People have become more health-conscious following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has in turn increased the demand for wellness and healthcare services. This trend has also spurred the growth of the medical industry in all levels, including wellness real estate. In Malaysia, wellness real estate is becoming the next hot asset class for property buyers and investors.
According to Global Wellness Institute, wellness lifestyle real estate is defined as homes that are proactively designed and built to support the holistic health of their residents. KL Wellness City Sdn Bhd executive director (branding, sales, and marketing) Datuk Sri Vincent Tiew notes that it is key to intentionally incorporate wellness element in the masterplan from the start, so that the wellness concept will also be presented in the design, material, building layout, the township amenities and services, etc.
"Wellness, to me, equates to healthcare and medical, from prevention to curing. Generally, there are accommodations surrounding hospitals but most of them are not purpose-built [accommodations]. KL Wellness City is carefully crafted out from the beginning. With the manifesto and concept [of wellness] we have from the beginning, we are able to incorporate all the key elements in the definition of wellness. We [can also work on] the timeline of which component to be completed, and they will eventually complement each other," he says.
"The provision of amenities, facilities and services are top priority. This asset class (wellness real estate) is fairly new to Malaysia. Wellness is the future after Covid-19 as the need for medical and healthcare services increases throughout the world.
He adds that wellness real estate has been noticed by two groups of people. The first group is hoteliers and Airbnb players, who notice their assets near to private hospitals tend to do well. It prompts them to search for more accommodations or commercial properties surrounding established hospitals.
The second group is property investors. This trend is in tandem with the growth of global healthcare, which has doubled since 2019. Tiew reckons it makes wellness real estate an attractive asset, and it is also an opportunity for KL Wellness City to showcase the opportunity to own a wellness property to Malaysians and regional players.
The first phase consists of the hospital and The Nobel Healthcare Park, both of which will be connected by a link bridge. Launched in April, The Nobel Healthcare Park - which has a gross development value of RM1 billion - will comprise 379 medical suites in two blocks, 512 wellness suites in one block, and office space and retail shops on the ground floor of these blocks. The whole phase will be completed by end-2025.
The medical suites, which range from 248 to 1,500 sq ft, will be sold at an average price of RM1,500 psf. Meanwhile, the wheelchair-friendly, healthcare-focused wellness suites will have built-ups of 268 and 386 sq ft, and will be sold from RM1,300 psf.
Since the launch in April, Phase 1 of The Nobel Healthcare Park has seen 75% of the medical suites booked by medical-related clients, while the wellness suites are 70% taken up.
"Already, there are 30 to 40 developers trying to understand KL Wellness City, and they came to learn and understand what a wellness-themed development is. To their surprise, it is not just about calling their apartment wellness, [but] it has to be an ecosystem in the product, such as being supported by an established hospital. It is not about being next to a clinic or within close proximity to a hospital. It is about integration of services, communication as well as support of doctors and nurses from the hospital," he explains.
"It is a permanent commitment… and the hospital is an important selling point. All components within the township are connected and wheelchair friendly. It is about the ecosystem. Even if a township has a hospital, it is also about whether the hospital integrates with other components in the master plan."
He adds that KL Wellness City is positioned to go beyond 50 years and the integration between the hospital and other components there adds value to the property buyers as it offers a better lifestyle with its healthcare and wellness elements.
"There is a synergy [with the integration]. In KL Wellness City, it is not merely a medical suite. It is where the residents can enjoy services from the hospital, such as physiotherapy. It also can be used as a place for step-down care," he explains.
"It is also the accommodation for the family members of healthcare travellers, so as for the doctor and nurses. Then, after surgery and treatment, patients need to recover and they need to have a place to stay. Wellness suite is a good product to meet these demands, hence it is a good investment opportunity with good rental yield and occupancy. We are projecting a yield of double digit."
With the integration of the wellness concept in the township, the residents from other components, such as the office and senior living facilities, can be a source of patients for the doctors at the clinics and hospitals.
A stone's throw away is Pavillion Bukit Jalil. It is also near Bukit Jalil Golf & Country Resort and Kinrara Golf Club. Within the 5km radius are four LRT stations, namely the Bukit Jalil, Sri Petaling, Awan Besar and Alam Sutera station
Meanwhile, director of corporate affairs & hospital services Francis Lim notes that the features and equipment in the upcoming hospital - currently dubbed KL International Hospital - will be the main attraction for the patients.
"When foreign patients come to Malaysia, they want the best outcome and they will do research for the best hospital and doctors. KL International Hospital will have the best equipment in Malaysia, which will then attract the best doctors and eventually the patients. We have allocated RM400 million to buy the equipment, three times more than other hospitals," he says.
"Also, we are strategically located within a growth area, and we are near to many highways. We are also the nearest private hospital from KLIA. We are prepared to provide the services and the family members can just stay at the wellness suites, which are accessible to the hospital via link bridges."
He adds that based on Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council's Industry Blueprint 2021 - 2025, the agency's aspiration is "Best Malaysia Healthcare Travel Experience by 2025" and that Kuala Lumpur International Hospital is also working towards the same goal upon its full operations in 2026.
"What we plan to do is similar to the blueprint. We are working with MHTC so we can become their flagship hospital and that we will be able to draw patients from all over the world. This is a well-planned hospital, and together, we [Lim, managing director Datuk Dr Colin Lee, director of nursing Irene Quah and advisor for hospital development services Dr Lee Hong Huei] have a combined 100 years of experience in hospital management and operation," he explains.
"We put our experience together in building this hospital, and that's why we plan forward by having a hospital with the capacity for 1000 beds. We build, operate and manage the hospital, and we have two doctors [Colin and Hong Huei] who already have similar experience in the team."
Colin has set up several medical and fertility centres, including the Damansara Fertility Centre, TMC Fertility Centre, Alpha Fertility Centre and Genesis IVF Centre. He also developed 5-star tertiary medical centre Tropicana Medical Centre, now known as Thomson Hospital.
Hong Huei, meanwhile, was also involved in the construction and commissioning of a leading hospital in Singapore - a hospital that was conceptualised, designed and built according to Lean Management and Design Thinking principles.
Lim was previously CEO of Nilai Medical Centre (formerly known as Nilai Cancer Hospital), TMC Life Sciences Bhd, Tropicana Medical Centre (now known as Thomson Medical Centre), and Mahkota Medical Centre.
Quah has more than 35 years of nursing experience in the healthcare industry, and she is also experienced in project design, including the planning and commissioning of healthcare facilities in Malaysia (Ara Damansara and Park City Medical Centre), Vietnam, Maldives and Hong Kong.
For more information contact us at 0380907778