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Oxley lends signature lifestyle touch to international developments

The innovative developer covers all sections of property work as it creates spaces that foster a sense of community

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 August, 2017, 5:54pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 August, 2017, 5:54pm

Country Business Reports interviews and articles by Discovery Reports

Some of London’s affluent families are renowned for their contributions in transforming swamplands and pastures into thriving estates that are now considered among the world’s most coveted addresses, such as Belgravia and Mayfair. These two estates boast a cosmopolitan vibe – with an eclectic mix of shops, restaurants and cafés lining its streets – without losing their quaint appeal.

Continuing the tradition of creating spaces that foster a sense of community, Singaporean property developer Oxley has transformed the waterfront landscape along the River Thames into the master-planned marvel Royal Wharf.

Serving as the main centrepiece in the rejuvenation of the Royal Docks in East London, Royal Wharf is a sprawling development with residential and commercial spaces of 149,734 square metres, forging the way for the most exciting new chapter in London’s history.

Fusing together city living with the great outdoors, the Royal Wharf dedicates more than 6,070 square metres to open spaces such as parks, playgrounds, courtyard gardens and sports facilities. A riverside park linking the Royal Wharf Pier, Royal Wharf Amphitheatre and Riverside Walk makes for a scenic stroll around a safe and modern neighbourhood.

A development would not be ideal unless its accessibility is top-notch. Taking into account the needs of its tenants, Oxley made the Royal Wharf a convenient place to live and work by connecting it to rail systems, such as the Underground, the Docklands Light Railway and the future Crossrail.

“Royal Wharf represents Oxley’s first endeavour at taking its signature lifestyle concepts to the wider international market. It is one of our most exciting projects because it offers buyers not just a home, but a refreshingly new waterfront lifestyle concept. We are extremely encouraged by the response to the launch,” says Oxley founder, executive chairman and CEO Ching Chiat Kwong.

Market response is a telling gauge, not only of the success of a product, but also of the calibre of the company that developed it. When Oxley launched the first phase of Royal Wharf in 2013, 50 per cent of the 811 available units were sold on the first day. Like a true cosmopolitan, the Royal Wharf attracted buyers from all over the globe – Singapore, Britain, Malaysia, Middle East, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Myanmar and China.

The Royal Wharf project was recognised as the winner of the Development of the Year in the RESI Awards 2015, organised by Britain’s premier residential property market authority, the RESI Conference. Royal Wharf is one of the latest jewels in Oxley’s crown. A fast-growing, innovative home-grown company, Oxley boasts an impressive list of hallmark projects across Asia and London.

Founder Ching started a construction company in 1996, after leaving a career in the police force. Building on his expertise as a contractor, Ching decided to transform the company into a full-blown property developer. At the onset, Oxley primarily catered to young working adults looking for affordable private residential properties.

“The business started growing when the singles demographic of the population wanted their own affordable yet quality spaces. At the same time, the older and ageing population started downgrading to smaller apartments because it was getting difficult to manage bigger apartments,” Ching says.

Driven by a leader whose motto is ‘failure is not an option’, Oxley continues to branch out. It recently ventured into hotel development and the hospitality business with its investment in Novotel Singapore on Stevens and Mercure Singapore on Stevens, slated for opening around the third quarter of this year.

“Oxley is a very innovative company. If you look at our development profile, we are a developer who covers all sections of property work,” Ching says. “Personally, I have a siege mentality that if I do not do it fast and well, I will be left behind. Fear will leave me in the shadows.”

Ching’s strategy for Oxley has paid off, having launched 29 residential, commercial and industrial developments in Singapore.

Looking beyond Singapore

Buoyed by its success in Singapore, Oxley has expanded its geographical scope to 11 countries with its various partners.

“The critical thing in our expansion is working with partners. Before we start a project, we seek good partners because we must first understand the local market. If you are not a local, you tend not to have that local knowledge and the local resources that will make the project successful,” Ching says.

Tapping the flourishing market in China, Oxley worked on the Xin Gang Guo Ji Cheng residential complex, which boasts 13 special gardens upon completion, in Anhui Province. Offering a relaxing ambience, the complex sits across the Xuancheng Botanical Garden.

Building a nurturing environment for a more holistic lifestyle, Oxley also worked on the Sino-Singapore Health City project in Hebei Province. The development has three major components, which include the sports village, the green food agriculture zone and the residential zone. The sports village, with the highest man-made rock climbing wall at 48.88 metres, is the China Mountaineering Team’s training base. The development is of close proximity to Xiong’an, which has been designated as China special economic zone for technology and innovation.

In the emerald of the equator, Indonesia, Oxley brings its flair for a balanced lifestyle with the establishment of Oxley Convention City in the financial district of Batam. Within the 20,000-square-metre development is Batam’s first office tower with an integrated convention centre, hotel, retail, food and beverage strip and luxurious residences.

Before we start a project, we seek good partners because we must first understand the local market
Ching Chiat Kwong, Oxley founder, executive chairman and CEO

In the cultural melting pot that is Malaysia, Oxley Towers makes its mark and stands tall adjacent the Petronas Towers with three distinct towers. Aside from a 274-unit office tower, Oxley Towers houses the Jumeirah Kuala Lumpur Hotel set for completion in 2021. Bringing the luxurious Jumeirah signature to Southeast Asia, the property offers 190 rooms and suites, all-day dining restaurant, fine dining restaurant and wellness facilities. Sharing the same tower space is Jumeirah Living Kuala Lumpur Residences.

Raising the bar of Malaysia’s hospitality industry, Oxley Towers is also home to another luxury hotel brand, So Sofitel Kuala Lumpur. Combining French elegance and Malaysia’s vibrant culture, So Sofitel Kuala Lumpur’s 207 rooms offer an avant-garde and fashionable experience to young and discerning travellers. The iconic hotel is set for completion in 2020.

Committed to always moving forward and not resting on its laurels, Oxley is looking to make a name for itself in Cambodia. Working with Cambodia-based developer Worldbridge Land, Oxley built a stunning 45-storey building in a freehold, mixed residential and commercial complex dubbed The Bridge. The iconic building, with two skybridges linking the towers, pierces the Phnom Penh skyline with its gleaming steel and glass body. The Bridge is merely two minutes away from Preah Sihanouk Boulevard and 5 minutes from Diamond Island.

Another Cambodia development is the stunning bronze vista that is The Peak. A 55-storey mixed-used development, The Peak occupies a land area of approximately 12,609 square metres. It has two residential towers and one commercial tower, which houses a Shangri-La hotel. It is expected to be completed by 2020.

“When we went to Cambodia, we brought the whole Singapore development team to work on the developments. We impressed the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction with our good practices. We are efficient, hard-working and honest. In every country we go to, we apply the same principles,” Ching says.

With its roots firmly planted in key Asian cities, Oxley further extends its reach and also broke ground in Dublin, Ireland. Named Dublin Landings, the 2.35-hectare commercial site is conveniently located near the proposed headquarters of the Central Bank of Ireland. It is designated under the Docklands Strategic Development Zone as an area focusing on employment. The first tenant in the development is the National Treasury Management Agency of Ireland, which will occupy 83,000 square feet.

“For Oxley, whether we’re in one, five, 10 or 20 markets, we know we will do well as long as we have strong partners on the ground who can help us in all the execution process. I know we can go deep in all these markets,” Ching says.

Oxley considers Myanmar as its next promising growth market. In Yangon, Oxley is building a 20-storey mixed development named Min Residence. In a showcase of Oxley’s expertise, the company also rendered the Central Railway Station development. Oxley integrated a new mixed-use development in the station complex without disrupting ongoing railway operations.

Armed with a sharp business acumen, Oxley further bolsters the company’s portfolio with fresh acquisitions. Oxley has also completed the purchase of the entire issued share capital of Cyprus-based companies Flitous Properties and Jemina Properties. The two companies own seafront properties in Limassol, Cyprus, that Oxley will use for future developments.

Bullish about future growth

Oxley aims to continue building its expertise in property development. Aside from partnerships with local companies, Oxley strategically makes acquisitions to further enrich its knowledge. In Britain, Oxley acquired a 20 per cent stake in Galliard Development — the company behind Great Scotland Yard Hotel, St James’s Hotel & Club, Baltimore Tower and The Chilterns. Exciting things are in store for the future as Oxley and Galliard combine their complementary expertise.

Going to Australia, Oxley taps leading property and construction company Pindan Group and acquired a 40 per cent stake in the firm. Oxley’s involvement in Pindan will enhance the latter’s capital strength.

With its ever-expanding know-how, Oxley aims to incorporate new trends such as eco-friendliness and technological advancements in its developments. Working with engineers, local governments and other experts, Oxley is looking into building smart cities in townships.

The future looks bright for Oxley as it continues on its path to building townships that elevate the working and living standards of their occupants. Its strong development and investment portfolio will buoy the company’s growth well into the future and continue to attract buyers to own a signature Oxley property.

“You will never go wrong buying Oxley products because you will always make more money holding onto the product. Our developments have never failed. That’s why we have so many repeat investors. Anywhere we go, we see the same investors buying our products all over the world,” Ching says.