Thursday, 3 August 2017

(NST) Forest City on right track

JOHOR BARU: THE Forest City mega project is now in its second phase of development and is on the right track despite facing challenges from the global economy.

Master developer Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd (CGPV) executive director Datuk Md Othman Yusof said the project would continue to gain momentum with the start of the second phase of its Industrialised Building Systems (IBS) facility.

The facility will become the biggest of its kind in the world, and boasts three 18-hole golf courses and a five-star hotel.

“Despite challenges faced by Forest City, we are moving in a very positive manner. Whatever negative stories that were supposedly associated with Forest City are untrue as we have continued to develop the project according to the scheduled timeline we had laid out,” Othman told NST Business in an interview ahead of the launch of key Forest City milestones tomorrow.

CGPV will unveil a slew of new initiatives, such as its landmark building, and enter agreements with 21 domestic and foreign entities for upcoming projects.

The launch of its IBS facility and presentation of its conceptual design for the Darul Ta’zim football club stadium, which the company is also developing, will be held at the same event, to be held on Forest City’s Island One.

The IBS facility, which is currently operating 12 lines, is set to become the world’s largest IBS factory, with a total investment of RM2.6 billion, incorporating technologies from Germany, Italy and China.

The first of the three 18-hole golf courses in Forest City will be designed by golf legend Jack Nicklaus and his son, Jack Nicklaus II, and is expected to be completed by the first quarter of next year.

Forest City will consist of four reclaimed islands spanning 2,025ha off the coast of Gelang Patah, Johor. It has a gross development value of US$100 billion (RM442 billion) when fully completed in 20 years.

Othman said Forest City was expected to reinvigorate the “Malaysia My Second Home” programme as it aimed to establish a city with world-class facilities for Malaysians and the global community.

He said foreign property buyers chose to buy second homes in Malaysia due to Malaysia’s climate and multiracial culture, and he believed Forest City would attract many foreigners who wanted quality residential and business properties.

“The planned townships within Forest City caters to global tastes. It will become a complete metropolis, with infrastructure that is rated five to six stars.

“The ‘Malaysia My Second Home’ programme can be re-invigorated with what is being offered at Forest City,” he said.

Othman said the spillover benefits of Forest City would be seen in Johor and the rest of Malaysia as the project was a catalyst towards the country becoming a high-income nation.

“The most obvious spillover is an increase in real estate value, as we can see that the real estate value in the area has increased manifold. The prices of property here are on a par with what we can find in Kuala Lumpur, with some properties going for RM1,300 to RM1,400 per sq ft.

“People will continue to enjoy these spillover affects and reap the rewards during its 20-year development period,” he said.

Othman urged Johor folk to grab opportunities that would come with Forest City’s development phases, adding that an estimated 220,000 job opportunities would be created.

“Forest City will contribute immensely to the country’s gross domestic product and the industrial and economic sectors will contribute to the country’s exports. Malaysians must seize these opportunities or else much of these benefits will only be enjoyed by foreigners,” he said.