THE Tong family has created history again. Datuk Alan Tong was called the ‘KL Condo King’ for building one of the first condominiums in the country in 1984 — OG Heights in Old Klang Road through his company, Sunrise Sdn Bhd.
Some 32 years later, his son Datuk NK Tong developed the finest apartments in Old Klang Road which stand majestically today, and that should earn him the “Condo Prince” title.
NK’s company, Bukit Kiara Properties Sdn Bhd (BKP), which he co-founded with Alan Tong, developed VERVE Suites KL South, a high-end residential project on the former Alamanda College site along Old Klang Road, which set a new benchmark in rent per square foot (psf).
BKP had transformed the former Alamanda College site in less than four years with 321 fully furnished designer suites and 45 small-office-home-office (SoHo) suites housed in two 24-storey towers that is linked via the 10,000-sq-ft Vercadicos Sky Bridge.
NK said VERVE Suites KL South currently commands the highest rent psf at RM4 compared with RM2 to RM3 psf in the neighbourhood. The first tower of VERVE Suites KL South was handed over to buyers in September 2016 and occupancy reached 97 per cent a year later.
The second tower was handed over to owners in the third quarter of 2017 and its occupancy is currently about 80 per cent. “If you average it out, the occupancy for both the towers is in the high 80 per cent and low 90 per cent. Looking at the numbers we can say that people are resorting to luxury living. But VERVE Suites KL South offers more than luxury-living. It provides comfort and convenience,” NK told NST Property.
It is not just VERVE Suites KL South which commands the highest rent psf in Old Klang Road. The company’s flagship luxury development, VERVE Suites Mont’Kiara, also has the highest rent psf in the Mont Kiara enclave.
“The rent at VERVE Suits Mont Kiara is RM5 psf compared to other properties in the neighbourhood which are doing RM3 to RM4 psf, and they are almost fully occupied,” said the group managing director for BKP.
“We have set a standard design for the whole project to protect the value of investment for homeowners.”
Tong and NK need no introduction in the Malaysian property industry One of Tong’s greatest legacies in the industry would be the development of the upmarket condominium enclave of Mont Kiara through Sunrise.
The former Selangor state assemblyman (from 1974 to 1982) was the first to begin the transformation of Mont Kiara (known as Segambut then) from a rubber estate into a bustling, much sought after international enclave and other developers followed.
The transformation began with 4.04ha he acquired from a broker in 1989/1990, moving to over 40.47ha. The first project, Mont’Kiara Pines, was completed in 1993.
NK is an undergraduate in Architecture (B.A. Hons) from the University of Manchester in England. He went on to gain a Masters in Business Administration from the Wharton School of Business,
University of Pennsylvania in the United States.
Prior to setting up BKP, NK was the executive director of a public-listed property development company and was involved in the genesis and transformation of Mont Kiara into a prestigious neighbourhood.
NK was also instrumental in the strategic sale of the listed company in late 1996, just ahead of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.
Known for their expertise in property development and with a wealth of experience under their wings, Tong and NK embarked on the quest to become a niche player where they come up with high-quality homes in unique buildings. The idea to form BKP came about in 1997 when the strategic sale of the listed company had just been completed.
NK had been involved in the conceptualisation and development of VERVE Suites Mont’Kiara and VERVE Suites KL South with a combined gross development value of over RM1.6 billion.
The good sales take-up rate and high resale value for VERVE Suites Mont’Kiara and VERVE Suites KL South are testimony to BKP’s brand value and undisputed track record.
NK, who was the chairman of Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) Kuala Lumpur branch for 2010-2012, the national treasurer for Rehda Malaysia from 2012-2014 and is the vice-president of Rehda Malaysia for 2018-2020, is not resting on his laurels.
He said BKP is looking out for land development opportunities, albeit cautiously.
Whether BKP picks up land in Kuala Lumpur or outside of Greater Kuala Lumpur, the project will most likely be a seller because the market knows that when NK plans his project, it will come with outstanding furnishing and finishing.
And that perhaps explains why VERVE Suites Mont’ Kiara, which has four towers with total 933 units, sold well.
BKP starting selling the first tower in 2006 at an average launch price of RM570 psf. The average transaction price today is RM950 psf.
The fourth and final tower was launched in 2010 at an average RM1,250 psf and some units are currently transacting at around RM1,600 psf.