A Middle Eastern consortium may become the partner for the RM2.5 billion Four Seasons Place Kuala Lumpur, which will occupy a site next to the Petronas Twin Towers.
Sources said the group is one of the largest investors in the Gulf region and it is now in talks with project developer Venus Assets Sdn Bhd.
The project has been delayed because of minor changes and the fact that Venus Assets has had a lot of suitors.
One source denied that the developer - owned by Tan Sri Syed Yusof Syed Nasir, the Sultan of Selangor and Ipoh-born tycoon Ong Beng Seng - was having financing problems and said that half a dozen prominent suitors had approached Venus Assets for tie-up talks.
"Venus Assets has one chance to get it right and wants no stone to be left unturned, and for it to be a perfect development that can enhance the Kuala Lumpur skyline and the property market," the source added.
In fact, the Gulf investors came into the picture after talks with state investment agency Khazanah Nasional Bhd ended.
It is believed that Khazanah had wanted 30 per cent ownership, a stake that would be worth about US$60 million (RM205 million).
Officials from Venus Assets could not be reached for comment.
Venus Assets is owned by Venus Pacific Sdn Bhd.
Venus Pacific is 30 per cent owned by ISY Equity Sdn Bhd, a company controlled by Syed Yusof and the Sultan, while the balance is held by Attesa Investment Ltd, which is controlled by Ong and partner.
Previously, it was speculated that the Kingdom Group, the vehicle of Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, was supposed to have taken a stake in Venus Assets.
However, that did not happen.
There was also talk that Venus Assets had spoken to KLCC Property Holdings to possibly build a twin towers development on a larger piece of land.
That, too, did not materialise.
Business Times reported in November last year that the completion of the hotel might be delayed as the developer was in the process of getting a new partner. Venus Assets was said to be undergoing an internal restructuring of its shareholding.
Minor changes to the 65-storey building - comprising a hotel, apartments and a retail area - were also said to be cause for delay.
Venus Assets bought the prime 1.05ha site for RM90 million in 2003 from the estate of the late Khoo Teck Puat, the former major shareholder of Standard Chartered plc.
By Business Times