Town-within-town concept takes off in Tangerang
Multa Fidrus, The Jakarta Post, Banten

A large part of a successful move is finding a “nice” neighborhood.

Real estate agents in Greater Jakarta are aware that if they come across a house with a backyard that is close to parks and schools they have a real gem on their hands.

It is not surprising then that the popularity of “closed” residential areas, which have their own infrastructure, has grown enormously in the last few years.

When developer PT Bumi Serpong Damai began work on the BSD residential area almost 10 years ago, it hoped it would eventually become self-sustaining.

And with more than 100,000 families living there, the complex, which is situated less than 45 minutes drive from Jakarta, is much like a “town within a town”.

Jakartans are becoming more and more aware that the quality of their environment has a significant impact on their health. In fact many residents of the complex say moving there was an easy decision because they knew it would reduce their children’s exposure to traffic pollution.

BSD resident Erwin Setiawan said the residential area met his family’s housing and lifestyle needs.

“There are schools, sports facilities, parks and malls in the area. I hear there will soon be direct access from the complex to the airport.”

It is also easy to reach his office in Kedoya, West Jakarta, from the complex, he said.

Sixty percent of BSD residents commute into Jakarta for work.

“I am thankful to God that BSD is high on people’s housing wish list. It has received international recognition, becoming a symbol of prosperity and success,” said Rahajoe, the developer’s general manager of corporate communications, on Saturday.

He said: “If we want to be ahead of the game we have to create both a location and a product, which means creating a dream.”

BSD’s vision has become a reality with the development of a satellite city with almost 500,000 residents living in more than 20,629 of the 24,000 houses it has put on the market.

“BSD is a self-sustaining town in the sense that everything is within easy reach: schools, hospitals, malls, sports facilities, traditional and modern markets, transportation, recreational areas, parks and waste treatment facilities,” Dhonny said.

The residential area, which is adjacent to the Serpong-Pondok Indah turnpike, now occupies 2,000 of the 6,000 hectares acquired for the project in 1998.

Some 30 percent of the land has been allocated for commercial activities, which, Dhonny said, “are designed for visitors from Tangerang municipality, West Jakarta, South Jakarta and Tangerang regency — not only residents of the satellite city.”

With nearly all of its residential units sold, the value of the land has soared from Rp 20,000 per square meter in 1998 to Rp 3.4 million in 2006.

Property values in the area have increased by 20 percent a year, at the rupiah rate, since 1992.

Spread across the four districts of Cisauk, Serpong, Legok and Pagedangan, the residential area boasts facilities including a newly built international hospital, the Damai Golf Course and two parks, as well as the recently opened Ocean Park, which is the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia.

The Swiss German University and national plus schools are also located in the area.

Seven food courts accommodate more than 500 food vendors, not including the thousands of workers employed by malls ITC BSD, BSD Junction and BSD Plaza and the hundreds of chain stores and offices there.

“It is hard to believe BSD was once a rubber plantation. It’s not only housing, malls and hospitals that have drawn people here but also jobs,” Dhonny said.

He said more than 25,000 people worked in the satellite city and more jobs were being created all the time.

According to Dhonny, the great thing about the private sector assuming responsibility for an urban set up was that it took a total risk, which included setting up macroinfrastructure.

BSD supplies all residents with potable water. It buys the water from Tangerang regency water utility PDAM Tirta Kerta Rahardja and treats it in its own plants before piping it to homes in the residential area.

With an initial investment of Rp 5 billion, BSD’s management has established waste processing and sewerage systems.

“We pay 10 percent more than PDAM TKR (rates), because the quality is better,” BSD resident Erwin said.

He said residents were also charged monthly fees ranging from Rp 25,000-750,000 depending on the taxable value of their property.

The fees cover water and sewage processing, garbage collection, street cleaning, tree pruning and landscape maintenance.

“I do wonder though why the developer wasted money building so many shop-houses. The occupancy rates are not that high,” he said.

However, Erwin said he was considering buying another house in in the complex, purely as an investment property.