We are pleased to present you PROPCAFE guest review by our good friend Tengster.
It has been 3 long years since Tengster penned his review here. We are glad to have him back!
Mr Tengster is contactable via firstname.lastname@example.org for any queries. Now enjoy sit back his sharing!
The Eco Forest
After all the loud noise or hoo-ha in Eco Majestic in June 2014, it is time now for something different. What can we expect now? A different theme perhaps rather than the majestically houses with colonial elements. In 2014, EcoWorld bought a mid-size piece of land in somewhere pretty ‘ulu’. It is located in between Semenyih and Broga town. Numerous nicknames (or gelaran) were carved out for these two sleepy towns, ranging from cowboy towns to godforsaken places. Until now, many people will have difficulty in associating these two small towns with any landmarks or prominent icons. Semenyih is probably well known with the Semenyih dam and also the “quiet-neighborhoods” [If it is now in the 7th month of the Chinese calendar, I shall be mindful of my words.] meanwhile Broga has Broga Hill that is a great place for hikers and trail runners. A lung buster route for hard-core athletes to train there. Besides that, Nottingham University is probably a well known university in Broga. Reportedly, this university has about 5000+ students year in year out and it is supported by 700+ teaching and administrative staff from all corners of the world.
Similar to Eco Majestic, this Eco Forest is also an integrated mixed-use development project that comprises of 515 acres freehold land. But the developer calls it as modern classic master plan with tagline of “Where this sheltering forest dwells, Nature’s craft & the Artist’s hand shape both home and land..”.
What have they planned for the 515 acres?
The masterplan of the Eco Forest township (that has been approved by Majlis Perbandaran Kajang) consists of both residential and commercial. It’s is planned for an estimated GDV of RM3.5 billion (as per above link). Eco Forest will be developed in eight (8) phases. Below are the components:
- Phase 1 – Precinct 1 namely EbonyLane
- Phase 2 – Shop offices
- Phase 3 – Precinct 2 namely BirchPark
- Phase 4 – Apartment
- Phase 5 – Shop office
- Phase 6 – Precinct 3 namely HazelTon
- Phase 7 – Apartment
- Phase 8 – Commercial (near Central Park)
1.) 1800+ units of 2 storey terrace houses [to be launched in three separate phases].
2.) 3400+ units of low medium cost apartments.
3.) 25 acre Central Park (This is potentially larger than the Central Park in Eco Majestic)
1.) 300+ units of 2-3 storey terrace shops/offices
2.) Labs concept in Lake Forest Park but no shopping mall & no hypermarket. [But this could change if there is a demand.]
At Eco Forest site, everyone is very busy with their activities starting from July.
- They had their grand opening of Eco Forest on 20th
- We Bare Bears exhibition is held on the weekends on 12th August till 3rd
- They are doing fine tuning of the show houses which are scheduled to be opened to public on 9th September 2017.
- Jeng Jeng Jeng…….Eco Forest will be launching several types of terrace houses i.e. Artisan Home Collection and Garden Home Collection by end of September. Both are located in EbonyLane (may or may not be inspired by Wisteria Lane).
Basically, EbonyLane is located at the northern tip of the entire Eco Forest township. Typically, the directions of the houses are north and south orientation in which is deemed better. I probably will not be in a best position to explain why north south orientation is better. I only can remember reading it somewhere or perhaps listening the theory from Dato Joey Yap that houses positioned in north south orientation is much more climatic responsive and energy efficient.
There are three type of homes lined up as Artisan Home Collection. In their Ipad’s slides, it says Artisan Home Collection is a curated collection of bespoke home design which unfold spaces with framed view, sky lights and defined finished, creating works of art and architectural within the nature. Let me try to put it in a more layman terms. Pretty much the houses are shaped and expressed in A-frame façade, with efficient and practical layout and also optimized natural lightings. And yes, due to façade and theme reasons, these layouts have internal toilets that require mechanical ventilation.
Type 1A1/1A2: Stripe 20×65 – 1,865 sqft : price starting from RM618K
Type 1B1/1B2: Pleat 20×70 – 1,950 sqft : price starting from RM668K
Type 1C1/1C2: Gable 22×70 – 2,137 & 2,067 sqft : price starting from RM678K
Garden Home Collection is also expressed in A-frame or double AA-frame facade.
Type 1D1: Layer 30×62 – 2,355 sqft : price starting from RM792K
Type 1E1/1E2: Lapel 30×62 – 2,143 & 2,342 sqft : price starting from RM811K
Eco Forest Location
This project is located between Semenyih and Broga. (see below map). Technically, it is under Selangor territory and MPKJ. The postcode should be 43500.
Eco Forest Accesses
At present, the only feasible access is from Jalan Semenyih and turn to Jalan Broga in which one will pass by Semenyih Lake Country Club, Taman Tasik Semenyih,
University of Nottingham and quiet neighbor (not visible from the road). In short, Eco Forest is having a single access scenario unless one decides to drive through Broga town to make a BIG detour (via single lane trunk road). I mean really a long distance detour which makes take additional half hour drive. Who still remember single access scenario in Kota Kemuning? A huge lorry broke down at the first roundabout which obstructed the entire access in which thousands of residents stucked there. Some decided to take a day OFF and many were late for work. What if it is an emergency situation such as waterbag of a pregnant lady burst or someone showing multiple signs of stroke needs to be sent to nearest hospital? Will this happen to Eco Forest? Never say Never.
Reportedly, the land at the south side and south west side of the Eco Forest boundary are owned by two developers. If and only if they decide to build something there in early stage, then a second access could happen earlier. Will they help each other in a symbiosis manner like what we witnessed in Eco Majestic and EcoHill? Possibility of having a second access is far-fetch wish list at the moment.
Nevertheless, a proposed second access at the southwest corner is part of the local council masterplan. The access will link to the land owned by Boustead. There is no fixed deadline when this plan will be executed.
Accessibility to key destinations
Below information is picked up from the brochure. Klang Valley traffic is not a place that one can cruise control at the allowable maximum speed limit easily. Instead of putting time estimate, below is the distance in km.
0.5 km to Broga Hillpark
2.5 km to Notttingham University
10 km to Eco Majestic
20 km to Cheras
25 km to Putrajaya
40 km to KLIA or Kuala Lumpur
Note: EcoWorld is a fast learner species. In EM brochure, they put estimate time travel in which many can argue and some kowpehkowboo until their ears feel uneasy. Even Waze, an online real-time can have a fairly large tolerance (ralat), apatah lagi EkoDunia.
Land Tenure – This plot of land is FREEHOLD LAND.
- Fully gated and guarded (GnG) with strata-titles. Many a time, people want to find out what is the difference between stratified GnG and normal GnG with individual title. Theoretically, both are governed by house rules namely DMC but the execution part is a bit tricky. For stratified GnG, they are under the ambit of Strata Title Act 1985 and Building and Common Property Act 2007. Both acts similar but different. The former is for those properties that have obtained strata-title while the former is for those that have yet to get it. We shall know how long it takes to get the strata titles. Some say 10 years. Stratified GnG could utilize these Acts to execute their rights to collect maintenance fund, sinking fund, enforce house rules, take necessary actions on those who default payment, etc. These two Acts can only ensure that all the outstanding maintenance fees could be settled prior to completing execution of a SPA between purchaser and sub sale buyers.
- The A-frame concept – This A frame concept pretty much offers a revitalized shift of mindset on how a terrace house can look like in an environment that embraces its natural surroundings.
- The 25-acre Lake Forest Park – This 25-acre park is located in the center of Eco Forest which pretty much symbolize heart of the township. It is strategically located in the heart of Eco Forest in which it is accessible from all phases and also the commercial area. The park is also carefully designed for runners/joggers/walkers and cyclists where dedicated 3 meter and 4.5 meter are allocated for them respectively.
Facilities – The 25-acre Central Park and the running/cycling route located within Eco Forest roads will probably be the standing-out-of-the crowd features. These features probably jive very well with the theme of Eco Forest. Linear park and some small lakes/water features are also located within the same phase.
Maintenance cost – Similar to Eco Majestic, the forecasted maintenance fee is about 10 – 12 cent PSF based on the land size. To maintain the linear park, all the green (with higher green ratio), water features, utility bills within the phases and security will need certain minimum cost. The 25-acre Lake Forest Park may not sound to be wonderful idea if the purchasers need to chip in a large sum on monthly basis to maintain the park and its ancillary facilities. Luckily for the purchasers, the huge park will be handed-over to local authority for maintenance. On top of that, the developer will probably continue to maintain the park rather than ‘cuci tangan’ and leave them to the ‘prihatin pihak berkenaan’. Maintenance cost is not cheap for such park. Just to throw some number and quote an example. Let say the The Central Park in DPC where Water Front is located, it can easily rake up to RM2-3 million annually.
Access & Security – There is a gated and guarded community for the residential. There is a single controlled access for every phase. In each phase, there is a driveway to the main entrance (with dual lanes on each side) with grand guardhouse. Emblem fencing (10 feet) will be installed along the boundary facing internal (within Eco Forest) while those boundary facing other third party’s land/development will be equipped with 10 feet anti climb fencing. Such fencings can be seen at Eco Majestic now. Apart from the ‘canggih fencing’, perimeter CCTV system will be installed to monitor for intruder along the perimeter.
Layout and Façade – There are five main published layouts for EbonyLane. Four out of five of them have two variants in which each and everyone has their own pros and cons. The options of layout are carefully put up to suit various types of purchasers which includes (1) those who like a small living hall on the First Floor, (2) those who die die must have ensuite bathroom (tengster included), (3) double volume living hall (Gable) where they can put up a small drinking bar to their favorite whisky or Puer tea, etc. All the units have a good 20 feet of car porch width which can fit in two mid-size sedan car. As for kitchen, there is no longer an option of wet and dry kitchen. Ecoworld is putting up a all-in-1 kitchen. Why they are doing so? Apparently, they think home stayers/upgraders nowadays are more inclined to cook in a much less intensive manner. In the olden days, we use lesung tangan (mortar and pestle) to crush our chili, lemongrass or turmeric (before we can cook chicken curry) but now we use blender or we buy the WIP (i.e. pre-grinded mixture of chili and other ingredients) from nearest market. Our parents use conventional gas stove to fry fishes and cause everywhere oily but nowadays we opt to use air fryer. Moreover, we can now use induction cooker rather than conventional stove with a need to store a 15-kg LPG cylinder. Imagine the space saving! And do we really need wet and dry kitchen?
I am unable comment each layout in a too specific manner. I have a favourite in my mind and this will be discussed at later section. Façade of each and every unit is based on A-frame design, another proven timeless design. Some critics would probably say this is a bold move and then others could say this is a trendsetter. For the A-frame design, I have a buddy who loves the A-frame at first sight. She actually calls it a Minion. Similar to Eco Majestic, one will not be able to see toilet window from the façade. The ground floor toilet is located internally and will have a simple mechanical ventilation fan. Door height is 2400 mm (8 feet) for all doors with varies width. For instance, the main entrance come with a width of 1,200 mm in which your ‘big kahuna furniture’ should have no problem getting into the house meanwhile internal room doors are 900 mm wide (standard width). Toilet doors are relatively narrower (800 mm). Floor to floor ceiling is 11 feet and 10 feet for Ground Floor and First Floor respectively.
Ramly Specials – For those who are keen to buy or already bought the Type 1A1, this type comes with a first floor ceiling of 5 meter. Practically, a mezzanine floor can be constructed in consultation with competent engineer.
Backyard garden – Distance between buildings wall to wall is about 16 – 20 feet. Landscape and certain plants will be put in place at the backyard area. Several benches will be placed there too, making the backyard look more like a linear park rather than backyard to keep idling stuff from each household or for cooking. Be rest assured that this backyard area will not be a dumping ground for unwanted household items as this area is defined as common area except the boundary within the property line of respective unit.
Green and densities – Since Eco Forest is a fully stratified property, they will have higher minimum requirement of allocated green areas as compared to individual title property or Fenced and Guarded (FNG). More green can indirectly translate to lower densities. As per the sales person I met, the allocated green area is slightly higher than Eco Majestic. This is unverified news at the time of review writing.
Technical finishing specification – Apart from the getting more common 2×2 porcelain tiles in living room/dining room and also laminated veneer in bedroom, the sizes of the door caught my attention. All the doors have the same height which is 2,400 mm while the width varies from 1,200 mm (main door) to 800 mm (toilet door). 3-phase TNB supply is provided to each unit. All services (IWK, Syabas, TNB, fiber optic, etc.) are running underground. Each unit is equipped with 2-nos aircond piping i.e. at living hall and masterbedroom. Some will say boh-kau-leh (literally means not enough in Hokkien). Optional package to add aircond piping is offered. I really suggest those who need more AC units in your units, please grab this opportunity to take up the offer. Hacking the wall to camouflage the insulated refrigerant copper piping and also the PVC condensate could be pretty challenging at times. Whenever hacking is involved, you need to resurface it and repaint it to exactly the same color and preferably same smoothness of the wall. Good luck to those who prefer to hack the wall using their own contractors.
Time for a quick coffee break shall we…
ahemmm….our author Mr Tengster went out for water break. While you may refill your coffee now, and he will back shortly with pricing, USP, concerns and milestones.
In the meanwhile leaves us comments, the more comments the sooner we will post the part 2 Eco Forest Review.
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