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Monday, November 5, 2007

IGB plans bigger foray into commercial estate

IGB Corp Bhd is keen to build up its portfolio of commercial real estate in Kuala Lumpur to leverage on the strong demand for prime office space in the city and expand its income stream.

The property group currently owns three million sq ft of office space in the city and will soon add one million sq ft of Grade A office space in Mid Valley City that will make it the largest owner and manager of commercial properties in the country.

The two latest office towers are The Gardens South Tower, to be completed by the end of this year, and The Gardens North Tower, which will be ready next June.

IGB's property portfolio comprises Menara Tan & Tan (350,000 sq ft), Menara IGB (250,000 sq ft), Centrepoint North and South (460,000 sq ft), Boulevard offices (750,000 sq ft), Northpoint (one million sq ft), Ampwalk (370,000 sq ft) and Plaza Permata (310,000 sq ft).

Anthony Barragry

Mid Valley City Development Sdn Bhd (MVC) executive director Antony Barragry said demand for prime office space in Kuala Lumpur was growing stronger and this offered the company tremendous opportunities to venture into the sector in a bigger way.

“Come 2008, IGB will be the only developer to offer two Grade A office buildings in the city and we look forward to meeting the needs of the sophisticated office market,” Barragry told StarBiz.

Undertaken by MVC, Mid Valley City will have a total gross area of 17 million sq ft of office, retail and hospitality space worth a gross development value (GDV) of more than RM5bil.

So far, close to 80% of the development has been completed.

An artist's impression of The Gardens at Mid Valley City

Upon completion in 2010, the 50-acre Mid Valley City will become one of Asia’s leading integrated mixed-use developments. It is also the most successful urban renewal project in Kuala Lumpur.

To replicate its success in the Mid Valley City, Barragry said the company was looking out for opportunities for other urban renewal projects in Kuala Lumpur and other parts of the country.

“Cities are very organic and have a life span of their own. There will always be a need to revitalise the older parts of cities to avoid decay and degeneration.

“Mid Valley City is a very unique property and the addition of the upmarket The Gardens precinct makes Mid Valley the alternate city centre, offering a new kind of city experiences in Kuala Lumpur.”

He said all the properties in Mid Valley were managed in-house and there was tremendous knowledge and resources in the group that could be tapped for use in other projects.

The Mid Valley Megamall, which has a net lettable area of 1.7 million sq ft, opened its doors in November 1999.

The development has since been enhanced with the addition of Cititel, Boulevard hotel and offices, Menara IGB, Northpoint, and Centrepoint North and South.

The opening of The Gardens Galleria, an upmarket shopping gallery, in September added 800,000 sq ft of net lettable retail space in Mid Valley City. This brought the total to 2.5 million sq ft, making it the largest in the city.

The Gardens is conceptualised as a high-end mixed-use development that also includes The Gardens North Tower and South Tower, 207 suites in The Gardens Residences, and 440 rooms in the five-star Gardens Hotel.

The double-volume lobbies of The Gardens North and South Towers

Located on 9.7 acres, The Gardens will provide a total gross floor area of 5.9 million sq ft for a total GDV of RM2bil.

Barragry said The Gardens Residences was targeted for completion in the first quarter of 2008 and The Gardens Hotel would be open by the end of next year.

At the southern end of Mid Valley City is the last undeveloped plot of 2.3 acres on parcel 3 that has been planned for a mixed-use development. It will comprise 400 upmarket residences in two tower blocks and possibly a niche retail component.

Barragry said construction was expected to kick off in the first quarter of 2008 for completion in 2½ years.

The infrastructure network, including rail network connections and major upgrades to the existing roads, has been completed before The Gardens opening in September.

Currently, the project is linked to the southbound KTM commuter line and plans are underway to enhance the connection with the Port Klang-Sentul line, Putra LRT and KL Monorail.

By The Star

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