Global Capital and Development Sdn Bhd (GCD), one of the development managers for the multi-billion ringgit Medini Iskandar Malaysia project in Johor, is poised to announce a substantial investment for the first phase of Medini's Media Village.
GCD chief executive officer Keith Martin said the impending investment will represent a built-up development value in the region of RM1.5 billion over the next three to five years.
In an e-mail interview with the Business Times recently, he said GCD is seeing more investors coming in offering to buy segments of Medini within its three development zones, namely Medini Business, Medini Living and Medini Lifestyle, totalling 658ha.
The 142ha Medini Business zone will be the site for Media@Medini media village, business parks and mixed commercial buildings, he said.
(Media@Medini media village is a development to support Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios as well as the TV and film industry in Asia).
Martin said talks with potential developers and business park operators on opportunities to fund these investments are underway and response has been positive.
"There is a clear demand driver from small and medium enterprises (SMEs), particularly from Singapore, to seek more affordable space in Medini with close proximity to Singapore," he said.
He added that such responses are not only a positive driver for development at Medini, but also a positive contributor to the Singapore growth story.
He noted that to date, GCD has secured a sizeable amount of committed investment in Medini which included a RM745 million Sunway Bhd deal announced late last year and a RM500 million landmark deal in 2010 with Malaysia's leading healthcare provider Pantai Group.
A milestone agreement was also signed with Platinum Meadow Sdn Bhd for a RM688 million commercial development in the Medini Business zone.
"Together, they represent a total development value in the region of RM1.2 billion and we are confident of the continued investor interest in Medini," said Martin.
He said Medini's development together with the greater Iskandar region have been identified as one of the catalyst developments to spur the growth of the Malaysian economy and help transform the country into a high-income nation in the future.
This growth, he said, is already in motion as evident from the amount of investment Medini and the Iskandar region have attracted for Malaysia.
"As more investments look to pour in, we will certainly continue adding a boost to Malaysia's economy and contributing to its healthy gross domestic product figures," he said.
Asked on the significance of having London-based Pinewood Studios in a country where its film industry is not as significant as the other major ones, Martin said while this is somewhat true, Asia on the other hand is fast becoming a key player in the global TV and film landscape.
Asia-Pacific, he said, is the second fastest growing region for entertainment and media in an outlook for the period 2010 to 2014 and China's film industry is already the world's third largest.
"This growth and the massive Asian market mean that the region will need good quality production studios and support facilities nearby," he said.
"Pinewood Malaysia Studios will be able to offer the latest integrated media production studio facilities, with a variety of city, natural and tropical filming locations conveniently accessible," he said, adding that qualified productions filmed in Malaysia will also be entitled to a rebate of 30 per cent of production costs.
Martin said the Pinewood Malaysia Studios development is currently constructing five state-of-the-art production studios for TV and film production.