Indah Heights, located at the heart of Taman Skudai Indah 2 is soon to to be the ‘go to area’ for those who can afford spending the millions in Johor. Gated and secluded, the residents will not have any woes of traffic and high density population. An ideal place for a family to live, carefreely.
Vila Seni: A debut review.
92 units of 3-storey Semi-Ds and four bungalows are what Hong Kong-based property developer called New World Development Co Ltd is offering in Plentong.
Or more precisely, what this developer along with a Malaysian-based developer called Luen Yum Development (M) Sdn Bhd (owned by a Hong Kong-based developer of the same name, Luen Yum Development Co Ltd) is offering through their joint-venture company, Taipan Eagle Sdn Bhd.
And the whole debut thingy is simply because this will be the first residential property development project by these developers.
A gated and guarded (G&G) project, it was formerly known as New World Garden before renamed into Vila Seni and sits on a 4.85 hectares of land (or 522049.7-square-foot) with a 40,000-square-foot clubhouse included.
It’s already completed by the way (based on Built-then-Sell concept), in the year 2014’s second quarter to be exact.
So no rush; take your time in reading this review for Vila Seni.
Address: Plentong, Johor Bahru, Johor
Land Title: Residential
Site GPS Coordinates: 1°31’19″N 103°48’43″E
Expected Date of Completion: April 2014
Property Type: Semi-D and Bungalow
Total Units: 96 (92 Semi-Ds and 4 Bungalows)
Built Up in Sq. Ft.: 4092, 4140, & 5432
Listing Price: Starts from RM2,400,000 (Semi-D) and RM4,000,000 (Bungalow)
Maintenance Fee per Sq. Ft.: Starts from RM550 per month
- Low density (only 96 units)
- Exclusive Clubhouse
- 5-Star Services like Concierge Services, Courier Services, Private Events Planning, Home Maintenance and House Keeping Service etc. managed by a Home Secretariat Team
- 5-Tier Security including trained Gurkha (Nepalese elite army) guards.
- Swimming Pool
- Entertainment Lounge (with Billiards & Soccer Table)
- Function Rooms and Multi-purpose Hall
- Barbeque Pits
- Pool Side Bar
- Tea Pavilion
- Children Playground
- 3 Storey Semi-D Type A – 6 + 1 Rooms, 7 Baths, 4092 Sq. Ft.
- 3 Storey Semi-D Type B – 6 + 1 Rooms, 7 Baths, 4140 Sq. Ft.
- 3 Storey Bungalow – 6 + 1 Rooms, 7 Baths, 5432 Sq. Ft.
Vila Seni: To paint a picture.
Boasting on ‘The art of fine living’ concept, Seni is a Malay word for art (kudos to the developer for opting to use that) and looking at the project, one can definitely agree that the concept of Vila Seni is justified.
After all, what else can you expect from a freehold, low density homes with 5-Star services and security, and an exclusive clubhouse?
Though location-wise Vila Seni is not as prime as Sunway Lenang Heights in Taman Molek or Precinct 12 in Taman Desa Tebrau, its mentioned strengths are the keys to the starting listing price of its Semi-D units from RM2.4 million onwards, and RM4 million and above for its Bungalow offers. The fact that this project practices the BTS (build-then-sell) concept may also be the contributing factor to its steep price tags.
There are only two types of Semi-D layouts offered, and one type for the bungalows, all which are three storeys units.
For Type A 3-Storey Semi-D, the built-up size is 4092 square feet with six plus one rooms and seven bathrooms. The car porch seems to can accommodate up to four cars at a time, where two each will need to be parked in tandem. There are 46 units offered altogether for Type A where one of them is built literally next to the clubhouse area.
The Type B 3-Storey Semi-D built-up size is slightly larger at 4140 square feet having the same six plus one rooms and seven bathrooms, and similar architectural design. There are also the same number of units offered for Type B (46 in total).
The four in total, 3-Storey Bungalow units boast a 5432 square feet in built-up size each. The spacious rooftop balcony is definitely a plus for owners to unwind while absorbing as much Vitamin D from the sunlight as they can, so much so that it makes up for the lack of having two master bedrooms like what’s offered for both Semi-D types.
All the units come unfurnished leaving the owners the liberty to furnish as they please except for quite a number of fittings like below. As with other landed strata development, no renovation will be allowed to the outer architectural design so as to keep a uniform look to the neighbourhood.
The facilities offered is indeed another reason to celebrate. From swimming pool to gymnasium to entertainment lounge with Billiards & Soccer Table (Foosball table for some) to function rooms and multi-purpose hall to barbeque pits to poolside bar to tea pavilion to finally children playground, this 40,000 square feet clubhouse will, as the website says, “Leave you spoilt for choice!”.
Add in the 5-Tier Security (high perimeter wall, 24/7 CCTV surveillance, good-looking Gurkha guards etc.) and 5-Star Services (laundry services, bill collection & payment services, daily necessity purchase services etc.), the maintenance fee that starts from RM550 and above doesn’t seem so bad now does it?
Vila Seni is undoubtedly pricey but the developer has decided to match that with irresistible offers. Art after all, is never cheap right?
Johor’s Iskandar Malaysia: The first of its kind
There are scandals, then there are royal scandals.
So if you’re familiar with stories of golf caddy, slapped ustaz, runaway lawyer and so forth, don’t worry – you’re not alone.
Well-known among Malaysians is of course the state of Johor’s royal family. Having its own private army called the Royal Johor Military Force, an accomplished football team (JDT Club) which recently won the AFC Asian Cup, and its own royal heartthrob (TMJ Tunku Ismail), this state is ruled by this constitutional monarchy since the early 16th century that has remained powerful till today.
So powerful in fact that the current Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ismail Ibrahim who is also a successful investor and filthy rich to boot, recently purchased a Mack truck rumoured to cost well over $1 million USD. No matter the riff this caused (some believe it’s a waste of money while others say the Sultan deserves it, considering the fact that he has provided and given back to the people a whole lot more than that), one thing for sure, Johor is indeed a Malaysian state that’s financially strong.
A Lithuanian-born artist by the name of Ernest Zacharevic once painted a mural of a Lego woman on one side of a wall, and a knife wielding Lego man on the other, said to portray the state’s pride, Legoland, while mocking its crime capital status.
Even when the artist later (after much critics) added a Lego policeman trailing the Lego criminal, the mural was still whitewashed by the local authority, causing Ernest to retort by photoshop-ing a picture where the knife is replaced with a flower bouquet, and a ‘Visit Malaysia 2014’ logo added.
Then again, Johor is not all that bad. After all, a state where the late Yasmin Ahmad was born (Muar to be exact), a one-of-a-kind film maker that till now has inspired many people to love and do good unto others, isn’t so bad now is it?
Hopefully through the Iskandar Malaysia project that’s aimed to be finished by 2025, things will change for the better for Johor.
Established in 2006 and named after the late Sultan of Johor, Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, Iskandar Malaysia (formerly known as Iskandar Development Region) comprises of five flagship zones covering a land size of 2,217 square kilometres – roughly more than three times the land size of our neighbouring country, Singapore.
Expected to have a total population of 3 million, a workforce of half of that (1.5 million) and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of $31,100 by 2025, one is not wrong to say that Iskandar Malaysia looks like the rise of a mini country, aimed to capitalise on the economic collaborations with Singapore just like how Shenzhen and Hong Kong complement one another.
The five flagship zones of Iskandar Malaysia are Flagship Zone A, Flagship Zone B, Flagship Zone C, Flagship Zone D, and Flagship Zone E.
The first flagship zone, Flagship Zone A, covers Johor Bahru City, Larkin, Mount Austin, Maju Jaya, and Kempas among others. Set to focus on financial and commercial activities, key landmarks include Danga Bay and the Bangunan Sultan Ibrahim (BSI) CIQ Complex.
The second flagship zone, Flagship Zone B, covers Nusajaya, Jelutong, Gelang Patah, and Pulai among others. Set to focus on mixed property development and Johor’s administrative, key landmarks include Puteri Harbour, Kota Iskandar, Edu City, Legoland Malaysia, and Medini Iskandar Malaysia.
The third flagship zone, Flagship Zone C, covers the Tanjung Pelepas area and is also known as the Western Gate Development. Set to focus on port and marine services, key landmarks include Port of Tanjung Pelepas, Ramsar Heritage Park, and the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link.
The fourth flagship zone, Flagship Zone D, covers Pasir Gudang, Masai, and Tanjung Langsat among others, and is also known as the Eastern Gate Development. Set to focus on industrial and manufacturing, key landmarks include APTEC City, Johor Port, Tanjung Langsat Industrial Complex, and Pasir Gudang Circuit.
The fifth flagship zone, Flagship Zone E, covers the Senai, Skudai, Saleng and Kangkar Pulai among others. Set to focus on airport services and electronics manufacturing, key landmarks include the Sultan Ismail International Airport (Senai International Airport), MSC Malaysia Cyberport, Senai Airport City, and Johor Premium Outlet.
Vila Seni (previously New World Garden) is located in Plentong, a mature town in Johor Bahru part of Iskandar Malaysia Flagship Zone A. Despite the address, it is however located nearer to Pasir Gudang (6 kilometres away) as compared to JB (25 kilometres away). The immediate townships to the northwest of Plentong heading to JB is Taman Rinting, followed by Bandar Baru Permas Jaya, and Taman Molek.
Connectivity-wise, Vila Seni in Plentong is surrounded by highways like Pasir Gudang Highway and North South Expressway that leads to Malaysia-Singapore Second Link. The website even boasted about how it will only take 20 minutes to reach the CIQ but as the case in any parts of the world, traffic is even harder to predict than weather so don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched just yet.
Residents of Vila Seni however do have one reason to celebrate, which is the fact that the development is literally next door to Tesco Extra Plentong, a mere 100 meters away. Apart from the dog-in-trolley incident (come on people, let’s love all animals and all human beings equally; give and take please!) the fact that Tesco Plentong is there is nevertheless a convenient one can be happy about. Oh, there’s also a Giant Plentong in the vicinity, roughly 500 metres away.
And talk about golf caddy earlier, the Daiman 18 Golf Club is just 300 metres away from Vila Seni. Although the name of the golf club isn’t that all inspiring (whatever happened to using ‘Royal’ or ‘King’ when it comes to naming a golf club?), it is still fairly recommended by most golfers receiving a mostly 3-out-of-5 stars review.
Plentong however is also known as a flood-prone area even after the implementation of KTM Plentong Bridge that’s supposedly should’ve facilitated the flow of Sungai Plentong during rainy seasons. But last year’s flood in Plentong proved that a lot more work is definitely needed.
In any case, if one were to get sick and tired of Plentong, one can always drive to other attractions in other parts of JB. Take Kilang Bateri for example that’s located 15 kilometres away from Plentong. Housing shops and eateries, it was once actually an Eveready Battery Factory, opened somewhere around September 2015 into a vintage, hangout place. The foods there are awesome, and the businesses offered are aplenty. A definite must checkout.
All in all, Plentong is an established township and that’s a fact one can be proud of but must never be content with. Looking at how there will be plenty more developments and upgrades to the area, it’s good to know that its potential is recognised to not be a waste.
Vila Seni: A crafty assessment.
A price comparison shall be made between Vila Seni in Plentong, to two other Semi-D and Bungalow development in Taman Desa Tebrau and Taman Molek, called Phase 12A Precinct 12 and Sunway Lenang Heights respectively.
This way, perhaps one can then assess whether Vila Seni’s price is affected more by the location, or the project’s offerings itself.
|Name||Tenure/Land Title||Approximate Listing Price||No of Units||Average Built-up||Type|
|Vila Seni||Freehold/Residential||Starts from RM2.4 million||96||4600 Sq. Ft||Semi-D and Bungalow|
|Phase 12A Precinct 12 Taman Desa Tebrau||Freehold/Residential||Starts from RM1.7 million||94||4100 Sq. Ft.||Semi-D and Bungalow|
|Sunway Lenang Heights||Freehold/Residential||Starts from RM1.6 million||112||4000 Sq. Ft.||Semi-D and Bungalow|
As expected, Vila Seni is the most expensive project despite it being in location less prime than the other two. The BTS Concept, bigger built-up size, and offerings (Sunway Lenang Heights also has a clubhouse but minus the 5-Star Services offering), are obviously the reasons why. Good news for all three projects is that by 2025 once Iskandar Malaysia project is completed, one can definitely expect for these properties to appreciate substantially. .
Taipan Eagle Sdn Bhd: No amateur property developer.
As mentioned, this developer is the result of a joint-venture between two giant Hong Kong-based developers, New World Development Co Ltd (major shareholder is Forbes Global 2000 Listed company, Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd) and Luen Yum Development.
Although the BTS Concept was supposed to kick-start this year for all Malaysian developers, not many have actually followed it (enforcement in Malaysia is as usual, sorely lacking in execution). Vila Seni’s developers’ confidence in following through to the end however shows that they’re indeed cash-rich and financially sound.
So perhaps it’s time people stop discriminating China and Hong Kong developers (some even went to the extent of accusing these foreign developers will only built homes that will collapse in no time, based on incidents like when a 13-storey block of flats collapsed in Shanghai back in 2009).
It’s true that one bad apple spoils the barrel, but only if you don’t take it out. So let’s judge the rest of the apples with a clean start shall we?
Vila Seni: The finishing brushstroke.
Except for few points like location and steep price, Vila Seni seems to tick all the other boxes that make a good landed property i.e. offerings like freehold, low-density, and facilities.
For its shortcomings like flood in Plentong, let’s hope that the area’s city council will improve for the better in the future.
So if one were to have the cash to spare, give this project a thought. Who knows, you may just be pleasantly surprised.