Out of this coveted blue ribbon address emerges Bangsar’s first mixed-use luxury development equipped with a hotel


Good news at this  time  of an ongoing worldwide pandemic beleaguered with negativity is always welcome and just as reviving as discovering water in a desert. And, rightly so. Just when an overall depressed property market adopting mostly a  wait-and- see approach seems to be the order of the day, with everyone assuming that there isn’t any more land available to be turned into a prestigious development project in Bangsar – news of a spanking new mixed-use luxury development complete with residential, commercial and even a hotel component has certainly raised eyebrows.

Enter Alfa Bangsar – the latest kid on the Bangsar block that unveils the potential of the last tract of prime freehold land rising from this blue ribbon address.

All this and more, arising from the astute foresight and strong holding power of none other than Dato’ Dr Foo Wan Kien, Founder and Executive Chairman of City Motors Group of Companies.  Backed  by sterling credentials helming City Motors Group, famous for being the sole distributor in Asia for Alfa Romeo Cars in the 1960s, the group is now set to rev it up by expanding its property portfolio as well as diversifying into the property investment segment including the hospitality business.

“The Alfa Romeo brand is a well- established household name in the car industry. The cars are known for their good road holding  and  speed,  (and are) able to out-run many cars on the highways while being a brand associated with luxuries,” he shares.

While he was famously known by the moniker “Alfa King” in the 70s, the sprightly veteran jests with a twinkle in his eye that he would rather be known as “Romeo King”. Drawing a parallel between this distinguished car brand and what is envisioned to be the latest high- rise mixed-use development in Bangsar, he says both bear a striking resemblance with the hallmark of luxury geared towards high performance for users.

The future indeed looks bright with Alfa Bangsar poised to be launched in 2022. In many ways, the group is fast gearing up for double prosperity even as it plans to launch its other development project in another equally prominent location in the heart of KL’s Golden Triangle in Bukit Bintang.

“Both land in Bangsar and Bukit Bintang are freehold. You’ve heard property valuers touting the mantra ‘Location, Location, Location’ right? And, both our landbanks are a perfect fit,” he adds.

Although possessing strong holding power, he shares that he did not intentionally set out with the objective to hold on to the land acquired as far back as the 60s for this long to begin with. He explains that as a group, the company was preoccupied with developing projects in other locations all this while. Since these two pieces of land were already yielding good rental all along, there really was no urgency to develop these two tracts of land back then.

With 2022 close on the heels of the end of 2021, it indeed looks like Lady Luck is graciously smiling on this gentleman while bestowing her benelovance on his vision for a market now well ready to embrace two mixed-use developements of prestigious stature emerging both in Bangsar and Bukit Bintang. This is even as the group makes new strides to expand its property portfolio by diversifying into the property investment segment, including that of the property hospitality business.

“Alfa Bangsar was actually a commemorative. That’s basically the legacy of the land which used to be a cinema studio. Selling cars and Formula One relate to high performance level of F1 driving,” enthuses Terence Chia, CEO of Sri Seltra, the property division of City Motors Group who says that the take-up rate for Alfa Bangsar well exceeds over 50% now.

The freehold development with a Gross Development Value (GDV) of RM450 million which will comprise a podium and hotel-cum-service apartment tower situated on 1.26 acres of land in Jalan Maarof is now under construction. It will be accessible via Jalan Maarof and Jalan Tandok.

Comprising 178 serviced apartment units on levels 19 to 42, the between 570 sq ft and 997 sq ft units will be available in three layouts; namely 1 bedroom, 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms as well as the 2+1 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms layouts.

“As for the pricing, we are very confident that RM1,700 per sq ft for a semi-funished unit with kitchen cabinet, washer & dryer, wardrobe, air-conditioners, vanity top for the bathroom, fridge, shower screen, water heater to supply hot water to also the bath sink and kitchen tap is affordable.

The entire development comprises two wings within a tower block. The hotel units are from level 1 to level 18 while the apartment units are from level 19 to level 42. The Sky Park for the apartment units is located on level 38. And, at certain levels, some of the apartment floors have a sky garden.

Facilities and lifts are separate including the swimming pool to ensure security and privacy. And, while the hotel and apartment units have their own separate swimming pool, security access is also separate for an added layer of security without sharing. The residential units that go all the way to level 42 open up to a commanding pristine and panoramic view overlooking Bangsar.

“The smallest unit is priced at RM970,000 for a 570 sq ft unit to approximately RM1.4 million for a 856 sq ft unit. Designed by Steve Layton of LGM Architecture, the tower façade uses the “fractal geometry concept which explores the wondrously complex repeating shapes of the natural world.” Meanwhile, Emily Chan of Bezalel Design integrated the Work From Home (WFH) concept given the ongoing pandemic to make the design features relevant.

Among the grandiose plans for Alfa Bangsar include an 8-level podium which will comprise the car park level, hotel and 35,000 sq ft of commercial space. Situated above this level is the hotel spanning 220 rooms on levels 9 to 18 equipped with a myriad of facilities including a swimming pool, sauna, garden, function hall, meeting rooms and a gymnasium.

Likening Alfa Bangsar to what used to be the “Ferrari of cars”, the customised design of the units equipped with luxury retail and hotel offerings he anticipates, are poised to rev up excitement value and connectivity in the heart of Bangsar.

Man With The Midas Touch

Besides Bangsar, its other emerging high- end high-rise property development will be tucked in the prime location in the heart  of  Bukit  Bintang  –  even  as it revs up its plans to expand into the hospitality sector. Incidentally, both high- rises are situated on former City Motors showroom for Alfa Romeo cars.

Having a knack for aesthetic ergonomic appreciation for luxury cars and architecture, Dato’ Dr Foo’s knack for spotting land potential is seen in how he secured the golden tract of freehold land in Bangsar and in the city centre.

Dato’ Dr Foo Wan Kien, Founder and
Executive Chairman of City Motors Group of Companies.

“The city centre of Kuala Lumpur was once at the Golden Triangle of Jalan Sultan Ismail. As the city expanded, the centre moved away and it is now at Bukit Bintang. Similarly today, land in Bangsar is considered as the premier location. Both land in Bangsar and Bukit Bintang are freehold. And, the market is now ready for mixed-use developments of this stature,” he says imbued with wisdom of the years.

Wealth, Thriving Beyond 3 Gens

According to Sri Seltra CEO Terence Chia, upon the completion of the projects, the group will have in its stable two new hotels run by reputable hotel chains. In line with Dato’ Dr Foo’s strategy to also derive earnings from property investments, a management agreement was inked between City Motors and InterContinental Hotels Group to operate an upper mid-scale hotel in Alfa Bangsar which will be branded as Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Bangsar.

“We are looking at developing more real estate assets that wil generate good yield and capital return in the long term. Moving forward, we hope to add more yield-positive assets into the portfolio, be it in hospitality or others,” adds Dato’ Dr Foo observing that “the market is now ready for mixed-use development projects of this stature”.

The group envisions the target market for this project to comprise young couples as well as empty nesters residing at the huge landed properties within the Bangsar vicinity whose children have since flown the nest. The expatriate market familiar with dining and enjoying the conveniences afforded by this affluent neighbourhood also form the target market’s demographic and psychographic profile.

Debunking the Chinese saying that “Wealth doesn’t last three generations”, the self-made gentleman is happy to involve the next two of his generations in this next phase of high-end mixed-use property developments to further spread and continue his legacy of excellence.

“I am happy that I can groom my children and grandchildren to take over. They are a living example of a successful Chinese businessman who is able to thwart the curse that wealth will not survive the third generation,” he reflects.

Looking at the sense of camaraderie, with the philanthropic Dato’ Dr Foo setting his vision in place, the next generation helmed by the CEO works seamlessly and coherently to blend in the marketing strategies in place while third generation grandson, Foo Yit Tung who takes on the role of Business Development Executive is adept at supervising the digital team to market the project to a worldwide marketplace.

Revving It Up By Changing Lanes

Once famous for being Asia’s sole distributor for premium car manufacturer Alfa Romeo, City Motors Group has, in keeping with the times, swiftly changed lanes by expanding its property portfolio under the group’s property division Sri Seltra, a company which has been operating for over 30 years. The company has also diversified into hospitality and property investment during this pandemic.

Established in 1965 by Dato’ Dr Foo Wan Kien, who besides his involvement in real estate, also helmed other businesses including oil palm plantation and aquaculture as well as automotive financing. City Motors Group was appointed by Alfa Romeo as its sole distributor in Asia until 1980 while also being the sub-dealer for Mazda and BMW back then.

Adding to the group’s cluster of property offerings are projects in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor including Hon Residensi, D’ Pines Condominium and Ampang’s Orchid Court plus Taman Mewah Prima in Bidor, Perak. The group’s portfolio also spans Singapore and Hong Kong. Crowning its property portfolio would be its two latest developments situated in Bangsar scheduled to be launched in January 2022, and Bukit Bintang later in the year.

The site on which Alfa Bangsar sits was purchased in the 1970s and is arguably the last freehold prime land in Bangsar. Today, it is poised to be Bangsar’s latest pride and joy that will feature 178 residential units with hotel, specialised retail, (Food & Beverages) F&B, commercial and office components.

With the ongoing Home Ownership Campaign,  buyers can enjoy a 10% discount as well as a waiver off the Government Stamp Duty for transfer and loan until December 31, 2021.

 

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