KUALA LUMPUR: There’s a first time for everything, just like how boutique developer Villamas Sdn Bhd (Villamas Group of Companies) is experiencing many firsts in its biggest development to date, the RM1.8 billion integrated development meta_city in Seri Kembangan.

The project is its first venture beyond its usual residential development into an integrated lifestyle-driven mixed development, marking its foray into a mall, hotel and office development, as well as being a first-time mall manager.

Villamas CEO Gan Teck Seong said meta_city is set to transform the landscape of Seri Kembangan as a transit-oriented development. With the connectivity of the MRT, meta_city will comprise serviced apartments and branded suites (meta_residence), office tower (meta_tower), shopping mall (meta_mall) and an international hotel (meta_loft) over the next decade.

“Just in one development there are many firsts. Although we’ve been in residential (development), we’re always in touch with all these development. We’re very confident we can manage it but at the same time, it’s our first time, so it’s exciting,” Gan told SunBiz in an interview recently.

meta_city is a breakthrough for Villamas, which realised five years ago that it needed to do things differently and have a development that is more holistic, catering to more lifestyle needs due to the intense competition among developers.

“We can’t be building just an apartment. One step ahead is to create a mini township with retail, offices, different mixed activities, all within the same development. We’re also trying to get away from the competition,” said Gan.

Villamas is a family business, started by Gan’s father. From its humble beginnings in 2000, the company has experienced organic growth. Gan’s sister is also a director in the company.

“We started our first apartment project Villamas Apartment in Puchong Jaya, our first break into slightly bigger scale development and we never looked back since.”

Some of Villamas’ projects include The Andes @ Bukit Jalil, Verde @ Ara Damansara, Serin Residency and Zefer Hill Residence.

Being a boutique developer implies that it has lesser projects compared with other developers, but Gan said this means that it is focused on what it does and sees this as its uniqueness against others.

“When we ventured into meta_city, we see that we can do things differently. We can JV (joint venture), take up old buildings, do investments,” explained Gan, adding that going forward, it may go into investment holding and property management, in addition to build-and-sell, just like in meta_city, or even venturing into fields out of property like a retailer or restaurant operator.

“Here we can influence the performance of the assets and in return it will be a win-win situation for our purchasers and us. Hopefully we’ll have stable income from the rental and property yield and at the same time we carry on with our developments.”