WHEN retired businessman Gurbal Sandhu first came to Malaysia from the Caribbean 10 years ago, he did not dream that his initial idea for a family home would be such a great investment.
Gurbal chose to build a Spanish/Caribbean-themed family home in the gated Ledang Heights after his retirement.
He built a 7,500 sq ft house on a 20,000 sq ft land from scratch. The house has spacious living and dining rooms, five large bedrooms (each with an attached toilet and bath), a wet and dry kitchen, laundry area, maid’s room, U-shaped driveway and garage.
The landscaped garden features a fish pond, outdoor barbecue area, multi-level covered and uncovered patios, indoor gymnasium, games room, mini theatre, paddle tennis court, and an infinity pool complete with a jacuzzi and cascading water feature.
“When we first saw the beauty of Ledang Heights, with parcels of land on natural undulating hills, we found it a pretty rare offer in Johor. We were lucky to acquire one of the premium international lots that has a spectacular view and vast green open space at the back,” he told NST Property.
Gurbal said the close proximity to Johor Baru city centre and Singapore and the fact that Ledang Heights was three hours to Kuala Lumpur were also a deciding factor in purchasing the prime asset.
A Spanish home in the Johor market
“When my wife and I were in the design phase, and since we have been exposed to Spanish architecture over the last 30 years in the Caribbean, we felt that it would be attractive to have a Spanish-inspired architecture in Johor.
“We worked closely with the local architects and put together all the details and concepts into our plans. Due to the contour of the land and the size of the house, to be on the safe side, we used very strong retaining walls. A lot of piling work was also carried out on the site. We made sure the house was built on a solid foundation,” he said.
Gurbal said a project management team was put in place with different consultants comprising architects, engineers, as well as mechanical and electrical and quantity surveyors.
The couple also hired a real-estate expert to represent them in the construction phase of the project to ensure that it was built according to the design and building plan.
“In spite of this, we still ran into many problems, with the major one being unreliable contractors. We changed contractors a few times and this led to delays in the construction by more than a year.
“Another major challenge was getting local interior decorators to conceptualise the Spanish theme, which was difficult for them.
“As such, we consulted interior decorators in Miami, Florida who helped in integrating the interior and putting all the pieces together. They also acquired all the necessary aesthetics for us,” he said.
On a positive note, Gurbal said he and his wife were impressed with the final product.
“It’s a work of art! Thank God we found the right people for the job who were more artists than anything else in their various fields.
“Although details like doors, staircases, mouldings and coral finishes, or for example, building rounded doors with wrought-iron inserts together with tempered glass in it, were rather unique and unprecedented, they still managed to create the desired effect with perfection which was amazing.”
Gurbal said he was open to selling the Spanish-inspired property and had received numerous inquiries from buyers and investors in Malaysia and overseas.
A quick online check showed that the larger bungalows in Ledang Heights are being transacted for more than RM12 million.
For Singaporean buyers, this is considered affordable as in Singapore, a smaller property costs three to four times more.
When asked if the above RM10 million price tag was what he was looking at for his asset, Gurbal remained tight-lipped.
“I will sell the home lock, stock and barrel when the offer is right. A lot of time and money has been invested in developing this one-of-its-kind property and putting in tasteful furniture and fittings.
“This home is also built for four generations to enjoy under one roof. It comes with an inimitable location in a landscaped area within a highly sought-after residential enclave and is accessible from the Second Link Expressway. How more exclusive can you get?
“It is not easy to find a home like this in Malaysia. It’s in a quiet area with lush greenery and near to Singapore. It’s a perfect package and deal.”