By Editor / 28 May 2024
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Times Square 2 will be located right next to the iconic Berjaya Times Square in Kuala Lumpur (Photo by Berjaya Land)


This article was originally published by Rachel Chew on City & Country, The Edge Malaysia


While the “location, location, location” mantra still holds true, savvy developers know that there are other crucial factors to consider as well. Timing is one of them, as launching a new development at the right time can make all the difference between it selling well and struggling to gain traction.


“It is why we decided to push back the launch of Times Square 2 (TS2) two years ago to May 18,” says Berjaya Times Square Sdn Bhd executive director Syed Ali Shahul Hameed. “We think now is a better time to launch this much-anticipated project because the property market has recovered and Berjaya Times Square shopping mall is much more vibrant now, which will help sales at TS2.”


In an exclusive interview with City & Country, Syed Ali — who is also the CEO of Berjaya Land Bhd (KL : BJLAND), whose subsidiary Berjaya Construction Bhd is the main contractor for TS2 — says the project carries a gross development value (GDV) of RM625 million and will be built on prime freehold land next to Berjaya Times Square in Kuala Lumpur.


He explains that Berjaya Times Square Sdn Bhd — a subsidiary of Berjaya Asset Bhd (KL : BJASSET) — is the land owner. Berjaya Land manages the sales and marketing of TS2 on behalf of Berjaya Times Square Sdn Bhd.


Featuring 629 units of serviced apartments in a 41-storey single tower, TS2 is designed to complement Berjaya Times Square, which also houses a shopping mall, serviced apartment, indoor theme park, hotel and offices. In addition, it will have 15 retail lots, inclusive of a drive-through restaurant and a rooftop speciality restaurant.


Berjaya Pokok.Asia


There will be four layout designs with built-ups at 488 sq ft (one bedroom and one bathroom), 678 sq ft (two bedrooms and two bathrooms), 888 sq ft (two bedrooms and 2+1 bathrooms) and 1,038 sq ft (three bedrooms and three bathrooms). The selling price starts at RM1,500 psf.


Some of the facilities provided at Levels 7 and 41 are a 40m infinity pool, sauna room, viewing point, herb garden, barbeque area, pets’ play area, multipurpose hall, playground, garden walk and outdoor gym. The estimated maintenance fee is 73 sen psf, inclusive of the sinking fund.


“As a responsible developer, our role extends far beyond building houses. It is about fostering connections and shaping the way that city dwellers live. For TS2, we want to provide urban living that emphasises convenience and connectivity. Hence, we have two overhead bridges that connect it to BBCC (Bukit Bintang City Centre) and Berjaya Times Square, and both of our developments are linked to the Imbi Monorail Station and Hang Tuah LRT Station,” Syed Ali says.


One of the link bridges will connect BBCC to the first floor of TS2, bringing footfall to the retail lots there.


“We will be retaining these retail lots and leasing them out to select tenants,” says Berjaya Times Square Sdn Bhd executive director Tan Tee Ming. “We are looking to bring in F&B and service tenants to serve the residents and shoppers.”


Berjaya Pokok.Asia

Residents will enjoy views of the KL skyline (Photo by Berjaya Land)


Berjaya Time Square shopping mall, which is 90%-occupied by various businesses offering grocery, fashion, F&B and daily services, will be linked to TS2 via the other link bridge.


Tan, who is also the executive director of Berjaya Land, explains that a retail component is necessary in a lifestyle-oriented development like TS2. “In today’s city living, convenience at your doorstep is key. And people want more options. It is also why we are retaining the retail lots, so that we will be able to control the tenant mix and bring in someone who is not competing but complementing the tenants in our mall next door.”


Complementing each other

When Tan was promoted to executive director of Berjaya Land about two years ago, revamping the mall was on his list of tasks. “Just like any other mall during the pandemic, our mall was also struggling — the grocer and cinema left us, the tenant turnover rate was quite high and, as an old mall, there were a number of upgrading works that needed to be done urgently.”


While there were challenges, Tan and his team took one thing at a time and today, the mall’s occupancy rate has increased to 90% from 70% two years ago and it has secured a new grocer — NSK — and other major tenants such as Jungle Gym and mmCineplex.


“Looking around at this area, we have set a new position for the mall — not to compete with high-end malls such as Lalaport BBCC, Pavilion KL and TRX. We should complement them and find out what is lacking in this Golden Triangle area — a mall that focuses on daily conveniences, activities for families on weekends, and lunch and dinner spots for office workers on weekdays. Hence, we increased our F&B tenants to 12% from 8%, and we are in talks to bring in more speciality F&B,” Tan says, adding that the mall’s monthly footfall is 1.5 million per month.


Berjaya Pokok.Asia

An artist’s impression of the infinity pool on the rooftop (Photo by Berjaya Land)


With the improvement in occupancy rate and tenant mix, as well as the upgrading works — such as toilet refurbishment and adding new drop-off/pick-up e-hailing points to improve traffic flow — that are being carried out in phases, Tan is confident about hitting the 95% occupancy rate target by the end of this year.


“With the mall becoming more vibrant now, Berjaya Times Square Hotel’s occupancy rate has also seen an improvement. It gives us confidence that now is the right time to launch TS2 because the vibe of the mall will do the talking when buyers come to visit our sales gallery and the show units located inside the mall,” Syed Ali says with a smile.


Targeting local investors who are looking for capital gains, Berjaya Land has designed TS2 to answer market demand, especially in the flexible space. Hence, there is a hackable wall for the smaller 488 and 678 sq ft units.


“We do have customers [in other projects] buying two side-by-side units to make them like hotel connecting rooms,” he explains. “It is why we have a hackable wall for the one-bedroom and two-bedroom layouts in TS2. If you don’t want the hassle, our 888 sq ft unit is a dual-key design, where you can rent out the studio suite to help cover the mortgage.”


Launching projects worth RM1.6 bil in GDV this year

As the property development arm of Berjaya group, Berjaya Land has not held any new launches in the past three years. “It is time for us to pay back,” Syed Ali says. “This will be a busy year for us. We are launching more than RM1.6 billion GDV worth of projects this year.”


The company is launching an affordable housing project in Subang Heights, Selangor, next month. The RM100 million project is under the Berjaya Flagship Affordable Homes (BFAH) programme, which is a Rumah Selangorku initiative carried out in collaboration with Yayasan My First Home Foundation.


The development will have a total of 402 units with a standard built-up of 900 sq ft, offering five bedrooms and four bathrooms, and selling at a flat price of RM250,000.


“It is not a project to make money. In fact, it will cost us a substantial loss of about RM10 million,” Syed Ali notes. “However, we are willing to absorb the loss as the aim of BFAH is to give back to the community, particularly those who are in need. It is also our founder’s (Tan Sri Vincent Tan) dream to ensure that all Malaysians have access to safe, decent and affordable housing.”


That is why the units have been designed as such, taking inspiration from the practical and creative layout of Hong Kong residential properties. “While household sizes are getting smaller in general in Malaysia, we cannot neglect the fact that there are families with three to four children or multigenerational families that cannot afford a bigger house. By having five bedrooms, every member of the family will have their own room, and some will even have their own bathroom.”


Syed Ali highlights that the five-bedroom layout is the first in an affordable housing scheme project in Malaysia and is fully supported by the authorities.


Berjaya Pokok.Asia


In July, Berjaya Land plans to unveil Jesselton Courtyard in Jesselton Selatan, Penang Island. The luxury landed development will feature 32 zero-lot bungalows (6,649 to 9,054 sq ft) and 207 courtyard villas (2,734 to 5,167 sq ft), with prices at about RM1,000 psf. The GDV of the entire project is RM862.7 million.


In the second half of the year, the developer will roll out the first phase of its 12.24-acre development, Oaka Residences Bukit Jalil, in Kuala Lumpur. The project, which has a GDV of RM355 million, will offer 350 freehold condominium units with built-ups ranging from 882 to 1,509 sq ft and selling prices from RM871 psf.


Another project that is set to be launched by 4Q2024 is Bayu Timur @ Berjaya Park in Shah Alam, Selangor, which will have 518 condominium units with built-ups ranging from 1,000 to 1,280 sq ft and an estimated selling price of RM536 psf. The project will have an estimated GDV of RM308 million.


“Though we did not have any launches in the last three years, the team was very busy planning all these launches, which are now coming to fruition.


“However, we do not intend to flood the market with launches. We are making sure we offer the right product in the right location at the right time. So we are spreading out the launches throughout the year. But yes, you will see us being more active this year because we think that the market has recovered and people are ready to buy,” says Syed Ali.


With these upcoming launches and confidence in the market, the Berjaya group has set an ambitious sales target of RM800 million for 2024.


Click the link below for more awe-inspiring content!


Savills Klang Valley Residential Property Monitor for 1Q2023


Savills Klang Valley Residential Property Monitor for 1Q2023

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