IJM Land Bhd’s Vertiq condominium launch in Penang last weekend saw overnight queues forming days before the launch on March 3.
Almost all its non-bumiputera units were taken up on the day of the launch, bringing to an overall 65% take-up rate of the project after taking into account a 30% bumiputera allocation, said Toh Chin Leong, IJM Land general manager for property development in the northern region.
“All the units facing the sea and the smaller city-facing units were taken up. About 80% of the units face the sea while the remainder look out to the city,” Toh told The Edge Financial Daily.
Vertiq is coming up on a 2.31-acre (0.9ha) freehold tract within the Metro East area of Penang, home to several of IJM Land’s developments such as Bayswater and Platino condos. It has a gross development value of RM231 million and comprises 318 units within a 35-storey tower. Prices range from RM540,000 to RM1.2 million per unit, while built-ups range from 1,044 to 2,303 sq ft. According to Toh, the units with ocean views fetch an average of RM560 psf while the other units command an average of RM520 psf.
Of the 318 units, 150 have built-ups of 1,044 sq ft, 47 units with 1,302 sq ft, 29 units (2,056 sq ft), 26 units (1,055 sq ft), 25 units (1,281 sq ft), 16 units (1,668 sq ft), 10 units (1,496 sq ft) while the last two units are of 2,303 sq ft.
To entice buyers, IJM Land has offered three parking bays for the smaller units with non-ocean view looking into the Greenlane area of Penang instead of the standard two bays, Toh said.
“We plan to release the bumiputera units once construction is 80% completed, in accordance with the state government’s requirements,” he added.
Over 200 people camped outside the sales gallery at Lebuh Tunku Kudin on the morning of the launch.
“People started queuing from Tuesday (Feb 28). We noticed that a lot of people in the line did not fit the typical buyer profile, and we suspected that they were lining up to sell their spots in the queue. So what we did was ask them to fill up forms with their names and IC numbers. We told them if these names and numbers did not appear on the S&P, they will be disqualified from buying the properties,” he said.
This did not deter some people from hiring others to line up for them in the queue, with some buyers apparently paying up to RM250 a day to do so.
Toh recounted an incident during the release of the bumiputera allocation of the Light Linear condos on Jan 10. The Light Linear is part of IJM Land’s RM5 billion mixed-use waterfront development named The Light.
“A woman came up to us to verify a number she had bought from someone in the line for RM40,000. We don’t want to encourage this type of activity,” he recounted.
“In previous launches, housewives and office workers lined up for projects. You could tell that they were actually interested in units for their own use,” he explained.
In the case of Vertiq, those who could not provide the relevant details left the line while the rest continued according to numbered seats, Toh said.
“Before the launch, we put out 138 numbered seats in the lobby of our office. We eventually gave out more numbers. We also set up tents to protect them from the sun and rain.
“Buyers have to line up and work together to make sure no one cuts the queue. Buyers would leave their family members or maids to take care of the seat and bring food to them. Some would bring trolley bags full of tumblers of water, books, laptops and other things they needed to keep themselves occupied,” he said.
As an additional measure to curb speculative purchase of Vertiq units, buyers were only allowed to buy one or two units if the second unit is at least 1,927 sq ft.
However, an exception was given to five groups of bulk buyers comprising loyal IJM Land customers, explained Toh. They were allowed to buy two small units from level 20 onwards as well as a medium unit and a large one from any floor.
The condo’s car park will be connected to Pearl Piazza’s retail level via a sky bridge and both entrances will feature security touch card systems.
Level six of Vertiq will feature facilities such as pools, a gym, a barbeque pit, children’s playground, forest gym, jogging track, tea room, reading room, half basketball court and community hall.
Meanwhile, level 20 will house a sky garden, sky lounge and viewing cube. – The Edge Malaysia