In the absence of a crystal ball, an aspiring property investor would be wise to consider buying an apartment in a currently ramshackle area with a large number of new restaurants, shops, and cafe openings. If waiting for this kind of naturally occurring gentrification doesn’t sound appealing, there’s another, faster way to determine which parts of the city are on the verge of popping— tracking new city-builds.
Such built-from-scratch townships, or cities within cities, are gaining in popularity, especially among millennials who want more space and better amenities for their families. To meet the demand, developers around the world are in a tight race to deliver integrated communities where life is less hectic and nature features prominently. Not only does such pivot help to enhance their existing value proposition by contributing to the country's economic development in a more sustainable way, but they also end up influencing where and how the next generation of urbanites will live.
In Asia, China is famously engaged in city-building on an epic scale. But in Vietnam it’s the smaller urban developments, with nature at their core, that are quickly winning over local homeowners. And in many ways, it’s the consumers themselves who are driving the township trend. The Vietnamese are growing pickier when it comes to developer’s credentials, demanding reduced environmental footprint, enhanced quality of life, and they expect no less than the same high quality they see when visiting places like Singapore.
Established in 1995, Gamuda Land has been on a mission to be a leader in creating sustainable and integrated township developments and has built an impressive track record of innovative developments by creating holistic, sustainable township communities around Malaysia, Australia, Singapore and Vietnam.
To understand the market dynamics better, we spoke with Angus Liew Bing Fooi, General Director of Gamuda Land Ho Chi Minh City, about what it takes to be custodians of the land, building in a way that preserves the natural environment, and creating places that people want to be a part of, grow up, and grow old in.
What values have driven the Gamuda Land's story and commitment to “delivering innovative developments and creating sustainable township communities”?
Our philosophy is that our residents deserve to live in a well-planned, clean, safe and accessible environment. Together with our focus on biodiversity and sustainability, these are the key features that help Gamuda Land build perfect living places.
The responsibilities that come with being a sustainable town-maker go beyond simply planning and designing these communities well. Every person deserves to live in a place that is safe, convenient, and where they are cared for. From designing our towns in a smart way to respecting the beauty of the nature around them to taking care of the residents once they've moved in, we're unlocking new opportunities in urban living with our sustainability efforts.
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Beyond location, maintenance, and design, what are you prioritizing as a property developer to ensure an optimal and sustainable township?
“Respecting nature and environment” is always our top priority when developing projects. In fact, the first thing we consider when planning our townships is looking at what mother nature can do for us and for the community, and then integrating it as much as we can. A well-thought-out sustainable development strategy can go a long way, so we make sure to put our best efforts in preserving that nature and promoting biodiversity as much as possible; we're not just creating homes for people, but for the fauna and flora as well.
What does creating a ‘holistic lifestyle’ for residents mean?
At Gamuda Land, we believe that we are the custodians of the land. Besides creating a peaceful atmosphere, this means investing in future-proofing our towns with infrastructure like highway interchanges for smooth transport links, central parks for afternoon walks with the family, high-speed internet connectivity for work, and so much more.
A holistic township is a place where you can spend the whole day without having to leave. Gamuda Land's Celadon City, a green urban township in the center of Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Phu District for instance, has AEON Shopping Mall for your grocery runs, a huge Sports and Resort Club for the athletic-minded, a gorgeous central park, a golf-cart system to whisk you around the town, and schools as well! And now with the upcoming launch of OfficeHaus within Celadon, Saigon's first office building with contactless technology, we’re completing this world-class township with a cherry on top. Residents will have access to a modern office space just a couple of steps from their homes. And along with its ease of access, the building’s “form follows function'' design will give employees a working environment that exceeds even their most complex needs.
What differentiates your township developments in Vietnam from Malaysia (where your other developments are located)?
Vietnam’s economy has grown remarkably in the past decades. The demand for quality housing is rising in lockstep with living standards and it is happening very quickly. In that sense, Vietnam’s emerging economy is no different to what we are seeing in other countries: everyone wants a living space that is comfortable, convenient, peaceful, safe, etc… and we believe that they deserve it.
There aren’t many developers in the country that offer what we do, which is why we set out to bring our world-class townships and practice from Malaysia to Vietnam in 2009. But there is no difference between the projects we created in Vietnam and the projects we had delivered there. Saigon’s Celadon City, for example, follows the same height standard as Gamuda Cove in Souther Klang Valley, Malaysia.
As one of the leading engineering, construction and infrastructure groups in Malaysia, what brought you to Vietnam?
Vietnam's young and eager people are the reason why the country's market has tremendous potential. And besides that, Vietnam is currently working on many international trade agreements including EVFTA, EVIPA, and CPTPP, which makes the country a great destination for business. Every day we are seeing the arrival of more and more international brands and new factories popping up around the country. Coupled with increased foreign direct investment and a growing middle class, this environment creates an even higher demand for housing in Vietnam. Vietnamese people want and deserve better living environments. And we're here to offer that.
There’s a new kid on Saigon’s commercial real estate block and the newcomer is turning heads. OfficeHaus, a modernist marvel opening in West Saigon’s ‘green lung’ in late 2021, hopes to revolutionize the way the city works. A handsome Bauhaus-inspired 7-storey building located within Celadon City, OfficeHaus has residential zones, the country's largest Aeon Mall and Tan Son Nhat International Airport all within easy reach. Formed for function and built to be affordable, it offers a LEED-certified, human-scale alternative outside of the downtown core.
Follow Vietcetera’s ‘Only With OfficeHaus’ series where we try to envision what the new office landscape will look like.