Malaysian firm eyes more HDB design-and-build developments
THE recently launched condominium-like public housing project in Boon Keng was a first in many respects, wowing home seekers with city views from extended balconies at new benchmark prices.
What is less well-known, however, is the fact that it also marks the first time a foreign company is developing public housing in Singapore.
Sunway Concrete Products, a unit of Malaysian-listed Sunway Holdings, owns a 30 per cent stake in City View @ Boon Keng, the second development to be launched under HDB’s Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS).
The rest is owned by home-grown developer Hoi Hup Realty – which is owned by Straits Construction – and a Straits Construction-linked investment firm, Oriental Worldwide Investments.
Sunway Holdings is one of three listed companies under Malaysia’s giant Sunway Group, whose activities range from construction to property development to quarrying and entertainment.
Often, it is confused with Sunway City – its more illustrious, and also Malaysian- listed, sister company – which boasts among its projects the popular Sunway Lagoon Resort and landed homes in the exclusive Kuala Lumpur enclave Kiara Hills.
Sunway Holdings has completed the development of a 49ha township in Shah Alam in Selangor state, and is now working on 113ha in Rawang, also in Selangor.
The group managing director of Sunway Group, Datuk Tan Kia Loke, told The Straits Times recently that the group aims to make inroads into the Singapore property market through Sunway Concrete Products, which has supplied pre-cast concrete and other building materials to Singapore’s market for a decade.
Being new in Singapore, it decided to play safe and team up with Hoi Hup for the DBSS project, which gives private developers a free rein over the design, building and pricing of the homes they build – but within public housing guidelines.
Datuk Tan said: ‘Being a new player in properties in Singapore, we do believe in planning our growth in a calculated way…Obviously, the best thing to do is to learn from our big brother.’
The caution has paid off – at 3pm yesterday, the project received almost 2,500 applications for its 714 units.
Although Sunway Holdings’ expertise lies in landed houses, developing such homes may not be on its immediate horizon because land is relatively more expensive to acquire in Singapore.
Still, said Datuk Tan, the firm would not hesitate to look for joint venture partners if it chances on ‘very very prime land’ where it can showcase its strength.
Sunway, he said, was eyeing several government land sale sites for further development.
It wants more of the DBSS action. A total of 2,500 other such homes are being planned for Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Toa Payoh, Simei and Bedok in the coming months. The tender for a 1.5ha Bishan plot will close on Feb 19.
Asked why Sunway was keen on the Singapore market, Datuk Tan said: ‘Singapore being a small island, the value of property assets over time can only go up.’
He acknowledged, however, that Sunway still had some way to go in establishing its reputation in the Republic.
‘Most Singaporeans, when you talk about Sunway, relate it to Sunway Lagoon. And I think we are conscious of that, and are making a continuous effort to really promote ourselves,’ he said.
SUNWAY Group’s managing director, Datuk Tan Kia Loke, says the group aims to make inroads into Singapore through Sunway Concrete Products, which has been supplying pre-cast concrete and other building materials to Singapore’s market for a decade.
Sunway Holdings, he says, is eyeing several government land sale sites for further development.
Having clinched the Boon Keng Design, Build and Sell Scheme project, the company now wants more of such contracts.
A total of 2,500 other such homes are being planned for Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Toa Payoh, Simei and Bedok in the coming months.
Source: The Straits Times 10 Jan 08