Driven by ambitious developers, Asia's luxury real estate is coming of age.
In no area is the maxim "change is the only constant" truer than in Asian real estate. Across the region, one would be hard pressed to find a city or town completely untouched by real estate development. In many ways development has supported the region's economic growth, giving rise to the industrial parks and business districts that helped create Asia's new wealth. This growing wealth has spurred demand for better and safer homes, forever changing the landscape of Asia's cities.
And the journey continues. As more Asians attain greater wealth, the demand for luxury living is taking off. What's more, investors around the world see Asia as the future growth engine of the world economy. Not only do they want to invest in the opportunities Asia has to offer, they also want to live in Asia.
In days past, the concept of luxury real estate in Asia brought to mind stately bungalows amid groves of fruit trees, or perhaps sprawling homes with views overlooking Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor — and armies of servants to look after every possible need. Today, luxury living in Asia is all about modernity: the finest kitchen appliances from Europe, the most elegant fittings and materials, and technological wonders that simplify even the most arduous tasks.
Across Asia, pioneering developers are working to meet this need. In Singapore, Far East Organization will bring high-end living to an entirely new level with its Boulevard Vue development, a short walk from the Orchard Road shopping district. In Hong Kong, Pacific Century Premium Development's Bel- Air brings luxury living to the western tip of Hong Kong Island with impressive views across the South China Sea.
Few skylines have changed more than Kuala Lumpur's (KL). A sleepy, quiet town in years past, KL has become one of Asia's most cosmopolitan cities, symbolized by the iconic Petronas Twin Towers. KH Land's Kenny Heights development will again change KL's landscape. With 88 acres located 5 kilometers from the city center, Kenny Heights is set to become one of KL's major commercial hubs.
The Philippines is also emerging as a key destination for business and leisure travel. Property developer Megaworld has been a pioneer in providing offices for business process outsourcing. The Department of Tourism of the Philippines, recognizing that foreign investors may want to own a slice of paradise, has ambitious programs for international investors to buy property in prime tourism destinations.
For those on extended trips to Asia, Oakwood International, the world's leading serviced-apartment firm, is rapidly expanding into both China and India. In KL, the Regent Residences Kuala Lumpur will offer unsurpassed luxury and service in the heart of the city.
Irrespective of the challenges now facing the world economy, the long-term prospects for real estate in Asia remain undiminished. This special section will show that those with a taste for luxury real estate and the funds to afford it have much to look forward to in the coming years.
A New View for Singapore's Global Elite
Boulevard Vue, a new development by Far East Organization, will redefine luxury living in Singapore.
Singapore is a city transformed. Although this citystate has always been international, it has more recently evolved into the world's most globalized nation. In line with this evolution, Singapore's stature as a safe haven for wealth has grown rapidly as the world's rich recognize its world-class financial system, political stability, pro-business outlook and secure environment built on a foundation of integrity, rule of law and first-class infrastructure. What's more, they have come to value the country's sheer physical beauty and unsurpassed cultural diversity. The influx of sophisticated, cosmopolitan talent from all over the world has also definitively transformed the city's zeitgeist, adding an exciting spin and buzz to the already multicultural and multiracial mix.
As Singapore's prominence has grown, so too has the demand for ultra-exclusive real estate that rivals the finest developments in leading global cities such as New York, London and Tokyo. Singapore's Boulevard Vue will be such a development. Created with the global elite in mind, it will set a new benchmark for luxury living. Its developer, Far East Organization, has about five decades of experience in Singapore. Among the more than 700 developments it has built in the nation, it lays claim to award-winning projects like The Bayshore, Far East Square and the iconic Fullerton Hotel.
With only 26 units and two penthouses, Boulevard Vue is a rare find. Nestled in an exclusive enclave within the Orchard Road shopping district, each unit covers a very generous 4,500 square feet, while the two penthouses cover more than 8,000 square feet and 11,000 square feet, respectively. At such sizes, and given their location on some of Singapore's most prime property, they represent luxury living at its very peak. The starting cost for each is approximately $12 million.
Location, Design and Customization
"Boulevard Vue will appeal to only the most discerning property buyers in the world," says Chia Boon Kuah, Chief Operating Officer, Property Sales and Executive Director of Far East Organization. "Its key pillars are location, thoughtful design and each unit's broad scope for customization."
The windows and balconies of Boulevard Vue's residences will look out across the city, with Singapore's lush foliage forming an ocean of greenery around the base of the building. The lower floors have been set aside for two pools, gyms, spas and dining pavilions. Each apartment comes with at least three parking spaces. Security is a top priority, with an advanced yet discreet system being built into Boulevard Vue's design.
Boulevard Vue's bespoke interiors, however, will be its defining characteristic. Owners will be able to fully customize their apartment. Going beyond just a choice in colors or veneers, Far East Organization will go the extra mile and change entire layouts, rooms, materials and fixtures to fit the specific aspirations of the owner. Far East Organization will provide the expertise and even fly in designers and craftsmen to ensure that the vision of every Boulevard Vue owner becomes a reality.
The Boulevard Vue show suite on Scotts Road, not far from Boulevard Vue's future site, hints at what is possible. In the kitchen, a walk-in cold room brims with champagne bottles and delicacies from around the world. The bathroom in the master bedroom boasts a vast rainforest shower. Beyond this is a balcony with a built-in Jacuzzi, where residents can enjoy a soothing bath with sweeping views of the night skyline.
A prime location, thoughtful design and customization promise to make Boulevard Vue Singapore's address of choice. Says Mr. Chia: "Boulevard Vue exemplifies how commitment, form and function can come together to build a sophisticated product. We are going beyond the ordinary and breaking new ground in the quest to customize that perfect home for every buyer."
Kenny Heights: Kuala Lumpur's New Top Address
Located just five kilometers north of central Kuala Lumpur, Kenny Heights is set to rank among Malaysia's leading commercial and residential addresses.
Visitors to Kuala Lumpur over the years have noticed startling changes. Aside from gaining a bright new skyline, Malaysia's capital city has also grown well beyond its traditional bounds. This growth has consumed most of the major building plots near the city center, making KH Land's Kenny Heights development perhaps the last mixed-use development in the affluent Mont' Kiara, Damansara Heights and Kenny Hills region.
Kenny Heights spans 88 prime acres that will be developed over the next 10 to 15 years. Seventy percent of the land will be developed as commercial real estate including offices, hotels, retail, food and beverage, and entertainment establishments. It will also offer facilities catering to medical and educational tourism. The remaining 30% will be developed as high-end residential property.
Key Commercial Hub
As with any major property development, location is the key to success, and the location of Kenny Heights, just five kilometers north of central KL, ensures that it will become the commercial hub of the Mont' Kiara, Bangsar and Damansara Heights region — one of the four designated international zones in the Draft Kuala Lumpur 2020 City Plan.
In addition to an ideal location, Kenny Heights has ready access to the highways that link Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, KL Sentral and Kuala Lumpur International Airport. This has positioned Kenny Heights as part of the District Centre Commercial under KL City Hall's land-zoning plan, which will see the urban rail network extended to the development along Kenny Heights's central thoroughfare, Jalan Sri Hartamas, and paralleled to the new Istana Negara (National Palace) site.
In the immediate area are some of KL's most prominent attractions and upmarket neighborhoods. Kenny Heights is a short distance from Bukit Kiara Forest Reserve, a tranquil haven for nature lovers. Also nearby are the Garden International School, Mont' Kiara International School and the French International School. For sports lovers, Kenny Heights is located near several leading golf courses and clubs, such as Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC), Bukit Kiara Equestrian Club and Royal Selangor Club.
Phase one of the development covers 23 acres and forms the commercial and residential nucleus of Kenny Heights. It includes the residential precincts of Kenny Heights Estates, Kenny Heights Sanctuary and the commercial hub of Kenny Heights Central.
Kenny Heights Estate will be particularly interesting to foreign investors. A residential enclave that will offer 49 exclusive four-story villas, each of its villas will cover 5,300 to 6,700 square feet and feature a lift as well as a garage for two cars. The roof will have a 36-foot-long private swimming pool in a garden, which will give residents the opportunity to reconnect with nature. These exclusive villas are designed by one of the world's leading architects, Kengo Kuma, well known for unifying the environmental architecture into buildings, while Patrick Blanc, famous botanist and creator of the Vertical Garden, provided added personal touch with an indoor vertical garden for some of the units.
Kenny Heights Sanctuary is designed with nature in mind. Composed of four condominium towers, Kenny Heights Sanctuary will be surrounded by a spectacular garden designed by John Van Hage, the youngest gold-medal winner in the Chelsea Flower Gardens Show. One of the towers will be the Conran Residences, the first global Conran-branded property to be designed by the legendary Sir Terence Conran.
Kenny Heights Central will offer a range of alfresco dining, retail and entertainment options and includes a neighborhood mall by Benoy. It will also include serviced residences designed by renowned architects Foster and Partners as well as by David Adjaye, while the low-rise residences will be designed by Conran and Partners. The anchor tower will be a luxury hotel designed by Foster and Partners.
Kenny Heights has attracted considerable interest from both the media and investors. Its prime location and unparalleled design ensure that Kenny Heights will become Kuala Lumpur's new midtown.
Kuala Lumpur: High Living Re-imagined
When completed in 2011, The Regent Residences Kuala Lumpur will both redefine and "re-imagine" luxury living in the heart of the city.
Swimming pools are de rigueur at five-star serviced apartments, but swimming pools that ring a building's 38th floor are virtually unheard of. The Regent Residences Kuala Lumpur, however, has such a pool. Far above the city, enjoying a fresh poolside breeze, residents can swim and sunbathe with sweeping views of downtown Kuala Lumpur. Although The Regent Residences Kuala Lumpur is not due to open until 2011, it has already generated substantial buzz among international real estate pundits.
The Regent Residences Kuala Lumpur will be located directly next to K Residence, Malaysia's tallest condominium and fourth-tallest structure, and will be a short walk from KL's iconic Petronas Twin Towers. This places The Regent Residences Kuala Lumpur squarely in the center of KL's most prestigious area. What's more, The Regent Residences Kuala Lumpur will share a 38th floor tower with The Regent Kuala Lumpur, a five-star property.
The Regent Residences Kuala Lumpur will have 115 units, each bearing the imprint of the five-star Regent brand. Units come with one to three bedrooms, and there are two levels of sprawling penthouse units. The serviced apartments are spacious, ranging in size from 548 square feet to 2,506 square feet. This exclusive property will offer units for singles, couples and families. Its luxurious penthouses range in size from 2,634 square feet to 3,719 square feet.
The interiors of the units will be the defining feature of this groundbreaking serviced-apartment development. Designed by renowned designer Sir Terence Conran, the units will be bright and airy with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, allowing residents the chance to unwind as they take in KL's dramatic skyline. The main theme of the units will be "quiet elegance" — refreshing, clear and understated with clean, simple lines.
Rounding out the units' interiors will be exclusive fittings and furnishings. For those who like to cook, the units will be equipped with top-line kitchen appliances from Italian kitchen maker Miele. The bathrooms will feature the best possible porcelain fixtures and imported marble flooring. Every item in the units will be careful chosen for the comfort, convenience and pleasure of residents.
The Regent Residences Kuala Lumpur has been described as "high living re-imagined." This exclusive new serviced-apartment residence will forever change the face of high living in the heart of KL, as both an integral part of Malaysia's most prestigious neighborhood and a sanctuary from the hustle of city life. Life is indeed looking up.
Photo Credit: Far East Organization