Imagine this — walking through a lush green landscaped plaza dotted with 15m high trees, into a glass lantern lobby 9m high, supported by elegant round black steel columns that are contrasted by over-burnt brickwork flooring.
No, you're not at an exotic holiday destination tucked away somewhere in a mystical location. Welcome to the Petaling Jaya Trade Centre (PJTC), a cluster of leasehold offices being built on the fringe of Selangor's Damansara Perdana township.
The simplistic and conventional name of PJ Trade Centre belies the story of this up-coming true-blue office development. More than that, this is also a story of the debut of Ahmad Khalif, the son of prominent property developer Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal, co- founder of MK Land Holdings Bhd, in the property development arena.
Going against the flow of conventional boxed but tried-and-tested office buildings that shout sleek marble and granite finishing, the duo of Ahmad Khalif Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal and Peter Chan is taking a stand on what a truly Malaysian-inspired grade A office development should be all about. (Chan was the former chief operating officer of Saujana Triangle Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of MK Land Holdings and developer of the 750-acre leasehold Damansara Perdana township.) The name of the developer is Tujuan Gemilang Sdn Bhd of which Chan is the executive director. The 26-year-old Ahmad Khalif, formerly general manager (special functions department) in MK Land, holds the post of executive chairman.
Interestingly, the architectural design, character and even the spirit of PJTC are deliberately made to depart from the trodden path of developers. For starters, the design of the façade of the four tower blocks is inspired by the age-old Malaysian art of intricate weaving. Apart from the main lobby areas (one in each of the four blocks), which will be cooled with the aid of air-conditioners, the corridors and other common areas have been designed to make full use of the flow of cross winds.
The layout design of the office units says a great deal of the deliberate use of abundant natural lighting. Natural air circulation is also generously promoted, thanks to the installation of windows rather than fixed glass façades.
For a refreshing change, the building materials used are strictly local. But would the starkly back-to-basics design narrow its target market base? Sleek and shiny granite or marble is, after all, still the usual choice for high-end buildings these days.
The Ahmad Khalif-Chan team is unfazed. "We are taking a stand on this matter; we are aware that there will be those who are not in tune with it; but so be it," says Chan. "We have even told our staff to be prepared for more rejection than usual..." It is as if Chan is reminding himself of the self-admitted daunting task ahead.
Chan is not joking. Not exactly known to be one who minces his words, he concedes that he is very aware of the stiff competition he faces, together with factors like rising interest rates and their brave venture into untested design grounds.
"All we need is just 137 buyers," he says, again almost reassuring himself. "That's all...," Chan continues.
PJTC comprises four blocks. Block A will not be for sale — it is given back to the land owner, MK Land's Saujana Triangle, in exchange for the 5.4-acre tract and some cash. Here, Ahmad Khalif points out that there were restraints set right from the start — in that, to avoid competition and any form of conflict of interest, the understanding with the landowner was that plans for this tract should not comprise any product being offered in Damansara Perdana by Saujana Triangle. Block D is being marketed en bloc. Blocks C & D comprise 137 units, the regular type of which are sized from 2,143 to 2,945 sq ft. There are penthouses for sale — these are huge, to the tune of 19,581 sq ft!
The average pricing is set at RM360 psf but for now, the developer is offering a discount of 5% and an additional early bird discount of 3%. This effectively brings the psf rate down to RM330. Before the 8% discount, the typical units are priced from RM760,800 to RM1.15 million (see project fact sheet).