Batu Kawan, once a backwater town in Penang's south of Seberang Prai, is attracting new developers such as NCT Alliance Bhd.
The property developer recently broke ground on its latest residential development, Ion Vivace Residences.
Datuk Seri Yap Ngan Choy, NCT's executive chairman and group managing director, said he is thrilled to present the project in the vibrant and dynamic district of Batu Kawan.
He anticipates that the development will help the Batu Kawan district's current economic development.
Batu Kawan has been expanding steadily despite the huge period of uncertainty that seized the real estate market.
In the early 1990s, the Penang Development Corporation (PDC) acquired a 2,560-hectare (ha) plot of land that would become Bandar Cassia.
PDC intended to turn Bandar Cassia into its third township after Bandar Bayan Baru on Penang Island and Bandar Seberang Jaya on the Penang peninsula.
The corporation also started the Batu Kawan Industrial Park (BKIP), and later the 420ha BKIP 2 and 253ha BKIP 3.
BKIP and Penang's second bridge (which was completed in 2014) were the two most significant game changers.
Other factors that have aided expansion include the establishment of factories by regional companies such as Vitrox, Inari, and Greatec, as well as multinational organisations (MNCs) such as Lam Research, Boston Scientific, and Bose Corporation.
Yap said Ion Vivace Residence's aim is to introduce purchasers to wholesome and integrated living areas that exceed expectations.
"With its prime location and well-designed facilities, Ion Vivace Residences will redefine the concept of comfortable and sophisticated living for our home buyers here in Batu Kawan.
"We are confident that this development will attract the interest of homebuyers and contribute to the ongoing economic development in the area," he said.
The residential development's groundbreaking ceremony was held last week, marking a key milestone for the developer as it increases its footprint in Penang. Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow officiated the event, which was witnessed by Yap and Bukit Tambun Assemblyman Goh Choon Aik.
Ion Vivace Residences comprises two serviced apartment blocks with a total of 528 dual-key, two-bedroom, three-bedroom, and studio units (build-up sizes ranging from 520 sq ft to 1,176 sq ft). Prices range between RM344,000 and RM747,000.
The project, with a total development value of around RM300 million, is scheduled to be completed in early 2027.
Ion Vivace Residences, according to Yap, represent a new era of modern living, representing NCT Alliance's visionary aims to construct residences that are environmentally friendly.
Yap said Ion Vivace Residences ushers in a new era of modern living, representing NCT Alliance's visionary aspirations of developing properties that are innovative above all.
In a January note, Maybank Investment Bank said that Batu Kawan may no longer be a secondary choice for the island in terms of property demand in the future.
According to the investment bank, compared to previous site inspections it conducted a few years ago, property developments in the Batu Kawan region have grown more established and have a larger population.
There are retail stores such as IKEA Batu Kawan and The Design Village, educational institutions like UOW Malaysia's KDU campus and The Ship Campus, and commercial store lots like Vervea @ Aspen Vision City and Eco Horizon.
In general, Maybank IB is bullish on Batu Kawan's long-term prospects.
The state government has declared plans to develop 1,156 acres in Byram, Nibong Tebal as BKIP2, as well as a medical centre in Batu Kawan, west of IKEA.
According to Maybank IB, these new initiatives bode well for population growth and should continue to drive up demand for real estate.