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Monday, May 12, 2008

I-City draws Mideast, South Korea interest

SMART TECHNOLOGY: An artist’s impression of I-City

I-BERHAD, a household appliance maker, has received offers from the Middle East and South Korean investors to buy some of its properties at the RM2 billion I-City project, a futuristic commercial development in Shah Alam, Selangor.

Chief executive officer Datin Tey Siew Thuan said the offer is for its corporate towers. However, I-Berhad is open to selling other properties in I-City.

"We are talking to the investors and hope to seal the deals for the corporate towers by 2009. We are not sure how many they plan to buy as it would depend on financial arrangements," Tey told Business Times in an interview.

I-City is being developed in three phases on a 28.8ha freehold site in Section 7 of Shah Alam.

The five-year project, which started in mid-2007, is the first venture in Selangor to be approved by the state government as being MSC Cybercentre-ready and was granted the status in February.

Dubbed the "intelligent township", it would feature eight corporate towers, two luxury hotels, two blocks of 24-storey branded residences, three- to five-storey shop offices and retail suites.

It would also house a one million sq ft shopping mall, a data centre and an innovation centre.

I-Berhad has so far sold 44 lots of shop offices, which will start to operate by August.

The company is also in talks with several US-based hotel chains to operate the hotels, which have been earmarked as four- and five-star properties.

It is also talking to international anchor tenants and shopping operators for the mall, which will open in 2011.

"We are in advanced stage of discussions with one of the largest mall operators in Southeast Asia, currently managing more than 100 shopping malls under its belt.

"They have expressed interest to own and operate the mall and we hope to finalise the details by September. We are now doing due diligence," Tey said.

I-Berhad plans to start building the hotels, residences and corporate towers next year.

Currently under construction are 33 units of retail suites which would be ready by March 2009.

"We have built the infrastructure and will set up the data centre by year-end, which would be managed by Kompakar Inc Bhd," said Tey.

I-Berhad has some RM96 million cash in hand and it is using its own funds for the initial stages of development.

It would resort to joint ventures, bond sales and other corporate exercises to fund the second half of the development, said Tey.

By New Straits Times (by Sharen Kaur)

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