Wednesday, 15 January 2020

(The Star) TRX making progress in retail and residential units

KUALA LUMPUR: The last 12 months have seen important milestones at Lendlease’s 17.5 acre development in the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) with regard to its retail and residential development.

Lendlease Asia chief executive officer Tony Lombardo said the retail portion is 50% leased and committed compared with 26% a year ago and final negotiations on retail tenancies are on-going.

The retail portion has a net lettable area of 1.33 million sq ft, the size of Pavilion KL, but its differentiating factor would be its 10-acre park on top of the mall which Lombardo said is “an engineering feat”.

City Hall gave the development order for the park in September 2019.

“We target to finish the retail portion in 2021, ” Lombardo said.

There will be obvious points of differentiation in Lendlease 17.5-acre development, known as The Exchange.

Aside from the retail, the Australian global and infrastructure group is preparing to launch its first serviced residentials TRX Residences on Feb 20, although the group has started selling the units since the middle of last year, initially with a 10% discount which gradually reduced to 8% over the months.

Lombardo said this was “to test the market.” He declined to say what the sales have been so far. It is believed that the Australian group would be using the resources of overseas agents from China, Hong Kong and Singapore, among other countries. There will be 2,400 units in six blocks.

It will be launching the first block closest to the TRX mass transit station comprising nearly 450 units.

Lombardo said it would be a global location like London’s Canary Wharf and Singapore’s Marina Bay.

“We want to make sure that people understand what we are trying to deliver. It will be pitched both locally and internationally and when people look at Kuala Lumpur, they will see a global product, ” he said.

According to sources, the project averages around RM2,000 to RM2,200 per sq ft (psf). Owners of the residences will, other than the monthly service charges and sinking fund, have an additional common estate fund which will go towards the upkeep of public areas including the park.

“When the right contribution is made, it lifts the value of the property. So it is an investment for the long-term. If maintenance is not delivered to the standard we see fit, we will take over the maintenance.

The company listed its Lendlease Global Commercial REIT (real estate investment trust) in Singapore last year and has four assets it its portfolio, a mall in Orchard and four office blocks in Italy.

Lombardo said the group has an A$100bil development fund over a 10-year period, The plan is to develop assets and sell them to the REIT.

“We wanted to create a platform. We don’t hold completed assets on the balance sheet. Most of our assets are held by pension funds and off-market funds, ” he said.