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Monday, 31 March 2014

(BUSINESS TIMES) KL penthouse price hits record RM38m


BENCHMARK: Other luxury projects set to follow Four Seasons Place

THE price of penthouses in Kuala Lumpur have reached record levels, with the latest unit in the market priced at RM38 million, or about RM3,200 per sq ft (psf).

This is the price of a 11,984 sq ft penthouse at Four Seasons Place Kuala Lumpur.

There are two units, and the owner is keeping one and negotiating to sell the other to an Asian investor.

Meanwhile, market observers are waiting to see if the next project in Kuala Lumpur can match or beat that price.

C.H. Williams Talhar & Wong managing director Foo Gee Jen said it could take three to five years or longer for a project to come up in Kuala Lumpur and offer penthouses at above RM38 million.

A few luxury projects have started in Kuala Lumpur, including Banyan Tree Residences, a joint development by Pavilion Kuala Lumpur and Banyan Tree Holdings; and Harrods Hotel & Residences developed by Tradewinds Corp Bhd and Qatar Holding LLC.

Foo said built-up areas of penthouses at Banyan Tree and Harrods range from 4,000 sq ft to 6,000 sq ft.

Although smaller than Four Seasons Place's, they are more expensive in terms of price psf.

"Banyan Tree and Harrods are selling their penthouses at more than RM3,300 psf. With different services and finishings, it is possible for the price to hit RM4,000 psf. We will have to wait and see if any developer can match that," Foo said.

At an average of RM3,300 psf, the penthouses at Banyan Tree and Harrods will cost between RM14 million and RM21 million each. At RM4,000 psf, they would be worth RM16 million to RM24 million.

Meanwhile, penthouses in Singapore and London are hitting record prices nearly every year.

In Singapore, a staggering 21,108 ft three-storey penthouse is set to not only be the largest-of-its-kind-development in the city state, but also the most expensive. It is priced at S$30 million (RM98.4 million) and will be built on Guocoland Ltd's Clermont Residence in Tanjong Pagar.

In London, SP Setia Bhd is also planning to price the Phase 2 penthouses at its Battersea project for up to STG30 million (RM1.62 billion) each. There are five penthouses in Phase 1 of the project, each worth more than STG15 million.

(The Star) Aman Central ready by mid-2015, Parkson and GSC among anchor tenants

An artist's impression of the Aman Central project. Located in the city centre opposite the landmark Alor Setar Tower, the mall is post to be a regional one-stop shopping destination.

GEORGE TOWN: Aman Central, the biggest and iconic lifestyle mall in Alor Setar, Kedah is scheduled for completion by the end of the second quarter of 2015.

Owned and developed by Great Realty Sdn Bhd of the Belleview group, the mall is 25% completed where construction has reached structure works on the basement and ground floor level.

Group managing director Datuk Sonny Ho said the premier shopping mall would breath a new lease of life into the Alor Setar township.

“The project development cost of approximately RM458.5mil will be financed via a mix of both debt and equity funding where the debt funding includes a RM135mil bank loan,” said Ho in an interview with StarBiz.

There is also a proposed medium term notes programme of up to RM170mil in nominal value and it is backed by an unconditional and irrevocable guarantee fromDanajamin Nasional Bhd.

Danajamin via a Financial Guarantee Insurance facility granted to GRSB pursuant to which Danajamin shall provide an unconditional and irrevocable financial guarantee insurance policy to the holders of the MTN in respect of the aggregate nominal value of all outstanding MTN and one coupon payment obligation of the issuer in respect of such outstanding MTN.

“We have received approval from the Securities Commission for the fund-raising exercise,” he said.

Strategically located in the heart of Alor Setar’s city centre, just opposite the landmark Alor Setar Tower, Aman Central is poised to be a regional one-stop shopping destination and an ideal getaway for the entire family.

“This will really change and lift to the lifestyle of those not only in Kedah but the northern region of Malaysia.”

Ho added that people from southern Thailand are also expected to shop in the mall.

As to date, approximately 50% of the mall’s net lettable area has been leased out.

Among the anchor tenants and junior anchor tenants are the Parkson Retail Group, Golden Screen Cinemas (that will be operating 10-digital screens) and Brewball Sports Amusement Cafe.

“We also have several fashion, food and beverages as well as electrical and information technology retailers who have confirmed their tenancies including Giordano, The Body Shop, Hush Puppies, Secret Recipe and many more.

“We expect to lease out all the retail spaces by the end of this year.”

Comprising eight-storey of shopping levels with a two-level basement car park, the total built-up area of thr mall is approximately two million sq ft and the net lettable area is approximately 800,000 sq ft.

It will boast a total of 330 retail lots with 1,700 parking bays.

(BUSINESS TIMES) TCB eyes RM2b profit from Perdana Quay


TRADEWINDS Corporation Bhd (TCB) expects to net a profit of RM2 billion from its Perdana Quay integrated resort development, here, says its director of project and technical services Tey Kok Kheong.

The project, which carries a development value of RM4 billion, will be carried out in six phases over the next 10 to 12 years.

Perdana Quay's integrated development will involve the development of some 96ha of land at Pantai Kok-Teluk Burau on the northwest of Langkawi.

The property will be developed into five distinct components, including waterfront holiday villas, lake homes, themed attractions and other luxury residential properties.

"We estimate the gross development cost for this project to be around RM2 billion, with net profits kicking in once the themed attractions open," he told Business Times.

The first phase of the Perdana Quay development will include natural and family-oriented attractions like butterfly, forest and water-themed adventure parks, of which some have started opeations.

The development is also set to include retail outlets, hotel and convention facilities aimed at the core China, Middle East and United Kingdom tourists and shoppers.

TCB's development of a luxury deluxe resort, The Burau, which is sited on the former Mutiara Burau Bay Resort site, kicked off yesterday.

The Burau, which will be developed at a cost of RM420 million, is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

It will see the construction of 245 deluxe rooms and 60 luxury villas, which includes 26 ultra-luxury villas on Pulau Anak Burau.

On the project's financing, TCB's group chief executive officer Shaharul Fareez said it will be a combination of debt-financing and equity.

He did not rule out the possibility of tying up with specialist investors to help build its proposed water theme park.

"We have the site and the resources and we are seeking the expertise … we think this is a good marriage," he told a media briefing on Saturday.

TCB is one of Malaysia's premier leisure and hospitality owner operators, and its investment in Langkawi includes hotels such as The Danna Langkawi, Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort and the former Mutiara Burau Bay Resort, which has contributed over 600 rooms to the island.

(NST) Residents want to stop high-rise project


BIG IMPACT: Taman Yarl residents are worried that the proposed 21-storey luxury condominium will worsen traffic congestion in the area

TAMAN Yarl residents are against a proposed high-rise development that will greatly increase the population density in their neighbourhood.

A City Hall signboard at the site of the proposed 21-storey luxury condominium project in Jalan Awan Selimpat, next to the abandoned OUG Club, states that the developer has indicated it could raise the population density from 60 to 322 people per hectare.

Residents have until Wednesday to submit their objections to City Hall.

Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk Dr Loga Bala Mohan said that he has received the objections from the residents and City Hall will be evaluating the issues that were raised.

"We will take into consideration the issues raised and we will see how we can resolve the traffic congestion in the area.

"We will also have to see if we can implement a traffic dispersal scheme," he said.

Taman Yarl Residents Association president Datuk Rabinder Singh said the project would have a severe impact on the neighbourhood.

"What the residents are worried about is the daily traffic congestion," he said.

"During peak hours, it is a nightmare to get in or out of the neighbourhood. This proposed high-density development will have a severe effect on the lives of residents."

Rabinder said Taman Yarl was also plagued by parking problems.

"Irresponsible motorists park haphazardly on the road shoulders, making the roads narrow and impassable.

"If there is an emergency, fire engines and ambulances will not be able to pass through."

Rabinder said there was an incident where a lamppost caught fire but firemen could not reach the area because of the haphazardly parked cars.

"This is a serious issue because it involves the safety of our families," he said.

"What is going to happen when a fire breaks out and fire engines can't reach the affected area in time?"

Matters are made worst by the fact that the whole of Taman Yarl is serviced by just one access road.

Residents complain that motorists from Puchong are using the inner roads to get to Jalan Awan Besar which leads to Jalan Klang Lama.

Rabinder said Taman Yarl was a residential area and was not meant for high-rise commercial properties.

"As it is, there are already four condominiums in the area which have affected our privacy and security. Having another condominium will make it worse.

"Those living high up in the condominiums can look into the houses below them."

Rabinder said residents were also worried that the construction works could affect the structural integrity of their houses.

(The Star) Steady growth seen for hotel occupancy, short-term impact seen from MH370 tragedy

PETALING JAYA: Hotel occupancy rates in Malaysia are expected to see steady growth this year, despite a short-term impact from China tourists due to the tragedy surrounding Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, according to industry observers.

“We expect a short-term impact mainly from the Chinese,” said one industry observer.

According to reports, Chinese tourist arrivals account for about 12% of total tourists into Malaysia. Chinese travellers rose significantly for the first nine months of last year to 1.4 million from 1.2 million in 2012. Tourist arrivals totalled 18.8 million for the first nine months of 2013 (2012: 1.2 million).

According to Tourism Malaysia’s website, the country’s average hotel occupancy rate rose to 62.4% in 2012 from 60.6% a year earlier.

Another industry observer said he expected inflow of tourists from other countries to remain steady despite the airline tragedy.

“I don’t think one isolated incident will deter people from travelling. People will still travel if they want to,” he said.

Earlier, property consultant CH Williams Talhar & Wong Sdn Bhd (WTW) had projected that hotel occupancy rates this year would likely strengthen to 70%, assuming current economic trends stayed on track.

“Five-star hotels are expected to continue seeing robust occupancy, while three- and four-star hotels are forecast to see a stable-to-moderate improvement in occupancy this year.

“After dipping 2.2% in 2009, the average room rate (ARR) has been strengthening steadily year-on-year from RM227 per room in 2009 to RM255 in 2013,” said WTW in its 2014 property market report.

The property consultancy firm said ARR growth for three-star hotels, which had been a laggard recently, saw a 3% rise year-on-year to RM130 per room in 2013, while four-star hotels maintained their steady progress, growing from RM223 per room in 2012 to RM233 per room in 2013.

“ARR was flattish for five-star hotels, marginally improving from RM323 per room in 2012 to RM327 per room in 2013. There are a number of ageing four-star hotels, especially in central Kuala Lumpur, that are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain occupancy levels in light of the increasing number of newer competitors.

“Their falling occupancies have contributed to the lacklustre average occupancy rate performance by the four-star hotel class in recent years.”

WTW, however, noted that a number of four-star hotels, many of which were relatively new, had bucked the trend and had seen occupancy rates and revenue rising over recent years.

“Three-star hotels will continue to see stagnant-to-modest improvement in reflection of a stable outlook for the domestic tourism market. Five-star hotels look set to continue their strong performance by catering to an increasingly affluent class of international tourists from the East Asian economies.”

(NST) Keramat Mall renovation to cost RM500,000


KUALA LUMPUR: City Hall will spend close to RM500,000 to renovate Keramat Mall in Jalan Datuk Keramat.

Traders at the Keramat market nearby are unhappy with the location of the stalls and the design of the RM70 million mall.

Federal Territories secretary-general Datuk Seri Adnan Md Ikhsan said City Hall was looking for a contractor for the project.

"We are expected to start the renovation work between April and May.

"The basement car park will be converted into a wet market area and the floors above will be allocated to the dry goods traders.

"Mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib met the traders a few month ago. We briefed them on the future development at the old site. We expect the traders to move to the mall by yearend," he said.

Adnan said City Hall would build low-cost housing at the site of the old Keramat wet market.

"We are still discussing the development plans for the area," he said.

Adnan said there were also plans to transform the mall into a Mini Urban Transformation Centre.

He said this after presenting cash prizes and trophies to 23 residents' associations for achieving the Key Performance Index for cleanliness in their neighbourhood.

A total of 84 residents' association and joint management bodies took part in the programme.

The top five winners were Pangsapuri Sri Penara, Perumahan Awam Seri Perak, Menara Seri Jati, Taman LTAT Bukit Jalil and Perumahan Awam Seri Perlis II. Each of them received RM45,000.

The rest of the associations received RM20,000 each.

Adnan also presented RM10,000 to 330 residents' associations for their yearly programmes.

(NST) RM4b project for Langkawi


WORLD CLASS: Najib launches Perdana Quay that includes commercial and leisure developments

LANGKAWI: LANGKAWI'S place on the world tourism map is set to strengthen, with an investment from Tradewinds Corporation Bhd (TCB).

The Perdana Quay project, which spans a period of 10 years, will see the emergence of tourism products, such as hotels and property development tagged at a whopping RM4 billion. It was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday.

The project encompasses six construction phases. It came on the heels of Indonesia-based Rajawali Group's plan to invest RM400 million to build the St Regis Langkawi and Langkawi International Convention Centre.

"I want to see three million tourists coming here each year. This will contribute RM3.8 billion to the economy and create 4,200 jobs for Malaysians," Najib said at the launch in Teluk Burau.

Present were his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, his son Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, who is also Kedah menteri besar, and TCB owner Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary.

Najib said the government hoped to welcome 36 million tourists to Malaysia and collect RM168 billion annually or more than RM3 billion per week, six years from now.

"It is an ambitious target but it can be achieved. This year alone, 28.8 million people are set to visit Malaysia, an increase of 12 per cent compared with last year. We are now the second most-visited destination in Southeast Asia."

Apart from TCB and Rajawali, Khazanah Nasional Bhd, which owns the luxury Datai Hotel chain, is planning to build a hotel here.

The tourism buzz will also be felt when other five-star hotels, like the Ritz-Carlton, open its doors here.

In his speech, Najib paid tribute to Dr Mahathir for his vision in identifying Langkawi's potential two decades ago and developing it into a tourism destination.

He said Perdana Quay would place Langkawi as one of the finest island resorts in the world, offering the ultimate in luxury, such as five-star hotels and a collection of ultra high-end shops.

The Perdana Quay project will be Langkawi's first integrated leisure, retail, residential and commercial development, targeted at luxury travellers seeking an ecological and nature-oriented option.

The project, located in Pantai Kok-Teluk Burau, which faces the Andaman Sea, is aimed at tourists from Asian countries like China and Singapore, as well as the Middle East.

(NST) New theme park in Perak


TOURIST ATTRACTION: First 'true animation' park in the world will open in Meru next year

IPOH: PERAK is set to make its mark on the international tourism map with the completion of the Movie Animation Park Studios (MAPS) in December next year.

Touted as the first true animation theme park in the world, the project, a partnership between Australia's Sanderson Group and Perak Corporation Bhd, will be built at a cost of RM450 million.

It marks the inaugural investment in Malaysia by Sanderson Group, Australia's first integrated thematic construction company, specialising in designing and constructing theme parks and entertainment destinations.

A 20.8ha site in Meru, located off the North-South Expressway, has been earmarked for the project.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said MAPS was a testament to foreign investors' confidence in Perak and Malaysia.

"MAPS is set to be the next major icon and pave the way for more robust growth in the state and the country. We hope to welcome more tourists into the silver state," he said at the ground breaking of the project here yesterday.

Present were Sanderson Group chief executive officer and Animation Theme Park (ATP) director Steve A. Sanderson and Perak State Development Corporation chief executive officer and ATP chairman Datuk Aminuddin Md Desa.

Zambry said 1.4 million domestic and international tourists were expected to visit Perak during MAPS' first year of operation.

He said 2,000 jobs would be created with the completion of MAPS, benefiting the local community.

Sanderson said Perak was set to be the No. 1 domestic and international tourists destination upon the completion of MAPS.

MAPS will feature six different zones, forming an animation-based fantasy environment, which include Animation Square, Fantasy Forest, Live Action, Blast Off, DreamWorks and the Lakeside Zone. It will also bring to life famous DreamWorks animated features classic Mr Peabody and Sherman, Casper the Friendly Ghost, The Croods and Megamind.

MAPS will also be home to Asia's first car-stunt show and offer real-time broadcast of its live shows throughout the park and on the Internet. Later, it will have a hotel, serviced apartments, water parks and street mall.

(The Star) Medini to continue enjoying 10-year extension for special tax holidays and other packages for investments

JOHOR BARU: Medini in Nusajaya will continue to enjoy special tax holidays and other incentive packages currently reserved for investments in the area for another 10 years after its privileges expire on Dec 31, 2015.

Covering 902.44ha, Medini was conceptualised in 2007 to cater to property development projects which enjoy, among others, zero restrictions on foreign ownership, a RM1mil threshold for foreign property buyers and the real property gains tax (RPGT).

Medini is sub-divided into three development clusters – the financial district, Medini Central, and lifestyle and leisure – with each developed by different developers.

It is part of the 9,712.45ha Nusajaya, one of the five flagship development zones in Iskandar Malaysia spanning 2,217 sq km located in the southern Johor.

Other flagship development zones are the Johor Baru City Centre, Eastern Gate Development Zone, Western Gate Development and Senai-Kulai.

“To make Iskandar Malaysia a truly attractive destination for domestic and foreign investors, we need to have more than one node,” Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) chief executive officer Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said in an interview with StarBiz.

He said Irda had been evaluating the region over the years and after much discussion with the federal government, had come to the conclusion that there was a need to introduce new nodes and extend the privileges for Medini.

Ismail said the Government was satisfied with the progress and development taking place in Iskandar Malaysia despite operating in a competitive economic environment due to uncertainties in the global economic growth.

“The three new nodes will further accelerate and spearhead Iskandar Malaysia to the next level to become an international metropolis by 2025, as outlined under our Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) from 2006 to 2025,” he said.

The new nodes are Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios (PIMS), adjoining Medini, and Danga Bay and Vantage Bay located within the Johor Baru City Centredevelopment zone.

Ismail said that incentives for the Danga Bay waterfront development covered the tourism-related projects, PIMS for creativity-related projects and Vantage Bay for the healthcare-related projects.

“In order to attract investments into Iskandar Malaysia, we have to offer incentives to investors who are promoting the nine key economic sectors under our CDP 2006-2025,” he reiterated.

Irda has decided to focus more on the services sector in offering privileges and incentives to the three new nodes, as it believes it would contribute and transform Iskandar Malaysia into a high-income region by 2025.

The nine key economic sectors are electrical and electronic, petrochemical and oleochemical, food and agro-processing, logistics and related services, tourism, health, education, financial services and the ICT and creative industry.

Asked why incentives were not given to the manufacturing and oil and gas sectors, he said these sectors were already enjoying incentives at the federal level. Hence, there was no need to have such benefits in Iskandar Malaysia.

“I must stress here that property is not one of the nine key economic sectors we are promoting. However, Medini was created at that point of time as we needed a particular location to promote Iskandar Malaysia,” he said.

He added that Medini should continue to enjoy the benefits, as there was still a large tract of land within Medini which was not fully developed, which should be given 10 more years starting from Jan 1, 2016.

Ismail said that Irda could not wait for Medini’s privileges to end in December 2015 to make an announcement on the extension period. The earlier announcement was to give investors confidence and for Medini to remain competitive.

Danga Bay, an international waterfront development starting from Lido Boulevard up to Skudai Kiri and the New Coastal Highway, will enjoy the incentives starting from Sept 1, 2013 until Dec 31, 2020.

It has, to date, secured multi-billion-ringgit investments from domestic and foreign investors developing tourism-related projects such as hotels, convention centres, retail centres, marinas and other tourism-related components,

PIMS, covering 32.37ha and offering 100,000 sq ft of film stages, 24,000 sq ft of television studios as well as offices, workshops, post-production facilities and a fully-serviced 10-acre back-lot, will enjoy the benefits from now until Dec 31, 2020.

“The under-one-roof facilities have been designed to attract large-scale international productions, and it is projected that the studio would have created over 10,000 jobs by 2020,” he said.

The RM400mil project is a collaboration between Khazanah Nasional Bhd and UK-based Pinewood Shepperton PLC, where iconic movies such as James Bond, Aliens, Harry Potter and The Bourne Ultimatum were filmed.

Vantage Bay, covering 11.33ha fronting Stulang Laut and the Eastern Dispersal Link, meanwhile, is a joint-venture multi-billion-ringgit development project between the Johor royal family and Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim.

The development will be spearheaded by Thomson Medical, with components to support the healthcare sector such as hotels, wellness centres, residential and retail. The benefits will be enjoyed from Sept 1, 2013 until Dec 31, 2020.

Ismail said Vantage Bay could be the master developer, but there were other developers either on a joint-venture basis or having purchased the land as well, who need to apply before Dec 31, 2020 to qualify for the incentives.

“We need to have the expiry dates (for all the nodes), as this ensures they (investors) develop fast and don’t take their own sweet time,” he pointed out.

(The Star) Langkawi set to lure the rich and famous with a mixed development of RM4bil

Shaharul farez (left) briefing Albukhary Group chairman Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary and Najib on the RM4bil GDV Perdana Quay Masterplan.

LANGKAWI: Property and leisure group Tradewinds Corp Bhd will commence development of Perdana Quay with a gross development value (GDV) of RM4bil in Langkawi.

The first-ever integrated leisure, retail, residential and commercial development in the island is targeted at luxury travellers seeking an ecological and nature-oriented option to more conventional destinations like Phuket and Bali.

The project is nestled in a sheltered bay on the island’s north-western corner facing the Andaman Sea.

It is a decade-long development spanning six phases aimed at tourists from European and Middle East countries, and fast-growing Asian countries like China and Singapore.

Tradewinds’ group chief executive officer, Shaharul Farez Hassan, said Perdana Quay’s integrated development would involve the development of some 97ha of land at Pantai Kok-Teluk Burau on the northwest of the island.

He said it would feature concepts and designs that would be reminiscent of some of the most famous resort destinations in the world, like Malibu beach, Maldives and Monaco.

“It is a unique destination providing an enviable mix of luxurious resort hotels, vibrant yet refined shopping and entertainment, unique nature-themed tourist attractions and distinctive residential properties,” he said.

Shaharul Farez said in his speech before Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razaklaunched the official unveiling of Perdana Quay Masterplan and groundbreaking ceremony of The Burau Langkawi at the site formerly known as Mutiara Burau Bay Resort in the island yesterday.

Najib, in his speech, said the development would be one of the finest in the world – top class accommodations and a collection of ultra-high end shops, all designed and delivered in an inclusive and environmentally-friendly way.

“From constructing buildings in line with the latest international green standards, to buying local produce and encouraging local handicrafts, I applaud Tradewinds policy of sustainable development and operation.

“Tradewinds’s Perdana Quay will showcase all of Malaysia’s best in one place, here in Langkawi,” he said.

Shaharul Farez said Tradewinds’ development of a luxury deluxe resort, The Burau, on the former Mutiara Burau Bay Resort site, would kick off the development of Perdana Quay.

He said The Burau, staking a major claim to Perdana Quay’s luxury credentials in the region, was expected to be completed by end of 2017.

It will see the construction of 245 deluxe rooms and 60 luxury villas which include 26 ultra-luxury villas on Pulau Anak Burau.

At a media briefing on Saturday, he said Tradewinds had its own strength and should be able to hold its own when asked the market potential of the island compared with Phuket and Bali.

“As long as we can keep things fresh, and certain processes renewal and viable, we will be able to hold our own. This is an integrated development, and it is not an ad hoc development like what we see in other parts of the island,” he said.

Shahrul Farez said the development would feature natural and family-oriented attractions like butterfly, forest and water-themed adventure parks.

“We will get the right and specialised people to manage these theme parks. We need special investors for that.

“We have the land and the sites for such purposes. There will be a few different takes on a particular business. And the water theme park is one of the best examples,” he said.

Phases I and II of the development will include natural and family-oriented attractions like butterfly, forest and water-themed adventure parks.

Among the highlight of the adventure forest park will be the longest zip line ride (Flying Fox) in the world.

Thrill-seekers can enjoy a 3.5km ride at speeds of up to 120 km per hour with views of the Malacca Straits, Andaman Sea and the canopy of the pristine rainforest.

In turn, the 2ha water-themed park will be nestled in natural beauty with the green hills of the imposing Gunung Machinchang as the backdrop.

And it will be joined by a Dolphinarium that will provide a level of interaction with these remarkable creatures that promise to be unique and special.

Phase 3 of the development will see the introduction of retail outlets, hotel and convention facilities aimed at the core China, Middle East and UK tourists and shoppers.

Phases 4 and 6 will see the construction and launches of marina, waterfront, foothills and lakeside-serviced residences that is envisaged to be priced at levels much more closely resembling residential properties of equivalent standards around the region.

Phase 5 will see the construction of a spa and wellness centre. Under this phase, there will also be additions to The Danna Langkawi hotel and construction of Beach Villas and other F&B outlets.

Shahrul Farez said the myriad number of attractions available at Perdana Quay was expected to drive visitor spend and number of days stayed.

Tradewinds is one of Malaysia’s premier leisure and hospitality owner-operators, with bespoke luxury and ecologically-conscious resort properties employing such prestigious brands under its stable as Hilton, Istana, Mutiara and Meritus.

Its investment on the island, via the hotels currently under its stable such as The Danna Langkawi, Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort and the former Mutiara Burau Bay Resort, has contributed over 600 rooms to the island. Its ongoing initiatives are expected to further drive tourist arrivals and spend in the key areas envisaged under Langkawi’s Tourism Blueprint.

Tradewinds’ investment for the development of Perdana Quay underlines theAlbukhary Group’s commitment to Langkawi and is the latest chapter in its venture on the island which includes the Rebak Island Resort; the island which is privately-owned by the group.

(The Star) Master plan proposed to ease traffic woes

There is an urgent need to address the lack of parking space in the city.

Ipoh City councillor Lai Khong Phooi said that there is an imbalance in the number of parking spaces available in Ipoh and the number of vehicles registered each year.

He said according to the state’s Road Transport Department (JPJ) records, there is an average increase of 86,000 vehicles a year since 2010, while there were only about 10,273 parking spaces available in the city.

“As the majority of the state’s registered vehicles are based here in the city centre, this shows that we do not have the capability to accommodate the number of vehicles here.

“It has been this way for some time now,” he said during a full board meeting at Ipoh City Council (MBI) building yesterday.

Lai added that this situation is aggravated by the influx of vehicles travelling into the city during peak periods and holiday seasons.

“Previously, empty plots of land that were initially meant for building multi-level parking lots to address the shortage of parking space were used for building landed properties instead,” he said, adding that it was to accommodate the increase in population in Ipoh.

“I propose for a master traffic plan to be introduced, one that focuses primarily on the traffic conditions here in the city, so that there would be sufficient space for the parking of vehicles, and a smooth flow of traffic,” he said.

Source: http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Community/2014/03/31/Master-plan-proposed-to-ease-traffic-woes/

(The Edge) Tropicana will clarify with PNSB

KUALA LUMPUR: Tropicana Corp Bhd said it will clarify the issue of payment for a 1,172-acre tract of land it bought from the Selangor government with Permodalan Negeri Selangor Bhd (PNSB) and will subsequently announce any further developments in due course.

It was referring to The Edge weekly article entitled, “Tropicana in talks with Selangor for amicable solution” published yesterday.

(The Star) Hospitality sector hots up in Penang

Penang will see six hotel projects with an approximate gross development value (GDV) of RM693mil taking shape on the island between this year and 2017.

These six hotels comprise the RM300mil The Rice Miller Hotel & Godowns; the RM250mil The Wembley – St Giles Premier Hotel and Cititel Express Penang; the RM25mil Victoria Street Hotel; the RM33.8mil Ozo Hotel, and an unnamed RM80mil hotel in George Town.

Besides the The Ozo Hotel and St Giles Wembley, which are contemporary themed projects, the rest are boutique hotels with heritage themes.

These hotels will add some 1,157 rooms to the local hospitality industry.

Penang will be in need of more hotel rooms when The Subterranean Penang International Convention and Exhibition Centre (Spice) and the Penang Waterfront Convention Centre (PWCC) starts operating in 2015 and 2017, respectively.

The Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) Penang Chapter expects an increase in visitors from the meeting incentives, conventions, and exhibitions market.

“There will be a shortage of hotel rooms. There are currently more than 14,000 rooms provided by the 52 members of MAH (Penang),” said MAH Penang vice-chairman Andy Fong.

Last year, the number of international arrivals at the Penang International Airport rose by 9.32% to 671.2 million from 614 million in 2012, according to statistics obtained from state tourism bureau Penang Global Tourism.

“Domestic arrivals at the Penang International Airport also increased to 1.5 million in 2013 from 1.2 million in 2012.

“We can expect a similar increase for both international and domestic arrivals this year,” Fong said.

The Rice Miller Hotel & Godowns and The Wembley – St Giles Premier Hotel and Cititel Express Penang are scheduled to start operations by the end of this year.

Jennifer Cheng, chief marketing officer of Asian Global Business Sdn Bhd, the company behind The Rice Miller Hotel & Godowns project said, the “partial infill” development and restoration project, comprises a 46-suite hotel, retail space with 17,000 sq ft of lettable area, two five-storey office blocks, and 99 units of city residences.

“The company restored two 19th century heritage buildings to accommodate a hotel and commercial outlets.

“There are in total 46 hotel suites, inclusive of a penthouse.

“There is also a residential-suite component with 99 city residences, called The Rice Miller City Residences, each with built-up areas ranging from 1,000sq ft to 2,500sq ft.

“The units are priced at RM1,400 per sq ft.

“We have already sold 60% of the city residences,” she said.

The food and beverage facilities will include a restaurant called Kate@9, which serves contemporary cuisine; The Mill, which serves local and international food; and The Sweet Spot, a bakery cum pastry cafe, and an international vegetarian restaurant.

“There will also be a couple of trendy bars, and 23 retail outlets,” Cheng added.

Cititel Hotel Management Sdn Bhd (CHM) managing director Datuk Eric Lim said The Wembley – St Giles Premier Hotel and Cititel Express Penang, with a combined RM250mil GDV, are also scheduled to start business by end of this year.

“The two hotels are joined by a shopping podium.

“The Wembley – St Giles Premier Hotel, a four-star hotel with 415 rooms, is designed to house the largest pillarless ballroom in George Town, with a seating capacity of 1,500, which will be ideal for banquets, conferences and conventions.

“It is also the first hotel here with a helipad. This development will also include retail space, restaurants and food court,” Lim added.

The Cititel Express Penang is a three-star hotel with 234 rooms.

“Both hotels target the leisure and meeting, incentive, convention, and exhibition markets.

“The hotels will have a total of 542 parking bays,” Lim added.

East Design Architect Sdn Bhd director Lawrence Lim said the company is undertaking the designing work for The Rice Miller Hotel & Godowns in Weld Quay, Victoria Street Hotel on Victoria Street, Ozo Hotel in Argyll Road, and the unnamed hotel project in Magazine Road.

The unnamed RM80mil hotel project is an infill development scheme with a colonial facade.

“The 250-room hotel will be built on top of a shopping podium, which is designed also to accommodate medical centres,” he said.

Lim said the OZO Hotel at Argyll Road, a contemporary themed hotel, will have 132 rooms, and all its recreational facilities, such as a swimming pool, gymnasium, and sky lounge, on the highest floor.

The five-storey Victoria Hotel, an infill development, will have the facade of a 19th century colonial commercial building and 80 rooms, each with a built-up area of 250sq ft.

“It will be a four-star hotel with a rooftop swimming pool, sky bar, and food and beverage outlets on the ground floor,” Lim added.

Fong said hotels in Penang achieved 70% occupancy rates for January and February this year on sales of over 160,000 rooms for each month.

In the same period last year, the occupancy rate of Penang’s hotels stood at about 65%.

“The whole of last year, the occupancy rate of local hotels was 66.5%, registering a sales of about two million room nights.

“This year the occupancy rate should exceed 70%,” Fong said.

On room rates, Fong said, due to the higher cost doing business, room rates for local hotels are expected to increase by about 10% by the end of this year.

“Presently, the rates for city hotels range between RM400 and RM500 a night, while the rates of beach hotels are between RM300 and RM800.

“The rates for heritage boutique hotels are between RM400 and RM1,000.

“Hotel room rates have increased about 8% since 2012,” he said.

Fong said Penang is seeing more tourist arrivals from Indonesia, China, Japan, Australia, and the UK.

“We expect the occupancy rate of heritage boutique hotels to rise over 80% this year,” Fong said.

According to Fong, what attracts foreign visitors to boutique heritage hotels in inner George Town is the way the projects are being restored for adaptive commercial use.

“The intricacies of restoration work and the antique furniture used determine the pricing of the rooms per night,” he said.

Fong, who is also the general manager of 23 Love Lane, a boutique heritage hotel, said its guests were interested in the details of the restoration and did not mind the rates, which were still very competitive compared to similar hotels in the region.

“The furniture for 23 Love Lane, Penang, for example, comes from the 19th century Straits Settlement period.

“Overseas visitors make up 70% of guests in boutique heritage hotels, while the remainder are domestic travellers,” he said.

Macalister Mansion, which opened in 2012, attracts a fair mixture of Asian and European guests because the way the owners restored the building. As much as possible of the 100-year-old building was preserved, according to its general manager Coreen Yeap

“A lot of time was spent on restoring and preserving the original features of the building, which is named after Penang’s British Governor Colonel Norman Macalister.

“The design process spanned an eight-month period from February to September 2011, with the owners working collaboratively with a Singapore-based interior design company,” she said.

On advertising and promotion, Fong said, generally boutique heritage hotels spend little on such programmes.

“The boutique heritage hotels in Penang are known through word of mouth and the social media.

“There are also foreign writers who come to Penang in search of such heritage commercial projects to report about in tourism and lifestyle magazines,” he added.

Source: http://www.thestar.com.my/Business/SME/2014/03/31/Hospitality-sector-hots-up-Penang-set-to-see-six-new-hotels-in-a-span-of-three-years/

(The Edge) SBC buys KL prime land for project

KUALA LUMPUR: SBC Corp Bhd is buying 0.2ha of freehold land in Bukit Bandaraya here for RM13.5 million cash.

SBC said the title of the land on Jalan Kapas will be amalgamated with the title of another of the company’s freehold tract on the road. Both tracts are intended for a residential project.

SBC said it is buying the site via its 50%-owned subsidiary Goldhill Achiever Sdn Bhd (GASB) from Patrick Chin Yoke Chung. Chin is a director and shareholder in GASB.

“The acquisition by GASB is to be settled by cash through its internal funds and bank borrowing. The exact mix of internal funds and bank borrowing will be decided by its management at a later stage.
 

(The Edge) Minister: klia2 cost to exceed RM4b

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has been hit by cost overruns for the construction of its new low-cost carrier terminal in Sepang (klia2), said Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi, bringing the total cost to more than RM4 billion.

“It will be higher [than the budgeted RM4 billion], but the amount will not jeopardise MAHB’s financial performance,” he told The Edge Financial Daily.

Abdul Aziz said he had been briefed by MAHB officials on the matter, and that the additional development cost of klia2 will be incurred by the airport operator and not public funds.

Abdul Aziz declined to disclose the additional cost incurred, but said that it would not make a “big” dent in MAHB’s bottom line, in view of the fact that it is a public-listed company and is answerable to its shareholders.

He attributed the additional cost to a change in job scope and “other unforeseen matters”.

He added that MAHB is currently preparing the necessary report, which will be submitted to his ministry.

When contacted, MAHB chief financial officer Faizal Mansor declined to comment on the cost escalation.

The cost of the new terminal has increased significantly from its initial estimate of RM1.7 billion when the project commenced in 2009. MAHB blamed the jump in klia2 construction cost to RM4 billion on the enlarged scope of work involved such as the installation of a fully automatic baggage handling system from a semi-automatic one.

The new terminal was first designed to cater for 30 million passengers a year, measuring about 150,000 sq m, but this was revised during its construction phase to 257,000 sq m, a 71% increase, with an increased capacity to cater for up to 45 million passengers a year.

Meanwhile, on whether the May 2 opening is a “soft launch”, Abdul Aziz said: “Whether it is going to be a soft launch or a grand opening, it (klia2) is going to be operational on May 2 as planned”.

Maybank IB Research aviation analyst Mohshin Aziz said cost overruns would crimp MAHB’s profits. Based on a financial analysis, he noted that MAHB could face another 10% or RM400 million in cost overruns at klia2.

MAHB’s net profit for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2013 dropped 1.4% to RM388.93 million from RM394.46 million in the previous year, due to higher total costs.

(The Star) Mah Sing eyes bigger affordable housing stake

PETALING JAYA: Mah Sing Group Bhd’s landbanking strategy of locking in large tracts of township land is sharpening the developer’s competitive edge to carve a bigger market share in the affordable housing sector.

Following the Government’s market cooling measures that also involved the tightening of bank lending guidelines, the mid-end property market looks likely to make up the bulk of new house purchases going forward.

Mah Sing group managing director cum group chief executive Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum (pic) said that for 2014, 81% of the company’s target residential launches would comprise mainly mass to mid-segment products priced at RM700,000 and below.

The company has a remaining landbank of 2,818 acres worth a gross development value (GDV) of RM26.82bil. It is targeting to improve sales by 20% from the 2013 level of RM3bil.

Mah Sing will be one of the biggest exhibitors at this year’s Starproperty Fair to be held at Setia City Convention Centre in Shah Alam from May 30- June 1, in Penang at Gurney Plaza from July 24-27, in Petaling Jaya at Tropicana City Mall from Oct 17-19, and also at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre from Nov 21-23.

“Our projects are targeted at buyers who buy for own use or for long-term rental income. Hence the take-up rate of our projects has not been much impacted,” Leong said.

Its 480 acres in Rawang will offer mostly link houses priced from RM400,000; phase one of Southville@KL South on 428 acres in Bangi will comprise mainly affordable apartments priced from RM338,000; and the 1,352 acres in Bandar Meridin East will have mostly affordably priced linked houses.

Leong said several research houses concurred that property demand might improve this year due to the impending implementation of the goods and service tax (GST) in April 2015.

“Buyers are expected to take advantage of the current accommodative interest rate regime given the experience in other countries where buyers purchased properties in anticipation of future cost-push inflation on asset prices,” he added.

Although Mah Sing has shifted its focus to mass-market products to cater to the average buyers, it is still maintaining some higher-end products in selected locations. These include One Legenda in Cheras comprising 3-storey bungalows, Aspen in Cyberjaya within a resort environment, M City in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Icon City, and Icon Residence.

Leong said key projects by Mah Sing this year included The Meridin@Medini inIskandar Malaysia, Johor, an 8.19-acre integrated development comprising the Meridin Linx SoVo, Meridin Exchange Corporate Towers, Meridin Walk Lifestyle Retail and Office Tower and a Wellness Residential Enclave, with a total GDV of RM1.1bil.

In the second and final phase of the project, there will be affordable small sized commercial units, the Meridin Suites and Meridin Sovo.

Also in Johor, the RM5bil Bandar Meridin East is a proposed 1,352 acre-integrated township within the vicinity of Masai-Pasir Gudang-Tg Langsat eastern growth corridor.

In the Klang Valley, Southville City@KL South in Bangi is expected to see strong demand for its 2½-storey linked houses with built-up of 2,650 sq ft priced from RM860,000.

Meanwhile, Star Residence, an integrated project in Subang Bestari, is a purpose built development comprising serviced apartments and shops. In the first phase, serviced apartments from 682 sq ft, indicatively priced from RM307,800, will cater to buyers working in Subang Airport and the nearby business parks.

Lakeville Residence in Taman Wahyu, Kepong, offers serviced residences with indicative built-up from 950 sq ft, 1,200 sq ft and above. The residential units have indicative price from RM668,800.

The other projects include M Residence 3 in Rawang and D’Sara Sentral in Sungai Buloh.

In Penang, Ferringhi Residence in Batu Ferringhi is preparing to launch phase two to keep up with spill over demand from phase one resort condo villas and to benefit from the proposed Teluk Bahang-Tanjung Bungah new paired road.

In Southbay City, the largest phase on 34.5 acres of the massive Southbay township will feature integrated commercial and lifestyle developments made up of a mixture of residential suites, office suites, Grade A offices, retail outlets, hotel and resort, and other recreational attractions.

Another project in Penang is The Loft, located about 1km from the second Penang bridge, consisting of two towers housing 78 serviced residences on each block. The luxury residential suites have built-up of 1,378 sq ft to 1,680 sq ft.

In Sabah, KK Convention City along the coastal highway will comprise a luxury hotel, office towers, shop offices, lifestyle retail, a business hotel and serviced residences.

(The Edge) Tradewinds launches RM4b project in Langkawi

LANGKAWI: Less than a year after it was taken private, Tradewinds Corp Bhd has launched an integrated development consisting of resort hotels, themed attractions and residential properties called Perdana Quay, with a gross development value (GDV) of RM4 billion in Langkawi, Kedah.

The project, which spans almost 240 acres (97.1ha), will take an estimated 10 to 12 years to complete.

“To date, the development of Langkawi’s tourism industry has been rather ad hoc. Perdana Quay will be the first master-planned development of its kind in Langkawi,” said Tradewinds Corp group chief executive officer Shaharul Farez Hassan.

The project is expected to drive tourism in Langkawi, which saw some three million visitors last year, he said, citing Langkawi Development Authority statistics.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said at the launch of the development yesterday: “I want to see three million tourist arrivals here each year, bringing RM3.8 billion into the economy and creating at least 4,200 jobs for Malaysians.”

He said that six years from now, the government wants to welcome 36 million tourists to Malaysia and collect RM168 billion in receipts annually.

Shaharul said in total, the project is expected to cost RM2 billion to build and the company will utilise a 70:30 debt-to-equity mix to fund it.

“For now, we have enough capital to undertake the project, which will be done phase by phase. So far, the banks have been willing to lend to us,” he said.

Shaharul also ruled out any plans to relist Tradewinds Corp in the near term. Tradewinds Corp was taken private by major shareholder, Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, in September last year in a deal which valued the company at RM1.12 billion.

Notably, the Perdana Quay project has a relatively long gestation period and Tradewinds Corp had a net debt position of RM727.3 million as at June 30, 2013 just before it was taken private.

Only 60% of the project’s GDV (the residential component) will be put up for sale. The residential component will only be launched in the later phases, that is about half-way through the project.

Shaharul said for the time being, the group is looking to engage with specialist investors who will enhance the value of the development’s attractions, although he did not rule out working with partners at a later stage.

He said Mohamad Ali Rashed Alabbar will only be involved in the project in his capacity as Tradewinds Sdn Bhd chairman, pointing out that Mohamad Ali does not have an equity stake in the Perdana Quay.

Mohamad Ali, who is the founder and chairman of the Emaar Properties group in Dubai, has partnered with Syed Mokhtar on other projects like the Tradewinds Centre in Kuala Lumpur, as well as building an aluminum smelter in Sarawak.

As for specialist investors, the group has already secured partners for the seven-acre butterfly park which will be the third largest in the region, as well as the 12-acre adventure park which will be based on the existing SkyTrex Adventure in Shah Alam.

The adventure park will also include a proposed 3.5km-long zipline, that will be the longest in the world when completed.

The group is still looking for partners to build a five-acre waterpark, and is currently in talks with several parties, said Shaharul.

The development will also boast a marina, man-made lake, fisherman’s wharf, and 200,000 sq ft of retail space.

The Burau Langkawi Luxury Resort will kick off the development of Perdana Quay in mid-2014 with the construction of 245 deluxe rooms and 60 luxury villas, including 26 ultra-luxury villas on the connecting island, Pulau Anak Burau.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

(The Star) Soaring house prices - Putting the cart before the horse

When the majority can’t afford the first house, why bother with second house buyers?

Developers continue to be in denial about the current housing situation or, worse still, are only interested in serving the desires of those who are seeking a second house.

The study by Sime Darby Property in collaboration with the Faculty of Built Environment of Universiti Malaya (UM) is irrelevant to most of us as it concerns a very niche market.

It is the wish of the National House Buyers’ Association (HBA) that our intellectuals, who are employed by our tax payers, spent their time solving the problem of why prices are so high and how they may be reduced instead of doing prospecting studies which only developers would be interested in. The HBA expresses its dismay with this recent study which concluded that “homes (sic) in selected areas in the Klang Valley are still accessible to homeowners (sic) who may be looking to upgrade or to invest in a second home (sic).”

A snapshot of some of the findings from the said study by Sime Darby is reproduced below:

Question of affordability

For what it is worth, what great truths does the study uncover anyway?

The most affordable house in the Sime Darby-UM study is in Melawati and the household income required is RM9,360. This means that even the most affordable property is already beyond the reach of the majority in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and even Selangor based on the Household Income Survey conducted by the Statistics Department in 2012. As the 2013 numbers are not released, we have assumed an optimistic 8% increase in household income from 2012.

Also, the property listed in Nilai requires a household income of RM9,430 which is almost twice the mean household income of Negri Sembilan and even exceeds the mean household income of Kuala Lumpur.

Hence, it can be concluded that some properties in the selected areas are beyond the reach of the majority in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Selangor. We must stress that the so-called mean household income assumes two working spouses. As such, the situation is very bleak for aspiring single house buyers – even fresh graduates. This group will never be able to buy their own homes unless more drastic measures are taken by the Government.

Homeless Generation

Malaysia is facing a “Homeless Generation” syndrome where our future leaders cannot afford their own homes. Unless drastic action is taken, Malaysia will face many social problems with far-reaching ramifications. Yet, these developers, assisted by our intellectuals, continue to market houses at sky-rocketing prices. This only accentuates the problem for first-time house buyers.

Indeed, the survey sounds like Marie Antoinette’s solution to the starving masses: “Let them eat cake if they have no bread”. If you can’t afford any house, why not buy a “second” house as soon as possible because at the rate prices are increasing, these too will be out of your reach soon.

Are the desperate Malaysian masses being told to take burdensome housing loans only to face foreclosures later for the benefit of the banks? Already, the people are struggling to balance their household budgets and are reduced to accepting handouts from the Government.
Do meaningful public research

The study, nevertheless, reveals a situation that HBA has been trying to warn the Government about for years – that is, property prices are beyond the reach of fresh graduates and single parents. More research needs to be undertaken by our intellectuals to “control prices of materials like cement, sand, steel and cost of doing business,” and find ways how utility companies like Syabas, Tenaga Nasional, Telekom and statutory GLCs do not increase tariffs but force developers to built infrastructures thus hiking up house prices. After all, the developers will continue to factor all the “costs” plus hidden ones into the sale price which will be passed down to house buyers.

Sime Darby-UM has since clarified that their study is only for upgraders and not first-time house buyers.

The clarification has been made that the study was “based on a group of 1,183 home owners in selected areas in the Klang Valley. It does not cover first-time buyers. The findings are based on the average household income of respondents who already own homes in the specified locations”.

This only begs the question: So what? Why bother at all? Was it to back our developers’ business with information based on objective studies from our leading university? Why is public money spent on research for the benefit of developers who want to market their products to second-timers?

The study is not without its merits though. We are told: “Based on the findings, the current price-to-income ratio in the Klang Valley for those who are interested in purchasing a second home or upgrading is 56 times the average monthly household”. Don’t we know that? If Klang Valley residents can afford to buy a second home, would they want to buy another one in the same congested and stressed out Klang Valley?

Conclusion:

The Government must take concrete and proactive measures:

> Ensure steady supply of affordable houses to cater to the demands of the lower and middle class income groups;

> Protect our young from drowning in debts;

> Stem the rapid rise of property prices due to false demand and speculation; and

> Get our intellectuals to study the problem from the perspective of first-time buyers and the looming homeless generation

Young adults unable to afford a reasonable house that does not require taking out a back-breaking bank loan are moving out to faraway housing estates that involve daily mind-numbing commuting. Anyone want to do a study on first-time house buyers and affordability?

Chang Kim Loong is the honorary secretary-general of the National House Buyers Association (HBA): www.hba.org.my, a non-profit, non-governmental organisation manned purely by volunteers.