Friday, October 17, 2008

YTL Launches Sandy Island Villas On Sentosa Cove

Source : The Business Times, October 16, 2008

It also sells 3 villas, and the highest price registered so far is $2,100 psf

ULTRA-high net worth individuals with at least $13.9 million to spare will now have a new piece of luxury to own - a Sandy Island villa on Sentosa Cove - after Malaysia's YTL Group launched its collection of 18 waterfront villas hereyesterday.

Waterfront luxury: The Sandy Island villas have been designed by Italian architect Claudio Silvestrin, while gardens for the villas and the island's lush setting are the works of Australian landscape designer Jamie Durie

Nestled within a tropical rainforest setting, the villas have generated strong local and global interest, said YTL Group. Three villas have been sold, and the highest price registered so far stands at $2,100 per square foot (psf).

The 99-year leasehold properties have built-up areas ranging from 7,500 to 9,200 sq ft. Designed by Italian architect Claudio Silvestrin, whose work includes the Giorgio Armani flagship stores, each villa is unique in layout and furnishings.

Gardens for the villas as well as the island's lush setting are the works of Jamie Durie, one of Australia's best landscape designers.

'Singapore is an increasingly sophisticated country attracting the global affluent who want to buy luxury landed property, which is permitted only in Sentosa Cove. These wealthy individuals expect the best,' said Francis Yeoh, chairman of YTL Corporation, parent of the YTL Group.

In fact, the desire to create 'the best' for potential clients contributed to a delay in Sandy Island's launch. Nonetheless, this was none too worrying for Dr Yeoh, whose overriding concern was to assemble a strong team of designers to create properties which can withstand the test of time. 'You can't hurry a good thing,' he said in an interview with BT.

Neither is Dr Yeoh overly worried about launching the villas amid today's global financial fallout. 'For me, (timing) is not important, just because there is an economic cycle that is not the most pleasant to launch this product,' he said. 'You need not suffer the cycles if you truly have the quality.'

Savills Singapore is the marketing agent for the Sandy Island collection. According to its marketing and business development director Ku Swee Yong, there remain cash-rich individuals who have not been significantly affected by the financial turmoil.

Apart from locals, individuals from regions such as Hong Kong, Japan, Europe and the Middle East have also shown interest in the villas, he said. In today's climate, 'the urgency to commit (to a purchase) is a bit less', Mr Ku remarked. But he added that the financial turmoil has also caused some investors to feel more secure parking their wealth in properties instead of banks.

For YTL, Sandy Island is among several other projects it has for the Singapore market. Should the right prime address come along, the group will develop a new luxury mall - Starhill Gallery - here. The company is also working on a new development at the Westwood Apartments site in Orchard. 'Singapore is an address which I believe cannot be ignored,' said Dr Yeoh. 'I would say that the Chinese, Indians and Southeast Asians, the future's very rich would love to invest in a place like Singapore.'

And beyond Singapore, weaker global markets could present more investment opportunities for YTL globally. 'I hope this is my opportunity to pick up a few prime properties around the world. . . I'm looking forward to doing a few deals this calendar year.'

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