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Monday, August 25, 2008

MAHB seeks developers, investors for land around KLIA

MALAYSIA Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) will issue a request for proposal (RFP) next month to developers and investors interested in developing land around the KL International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang.

The airport operator has a 30-year lease of 9,690ha at KLIA starting from 1998. Of this total, 6,400ha are for non-aeronautical activities and the rest for aeronautical activities and facilities such as ramp, apron and runway.

MAHB general manager of land development, Muhd Najib Mohd Rawi, said the company is opening 1,092ha of the total non-aeronautical land, currently planted with oil palm, for development over the next 10 to 15 years.

"Our aim is to increase our non-aviation revenues and passenger numbers at KLIA
through creation of activities. In the long term, we want to make KLIA an airport city," he told Business Times in an interview.

MAHB last year commissioned a land suitability study, the results of which showed that the area is suitable for high value and time-sensitive manufacturing facilities, logistics centre and facilities, meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE), destination retail or shopping, tourism and recreational activities.

"A master plan has been developed, outlining development options, and submitted to the Sepang Municipal Council. We expect it to be approved in two months," said Muhd Najib.

"In the meantime, we will continue to generate awareness of the project among developers and investors both locally and abroad," he added.

MAHB is looking to form a joint-venture partnership to develop, build and operate the land or lease the land to others rather than developing it alone.

"We will self-develop some of the development components for long-term recurring rental income," said Muhd Najib.

"We won't invite just anybody. The developers and investors must offer premium development properties in order to maintain the KLIA brand of modern and high technology facilities. This must be carried out throughout the whole development," he added.

Under the master plan dubbed "KLIA Aeropolis", the majority 395.37ha or 36.2 per cent of the 1,092ha land are zoned for commercial use, and 230.4ha or 21.1 per cent for parks and green.

The master plan also features a 128ha allocation for two 18-hole golf courses, 121.07ha for agro-tourism development, and 10.06ha for a stadium.

Muhd Najib said because of the vast development, the RFPs will initially cover several components of the commercial zone such as the expo and convention centre, specialised retail outlets and purpose-built offices.

"We will also invite developers and investors to submit a RFP to develop and operate a 40ha theme park, a logistics centre and golf courses at the airport land," he added.

The company is planning to have a theme park that will rival those in Genting Highlands and Singapore's Sentosa Island.

"The advantages our location has are its proximity to the airport, the abundance of land and the presence of a low-cost terminal," said Muhd Najib.

To attract developers and investors, MAHB is in the midst of drawing up plans to develop a transport centre similar to the KL Sentral station, to connect people from the commercial zone to the airport terminal.

"For this area to be successful, it must be well connected. As such, we are proposing a tram or train line to connect the commercial centre to the airport.

"We are studying what is best. We have allocated some parcels of land for this transport centre," said Muhd Najib.

On the cost of development, Muhd Najib said it will mainly be on infrastructure.

"We will develop the land in phases. For instance, to get the ball rolling, we have allocated a budget in the coming year to commence initial infrastructure development in the commercial zone, covering 20ha," he said, but declined to reveal any figures.

By New Straits Times (by Kang Siew Li)

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