City&Country: G.I.M. makes its presence felt in Penang

The Golden Triangle area in Kuala Lumpur has been so named because it is the city's most vibrant commercial, retail and entertainment hub. And it is this vibrancy that G.I.M. Group of Companies wants to replicate up north in Penang.

G.I.M., a homegrown developer, aims to achieve this through its biggest project to date in terms of value – The Golden Triangle in Relau, named after KL's Golden Triangle. It is the group's second project on Penang Island, with an expected gross development value (GDV) of RM360 million.

Incorporated in 2004, G.I.M. began its property development business in Kedah and has completed two housing projects – Taman Sejahtera Jaya and Taman Sutera Indah – in the state. These were fully sold.
G.I.M. then ventured into Penang with a project called Taman Selesa Ria on the mainland last year, before expanding its presence on the island with two other projects.

Located in the residential district of Alma, Bukit Mertajam, the freehold 6.8-acre Taman Selesa Ria comprises 22 bungalow lots, and more than 75% have been sold.

Subsequently, G.I.M. developed Oasis Residences in Relau, its first project on Penang Island. This low-density project offers 28 units of 3-storey bungalows, 3-storey semi-detached homes and 3-storey terraced homes on a 3.3-acre site.

The freehold project has been 80% sold since November last year, although it has yet to be officially launched. The project is expected to be completed in December next year.

The Golden Triangle
The Golden Triangle in Relau is being developed by GIM Smart Venture Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of the group. The Golden Triangle will be the group's flagship project for the next three years, GIM Smart Venture chief executive Terrence Lim tells City & Country. The project's gross land area is 11 acres, while the net land area is 7.84 acres.

“Another reason the project is called The Golden Triangle is because the site is shaped like a triangle. The land is divided into two by a monsoon drain. We will build a pedestrian bridge to connect the two sides,” he says.

"alt"With the project fronting the busy Jalan Datuk Ismail Hashim and Jalan Paya Terubung, the developer plans to build a new road to connect the freehold project with the two main roads to smoothen traffic flow. This will also allow the development to have three access frontages.

GIM Smart Venture, which has an authorised and paid-up capital of RM1 million, plans to launch the mixed development in two phases. Phase One, which was launched at the end of last month, consists of a 5-storey podium and two 19-storey condominium blocks.

The 5-storey podium comprises 68 units of 1-storey, 2-storey and 3-storey shoplots, as well as 28 serviced duplex suites. These units, with sizes from 500 sq ft, are priced from RM400 psf.

The 672 condominium units have built-ups from 1,165 to 1,410 sq ft. These are tagged at RM265 psf onwards

Some 90% of the shoplots have been sold, while the two condominium blocks have been fully sold.

The developer plans to launch Phase Two by the middle of next year. It will put on the market 14 units of 3-storey shoplots and 36 units of 2-storey shoplots, housed in a 3-storey podium, as well as 220 condo units in a high-rise block.

This project is a joint venture with Koperasi Tunas Muda Sungai Ara Bhd, to which the developer will release four progressive payments over the next five years, Lim says, without revealing the amount.

He adds that the developer won the project via an open tender, and that the cooperative had got all the approvals and the development order when the agreement was signed in January this year.

“This cooperative owns over 100 acres of land there, and this particular parcel (The Golden Triangle) is part of it. The cooperative started their master layout plan for this landbank before 2003, and the latest subdivision is based on the master plan. It will develop some parcels on its own and some through joint ventures.

“We hope to have more joint-venture opportunities with this cooperative, but many developers have that in mind as well,” Lim says.

Another development is already on the company's plate – Riverside Residences, which is also in Relau off Penang Island. This project is scheduled for launch by the middle of next year, after it launches Phase Two of The Golden Triangle.

Lim says the freehold site for Riverside Residences was purchased last year. The proposed development is for 3-storey terraced homes and semidees, as well as condominiums. He adds that the group is exploring two projects on Penang mainland but nothing is concrete yet.

Property development
Lim, who is from Kuala Lumpur, joined the company in December last year to help the company get the tender for The Golden Triangle project, and stayed on to manage it.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from Ohio State University in 1994, and worked in the engineering industry for eight years. He also obtained his master's degree in business administration from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, in 1997.

Lim made his initial foray into property development in 2003, when he and a friend got involved in a development in Bukit Mertajam. It was a turnkey project; they didn't need to pay for the land, all they had to do was the development and marketing.

In 2005, Lim joined an investment company that had been trying to explore development opportunities in China.

“In business, a few things are related. The structure of business [for engineering and property development] is quite similar and my engineering background trained me to be more analytical. So when it comes to property development, I look more into the quantitative methodology of project management.

“I didn't have the so-called transition shock because it was quite gradual. After I finished my MBA, I did sales in another organisation. Sales are the driver of any business because it is where the money comes from. So when I joined the property development business, the first thing was also sales. When a project is ready, it is how you push it into the market and how people perceive your product,” he says.

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 816, July 26-Aug 1, 2010

SOURCE: The Edge Property

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