How do you market a luxury condo in Ipoh, a city where there were not many high rise buildings and people loves the word ‘Taman’ which meant a landed development. How do you tell people that instead of paying RM500,000 for a semi-detached double storey in Meru, why not pay for a 1,000sf condo tucked away by nature or at nature. How do you convince people that you are building quality and that you will complete it, even though you are not a top 10 developer in Malaysia? What do you do when banks themselves try to avoid your project and said that such projects can never make it in Ipoh? Worst still, an acquaintance shouted to everyone that, ‘YOUR PROJECT WILL FAIL’ in front of other friends during a group dim sum breakfast?
I met The Haven CEO Peter Chan over two years ago. He took me around his project and this CEO knew every detail in the development. I was shown the show units, which were most impressive. Next we went up the actual units. He proudly claimed that the actual units were better than the show house units. It truly was. From the door hinges, to the quality tiles, the specially ordered dining tables, these are just a few of the tiny details that Peter has taken upon himself to ensure the buyers get the best value for their money. He was in a battle where he could not afford to just be cozy inside his office while buyers come in droves and all his sales people so busy there’s no time for lunch. The Haven was in Ipoh, not in KL or Penang.
The Haven is in Tambun, more famous for its pomelo rather than luxury condominiums. Ipoh is a city more famous for its white coffee, dry curry mee, dim sum and many more food diversity than for condo development. The argument was that land was plentiful. That’s not entirely true though. In terms of actual site, I have yet to see any development with such a natural surrounding which is just one road away from Mc-Donalds and a very nicely designed Starbucks. This would be what I would call a luxury development close to nature but with excellent connectivity. I must say that at this time and age, it would be inconvenient to stay in a luxury condo which is not connected to the world.
I love reputable developers and I am willing to pay a premium for their projects. However, I am even more attracted to developers who really put their hearts and mind into their project. Developers whose management really know their work, willing to share and never vary their vision and principles even when the objections are numerous. I told my wife the other day after I visited a small developer in Malacca that I think it is these ’boutique’ developers who deserve support and a pat on their back for striving to do better than what they promised. For the developers of the Haven, the courage to do something which has never been attempted before simply because ‘there is no such market’ in Ipoh is most admirable. Of course, The Haven is not the only such project in Malaysia but The Haven stands out because it is in Ipoh, my city, my hometown.
written on 17 July 2014.
Next suggested article: Best place always; Retire in Ipoh.