Boutique lifestyle projects a natural progression for 3 industry captains



THE coming together of three industry captains in different areas of expertise has given birth to a new lifestyle boutique property development company, Senja Aman Development Sdn Bhd, to venture into lifestyle development projects around the country.

The brains behind Senja Aman are Datuk Simon Foong who owns the Body Shop franchise for Malaysia and Vietnam and who is also the founder of the Aquaria KLCC, Glomac Bhd group executive vice-chairman Datuk Richard Fong, and Pelikan International Corp Bhd president cum CEO Loo Hooi Keat.

As the co-founder and group managing director of Senja Aman, Foong believes moving into boutique lifestyle projects is a natural progression for the trio to leverage on their expertise and passion into the property development industry.

With the company’s first resort development project – The Angsana Teluk Bahang, Penang – set for opening in early 2017, Foong says the company is looking for opportunities in other destinations around the country.

The Angsana Teluk Bahang will be the first beach resort in Malaysia that will be managed by the Banyan Tree group.

Foong posing with the product brochure of The Angsana Teluk Bahang.
“We are in talks with the Banyan Tree Group, one of Asia’s most reputable hospitality groups, to form a joint venture to introduce a few more Banyan Tree hospitality products in Malaysia,” Foong shares with StarBizWeek.

Foong believes there is still a big opportunity for higher-end hospitality products such as the award-winning Banyan Tree to spruce up the local hospitality market’s depth and growth potential.

Malaysia has many good tourism products but needed concerted efforts to promote them and grow its tourism industry, Foong says.

“The onus is on industry players to introduce more hospitality products that will add depth and breadth to the market,” he adds.

Foong voices confidence that The Angsana Teluk Bahang will do well in Penang given that there is still a supply shortage for upscale luxury hotels and resorts, especially those with beach fronts, in the state. Hence the average occupancy rate of hotels in Penang is expected to improve from the current 65% to 70%.

He says Penang’s tourism and hospitality market is poised for a robust growth supported by more direct flights to the state, the opening of the second Penang Bridge, strong growth in medical tourism, and a flourishing market for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions.

With 102 hotel rooms and 170 serviced two-bedroom suites, The Angsana Teluk Bahang comprising three towers of nine, 16 and 25-storey blocks with a total gross floor area of 615,000 sq ft, is Senja Aman’s flagship project. Operated by Senja Aman’s wholly-owned unit, SA Hotels & Resorts Sdn Bhd, the property will be managed as an integrated wellness resort by the Banyan Tree Group under their five-star Angsana brand.

Foong says of the 272 units, 150 two-bedroom suites are available for sale to buyers with individual strata titles. The fully-furnished suites of 950 sq ft to 1,200 sq ft with fittings and equipment package of the Angsana brand standard are priced from RM1.6mil.

Since the project’s launch for sale in March, 35% of the units available for sale have been sold for a sales value of RM100mil.

Property consultant Knight Frank has been appointed as the agent for the sale of the units.

Buyers will get to enjoy 60 days of free stay at the property a year and will automatically become members of The Sanctuary Club, an exchange programme that allows owners to exchange part of their annual entitlement for a complimentary stay at any destination within the participating network.

The suites are for compulsory leaseback to be operated as a beachfront luxury resort by Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts.

All the suites and rooms will have sea views, and guests will enjoy full five-star resort facilities.

Located on 7.4 acres in the tourist belt of Teluk Bahang, the property is be built at a gross development cost of about RM350mil and it has an estimated gross development value of RM550mil.

Foong says the land that stretches from Batu Ferringhi to Teluk Bahang, is the last prime beachfront site on the island, and is close by to a number of eco-tourism spots including the Penang National Park, Butterfly Farm, Tropical Spice Garden, the Escape Theme Park and Teluk Bahang Fishing Village.

Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts will manage the property for 25 years with an option to extend for 20 more years.

Foong says investors will find the project a hassle-free investment with attractive returns.

“Owners need not worry about the management of tenancy and the property as it will be a compulsory leaseback to the hotel operator, the experienced Banyan Tree Group. Owners will enjoy attractive annual returns of 4.5% to 6.5% during the early years which is expected to stabilise to 6% to 8% in 2020,” Foong explains.

Although the returns are not guaranteed, he says the estimated returns are based on current market performance of five-star resorts on Penang island. Foong said the collaboration with the Banyan Tree has assured the support of a reputable resort operator that will also design the interiors and provide the architectural design support for the project through its subsidiary, Architrave.

Banyan Tree will also provide the technical and project management services through its ISO-certified management arm, GPS, which will also provide the procurement and environmental sustainability design for the project.

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