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Monday, December 31, 2007

UEM Land’s Puteri Harbour to start taking shape in 2008

KUALA LUMPUR: UEM Land Sdn Bhd, the master developer of Bandar Nusajaya, Johor, expects several things to kick off in 2008 for the development’s RM5 billion Puteri Harbour precinct, said its managing director Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim.

Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim: The marina will be ready to receive its first yacht in August next year.

The freehold Puteri Harbour is an integrated waterfront and marina development, fashioned after the French Riveria. It has over 687 acres of commercial, residential, retail as well as leisure components.

“Construction for the Residential North Canal Estate and business hotel are targeted to be on the ground in the first half of 2008, while the Satellite Clubhouse and Puteri Harbour’s sales gallery are expected to be operational by August next year. Also, in August 2008, the 75-berth marina, one of the three marinas in Puteri Harbour, will be ready to receive its first yacht,” he said.

He added that the first building on the retail crescent, comprising high-end apartments, Small Office Home Office apartments, offices, retail and food and beverage space, is targeted to be ready by the first half of 2009. Among the features planned in Puteri Harbour are a wide
promenade by the water, low-density developments, thematic gardens and lush landscaping.

Wan Abdullah said that Puteri Harbour is a challenging project as it involves a lot of environmental issues. “It sits on one side of the Tebrau Straits and whatever we do on our side, would have an impact on Singapore’s end. Progress on the site is coming along well and we have completed the inner lagoon and would be able to open the waterway passage by mid-2008.

Also, all buildings have obtained the necessary approvals,” he revealed.

UEM Land, a wholly owned subsidiary of UEM World Bhd recently entered into a joint venture with a unit of Dubai World Company, Limitless Holdings Pte Ltd, to form Haute Property Sdn Bhd. The joint-venture company will undertake the development of the 111- acre residential north precinct of Puteri Harbour. It will be developed into an exclusive residential enclave featuring a mix of distinctive, canal-front homes with individual berthings, and luxury condominiums. The project is expected to be complete in five years.

Bandar Nusajaya is a 24,000 acre integrated urban development and is a key component within the Iskandar Development Region. The seven signature developments within the regional city are Johor State New Administrative Centre, Sourthern Industrial and Logistics Clusters, Medical City, EduCity, Puteri Harbour Waterfront Precinct, International Destination Resort and Residential.

By theSun (by Allison Lee)

Nam Fatt's Esente offers urban escape - the property is wired with a smart home system and designed to facilitate working from home

COUNTRY LIVING: Artist's impression of Esente Luxury residences

Property developer Nam Fatt Corp will be launching its latest boutique high-end residences at the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Golf Club (KGSAAS) in Shah Alam, Selangor, in September.

Called Esente, the contemporary luxury residences will comprise 13 exclusive and 12 semi-detached units as well as a bungalow.

Esente, which is Italian for "free", is situated in the high-security Zone C of the 240ha golf and residential community.

According to Nam Fatt, the development Esente@KGSAAS offers an escape for urbanites seeking a country-living lifestyle as the surroundings are pleasant and tranquil.

"An Esente home is one which is intelligently designed, comprehensively equipped with technology, and well laid out to facilitate conventional living while minimising clutter and opening up living spaces for unconventional working from home," the company said in a statement.

The Esente home is wired with a smart home system, which allows for lightening automation, panic button and data points in every room, among other features.

Internet connectivity is available throughout the property to facilitate residents working from home.

Nam Fatt said that Esente@KGSAAS goes beyond simple visual aesthetics as the highly-functional design also takes into account key elements of the tropical climate.

The property is cross-ventilated and extensively shaded, while the interiors are marked by plenty of natural light.

The semi-detached units are designed to appear like a bungalow with the pond that separates the two adjoining units within a single structure.

Nam Fatt is also releasing its limited stock of "reserved" bungalow plots for a more personalised creation.

By New Straits Times (by Hamisah Hamid)

Gadang looking at busy year ahead

BRIGHT OUTLOOK: Executive director Ling Hock Hing (right) and director Takhiyuddin Abdullah speak on a Gadang project early this year

Gadang Holdings Bhd, a construction and property firm, plans to launch a commercial building and two condominium blocks along Jalan Ampang in Selangor by the third quarter of next year, sources said.

Business Times understands that Gadang is in advanced talks with landowners in the area to develop the project on a joint-venture basis.

"Gadang is looking at building one block of office units with a total of 190,000 sq ft and two blocks of high-end condominiums with 350,000 sq ft. The units will have unique designs catering to local and foreign tastes," a source said.

The source said that based on valuation in the area, which currently exceeds RM500 per sq ft, Gadang is expected to reap a gross development value (GDV) of RM220 million from the project, which has yet to be given a name.

Gadang is also in talks with landowners in Johor to build residential and commercial units that could easily generate an additional RM250 million in GDV for the company, the source added.

Gadang managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Kok Onn declined to comment on the two proposed projects when contacted by Business Times.

He did, however, give details on the main board-listed company's plans for next year.

Kok said that Gadang had acquired about 4ha in Tanjung Bungah, Penang, to build luxury semi-detached homes, slated for launch in early 2009.

"We are looking at a GDV of RM60 million from this project, which will be our maiden development in Penang.

"We are sourcing for more land in Penang to expand our presence there," he said.

Kok was optimistic on prospects for the property sector next year, saying that the industry would remain encouraging with new buyers entering the market.

He also said Gadang will continue to launch housing and commercial projects next year, with the biggest in Tampoi, Johor, where it has 8ha, which will be developed in phases.

The first phase, comprising 40 shops and 512 serviced apartments, is expected to be launched early next year and to generate RM90 million GDV.

"We are planning to build a shopping mall within the development once we have established what we want to do with the remaining land," Kok said.

He added that Gadang is also in advanced negotiations for some land in the Klang Valley and Johor.

The deals, when concluded, will have a combined GDV of more than RM1 billion, Kok said.

By New Straits Times (by Sharen Kaur)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Gateway to 'new' Puchong

Bukit Hitam offering high-end products in flagship development after rebranding exercise

After going through a rebranding exercise, following a change in ownership, Bukit Hitam Development Sdn Bhd (Bukit Hitam) now wants to position its flagship development, Bukit Puchong, previously known as Bandar Bukit Puchong, as the "new" Puchong.

"We are at the gateway to the new Puchong," says Lim Jee Kong, general manager of Bukit Hitam. Established as a 50:50 joint venture between TAHPS Group Bhd (TAHPS) and the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) in 1992, Bukit Puchong is a 1,290-acre
freehold township project, with a gross development value (GDV) of RM3 billion.

Lim: Consumers have changed... they want new and different products

Currently 50% developed, with a total of 4,000 residential units and 350 commercial units completed and handed over, Bukit Puchong now boasts a 90% occupancy rate for its completed portions. "Our advantages are our size and location. We are one of the last freehold tracts in Puchong situated on higher ground," says Lim.

Last year, TAHPS gained full ownership of Bukit Hitam. "After the change in ownership, we began studying the change in market trends and we are now carrying out a new wave of development in Puchong," he says. "We are moving towards higher-end developments, with better quality in terms of design and environment."

Better landscaping
Since its rebranding exercise, which began early this year, Bukit Puchong has gone through several changes. Besides offering higher-end products, the developer is also upgrading its products, such as adding better landscaping. The company also sports a new logo. "We are upgrading our offices and showhouses to make them trendier than before," says Lim.

"Consumers have changed: they want new and different products. That's the reason for our rebranding," he says. "People are more affluent, more educated and more exposed. They know what they want, and we want to cater to their needs."

Their rebranding efforts can be seen in Ametis Terraces, a gated community with 120 units of 2 and 2½-storey terraced homes. About 70% sold since its launch in March, the homes come in two designs: Classic and Contempo. The former has a conventional home layout, while the latter has a reconfigured living space and a water feature added for feng shui or creative purposes.

An Ametis Terraces showhouse

Targeted at newly married couples and young families, the Ametis Terraces homes come in sizes from 20ft by 75ft onwards. Intermediate units are priced between RM355,000 and RM389,000 while corner lots go for RM587,000 and above. With a GDV of RM46 million, completion is expected in early 2009.

According to Lim, Bukit Hitam assures early delivery of its products. Its Nilam Terraces, an enclave of 2½-storey terraced homes, was completed and handed over mid-November, six months ahead of schedule. A precursor to Ametis Terraces, the 105 units come in standard lot size of 20ft by 65ft with built-ups from 2,266 sq ft. They are set within a gated community and are pegged at RM348,000 onwards.

The first phase of its latest launch — the ParkVille townhouses — has been 62% sold.
"We're expecting 90% sales by year-end, and will launch the remainder early next year," says Lim. He adds that the garden-themed homes place strong emphasis on parks and landscaping.
"Maintenance fee for ParkVille is six sen psf; it's less than RM100 per unit for security and landscape maintenance."

An artist's impression of ParkVille homes in Bukit Puchong

Set within a gated and guarded enclave, there are 400 units with standard lot size of 24ft by 60ft. Upper units with built-ups of 1,528 sq ft are priced at RM218,888 while lower units with built-ups of 1,258 sq ft (with an extra 5ft land at the rear) are going for RM223,888. There will be a 10% increase in prices for the second launch, says Lim. Construction has already begun on the RM85 million project and completion is expected by October 2010.

Value appreciation

"Next year should be good. ParkVille is doing well and the demand should continue," says Lim.
"People from other areas (besides Puchong) are buying our properties," he offers, adding that 50% of the buyers are from Puchong, with others coming from places like Petaling Jaya and Subang Jaya.

"There is new interest in this township. There is good demand and we have sophisticated purchasers."

He attributes the success of the township to its location. It's accessible via Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP), South Klang Valley Expressway, Kesas Highway and the KLIA-KL Expressway (scheduled to open in January next year).

"Value appreciation in Bukit Puchong is lower than in places such as Damansara Utama, but we are catching up. Our properties should see values appreciate by between 20% and 30%," says Lim.

The group also plans to add landscaping. "A police station has been set up and we plan to build a post office next year," he adds.

Next year will see the launch of another 200 ParkVille homes, as well as 50 linked bungalows and zero-lot bungalows next to Ametis Terraces. "We have also set aside 254 acres for an exclusive, gated and guarded project," says Lim. Touted to be a combination of high-end landed and strata properties, the plans are expected to be finalised early next year.

Also coming up is a 100-acre regional town centre. "There will be comprehensive retail planning to cater to residents of Puchong within a 20km radius," says Lim.

Targeted for completion in 2010 is the proposed 7.9-acre Taylor's Junior College. An agreement has already been signed. Another five acres have been set aside for a private institution, with plans for a high-end retail project on another plot.

Address of choice
Lim, who joined Bukit Hitam at end-2006, has been in the property sector for over 25 years. "I have always been in property development. It is an interesting and challenging job and the industry is getting more matured," he says.

Before Bukit Hitam, he held senior management positions in Sumur Wang, Danga Bay and the IOI Group. His mission now is to make Puchong "the address of choice" and Bukit Hitam the "developer of choice".

"Good living equals a nice house with good design, and good environment with landscaped park and facilities. We want to create a good buying experience and to provide good service," says Lim.

"Communication is also important to bring us closer to purchasers because we are building a community," he adds. At present, Bukit Puchong contributes 80% towards TAHPS's revenue. With another 600 acres left, Bukit Puchong will keep the group occupied for another seven years.

By The EDGE MALAYSIA - City and Country (by Yeong Ee-Wah)

IJM Land charts new direction

An artist's impression of The Light, one of IJM's crown jewels

Existing and future projects to keep developer busy for several years

Life is even busier for IJM Corp Bhd CEO and managing director Datuk Krishnan Tan, now that plans to rationalise the group's property development division are in place and moving on to the second stage at full speed.

"We have a lot of work to do, with projects all over the country and overseas, especially now that we have integrated two divisions (IJM Properties Sdn Bhd and RB Land Holdings Bhd) into one listed vehicle," Tan tells City and Country after unveiling The Light — IJM's ambitious, RM6.5 billion project on reclaimed land in Penang recently.

Tan: The Light will be a symbolic landmark in Penang, clearly visible from the mainland and the Penang Bridge

"The first action is over," he says, referring to the merger, which was aimed at streamlining the group's property development business.

"Now, we need to execute the second stage, which is the rebranding exercise of our property development division, to be known as IJM Land Bhd.

"IJM Land is poised to be a core division of our group as real estate development is expected to contribute significantly to our profits," he adds.

Property development contributed 24% or RM77.1 million to IJM Corp's pre-tax profit of RM318.9 million on revenue of RM463.8 million for FY2007, ended March 31.

During the brief interview that his tight schedule could permit, Tan talks about the group's penetration of India, the contingency plans in view of rising construction and material costs, and The Light.

When asked how IJM Land will position itself on the country's property scene, he says with over 9,000 acres in its landbank, IJM Land is set to be among the top property developers in the country.

"Our existing and future projects will keep us busy for several years and essentially make us one of the top developers in the country," says Tan.

Among the then IJM Properties' notable projects are the PJ8 Tower in Petaling Jaya, Ampersand@Kia Peng, which is a high-end condominium project in the KLCC vicinity, mixed residential projects in Saujana Puchong, Ukay Green in Ulu Kelang and Riana Green East in Wangsa Maju.

In Sandakan, Sabah, IJM is involved in a 320-acre housing project.

RB Land, on the other hand, is credited with building the booming townships of Seremban 2 and Shah Alam 2.

The enlarged company's (IJM Land) landbank in the Klang Valley, Penang, Negri Sembilan, Johor and Sabah is expected to translate into a gross development value (GDV) of more than RM15 billion.

On IJM's overseas ventures, Tan says: "IJM will stick to the same strategy as in the past, which is to go into any country as a contractor first and then finding opportunities to develop properties there.

"Our move into India was carried out using the same approach, where we went in as a contractor and then started developing land."

According to Tan, IJM has three key development projects under construction in India, and it is in talks with several landowners in India on future projects.

"In Hyderabad, we are undertaking a residential and commercial project on an 80-acre tract and in Nagpur, we are working on a residential project on 35 acres.

"In Vijayawada, which is a third-tier city, we are undertaking the development of 119 acres of low and high-rise residential units," he offers. The GDV of the projects in India, he adds, is in the region of RM3.5 billion.

IJM's vehicle in India is known as IJM (India) Infrastructure Ltd. Among its notable projects is the Raintree Park, an integrated township in Hyderabad.

Hyderabad is the capital city of Andhra Pradesh province, with a population of 6.1 million. Vijayawada is the third largest city in the province, while Nagpur is one of the largest cities in central India, with a population of 2.1 million.

When asked if IJM plans to launch projects in any other country, especially the Middle East, where it has a strong presence as a contractor, Tan says: "We are looking around but there's nothing at the moment."

He is optimistic IJM will remain profitable in times to come despite rising construction and material costs.
"Profit margins will continue to erode with escalating costs as this is a reality in property development, but we are going for cost compression.

"The key issue is to do more, which is to carry out more projects and hedge where we can and bring in savings in other forms.

"Since these (costs) are mostly driven by external factors, we will carry out significant market research to stay profitable," he says.

Future landmark: Visitors viewing a model of the Light project

The Light

Tan singled out The Light as one of IJM's crown jewels. "The Light is a spectacular project that will bring pride to the people of Penang as not only will it showcase the island's biggest waterfront development, it will also be on a par with renowned properties such as Canary Wharf in London, Melbourne's Docklands and Queens Quay of Toronto.

"It will be a symbolic landmark in Penang, clearly visible from the mainland and the Penang Bridge," he says.

The Light will be built over the next 10 years over 152 acres in three phases by Jelutong Development Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of IJM Land.

It is located on the eastern coastline of Penang in Gelugor, along Jalan Udini heading towards Bayan Lepas, where the Penang government has given IJM the right to reclaim 338 acres in exchange for constructing the Jelutong Expressway.

What The Light's high-end waterfront homes will look like

Land reclamation works are currently underway and construction is expected to start before the end of 2008.
The Light will feature 1,186 units of high-end waterfront condominiums, office towers, four hotels, a family mall, an IT mall, a fashion mall, dining and entertainment facilities and a seafront park.

Under phase one, covering 17ha, six parcels of high-end waterfront residences, comprising 1,186 units, will be developed. Under phase two, a commercial and retail city, comprising the Gateway Towers, hotels, signature offices, showrooms, banquet and conference facilities, cultural hall, visitor centre and waterfront amphitheatre, will be built on 41.7ha.

A unique feature of The Light is a floating stage and a floating restaurant, with the entire development interconnected by water taxis. Tan says The Light will also boast a seafront park with 2km set aside for greenery.
The prices of the residential and commercial units at The Light are expected to be in the region of RM350 to RM650 psf.

With the launch of The Light, Tan believes IJM Land has made an impact as a trusted developer building quality properties besides creating new townships and opportunities.

By The EDGE MALAYSIA - City and Country (by Tim Leonard)

Shareholder seeks removal of entire GPlus board

PETALING JAYA: Indian Corridor Sdn Bhd, Golden Plus Holdings Bhd's new major shareholder with an 11.8% equity interest, will seek the removal of the Bursa Malaysia-listed company's entire board at an EGM to be convened on Jan 26.

In a statement to Bursa, GPlus said it had on Thursday received notice from Indian Corridor and Pembangunan Qualicare Sdn Bhd (PQ) proposing to remove chairman Datuk Abdul Halim, executive directors Low Thiam Hoe and Goh Sin Tien, and independent non-executive directors Tan Sri Lamin Mohd Yunus, Jeyaraj V. Ratnaswamy and Yeoh Hor San.

It is not known how big a stake PQ has in the property developer.

The major shareholders have also proposed to appoint Tan Sri Mohd Jamil Johari, Datuk Sharir Abdul Jalil, Mohamad Zekri Ibrahim, Datuk Ooi Kee Liang and Loh Chye Teik as directors of GPlus.

StarBiz understands that the hostility arose as a result of unhappiness over the management agreement GPlus subsidiary Yanfull Investments Ltd (YIL) signed with China Idea Development Ltd (CID) on July 25.

Indian Corridor, which emerged as the single largest shareholder on Dec 19, considered the agreement “unjustifiable” for GPlus, a source told StarBiz.

The agreement is to engage Hong Kong-based CID to provide services in relation to the management and day-to-day operations of YIL unit, Yanfull (Shanghai) Co Ltd (YS), which is involved in a high-end property development project in Shanghai, China.

The Chinese project is seen as GPlus's core income-generating asset.

Under the agreement, CID was required to reimburse YIL a sum of RM650 per sq m (psm) from sales of the properties. The payments start after CID achieves 40% of the gross saleable area based on each of the four phases.

It is believed that Indian Corridor is against the agreement because the reimbursement rate is too low versus the market price, which is said to be about 15,000 yuan (RM6,832) psm, or more than 10 times the agreed amount.

After incurring losses for the past seven consecutive quarters, GPlus turned profitable in the quarter ended Sept 30, posting a net profit of RM21.5mil on higher revenue of RM136.2mil.

The board attributed the improvement to contributions from phase two of the Royal Garden development project in Shanghai.

The source said GPlus' earnings would have been much higher if the sales revenue it was collecting from Shanghai was more in line with the market price.

The share price of hardly traded GPlus has been soaring since September.

The stock hit a high of RM2.21 in September from under 60 sen in August. It closed five sen lower at RM1.72 yesterday.

By The Star (by Kathy Fong)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Kombinasi Bijak plans niche project in Klang

PETALING JAYA: Kombinasi Bijak Sdn Bhd is planning a themed commercial development on a 4.6-acre leasehold tract in Jalan Kim Chuan, Klang.

Its general manager Sip Mun Yee said, although still in the initial stages, the group is exploring ideas of creating either a shopping centre, F&B outlet or an IT hub for the project. “Along Jalan Kim Chuan, there are already many existing shoplots and we feel we need to come up with something unique and different in order to sell,” he told PropertyPlus.

Although there is plenty of commercial supply in the area, Sip believes there is strong residential support and catchment in the surrounding developments such as Pandamaran and Bandar Bukit Tinggi.

“Our project is going to be small, niche and specialised to cater to a specific market as we do not want to compete with other commercial developments in the area,” he said.

Instead of completely selling the whole project, the developer also plans to hold some units back for leasing. “As this is a themed development, we would need to maintain some stake in it and be selective with our buyers,” Sip said, adding that the project is targeted for launching by the end of next year with prices starting below RM200 psf.

The company was incorporated in 1995 by the same group of people behind Mahumas Sdn Bhd, a property development company with projects in Rawang.

Kombinasi Bijak’s maiden project in Klang is the 7.15-acre Bukit Kuda Heights, comprising nine units of 2 ½-storey terraces, eight units of 3-storey semi-detached houses, 32 units of 3-storey bungalows and 10 units of 3-storey shop offices. All have been sold except for five bungalow units. The leasehold development was recently completed and has a gross development value (GDV) of RM36 million.

Another project is 20 units of 2-storey shoplots in Batu Lima, Jalan Kapar. The units are expected to be ready by next year with a GDV of about RM80 million and are already sold out.

An artist's impression of Kombinasi Bijak's D'anjung Teluk Pulai development

The company’s latest project is D’Anjung Teluk Pulai, which offers terraced homes with a touch of luxury to first-time homebuyers and families looking to upgrade.

The 19.22-acre leasehold development comprises 66 units of 2-storey and 94 units of 2 ½-storey terraces that are priced between RM215,000 and RM463,000 each.

Its sales manager Maria Lim said although the units in the development are priced as such, there would be no compromise in the design and living space of the homes. “There are three contemporary designs to choose from with built-ups ranging from 1,732 sq ft to 2,650 sq ft,” she said.

She added that despite the similarity in prices with other terraced developments in Klang, the developer would be offering value-added finishes to the units in the project. “For a classier look, each unit comes with upgraded 16in by 16in floor tiles for the living, dining and bedrooms, while the bathrooms have ceiling-high wall tiles. In addition, the car porch has concrete imprints and is column-free for ease of parking,” she revealed.

Launched in October last year, more than 90% of the 2-storey terraced units have been sold. The developer recently launched 23 units of 2 ½-storey terraces, with six units taken up to date. The remaining 71 units are targeted for launching by the fourth quarter of next year.

Lim said the units are popular among young couples and growing families because of their affordability and the need for additional space. “We expect the value of the properties in D’Anjung Teluk Pulai to appreciate by about 20% upon completion,” she said. The asking price for terraced units in Bukit Kuda Heights, which were sold at a developer’s price of RM300,000, is now about RM360,000 to RM380,000.

The development is accessible via major highways including the NKVE, Kesas and Federal Highway. A KTM station is also within walking distance. The project is expected to be complete in December 2008 with a gross development value (GDV) of RM50 million.

Lim said the Klang property market is currently on the rise with many developments coming up and buyers becoming more discerning in their choice of properties.

“Unlike the bigger developers, our projects are strategically located within the town centre, which gives us a huge advantage as location is often a deciding factor for property buyers,” she said.

By theSun (by Yap Yew Jin)

How are our MALLS FARING?

speaks to retail industry insiders to see how the landscape has changed with all the new malls the Klang Valley has to offer

About three months have passed since the Klang Valley welcomed new additions to the retail space — Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, The Gardens Galleria at Mid Valley City, and the revamped Sunway Pyramid. PropertyPlus visited the three malls one Friday afternoon just before Christmas to check out the festivities and witnessed a joyous Christmas mood with the decorations all around and the carols playing in the background.

However, human traffic was slow in all three malls despite the school holidays and festive seasons, except for the F&B outlets and main concourse areas, which held live performances.

Pavilion Kuala Lumpur (picture above)
Visit Pavilion Kuala Lumpur Website here

Terence Ong, Pasta Mania’s general manager at Pavilion says business for the Italian casual dining outlet has been good so far as consumers are always looking to try something new. “With only Pizza Hut as our direct competition, we have been enjoying strong patronage until the food
court opened, which slightly decreased the number of visitors to our outlet,” he told PropertyPlus.

At Sunway Pyramid, the new Jaya Jusco has improved foot traffic to the mall, observes Susan Lai, manager at The Body Shop. But Lai said business for the Body Shop outlet was better at its old location in the mall. “Now that we’ve moved to the new section, our rental rates have increased but business has been slow as most of the new shops in this (new) section have yet to open,” she added.

Sunway Pyramid (picture above)
Visit Sunway Piramid Website here

At the Gardens Galleria, anchor tenant Robinsons has been enjoying a steady stream of customers since the mall opened. Robinsons Malaysia general manager Deepak Sharma said, by offering a varied mix of products, Robinsons caters to almost everyone, including expatriates and tourists, which comprise 5% to 10% of its customers.

“We chose The Gardens to open the first Robinsons in the country because of the success of Mid Valley Megamall as well as the ready catchment of clientele available in the area,” he said, adding that business is expected to pick up with the completion of the connecting bridge from Megamall to Gardens Galleria.

Gardens Galleria (picture above)
Visit The Garden's Website here

Regroup Associates Sdn Bhd managing director Allan Soo said it is still too early to gauge how well the shopping centres are performing, with retailers expecting the maturing of the malls to take a longer time from the normal gestation period of six months to one year.

“This can be attributed to the fact that there is suddenly so much for the consumers to choose from that perhaps more time is needed for things to settle down,” he told PropertyPlus.
The three malls account for approximately 3 million sq ft of the current 39 million sq ft of net lettable retail space in the Klang Valley.

Henry Butcher Retail managing director Tan Hai Hsin believes the three malls are having difficulty getting all their retailers and tenants to open at the same time, which might have affected human traffic and first impressions of target shoppers.

“Shoppers in a mall without full occupancy will not stay long and will not be making return visits in a short period of time, whereas potential visitors will also wait for all retail shops to be fully opened before making their trips there,” he said.

Getting the mix right
Sunway Pyramid senior general manager H C Chan said, maintaining the buzz in shopping malls involves innovation and creating a memorable shopping experience.
The former can come in the form of product offerings, retail-mix planning and excellent customer service, while the latter encompasses design aesthetics, comfort, music, and ambiance.

“The right delivery of this potent combination will draw crowds and profits back to the malls,”
sid Chan, who is also vice president of The Association for Shopping Complex and High Rise Management (PPK).

He added that striking a balance between leisure and retail components for a mall in a ratio of 80/20, 70/30 or 60/40 is dependent on whether it is located in an urban or suburban area, and whether it is catered to the high end or mass market. “The core product of a shopping mall is still, essentially, retail-based unless it’s a very niche boutique mall, which is very rare in the country.”

A count of selected shopping centres in the Klang Valley by Regroup Associates shows a slight drop in occupancy from 85% to 84% till September. “Suffice to say, the occupancy levels have dropped with the additional supply for the time being, but it will rise to at least 85% within another four months as more shops open in the new malls (next year),” said Regroup’s Soo.

He added that rentals in the new malls have reached a high of RM45 psf in the city and RM27 psf in the suburbs. “The highest rent in the best malls has touched about RM80 psf.”

Nonetheless, Sunway City Bhd property investment managing director Ngeow Voon Yean remained upbeat on how the expanded Sunway Pyramid has been doing since its opening. “Our current occupancy rate in the mall stands at 98% and we have been, so far, meeting the targeted 2.5 million visitors per month,” he said.

According to Ngeow, the group has been aggressively promoting the shopping centre in Asian countries such as Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and China. “Sunway Pyramid has also played host to several international, high-profile events,” he said, adding that about 2% of the mall’s turnover is usually allocated for A&P annually.

Pavilion KL has also received many visits from international delegation for workshops, conventions and familiarisation tours. “We recently hosted some 1,000 participants from Germany and Austria under The Reiseakadamie group, which is a promotional and incentive group in the travel industry for selected travel agents and Dertour’s staff,” says John Sironic, director of centre management for Kuala Lumpur Pavilion Sdn Bhd.

Since its opening, the shopping centre is currently more than 95% leased and more than 80% occupied. It has 450 retails stores over seven levels occupying a net lettable area of 1.37 million sq ft.

To continue bringing in a steady supply of visitors, Pavilion KL is holding an array of activities throughout the festive season leading into next year, with its Celestial Christmas and year-end promotions currently ongoing.

“We are already putting the finishing touches for festive events like Pavilion KL’s New Year Eve Countdown Party and Chinese New Year, and of course, the mall’s official opening on Jan 31,” Sironic said.

Sales to remain stable
According to Retail Group Malaysia, retail sales for 2008 are forecasted to grow at 8% but may be revised taking into consideration the expected rise in the cost of living starting from next year. The group is an independent local retail research company that has provided consultancy services to numerous Singaporean and Malaysian chain store retailers as well as publishing the quarterly Malaysia Retail Industry Report.

“The purchasing power of Malaysian consumers has decreased due to higher raw material prices as a result of higher oil prices, which is not compensated for proportionally by increases in salaries,” said Henry Butcher’s Tan, who is also managing director of Retail Group Malaysia.

However, he added that sales would remain stable because Malaysian consumers would still be buying retail goods. “As long as (they) continue to have jobs and receive their regular salaries, the drop in retail spending is not expected to be significant.”

Soo agreed that 2008 would be a tough year for the retail market as there is more competition and sales may drop after Visit Malaysia Year 2007. On a brighter note, he said retailers and industry players agreed that the new malls have raised standards in the industry by increasing the potential of more international brands.

“We are, at last, on par with the region’s best malls in terms of merchandising depth and breadth as well as the quality of the overall mall experience,” he said.

By theSun (by Yap Yew Jin)

Glomac set to rebound after three years of decline

PETALING JAYA: Analysts expect Glomac Bhd’s net earnings to rebound in the current financial year ending April 30, 2008, thanks to higher development profit and land sales, after three straight years of decline.

A Singapore-based brokerage said the growth was underpinned by “record unbilled sales and strong demand for its products.”

For the first six months ended Oct 30, Glomac’s new sales figure rose to RM141mil, or 24% higher compared with the previous corresponding period.

This lifted its total unbilled sales value to a record RM336mil. The amount excludes the group’s 51% stake in Glomac Tower, a grade A office tower near KLCC, which was sold for RM577mil on an en bloc basis.

Meanwhile, its Suria Stonor project, which has a take-up rate of 89%, was on track for completion in April. The company is now marketing the remaining nine condominium units at RM1,300 psf, up from RM650 psf two years ago.

The company is also targeting to launch the Glomac Damansara and Glomac Galleria in Sri Hartamas in the first quarter of next year.

The brokerage noted that Glomac’s balance sheet was healthier with the completion of a recent fund-raising exercise.

In October, Glomac sold 67.3 million new rights shares at RM1.10 each together with 67.3 million detachable free warrants to raise RM72mil.

“With the improved financial capacity, the group is actively looking at parcels of prime lands in the Klang Valley,” it said, adding that Glomac was also exploring other opportunities, such as formation of a real estate investment trust.

Glomac reported a net profit of RM21.28mil, or 9.27 sen per share, for its first half, compared with a net profit of RM8.38mil, or 3.77 sen per share, in the previous corresponding period.

Consensus estimates projected the group’s full-year net profit would be just shy of RM40mil.

In a recent update, a local investment bank said while Glomac’s first-half performance was boosted by a one-off profit from land sales, it expected the second half to be stronger on seasonal demand and rising progress billings from on-going projects.

By The Star (by Izwan Idris)

Tradewinds gets nod to sell TWS stake

KUALA LUMPUR: Tradewinds Corp Bhd has received approval at its EGM to sell its entire 53% stake in Tradewinds (M) Bhd (TWS) to shareholders.

The EGM had also approved its plan to acquire three companies with a combined landbank of 362.8ha in Bandar Nusajaya, Johor for RM145mil, it said in a statement yesterday.

It said Tradewinds shareholders would be offered 142 TWS shares for every 1,000 Tradewinds shares held.

“The offer price of RM3.80 per share is at more than 20% discount to the share price of Tradewinds, which stood at RM4.84 on Dec 24,” the statement said.

TWS is a holding company for the plantation and sugar refining operations.

Tradewinds chairman Datuk Seri Megat Najmuddin said the demerger would allow the company to focus on its property and hotel divisions and also pare down the group’s debts to RM760mil from RM2.4bil currently.

He said the land in Bandar Nusajaya was strategically located within the Iskandar Development Region (IDR) and was earmarked for a mixed residential development with an estimated gross development value of RM2.1bil.

“Given the Government’s commitment to the IDR and the level of private interestin the area, we are confident that our proposed project in Johor will be successful,” he said.

By Bernama

Tradewinds wants to be blue chip property firm by 2012

KUALA LUMPUR: Tradewinds Corporation Bhd wants to be a blue chip property developer in five years and aims to kick-start it with its mixed development project on the 367.06ha site at Bandar Nusajaya in the Iskandar Development Region (IDR), Johor by early 2009.

The company was also looking at undertaking property projects in Kuala Lumpur and Penang as part of its plan to achieve its aim of being a blue chip property group.

“Over the next three years, after 2009, our property sector will definitely become a major contributor to our group’s earnings,” its chairman Datuk Seri Megat Najmuddin Khas told reporters after the company’s EGM yesterday.

At the EGM, shareholders approved the proposed sale of its entire 53% stake in Tradewinds (M) Bhd to the company’s shareholders, and to acquire three companies — Edisi Minda Sdn Bhd, Erat Kilauan Sdn Bhd and Simbol Arif Sdn Bhd — that have a combined landbank of 367.06ha in Bandar Nusajaya for RM145 million cash.

Tradewinds Corp’s director and advisor Poh Pai Kong said: “Currently we are reviewing and getting more value out of our acquisition because we bought the land with some development blueprint laid out. So we are looking at improving it.”

“Not only we are conducting high-end development and gated-and-guarded communities, we are also planning projects that are green in nature.”

He added that the green property development, which had not been looked into in a big way locally, would be its Nusajaya project’s selling point.

The mixed development project, which was expected to be launched by the third quarter of 2008, had an estimated gross development cost (GDC) of RM1.24 billion on the back of a gross development value (GDV) of RM2.1 billion, Poh said.

“We would start out with the first phase where our margin is lower. We are looking at 10% to 15% margin to give value to our buyers and create a loyal following.

“Once we have created our brand name and presence in the whole area, our margins will increase over the following years as the value of the surrounding lands will increase, that is our game plan,” he said.

Tradewinds Corp had a total landbank of some 1,176.46ha in Johor, including the Nusajaya land and was looking at Penang and Kuala Lumpur for its future property expansion plans, said Poh.

On its hotel division, Megat Najmuddin said it would be a major contributor to the group’s earnings over the next two years since its property division was still at its infant stage.

By The EDGE MALAYSIA (by Yantoultra Ngui Yichen)

BLand to undertake study on Vietnam’s property project

KUALA LUMPUR: Berjaya Land Bhd (BLand) will be undertaking a feasibility study on a proposed mixed residential, commercial, financial and administrative centre development, Nhon Trach New City project, on a 600ha piece of land in Dong Nai Province, Vietnam.

Announcing the proposal yesterday, BLand said it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the People’s Committee of the province for the proposed development at Nhon Trach New City.

It said in a statement that 250ha of the land would be for administration, healthcare, educational, cultural and art and financial centres, and the rest for residential and commercial projects such as apartments, commercial shops, villas and semi-detached houses.

The project is located in the heart of Nhon Trach City, Dong Nai province, which is 30km from Ho Chi Minh City and about 40km from Bien Hoa city, two major cities in southern Vietnam.

A bridge connecting Dong Nai and Ho Chi Minh City will be built, and this will reduce the travelling distance between the two places to about 20km. The project is also near Tan Son Nhat International Airport and the new International Airport of Long Thanh.

Berjaya is delighted to be given the opportunity to undertake the feasibility study and participate in the proposed development of the Nhon Trach New City Project. It is indeed an honour to be part of the development of this new city township, which is expected to cater to about one million residents,” said BLand’s chief executive officer Datuk Francis Ng.

“It reflects the Vietnamese government’s confidence in our group’s property development expertise and track record. We intend to be a major property investor and developer in Vietnam and we look forward to participating in and contributing to the growth of the Vietnamese economy,” he said.

BLand said the MoU was in line with its current objectives of expanding its business activities in Vietnam, which was one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies and the focus of multinational enterprises seeking to capitalise on the country’s booming economic potential and investment opportunities.

It said the total estimated development cost for the project would be determined upon completion of the feasibility study, and it would be financed by internal funds and/or borrowings.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

MPC focuses on action in Johor’s IDR

PETALING JAYA: Main-Board listed Malaysia Pacific Corp (MPC) will focus fully on Johor’s Iskandar Development Region (IDR), where it has several exciting projects in the pipeline.

An artist's impression of Aptec

MPC president and CEO Bill CP Ch’ng said the projects include a massive, four million sq ft permanent exhibition site named Asia Pacific Trade and Expo City (Aptec), 200 units of bungalows and 281 units of shop houses.

Aptec is to be launched by the middle of next year after we enlist a strategic partner for the project, on a 25-acre site in Lake Hill City, Nusa Damai, some 30 km away from the city centre,” said Ch’ng.

Aptec will become the main catalyst for growth in Nusa Damai and complement the government’s vision for IDR,” he said.

“Once completed, Aptec will also feature a shopping mall, a hotel and a high-rise condominium project, making it a one-stop centre for the business community, especially for those from abroad,” he added.

According to Ch’ng, Aptec was conceptualised following the huge demand for China-made products, and besides opening up for wholesalers and traders from China, Aptec will also feature products from India and the Asia Pacific region.

Ch’ng said MPC had put on hold all development plans in the Klang Valley to concentrate fully on Johor’s IDR.

Among the plans on hold include the Red Sails theme restaurant and entertainment complex abutting Wisma MPL along Jalan Raja Chulan. Ch’ng revealed that MPC hopes to sell Wisma MPL for at least RM250 million and use the proceeds for its Johor projects.

“We will concentrate fully on Johor where we have a land bank of 600 acres, loosely translating into a gross development value (GDV) of RM6 billion over the next 10 years,” said Ch’ng.

Ch’ng said that MPC’s project in Taman Nusa Damai would remain a medium-cost housing development while Lake Hill City is for mixed-development projects. Some 300 acres have been utilised to construct some 2,000 low- and medium-low cost houses.

“We are also planning to launch a heritage village with amphitheatre for cultural shows and a purpose-built shopping centre catering for tourist from the Asia Pacific region,” said Ch’ng.

MPC recorded a pre-tax profit of RM18.23 million for the year ended 30 June 2007.

By theSun (by Tim Leonard)

PJ Trade Centre Topping Off

RM70 Million loan facility secured from AmBank

PJ Trade Centre, a Grade A office development near IKEA in Petaling Jaya, marks the topping-off of its Phase 1 this week. The first tower has reached the roof level and the 20-storey structure is highly visible as it is fronting the LDP and Sprint Penchala Link.

Work on the project is progressing smoothly and Phase 1 of the project is expected to be completed in February 2009.

PJ Trade Centre is one of the largest office developments in the country, with a net area of 810,000 square feet spread out over its four towers.

Tujuan Gemilang Sdn Bhd, the developer of PJ Trade Centre, has also recently secured a loan facility of RM70 Million from AmBank (M) Berhad.

'With the loan finalized, and with advanced sales of the project, we are now focusing on delivering a quality project that we hope will be a landmark,' said Ahmad Khalif, chairman of Tujuan Gemilang.

Over 90% sold
The project has secured more than 90% sales to-date. Three of the four towers have been sold en-bloc, including a tower that was sold to a diversified conglomerate with global interests.

The fourth tower offers office suites from 2,100 to 3,000 square feet, and limited units are available for sale. There is also a very unique penthouse office of 50,000 square feet that comes with a private sky garden and naming rights for the 20-storey building.

For more information call 03-7713 3800 or visit

By the Star

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

New launches to drive growth

Chief executives have lined up new products for next year. Mah Sing Group Bhd CEO Datuk Seri Leong Hoy Kum expects the company's new launches will be well received in a buoyant, domestic-driven economy.

Managing director and CEO
Mah Sing Group Bhd

Datuk Seri Leong Huy Kum

WHAT is your outlook for the property market next year?
We believe that the property market in 2008 will be robust, underpinned by a resilient domestic driven economy. Various pump-priming initiatives under the Ninth Malaysia Plan will provide a boost to propel the economy upwards and increase disposable incomes.

Malaysia’s young population, rising urbanisation, low unemployment rate and increasing wages, as well as a high savings rate will continue to contribute to the property market’s positive run.

The Government has been proactive in this manner, with several goodies announced for Budget 2008. EPF contributors will be allowed to make monthly withdrawals for financing one house effective Jan 1, 2008.

This could potentially unleash close to RM9.6bil annually into the property industry, allowing homebuyers to afford homes costing 20% more than previously.

The 50% waiver on stamp duty for purchase of homes under RM250,000 should boost demand for homes, and the Group has taken the initiative to ride on these incentives.

We are setting up a help desk to advise our buyers on the EPF withdrawals, as well as waiving the remaining 50% stamp duty for Mah Sing homes priced up to RM250,000, to ease the burden of home ownership.

Besides domestic demand, there has been increased foreign interest in our properties as they like the quality of our properties, boosted by the waiver of real property gains tax.

We have the most liberal landownership laws in the region, and now, foreigners are allowed to buy unlimited units of residential properties above RM250,000 without restriction of usage.

What are some of the opportunities and challenges for industry players going forward?

Growth corridors including the Iskandar Development Region (IDR) and Northern Corridor Economic Region have resulted in renewed interest in these areas, and improving infrastructure as well as strong economic and population growth will spur demand for housing there.

Malaysia’s increasing exposure as an international property market will attract more foreign participation. It is indeed an opportune time for foreign investors because whilst our properties may be world class, valuations still lag behind those of our regional peers.

Increases in raw material prices have increased construction costs, resulting in higher pricing for good housing projects in strategic locations.

Buyers will want to hedge against inflation by investing in assets that have potential upside.

Which property sector and development types offer the best potential for your company?

In terms of the residential market, we believe that medium to high-end gated and guarded residential properties should do well.

Demand for these properties is a reflection of Malaysians’ growing affluence and sophistication. These properties would need innovative concepts and practical layouts, as well as being supported by a strong brand.

For the commercial market, there is a shortage of good office space, especially Grade A offices in Kuala Lumpur. The limited number of good quality investment grade buildings available for sale in the market has driven up the capital value of prime offices.

Depending on the location, commercial retail buildings should do well.

What are the challenges faced by the industry and the impact on your company?

Prime land is increasingly scarce, especially land that fits our fast turnaround business model.

However, we have a proven landbanking track record, securing good land year on year to maintain our earnings visibility.

Sometimes, landowners also approach us either to sell land, or to propose joint ventures on their land to tap into our branding, experience and skills.

Our capability to appropriately manage cash flow is key to the company’s ability to capitalise on opportunities

Increases in raw material are inevitable, but we have taken steps to mitigate the effects, for example, by using step up pricing for new launches, bulk purchasing to enjoy discounts, and lowering our funding costs via shrewd negotiations.

Human capital, i.e being able to continuously recruit, train and retain good people who are willing to take the company to new heights amidst increasing globalisation, will be the key to success.

We have a very strong team which is striving to realise the Group’s vision.

What are some of the interesting property launches that can be expected from your company in the coming months?

We have started a registration exercise for our new commercial projects, which will be launched in 2008.

Southgate Commercial Centre offers investors the opportunity to own offices in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, as opposed to just leasing the offices in most new buildings.

There will be food and retail outlets to support the offices. Southbay City in Batu Maung, Penang will be a new “must-visit” destination, integrating leisure, commercial and retail offerings near the upcoming Second Bridge on the island.

Our existing residential projects are Perdana Residence, Kemuning Residence, Hijauan Residence and Aman Perdana in the Klang Valley, and Sierra Perdana, Austin Perdana and Sri Pulai Perdana in South Johor within the IDR.

We shall continue our sales from these projects, mainly semi-detached homes and bungalows within gated and guarded communities.

What are your expectations of project take-up rate, sales revenue and earnings for the company next year?

We believe 2008 will be another good year and we should be able to achieve another year of uninterrupted profitability and good take-up. This will be underpinned by our unbilled sales exceeding RM1bil, which is twice our revenue in 2006.

We have a remaining Gross Development Value (GDV) of RM3.042bil, representing a total GDV of RM4.119bil, which will ensure earnings visibility for seven years.

We expect another year of good sales, especially with the implementation of the Employees Provident Fund withdrawals next year. We will continue to focus on the lifestyle medium to high-end residential and commercial segments, which have given us very good results.

By The Star

Metro Kajang expands into Indonesia

Property developer Metro Kajang Holdings Bhd is expanding into Indonesia by buying the entire stake in SJL Utama Pte Ltd for RM24 million.

Labuan incorporated SJL has 94.9 per cent share equity in PT Khaleda Agroprima Malindo which has been issued with a land title of 15,942.6ha of land in Kalimantan Timur, Indonesia.

In a statement yesterday, Metro Kajang said SJL has the right to develop the land for oil palm plantation for 35 years with an option to renew for another 25 years.

"The acquisition is in line with the group's regional expansion plan in oil palm plantation and upon the completion of the acquisition both SJL and PT Khaleda will become subsidiary companies of Metro Kajang," said the directors.

Metro Kajang Group currently owns and manages several hundred acres of oil palm plantation in Peninsular Malaysia with its first venture in 1995.

By New Straits Times

Monday, December 24, 2007

SGC plans more launches after success of phase one

An artist's impression of SGC's Water Villas

PETALING JAYA: The first phase of the RM3 billion Sepang GoldCoast (SGC) in Bagan Lalang, Sepang has been fully taken-up mostly by foreign buyers. With the good response, the developer, Sepang GoldCoast Sdn Bhd, plans to launch three new products in the development in 2008.

Sepang GoldCoast is a joint venture company formed by Permodalan Negeri Selangor Bhd and Sepang Bay Sdn Bhd. Sepang Bay is the Malaysian arm of Indonesian developer Istana Group.

Sepang GoldCoast president Ho Hock Seng (pix) said the first phase, the 366-unit Golden Palm Tree Water Villas (GPT) was an instant success, especially in the international market with most of the foreign purchasers coming from the United Kingdom (142 units), Dubai (66 units) and Korea (24 units).

“We are planning to launch the Spanish-inspired Condo Resorts by April next year, followed by the Beachfront Townhouses in June and Water Villas in September,” said Ho at the recent SGC Appreciation Night 2007, which was held in conjunction with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s visit to SGC.

The prime minister on a recent tour to SGC

GPT was conceptualised as an eco-friendly hotel with 366 villa units (38 units have been retained for commercial purposes). The development has villas built on stilts 1km from the shoreline. There are four villa types with sizes from 520 to 2,000 sq ft and prices between RM465,600 and RM2.08 million.

Ho said the development of SGC is only the beginning; it has 22 km of beachfront land to be developed. “There are number of modules on the drawing board. Our focus right now, is to integrate the GPT into a landscaped beach garden paradise. The other components, such as the garden theme park, commercial areas, food and beverages outlets, leisure and entertainment facilities and shopping areas, a limited edition beach and pool villa complex are being planned,” he said.

Piling works commenced in early in December 2006 and GPT is slated for completion in 36 months. Among the facilities planned are a spa, gymnasium, two-tiered swimming pool, restaurants, meeting rooms and convention hall.

There will also be water activities such as fishing and water sports. The 4,621-acre leasehold SGC will be a coastal-city comprising various commercial and residential properties to be developed over 15 years.

For more details, visit Sepang Gold Coast (SGC) website or call 012-307 1713/ 03-3141 2960.

By theSun (by Allison Lee)