all are standalone developments. We have set up names for each development, instead of, say, sections 1 and 2" Kong says. There will also be excellent connectivity as well as links to highways including the Kota Kemuning Link, Kesas Highway, South Klang Valley Expressway and the West Coast Expressway.

Tropicana's head of marketing and sales Ung Lay Ting says the first phase, Arahsia, consisting of 432 terrace houses, has exceeded a 90% take-up rate since its recent launch. She says this reflects the confidence of the market in Tropicana Aman. "Most buyers are local residents looking for upgrades from their existing properties in the area. We are selling at RM750,000 to RM900,000 for each terrace house' Ung adds. A clubhouse will be built in the township with access for all residents. The clubhouse, which will have swimming pools, a gym and a host of other facilities, is expected to be completed in three years - around the same time as the first phase's completion. Tropicana aims to launch its Phase 2 widi an expected GDV of RM320 mil {terrace houses) by the third quarter. As for the whole township, Kong says, the group needs around 15 years to fully develop it in 20 phases. The group will also build a multi-purpose hall, sports centre, medical centre as well as retail and commercial elements including offices in the tovmship. Kong says it has identified the commercial zone but is yet to determine the type of commercial property to be developed. Despite concerns about a softening property market, Kong believes Tropicana Aman is safe considering its target - a focus on those seeking upgrades instead of on speculators. Tropicana has also signed an agreement with Tenby Schools to develop a 4.1ha international-school campus in the township. With its track record, the group believes the collaboration can create value for Tropicana Aman.