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Oasis in the Heart of Sri Hartamas

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Andrew Chiu, Director of Malaysia Land (Mayland) Properties Sdn Bhd.

Cafés and restaurants line the alley courtyard, adorned with greenery.

The Hartamas Shopping Centre bustles with activities not just on the weekends.

An artist impression of the Damas 3 project once completed.

One of the units in Damas 3 Serviced Apartments.

The Poolside in Damas 3 Serviced Apartments – just for residents.

Sri Hartamas has existed since the late 80s but not many know of it until a local developer brought colors to the otherwise dull neighborhood. Home Finder talks to Malaysia Land (Mayland) Properties Sdn Bhd, the developer with a nose for thrilling ideas in property development.

In the early 90s, Sri Hartamas is hardly known by the locals, let alone the expatriates who reside in Kuala Lumpur for work. But a lot has changed since. Today, Sri Hartamas is a vibrant and classy neighborhood, popping with excitement. Much of the life and vibrancy brought to the area could be attributed to the development brought by developer Malaysia Land (Mayland) Properties Sdn Bhd.

Mayland developed several properties in the area, namely Menara Hartamas Condominium, Puncak Prima Condominium and 18 Superlink houses. It then added Plaza Damas 1, which is made up of the 12 blocks Plaza Damas Shopoffice, residential towers Mayfair and Dorchester Serviced Apartments and Hartamas Shopping Centre to the ‘collection’. The second project, Plaza Damas 2 comprises the Waldorf and Windsor Tower Serviced Apartments. The third, which is currently under construction and nearing completion, is Plaza Damas 3, 192 units of shop offices and made up of Serviced Apartments Carlton, Chelsea and Cliveden.

Plaza Damas
Plaza Damas, along Jalan Sri Hartamas 1 sits right in the heart of Sri Hartamas, all 10 acres of it. Andrew Chiu, Director of Mayland tells of a time when Hartamas was a lot barer, when he and his dad would hit golf balls from their Menara Hartamas balcony onto the very site where Plaza Damas sits on today. A good 15 years ago, the plot was empty. Today that same 10-acre land became the foundations of this unique integrated development called Plaza Damas.

“We want to keep on improving and we are in discussion to expand Plaza Damas,” says Andrew, even hinting a possible surprise in the form of a cinema.

“I would love to bring a cinema in. It would be good for our clients and attract more visitors.”

This is one of the many ideas in their plan as the Mayland team seeks to provide constant change and upgrades to Plaza Damas.

“We strive to constantly provide our visitors and residents quality in our ‘software’ as well as ‘hardware’,” says Andrew, referring to the retail tenants and Plaza Damas itself.

A key to successfully attracting more visitors to any development is having the right tenant mix and managing it wisely. He says they would hand-pick their tenants and make sure the necessary elements are in place to run their business well. They would ensure details like landscaping are in order, lighting is sufficient and facilities are in top condition.

Plaza Damas was first developed to give buyers a prime address for a low-entry cost. Initially the serviced apartment units were priced at around RM90,000 for a 500 sq ft lot. Today these units can fetch up to RM320,000. According to John Tam, Complex Manager from Mayland, the shop offices have appreciated to around 7% per annum and yield 7% per annum as well.

“Our buyers who bought early do not want to let go of their lots. This shows their confidence in our properties,” says John.  

With the upcoming Plaza Damas 3 promising a new chapter for Plaza Damas, Andrew is optimistic.

“I want Plaza Damas to be something like a mini Silicone Valley one day,” Andrew says.

It’s all about serving the community of Plaza Damas and providing everything they need in one place. The tenants and visitors would agree that Plaza Damas is a development that would be hard to replicate, especially when it is helmed firmly at the top.

Rakuzen Feels at Home
One of the more successful tenants in Plaza Damas is the Japanese restaurant called Rakuzen, which started operating in the premise in 2005. Its Head of F&B, Jon Cheang says, “There’s a good flow of customers including Japanese, expatriates and affluent local segments.”

According to Andrew, 75% of the tenants here are F&B based. He adds that the management of Plaza Damas has done well in sustaining the flow of visitors and ensuring they keep coming back. He says restaurants like Rakuzen would feel right at home as F&B is a big segment in Plaza Damas.

Jon feels the outdoor shop lots have a unique concept to it. Traditionally, back alleys become a dirty and unsightly place but at Plaza Damas the back alley is not just an alley, but a courtyard. It is lined with greenery, where little cafés and restaurants run their daily business. There is a pleasant feel and ambience to the courtyard, one of the reasons why this is a popular hangout.

Clever additions like covered walkways ensure the sun does not spoil the mood but enhances it with natural lighting. According to John the atmosphere created here plays a major role in attracting business.

Plaza Damas 1
Area size, 10 acres
Built-up, 1,803sf (1.8 million sq ft)
Freehold
Start of development, 1997

Components
Hartamas Shopping Centre
Shop-offices
Mayfair and Dorchester Serviced Apartments
Waldorf and Windsor Serviced Apartments – Plaza Damas 2

Accessibility
Penchala Link
Jalan Duta
New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE)

Taylor’s College Brings Youth In
In 2008, Taylor’s College opened in Plaza Damas, occupying an 80,000 sq ft block that houses approximately 1,000 students. This injected youth into Plaza Damas. The introduction of Taylor’s College reflects the confidence of others in Plaza Damas’ maturity and catchment prowess. Ananda Kumaresh, Principal of Taylor’s College believes this is why the prominent higher learning institution opened here.

“Plaza Damas is strategically located and surrounded by middle and upper-class neighborhoods that appreciate the importance of good quality education for their children.”

“Moreover, Plaza Damas was already attracting these clienteles, so we were confident in setting up our campus here. Even the students themselves approve of the setting,” says Ananda.

Andrew agrees with Ananda that the college supplies a good variation to their visitor mix. This is a much welcomed added bonus to Andrew as he says their initial target was the families and single professionals.

A Niche Market in a Classy Neighborhood

Plaza Damas 3 can be described as the baby of Malaysia Land (Mayland) Properties Sdn Bhd’s Plaza Damas project. Currently undergoing the first round of completion of its Block A, B and C, named Carlton, Chelsea and Cliveden respectively the three blocks comprise shoplots, retail outlets and five floors of Serviced Apartments. Block D, which is an integrated building of Serviced Apartments and Hotel (Condo Hotel) is currently under construction. There are 27 floors with 687 apartment units and 320 hotel rooms. Completion is expected in 2013.

ARK Hospitality operates all of Mayland’s Serviced Apartments with Regalia along Jalan Sultan Ismail next in line. Regalia has 1,130 units with ARK managing approximately 200 Apartments at Regalia’s Madison Block. The hotels will be managed by Kosmopolito Hotels, also owned by Mayland.

Plaza Damas 3’s Serviced Apartments will be managed by ARK Hospitality as Damas Suites and Residences will render their services only to purchasers and owners who have leased their individual units back to the company under the GRR scheme (Guaranteed Rental Returns). These apartments will be on a two-year lease back 6% guarantee on the purchased price. To date, more than 80% of purchasers and owners have leased their apartments to ARK Hospitality.

The plan, says Monica Gayondato, Director of ARK Hospitality, is to open Block A, B and C all at the same time. Most of these units have been sold with only a handful still available. The bulk of the units in Plaza Damas 3 are studios of varying sizes, from 46-89sqm currently priced from RM573,000 fully furnished. All the units except for those on the 7th floor, have balconies. Units on the 7th floor, which is the top floor, have their sliding doors extended all the way out, with the balcony within the unit itself.

“Only units leased back are furnished. The purchase price is inclusive of the main furniture – dining table, sofa, bedroom sets, cupboard space, television, washing machine, light fittings and air-conditioner.”

ARK Hospitality will be managing approximately 455 units at Block A, B & C.

“We will operate full serviced suites and apartments, accepting bookings on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly stay.”

“24 hours service is provided with daily and weekly cleaning, concierge and security service will be provided round the clock. Breakfast at the club cafe is available for those who request the service. All Suites & Apartments are provided with cooking facilities and utensils for those who opt to do their own cooking. “

“The enquiries for lease received from interested parties and corporate companies were encouraging,” says Monica.

“Interested tenants have called in to view of the suites even before works were completed.”

To date the handover for the shoplots and retail units have been completed. Handover for the serviced apartment units are scheduled before end July 2011.

Plaza Damas 3, which is located just across the Hartamas Shopping Center (HSC) is linked via a bridge and all services and retail outlets in HSC are accessible to the residents at Plaza Damas 3.Residents at Plaza Damas 3 enjoy extra perks in the form of the Club House and exclusive security. The Club House has facilities accessible only to all the residents who will use separate access to the apartments.

The Club House boasts a swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, games room and a gym. There is also a green area towards the back of the building, facing the Club House for a bit of greenery and a cascading waterfall to add a refreshing and relaxing mode to the surrounding ambience.

A majority of the owners to the serviced apartments are mid- to high-income individuals comprising locals as well as international buyers. The property’s location and the presence of the international schools play an important factor in the buyers’ decisions. Besides these, the proximity of other facilities like the Taylor’s College and the trendy areas of Mont’ Kiara, Kenny Hills, Bangsar and Damansara Heights are contributing factors to their decision to choose Plaza Damas 3 over KL as their next favorite “home” and “address”.

“Besides the fact that we go for better quality material, the price of land have also gone up, not only in KL but outside of KL city, hence the competitive pricing in real estate in Plaza Damas 3.

Plaza Damas 3, she says, fit the niche group that Mayland is catering for. Purchasers who buy properties in this area choose to live in the environment and area around Sri Hartamas/Duta and Mont’ Kiara.

“We are targeting the hip, trendy and young executives, the high tech generation Y who go for modern facilities. Here is where they get all the features that they are looking for – The Right Place to a Finer Lifestyle.”

Monica is confident that Mayland’s existing projects will work because there are clients who want to stay in serviced apartments that are not right smack in the middle of the city.

Monica has worked in Malaysia namely with the Holiday Inn Group, Parkroyal and Sutera Harbour before venturing out internationally in Indonesia, Singapore and Australia before joining Malaysia Land (Mayland) Properties Sdn Bhd under ARK Hospitality as Director.

“All we need to do is expose potential guests and residents to alternative accommodation options. There are no setbacks, just challenges.”

Damas Suites and Residences at Plaza Damas 3 will commence operations on 1 August 2011.

Plaza Damas 3
Area size- 6 acres
Built-up 112,439 sq m
Freehold
Start of development, end 2007

Unit Type
Studio Deluxe, 46-48sqm
Studio Premier, 49-58sqm
1-bedroom Deluxe, 55sqm         
1-bedroom Premier, 60-83sqm
2-bedroom premier, 87-89sqm

Components
Carlton, Chelsea, Cliveden -all 5-floor serviced apartments
Shop offices
Retail outlets
27 floors Condo Hotel

Amenities
Housekeeping service
24-hour security & closed-circuit TV surveillance
In-room electronic safe
Sheltered car park

Accessibility
Penchala Link
Jalan Duta
New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE)

Developed by Malaysia Land (Mayland) Properties Sdn Bhd. For enquiries call +6 03 6203 2333 or visit www.damas-suites.com