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Monday, November 17, 2008

i-City comparable to global intelligent cities

While many property developers are lying low and cutting back on launches in the face of a property market slowdown, I-Bhd is still making news for its most important and sole project, i-City intelligent city.

Lim Boon Siong posing with a model of the RM2bil I-City ICT-based commercial development in Shah Alam

The former electrical appliance-maker turned information and communication technology (ICT)-based property developer has in less than two years forged strategic alliances with a slew of high-profile international and local partners.

They included ServCorp, CISCO, DataCraft, Intel, Telekom Malaysia, Kompakar, Universiti Industri Selangor, and lately AmBank, to provide this “No. 1 Technology City in Asia” state-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities from giga-speed fibre-optic network to smart banking services including full e-banking facilities.

“We are very pleased that i-City’s development is gaining momentum and becoming a global intelligent city comparable to other intelligent cities such as Dubai Internet City and Hong Kong Cyberport.

“The first phase of the development, comprising 300,000 sq ft of Cybercentre office suites has been completed in June this year and is ready for occupation,” said I-Bhd deputy chief executive officer Lim Boon Siong, adding that many tenants had moved in and renovating their offices.

Among key tenants are Logica and Redhot Media from the Britain and Unified Communication from Singapore. Kompakar, a leading data centre operator listed in Bursa Malaysia will occupy the 50,000 sq ft Tier-4 Ready data centre by first quarter of 2009.

“Future phases would transform i-City into a fully integrated township, comprising a shopping mall, corporate towers and offices, Cybercentre office suites, innovation centre, hotels and serviced apartments. It will also house multiple high-performance data centres and a digital media hub,” he added.

I-Bhd’s team has worked tirelessly the past three year and gradually seeing their labour bearing fruit.

On Oct 27, i-City was accorded “International Park” status by the Selangor state government, a boost to its image as the choice base for global technology firms.

The Government certified the privately funded project as an MSC Malaysia Cybercentre last May.

Lim said with the MSC Malaysia Cybercentre and International Park status, i-City’s vision to be the world’s foremost global intelligent city has been realised and would draw MSC Malaysia tenants and multinational companies (MNC) to invest in Selangor and Malaysia.

“To-date I-Bhd has invested over RM120mil. Our one-stop Concierge managed by ServCorp has been operational since October.

“Rental of meeting rooms and events hall with super-broadband of 20Mbps is also available. Tenants and visitors now have access to wireless internet with speeds of up to 20Mbps until March 31, 2009 for free,” he said.

Lim said phase 1 of CISCO Connected Real Estate (one of the world’s largest connected real estate) had been put in action such as CCTV to the personal computers and IP telephony which incorporates state-of-the-art teleconferencing system.

“This integrated commercial development is planned for both work and play. Tenants can expect to reduce their operation cost by as much as 30% and they could work, learn and socialise in a safe and secure environment served by remote surveillance, smart car parking, information kiosks, sensory-activated light and sound multimedia displays along a 1,000-foot pedestrian walkway,” he said.

Lim said the project was on track with the next phase of Cybercentre office suites to be ready by Q3 next year.

“What is exciting is that we have received increasing enquiries on purpose-built office buildings from MNCs to consolidate their office space and shared services from this region,” Lim said.

When asked to confirm rumours that I-Bhd is negotiating with a foreign party to develop the shopping centre in i-City, Lim said talks had reached an advanced stage and “is on track”.

“We anticipate the mall to be operational by Q2 2012. We continue to receive anchor tenant interest in leasing space in the mall.

“One of them, GSC, has expressed interest to build a futuristic cinema in this mall,” he added.

While the Cybercentre office suites were funded internally, he said the group might also seek other funding options such as joint ventures.

By The Star

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