Bandar Saujana Utama is a well-planned township that stretches across the northwest of Sungai Buloh district, of which Saujana Perdana is a part. The township is self-sustaining, with necessities such as shops, eateries, banks, schools, medical centres, places of worship, and more.
The Astoria Ampang is four blocks of leasehold 46-storey serviced apartments on Jalan Ampang Kiri, off Jalan Ampang, just behind Risda Building and next to its “sister” The Elements@Ampang. There will be 1,012 units with built-ups ranging from studio apartments at 560sq ft to 1505 sq ft four-bedroom Dual Key units.
Project Name: Astoria Ampang
Address: Jalan Ampang Kiri, off Jalan Ampang, 55000, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Behind Risda Building on Jalan Ampang)
Property Type: Serviced Residence
Land Title: Commercial
Land Area: 5.7 acres
No of Towers: 4
No of Storeys: 46
No of Units per Tower: 253
No of Units in Total: 1,012 units
Built Up: 560 to 1505 sq ft
Floor Plan: 7 units per floor, starting from 6th Floor, Units face either pool (North facing) or Arte Plus@Jalan Ampang (South facing)
Unit types: Type A (1 bedroom) – 560 sq ft
Type B: (2 bedrooms) – 735 sq ft
Type C (2+1 bedrooms) – 888 sq ft
Type D (3 bedrooms) – 1050 sq ft
Type E (4 bedrooms) – 1505 sq ft [Dual Key]
Unique Selling Pointss:
- Green Living Concept::Recreational area takes up 2/3 out of total development land area (4 acres out of 6) on podium at Level 6. It is set within a living, moving eco-system of birds, butterflies and fish among treescapes and water features like waterfall, river, stream, and a cascade pond
- High Ceilings –3m high
- Units oriented to face North and South to avoid morning and evening sunglare
- Dual Key Units for Type E
- Partially Furnished:
- Kitchen Cabinets with hob and hood with built-in convection oven, Airconditioning units to all areas, Hot water system to master bathroom, Fully fitted bathrooms
- Swimming Pool
- Wading Pool
- Cascading Pond
- Elevated Walkway
- Jogging Path
- Cycling Path
- Tai Chi Lawn
- Yoga Deck
- Exploded Gym
- Pool Pavilion
- Hammock Garden
- Sunken Tennis Court
- AV Room/Mini Theatre
- Games Lounge
- BBQ Area
- Kids Playroom
- Eco Lounge & Kitchen
- Steam Room
- Games Lounge
- Water Lounge
- Water Kitchen
- Schools and Educational Institutions: 6
- Hospitals & Medical Centres: 3
- Hotels: 8
- Public Transportation: 7 LRT Stations, 3 Monorail Stations + 1 proposed Monorail Station at Ampang Point
- Shopping & Entertainment Centres: 8
- Highway and Road Infrastructure: 8
Parking Bays: 2,400 bays in total/ 1 for each unit (2 for Type D and E units)
Price per sq ft: average RM880
Listing Price: From RM617,000 – RM1,500,000
Bumi Discount: (rebates may change)
7% + 3% for Type E
7% + 2% for Type D
7% for Type C
7% for Type B
7% for Type A
Maintenance Fee: RM0.35 psf
Expected TOP: 2nd Quarter 2020
Event / Show House (Open daily 9am – 6pm): Jalan Ampang Kiri, Off Jalan Ampang, 55000, Kuala Lumpur
It looks like dual-key apartments are catching on in these parts.
At Astoria Ampang, a highend residential highrise by Xtreme Meridian, a subsidiary of Bandar Sri Damansara master developer Land & General Berhad (L&G) and Malaysia Land Properties Sdn Bhd (Mayland), all of their 136 units of four-bedroom Type E units offer this option.
The dual key concept, essentially a unit within a unit with separate entrances, is to allow for city-dwelling multi-generational families to live separately yet together; or for subletting or to have two income producing properties for the price of one.
Over at The Astoria where the dual key units are not really self-contained (meaning attached with kitchenette for complete separate living) but just bedrooms with attached bathrooms which could be separated from the main unit if you made a partition, the concept is more of an idea for owner-occupants or buy-to-let investors looking for rental yield.
Actually, this relatively new property type offers urbanites a chance to demonstrate filial piety but with the Astoria sitting on such high voltage citycentre land sharing a blitztrail with KLCC rooftop bars 4km away, and superclub Zouk in partycentre TREC 4.7km away – it’s just not the place where aged parents might find conducive.
Rent the units out to yuppies and expatriates instead. This place was made for them.
What’s In a Name? Plenty!
There are several things going for The Astoria Ampang at first look, and one of them is its forest-large “Garden of Eden” landscaped on the 6th floor of the development, complete with fluttering butterflies and cascading waterfalls.
But even before we talk about this nature-inspired concept, or its beautiful archirecture and its connection and amenities, the factor that precedes everything from the word ‘go’ is íts name “Astoria”.
Say it and … Gasp!… it at once confers prestige, bringing to mind the image of the uber-illustrious Waldorf-Astoria Hotel whose reputation for extravagance, glamour and status still resonates in the collective memory of those awed by its history.
Just a bit about the legendary hotel: Known for its architectural grandeur and for setting standards for the hospitality industry, The Waldorf Astoria New York was built in 1893 by cousins William Waldorf Astor and John Jacob Astor IV. Since its opening, the hotel has welcomed every US president since Herbert Hoover and celebrated the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Ginger Rogers, Ella Fitzgerald, Marlon Brando, Cole Porter, Marlene Dietrich, Bob Hope and even Winston Churchill. Virtually everyone who has ever been anyone at all has had a part of his or her life imbued in the walls of the Waldorf-Astoria.
Appending a posh instantly-recognisable label to the apartment’s name was thus an astute move on the developer’s part. There’s a lot to be said about perception and the inference of value and quality − be it a watch, a car, or in this case – a piece of property. In marketing terms, it’s called branding.
However, according to the developer’s marketing and communications manager, the word “Astoria” was not franchised from any hotel but coined from the play of expressions to imply luxury and esteem.
When they first tabled a discussion to name the development, “The sound of the word ‘story’ in ‘Astoria’ became relevant as this development, with its nature-rich facilities, sky bridges, hanging hammock, woodlands and wetlands − feels like it is built in a world inspired by a story book,” she explained.
Furthermore, it caters to the Malaysian market, she continued, as the word Astoria is a combo of two words: “Story” and “Ria” − the latter meaning “joy” in Bahasa Malaysia.
“Besides,” she opined, “It’s a beautiful sounding name for a luxury home.
“Astoria thus serves as a combination of two elements that creates the emotions for the development, but it is also a name that is internationally recognised as being a place of high stature.”
She was probably referring to the hotel when she alluded to the international acclaim of the word Astoria. But franchised or not, with such rich overtones to the word, one has to ask: Will the Astoria Ampang live up to its namesake? Or more importantly, what’s the appeal to buyers? Let’s take a look.
Branding The Astoria But Not Adding To The Cost
Take for example The Binjai On The Park and The Four Seasons Place. They made such history when their penthouses sold for record-breaking prices that The Star reported it in the article, New Class of Condos.
Here’s a recap quoted from the said article:
“On June 22, 2010, the wealthy buyer bought the triplex penthouse, measuring 14,300 sq ft, on the 42nd floor of Binjai’s Tower B. The price tag of RM38mil meant that the penthouse was sold for almost RM2,660 per sq ft (psf). Since then, the Binjai On The Park has broken that record with the subsequent sale of its other smaller units.
“Now, new entrant The Four Seasons Place looks poised to set new record prices. Out of its 242 units, it has recorded close to a 70% take-up rate, with an average price of RM2,950 psf. As at press time, two of its penthouses which were initially reserved at a whopping RM37mil or RM3,026 psf have yet to be sold.”
The article goes on to explain about branded properties:
“Now there is a third type of condo in the KLCC area that can equally command that sort of lavish premium. These are franchised condos – condos that carry strong international branding and offer five-star hotel services.
“A trend is emerging where local developers partner international luxury hospitality and lifestyle brands…..
“New franchised condos that have emerged in the KLCC area include the Four Seasons Place and the Banyan Tree Pavilion Signatures Kuala Lumpur. In the case of Banyan Tree, 99% of its 441 units were sold at an average price of RM2,000 psf.”
In the case of the Astoria, choosing not to franchise the brand was again a second smart move as a developer normally has to pay a franchise fee for the naming rights. This licensing adds to cost which is then transferred to the buyer in various ways.
In today’s challenging market, effort is being made to keep prices down. A check around reveals that the average psf price of downtown Ampang luxury condos is around RM1,000psf.
With the Astoria’s pricing set at RM880psf, the apartments are a steal, what with all its astounding one-of-a-kind features.
City living yet Up Close and Personal with Nature
The first impact the project model in the showroom makes is the sheer size of the recreational grounds.
“It’s our top selling feature,” quipped the sales personnel.
One can see why.
Spanning two-thirds of the entire project grounds except for the towers, this veritable “Garden of Eden” − complete with manicured treescapes, lawns of hanging vines, an eco-trail filled with fluttering butterflies, dragon flies, ladybirds and other natural inhabitants, wetlands, marshlands, grasslands, themed parks such as the Zen Garden, the Woodland, Yoga and Tai Chi areas and the Hammock Garden where one can recline on hanging beds − is an absolute miracle of engineering.
Showcasing biodiversity flourishing out of concrete, this garden deck is built entirely on the 6th Floor of the project, right on top of the Astoria’s carparks’ rooftops.
“If you jog or cycle on these jogging or cycling tracks,” pointed out the salesman gesturing to the entire trail around the garden deck, “you will cover 750m.”
Water Under The Bridge
But over and above the landscaping on rooftops, is the even more amazing feat of incorporating flowing, living water elements such as cascading waterfalls, crystal ponds, meandering streams and a gushing river, all gurgling and gushing around in their natural setting where fish and other aquatic and land creatures also abound.
“We can’t tell you right now what species of plants or fish we will put in but rest assured we will pick those that will be beneficial to Astoria residents such as plants that will naturally repel mosquitoes and fish that will eat mosquito larvae and so on,” the sales personnel said.
Of course there are the usual Olympic-sized and children’s swimming pools, and other outdoor exercise opportunities like their “Exploded Gyms” where one can get fit amongst nature using equipment provided in the covered timber deck outcrops. Or one can simply choose to exercise in the fully-equipped indoor gym.
Another unique feature of this green space is the elevated timber walkway called the Sky Bridge. It spans almost the entire length of the garden deck and connects to an Observatory that allows for a higher appreciation of the living ecosystem thriving below.
Then there are the Children’s Playground, Children’s Playroom, a Jaccuzzi, a Sauna, Hydro Lounge, Aqua Kitchen, a Recreation Lounge, a Theatre Lounge, an Ampitheatre and a Sunken Tennis Court. All 32 recreational features are strategically plotted and spaced throughout the deck so that one can rediscover the joys of the outdoors in a seamless flow.
“You can’t find this design with a huge green space in this neighbourhood anymore as the land cost is so expensive nowadays and there are not many ces in the city with such a big piece of land like this anymore,” said L&G managing director Low Gay Teck in the article Apartment project offers Zen Lifestyle reported in the Star Metro earlier this year.
This “Garden of Eden” or more appropriately, the “Up Close and Personal with Nature” concept of the development is actually in line with the “story” theme of their name “Astoria’’. As mentioned earlier, The Astoria was built on the premise that it would be a fantasy paradise, lifted as it were, from the pages of a child’s story book.
But apart from “telling a story”, Low, in the same Star article, also brought out the pro-environmental factors of this design. Aware of city living having its unhealthy side such as noise and air pollution, he said the green area would additionally serve as a “Green Lung” for the Ampang concrete jungle.
Multi Award Winning Landscape Designer
Of course, what is helping the “story of Astoria” take on a life with even more verve is that fact that the developer has engaged multi-award winning Malaysian designer Lim In Chong of Inchscape Sdn Bhd to provide his green thumb and aesthetic craftsmanship to the garden. Lim has won the Gold Awards in the Japan Gardening World Cup Awards for consecutive years since 2011 for his uniquely evocative designs.
Floor Plan and Units
Three of the five unit types are actually small units, ranging from 560sq ft for Type A (1 bedroom), 735sq ft for Type B (2 bedrooms) and 888sq ft for Type C (2+1 bedrooms).
But looking at the play of spatial concepts through clever delineation of the separate areas and use of hidden spaces − helped by the extra high ceilings of 3.3m no less – all the units appeared cosy, stylish and luxuriously furbished.
Space was so cleverly utilised that the lack of it was never noticed. Of course, the showroom units designed by professional interior decorators who played with strategic lighting and vertical spaces.
But it was the constant use of lighter, earthy tones accented by richer darker ones, mirrors that gave the illusion of size, dual-purpose furniture and cabinets that hide the not-so-pretty utilitarian items like washing machines and shoe cabinets that conveyed that sense of style and these are ideas you could incorporate in the design of your own unit.
Some of these ideas could be provided by L&G’s designers as well as the showroom personnel did say they would suggest where you could put your bulkier items such as your refrigerator which could vary in size from occupant to occupant depending on the occupants.
Except for the kitchen cabinets with hob and hood with built-in convection oven, the rest of the apartment will come unfurnished so you will have to use your own creativity and imagination to decorate accordingly.
Airconditioning units will be given free along with hot water system to the master bedroom only. All bathroom fittings will be provided and again, there is clever use of spacing for easy maneuverability.
The bathtub is especially eye-catching in the bathroom of the largest unit – the 1,505sg ft Type E (4 bedrooms with Dual Key possibilities). It is the central, standout piece which juxtaposes its old style elegance against the ultra-modern fixtures.
Only Type E will be provided with a bathtub. Type D with three bedrooms and a built-up of 1,050 sq ft will not be having the privilege.
The showroom personnel did mention that none of the brands of the provided equipment shown can be guaranteed as the make and model that will be given at the end of the day as “all of this will only materialize four years down the road”.
However, they will try their best to provide items of similar quality. The brand used in the showroom was Samsung.
Wind and Water and The Big Picture
There will be four imposing towers all in all, Towers A, B, C and D, each comprising 253 units on 46 floors, with seven units to each floor, served by four lifts. Level 6 to 43 will be residential units, while Level 4 to 6 will be the studio apartments. Sky dining will be the rooftop while the Sky Deck will be on the 6th floor to view the world from above.
One car park bay will be allocated for Types A, B and C units while two will be given for Type D and E. There will be 2,400 car park bays all in all. Residents requiring more bays may purchase extra bays for themselves.
The Astoria Ampang has been designed by WangHC Architect + W Design Associates (WDA) and Feng Shui-ed by none other than the famous Joey Yap Feng Shui Consultancy.
Wind and water-wise, the geomancy experts gave the project the thumbs-up sign saying the Astoria’s orientation will provide good Chi flow to its inhabitants.
When completed, The Astoria Ampang will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with its own sister, The Elements@ Ampang built by the same “parents” of L&G and Mayland. The Elements was completed and handed over just last year and in fact, both developments will going to be connected to each other by a walkway − that’s how close they are to each other.
So Close Yet Apart
Yet while they share a parcel of land and even a KL address, The Astoria Ampang will sit on Selangor land while its sister, the Elements sits on the Kuala Lumpur border. This means that the Astoria will be governed by Selangor’s Foreign Property Ownership rules where certain restrictions have been enforced since September 2014. You can read more about these regulations in The Malaysian Insider’s Selangor’s move to cap foreign property ownership ‘against free market’ and in this legal article titled Foreign Investment e-Law Alert.
A Paradox of two Eras on Jalan Ampang
Despite being delineated by invisible geographical boundaries, The Astoria Ampang will still enjoy the same infrastructure, public transportation, schools and educational institutions, medical and banking facilities as its Kuala Lumpur sister, The Elements.
Sharing Jalan Ampang which stretches from Jalan Ulu Klang to the confluence of the Klang and Gombak Rivers, this thoroughfare is one of the Klang Valley’s earliest and thus, most defining roads. Citycentre living is a choice where traffic congestion is to be expected. Jalan Ampang meets that expectation. The road is narrow and unable to accommodate encroaching residential and commercial developments that have grown up there in recent years. Thus, Jalan Ampang is always jammed. However, the recently-built AKLEH (Ampang-Kuala Lumpur Elevated Highway) has alleviated some of this traffic.
A lot of history has gone down this road. In fact, when Kuala Lumpur was founded in 1957 at the confluence of the same rivers mentioned above: the Gombak and the Klang; Ampang was one of the earliest spots that was dredged for tin. Actually, it was the success of the tin mining in Ampang that led to the development of Kuala Lumpur. But the area was jungleland and a road cutting through it was thus necessary to connect Ampang to Kuala Lumpur. This is the same road that we now call Ampang Road or Jalan Ampang. Actually, “Ampang” or “empangan” means “dam” in Malay, in reference to the mining dams in the area here.
The Astoria thus lives on breathing, evolving history with one hand resting on the past and the other on present day as both sides of the road are ribboned with some of the trendiest shopping malls, night spots, tourist havens, hotels and restaurants this side of KL.
Today, some of the more famous leisure and lifestyle landmarks coexisting with remnants of the past are KLCC (of course), Menara Citibank, Empire Tower, Menara Great Eastern, Wisma Denmark, City Square, Ampang Park and so on and so forth.
But heritage is not forgotten as further down the road, over at Embassy Row or Jalan Ampang Hilir, old world charm exudes from stately architecture like nowhere else in the city. Embassy Row is the informal name coined for the section of rambling, regal embassies and diplomatic buildings located just 1.2km away from the Astoria. Some of these buildings date back to the 1950s or even older.
KL’s Lifestyle and Party Destination TREC
For new world verve and high voltage energy, TREC – a 7-acre development comprising designer brand shopping along with fine dining restaurants, trendy indie cafes, wine bars, pubs, lounges, and clubs such as Zouk – electrifies the atmosphere everyday.
TREC is on Jalan Tun Razak, just 12 minutes or 5.6km from The Astoria, right next to the Royal Selangor Golf Course and within the immediate vicinity of the upcoming Ikea/Ikano Megamall development.
TREC is Malaysia’s next lifestyle and leisure destination and the party has already started.
A quick look at The Astoria’s connectivity shows a criss-crossing infrastructure of roads that include AKLEH (Ampang-KL Elevated Highway), MRR2 (Middle Ring Road 2), Jalan Ampang, Jalan Tun Razak, SMART Expressway, MAJU or MEX Expressway, the Mahamehru Highway, DUKE Highway and of course, the Federal Highway.
Public transport includes seven LRT Stations, three Monorail Stations and a proposed MRT Station at Ampang Point.
Two projects can be so different even though they have been developed by the same developer, sit next to each other, but demarcated by a boundary with different sets of regulations.
For the purpose of comparing, here is a look at the pricing and the pros and cons between The Astoria and The Elements:
|Name||Tenure||No of Blocks||No of Storeys||No of Units||Units per Floor||Parking bays|
|The Astoria||leasehold||4||46||1012||7||1 < 1000sq ft, 2 > 1000sq ft|
|The Elements||freehold||2 with 2 wings||41||1040||12||1 < 1000sq ft, 2 > 1000sq ft|
|Name||No of Bedrooms||Launch Price (psf)||Floor Area (sq ft)||Launch Price|
|The Astoria||1 to 4(dual key)||RM880||Type A: 560||RM617,000|
|The Elements||1 to 3||RM680(in 2010)||TYPE J (studio):520||RM353,600|
More About The Developer
Land & General Berhad (L&G) needs no introduction. Their flagship development of Bandar Sri Damansara won them the FIABCI Malaysia Property Award back in 1991. In 2009, the company developed 8trium, a business-retail and leisure concept property in Bandar Sri Damansara and in 2012, followed up with Damansara Foresta, a gated condominium development built next to the 130-million-year-old Bukit Lanjan forest reserve.
In 2013, Foresta won the Best Landscaped Architecture: Asia Pacific International Award for L&G and the company has not looked back. Growing from strength to strength, L&G is today an investment holding company with subsidiaries engaged principally in property investment and development, education and cultivation (or rubber and palm oil).
Coming in with this strength, L&G in partnership with Malaysia Land Properties Sdn Bhd (Mayland), through its subsidiary Xtreme Meridian Sdn Bhd, now bring you Astoria Ampang. This latest project comprising four towers of 46-storeys housing a total 1,012 units of serviced residence on prime Jalan Ampang land, comes back to back with their (L&G and Mayland) other residential development The Elements@Ampang, also on Jalan Ampang.
Can you really put a price to class and style? If you can, then you’re looking at it in The Astoria Ampang. Everything is there for you and there is a price too for choosing to live in the elite inner circle of Greater Kuala Lumpur: Ampang. And with PSF starting at just RM880, seriously, The Astoria Ampang is a steal. Seriously.