Friday, October 19, 2007

A LITTLE-KNOWN Malaysian businessman has pledged to take luxury living in Sentosa Cove to new heights with a collection of plush villas on Sandy Isle

A LITTLE-KNOWN Malaysian businessman has pledged to take luxury living in Sentosa Cove to new heights with a collection of plush villas on Sandy Island.

Dr Derek Wong is building 18 homes aimed at ‘ultra-high’ net worth buyers, including foreign celebrities. The homes will range in size from about 6,500 sq ft to 12,000 sq ft, with prices likely to start at around $12 million.

‘It will be an island oasis with a tropical setting,’ said Dr Wong, the managing director of Genesis-Alliance, which won a tender to acquire Sandy Island in March for $89.7 million.

Genesis-Alliance is a joint venture between Malaysian conglomerate YTL Corp and LP Worlds, of which Dr Wong is the major shareholder.

Dr Wong’s residential projects in Malaysia are mainly mass-market ones developed by his firm LP Worlds.

He also owns the master dealership for audio firm Bang & Olufsen in Malaysia and is developing the US$100 million (S$147.5 million) condo The Palazzio in Kuala Lumpur with Malaysian developer Sunway City.

Dr Wong, who owns homes in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia, clearly knows something about style.

The dapper 53-year-old, who has a PhD in business science, has designed some of his own shoes and clothes. He also holds a franchise for the Armani/Casa store at the Raffles Hotel arcade.

It is the first outlet in South-east Asia to sell furniture and home accessories designed by fashion designer Giorgio Armani.

For Sandy Island, Dr Wong has roped in Italian consultant Claudio Silverstrin as lead architect while the landscaping will be done by Australian Jamie Durie, who appears on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Mr Silverstrin is the designer of Giorgio Armani stores around the world and his name would immediately ring a bell with Armani connoisseurs. As the villa project’s marketing manager, Mr Richard Leen, pointed out: ‘Our villas are aimed at those who have heard of Silverstrin.’

Each villa will be designed to offer plenty of privacy, with mature trees to be transplanted from other parts of Sentosa, and other vegetation lining the entrances and sides of the homes.

Each one will also have a berth for a boat and a pool. The bathrooms and kitchens will be custom-designed by Mr Silverstrin.

There will be a guard post at the Sandy Island entrance in the gated Sentosa Cove.

Unlike traditional homes, the Sandy Island villas, which will be launched early next year, will have a lean main door that opens out to the canal. And residents will be able to drive straight into the basement carpark - a rare feature for bungalows.

‘Nobody has gone through this trouble for a project,’ said Dr Wong.

He noted the timeliness of the project as Singapore’s upcoming integrated resorts have made the country more attractive to foreigners.

YTL and LP Worlds were in partnership to develop Lakefront Collection in Sentosa Cove. Acquired last September, this plot now comes under Genesis-Alliance and will be launched later next year.

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