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Monday, January 28, 2008

Mah Sing project draws foreign interest

MAH Sing Group Bhd, which is actively involved in commercial developments, is in talks with three potential foreign buyers for en bloc sale of two of the five blocks in its Southgate Commercial Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

Andy Chua with an artist's impression of the Southgate Commercial Centre

It has begun talks early this month with buyers from London, Singapore and the Middle East, who are keen to purchase the seven-storey 900,000 sq ft Apex Block.

The company has also started to approach buyers for the en bloc sale of the main block called Corporate Building, an eight-storey building with 218,000 sq ft built-up area. It fronts Jalan Tun Razak/Jalan Sungei Besi.

The Corporate Building and Apex have a floor plate of about 26,000 sq ft and 16,000 sq ft respectively

The freehold development's five blocks are called Corporate Building, Apex, Vox, Vivo and Verves.

Deputy chief operating officer Andy Chua said the company had yet to decide who would be the buyer.

“Talks are still going on. We will accept the best terms. We are not in a hurry to close the deal, as we are still fine-tuning.

“We hope to firm up the development plans, layout, concept and specification of the project by Chinese New Year,” he told StarBiz.

Chua said there were many corporate investors, including REIT funds and financial institutions, who had shown interest in the Corporate Building.

He said the company had not firmed up the selling price for both blocks but the Corporate Building might be selling at RM700-RM750 per sq ft while Apex at RM600-RM650 per sq ft.

The Corporate Building and Apex block have a floor plate of about 26,000sq ft and 16,000 sq ft respectively.

Its other three blocks has a total of 226 office suites with built-up area from 592 to 1,704 sq ft and 63 retail lots with built-up area of 535 to 2,095 sq ft. The office suites are priced from RM430 per sq ft while the retail lots are from RM800 per sq ft.

Chua said a selling point of the project was that it would be an eye-catching building and that a company could put up its corporate name in front.

Southgate was opened for registration for a month from mid-January and would be launched in March.

Chua said Southgate would be ideal for smaller companies that did not need big office space. Hence its office suites are targeted at companies like consultancy, architectural and advertising firms.

“Previously, small and medium-sized companies could only lease a property in the city centre because all buildings are office towers and they could not afford to buy office towers,” he said, adding that it was better to own an office instead of renting and be subjected to fluctuations in rental rates.

“Rental rates will go up very high if the leasing market is good. This would cause problems when a company is forced to move its office elsewhere that has cheaper rental,” he added.

The 4.76-acre Southgate, with a gross development value of RM256mil, was inspired by the Xintiandi development in Shanghai. It is conceptualised as an integrated commercial and leisure hub, incorporating creative workspaces, food and beverage, and retail lots.

The first and second floor of Southgate commercial blocks will be the retail lot and the third to fifth floors are office suites. The last two levels are duplex suites.

Chua said the modular layout enabled buyers to buy more than a unit and mix and match them to suit their office needs. Besides ample parking bays at two basement levels, there is also parking at the ground level.

Mah Sing is confident that its lifestyle product differentiation for Southgate would ensure good sales and rejuvenates the surrounding areas.

By The Star (by Rachael Kam)

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