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Stalled apartment projects gets new lease of life

The Star 17/4/2006

BUYERS of the long stalled Rhythm Avenue apartments can finally smile again. The project is to be revived after it has been abandoned six year ago.

Subang Jaya assemblyman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng said it had been a long and hard fought battle to get the abandoned project back on track again.

"Over 100 meetings were held with buyers, bridging financier AmBank, project receivers Price Waterhouse and Cooper and the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) over the last five years in efforts to revive the project,'' he said. Lee said, though the buyers had to pay an additional 15% over their original purchase prices (ranging between RM90,000 and RM145,000) they could at least be contented that they could finally own the properties.

Lee commended AmBank for not losing interest in reviving the project despite the many setbacks. “Some banks would have just written off the project and the RM30mil already invested instead of forking out an additional RM80mil to revive it.''

He said AmBank had appointed Mahasalam Group of Companies as the turnkey contractor and work was expected to start in June.

Lee was speaking during a ceremony to launch the revival of the project at the site on Friday. Present were Kinrara assembyman Dr Kow Cheong Wei, MPSJ president Datuk Mohd Arif Abdul Rahman, the apartments' buyers committee chairman Pritpal Singh, AmBank Group's assistant vice-president (group rehabilitation) Yip Kok Leong and Mahasalam Sdn Bhd director Seow Yin Loy.

The Rhythm Avenue service apartments involving 277 retail and 1,039 apartment units was to have been completed in November 2001 but remained a major heartbreak for the over 1,000 buyers. They had to fork out up to RM900 a month on interest as their banks had released up to 90% of their loans as progressive payments.

The desperate buyers even lodged police reports, wrote to the then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, for help as well as complain to Bank Negara, Board of Architects and the Bar Council for suspected foul play over architectural, engineering and construction approvals granted to the project.

They even considered suing the original developer for a refund of the money invested.

Pritpal Singh said among the buyers were retirees who spent almost all of their life's savings for a home to call their own. “A number of them ended up defaulting on the payments and being blacklisted by the end financiers.

Modh Arif said the council too would do its part like providing discount in the assessment that buyers had to pay.

"We understand the hardships that the buyers had to endure and we will help wherever we can,'' he said.

Yip said besides occupying the homes, buyers could look forwards to upgrades on the retail space.

“Among these would be a lifestyle mall, equipped with wireless Internet connection.''


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