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Friday, October 31, 2008

Ivory seeks investor for proposed 5-star hotel

IVORY Properties Group is looking for an investor for the 450-room five-star hotel planned at its Penang Times Square development in Penang.

Ivory Properties Sdn Bhd executive director Datuk Seri Nazir Ariff Mushir Ariff said the proposed hotel and podium block carry an estimated gross development value of RM250 million.

"The 10-storey podium block will comprise six floors of retail outlets and six parking levels," he told Business Times in an interview.

Nazir said the hotel will form the fourth phase of development for the RM400 million Penang Times Square project on the fringe of George Town's heritage enclave, which has been included in Unesco's World Heritage List.

"We are seeking an investor who is also keen to operate the hotel whose rooms are expected to take up 200,000 sq ft over 20 floors.

"Alternatively, we are willing to build the hotel if a renowned hotel chain is keen to operate it on a long-term basis," he said, adding that the proposed hotel is expected to break ground in 2010 and be completed by 2013.

Ivory Properties managing director Datuk Low Eng Hock said the company has held initial talks with potential investors from the Middle East, but nothing has materialised as yet.

According to Nazir, the first two phases of Penang Times Square, which include residential and commercial units, are scheduled to be completed early next year.

"The third phase, which will include a convention and exhibition centre and a cineplex, is expected to break ground by the end of 2009," he said.

The value of the residential units has already appreciated by 30 per cent, while that of neighbouring properties in the Datuk Keramat area has doubled.

Penang Times Square sits on 5.2ha where one of the country's oldest tin smelting operations, Escoy Smelting Sdn Bhd, once stood.

About 0.8ha has been earmarked by Ivory Properties for an urban open space and a heritage museum.

Ivory Properties' other projects include the luxurious hilltop villas at its "Moonlight Bay" development along the Batu Ferringi tourism belt and "The View Twin Towers" which overlook the Penang Bridge.

By New Straits Times (by Marina Emmanuel)

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