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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

AP Land to launch RM400m eco-friendly project

PROPERTY developer Asia Pacific Land Bhd (AP Land) will launch its first prestigious ecology-friendly development in Penang, also the first for the island, by the third quarter of 2009.

The RM400 million project, dubbed "Island Bay Resort", will comprise 172 units of low density resort bungalows, villas and boutique apartments, built on a 16.2ha (40-acre) freehold site at Batu Ferringhi beach.

AP Land executive director of architectural services, Wee Beng Sang, is confident that the units will be fully taken up in six to nine months from its date of launch.

The bungalows and villas, which make up 70 per cent of the project, will be priced between US$1 million and US$1.5 million ((RM3.26 million and RM4.89 million) each. The apartments with resort- style setting, will be priced from RM500,000.

"We are targeting foreign buyers. The selling point is the elevated ground, undulating terraces, matured trees and view of the Andaman Sea," Wee said at a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Island Bay, which will be completed by 2012, is aimed at high net worth individuals. It will include a clubhouse and a view platform, while AP Land will incorporate a green concept in preserving the environment for sustainability.

"There is a growing number of millionaires in the world who are looking at setting up homes in foreign countries.

"Penang has a lot to offer in terms of natural resources, but it does not have a prestigious development to attract high net worth people.

"We firmly believe that Island Bay would be a much sought-after development with its environmentally-friendly approach. Our project will set a new benchmark and put Penang on the map," added Wee.

AP Land, which acquired the land in the early 1980s, will use its own money for the initial stage of development and the rest would be self-funded.

This is AP Land's last parcel of land in Penang.

By New Straits Times (by Sharen Kaur)

IOI Properties confident Sentosa Cove condos can sell

KUALA LUMPUR: IOI Properties Bhd is confident that its biggest high-end development in Singapore’s Sentosa Cove will be a success despite soaring crude oil prices and a softening property market in the republic.

Executive director Datuk Lee Yeow Chor said the group had foreseen the market softening and construction costs rising when subsidiary IOI Properties (S) Pte Ltd and joint-venture partner Ho Bee Investment Ltd successfully tendered for a 5.3-acre 99-year leasehold land called Pinnacle Collection in Sentosa Cove in January for S$1.09bil (RM2.5bil).

The price is about 13.9% more than the reserved price of S$963mil.

“When we tendered for the land last December, the residential market in Singapore was consolidating. It’s good to have a correction as the market went up too fast, by 31%, last year,” Lee told StarBiz after shareholders approved the deal at an EGM yesterday.

Lee said what was more important was the land’s potential as it was the last piece of condominium land parcel in Sentosa Cove.

He said Sentosa Cove had three major attributes – a famous name; a seafront property that would attract many international high-net worth investors; and its location near the integrated resort-cum-casino development where the Genting group would be investing S$5.3bil.

“We believe the integrated resort will give Sentosa Cove a big boost when it (resort) is completed end-2009. We have timed our development (Pinnacle Collection) with the completion of the resort so that people can see the full potential of the place,” he added.

Lee said the group planned to build condominiums, priced about S$3,000 per sq ft.

Pinnacle Collection, to be launched next year, will have seven 18-storey blocks and a 20-storey luxurious condominium. It will have 280 apartments and penthouses of various layout and sizes.

“The average size (per unit) would be 2,500-3,200 sq ft. There will be private lift lobbies. It will cater to the international market,” Lee said, adding that besides Singapore, it would target investors from Indonesia, China, the Middle East and India.

It will have a total development cost of S$1.6bil and estimated gross development profits (before interest costs) of S$500mil.

To be completed in early 2012, it will be funded from sales proceeds, borrowings by joint-venture company Pinnacle (Sentosa) Ltd (IOI Properties and Ho Bee will have 65:35 ownership) and advances from shareholders. Sales will commence in mid-2009.

The Pinnacle Collection is one of two condominium parcels that flank the entrance of the marina leading to Sentosa Cove.

It is adjacent to the 3.6-acre leasehold Seaview Collection, which was successfully tendered by another IOI Properties subsidiary with Ho Bee in March 2007. Seaview Collection, a luxury condominium project comprising two eight-storey apartment blocks with 151 units, will be launched in the third quarter.

By The Star - StarBiz - (by S.C.Cheah)

Mah Sing’s Southgate project block 80% sold

KUALA LUMPUR: MAH Sing Group Bhd has received good response to its Southgate Commercial Centre project in Kuala Lumpur, with 80% of the Vivo block taken up.

“To cater to the strong demand, the group will open the Vox block for sale during the three-day launch (June 13 to 15) at Wisma Mah Sing,” the group said in a statement.

Vox comprises 90 standard and duplex office suites as well as 16 lifestyle retail lots.

Group managing director Datuk Seri Leong Hoy Kum said: “With Kuala Lumpur City Centre less than 10 minutes away, there is robust demand for well-planned niche commercial developments that provide a good business climate.

“We are targeting corporate as well as high net worth customers, including professionals, investors and entrepreneurs as Southgate is suitable for different business ventures.”

The statement said the group was poised for another profitable year, with 14 projects in prime locations – nine in the Klang Valley, four in Johor Baru (Iskandar Malaysia) and one in Penang.

By The Star

SP Setia bullish about Setia Eco Gardens project

JOHOR BARU: SP Setia Bhd sees a good take-up rate for its Setia Eco Gardens mixed property development project launched in February.

Executive director Chang Khim Wah said that to date, some 50% of the 500 single- and double-storey terrace houses had been taken up.

“The response is considered positive in view of the current market situation where consumers are becoming more cautious in their spending,” he told StarBiz yesterday at the tree planting ceremony at the Setia Eco Gardens site in conjunction with World Environment Day 2008 last Thursday.

Chang said the scheme on 383.64ha, which would take eight years to complete, comprised 10,000 to 20,000 mixed properties with a gross development value of RM2bil.

The project is the first nature-inspired township in Johor and the company’s second eco-friendly project after the Setia Eco Park in Shah Alam.

Chang said this was the best time to buy properties as prices would definitely go up in the second half and would continue into next year due to the surge in prices of raw materials and fuel.

“Generally, house buyers can expect the prices of new houses to increase at least by 20%, depending on the economic situation,” he said.

Chang said Setia Eco Gardens also had attracted Singapore buyers, especially businessmen in the Jurong and Tuas areas as it was easily accessible from Singapore via the Second Link crossing.

He said the project's location, about 5km from the Johor State New Administrative Centre in Nusajaya, was another attraction to buyers.

Chang said the company would be launching the semi-detached houses at Setia Eco Gardens towards the end of the year, targeting high-end buyers.

“Demand for high-end properties in Iskandar Malaysia is on the rise, especially with the influx of local and foreign investors to South Johor,” he added.

By The Star - StarBiz - (by Zazali Musa)

Malaysian real estate 'still attractive': Consultancy

MALAYSIAN property remains attractive to foreign investors due to its "freehold" status, said global property consultancy DTZ.

"You can't find such properties in Hong Kong and China. Not only do institutional investors find this an attractive deal, it is relatively cheap as well," said DTZ North Asia chairman David C Watt in a recent interview.

Fuelled by good rental growth projections, Watt said the only drawback was that the market was relatively small compared with Japan, China and India.

"The only problem is that it's quite small. If someone has a big allocation for Asia, will they choose to learn about Malaysia because they can spend it easier in the other markets," he asked.

Brian Koh, executive director of investment for DTZ Nawawi Tie Leung Property Consultants Sdn Bhd, said he expects the local property market to remain robust for the next 12 to 18 months.

"The underlying fundamentals of the commercial market is still very strong while buyers' demand for high-end residential remains," he said.

By New Straits Times

DTZ: Opportunities aplenty in China

CHINA's real estate market holds ample opportunity for property developers and individual investors looking to diversify their investment portfolio, said global property consultancy DTZ.

"In China, the retail market is one of the fastest growing markets and has seen successful foreign retailers such as the Parkson group enter the market," said DTZ's mainland China chief executive officer Edward K.C. Cheung in an interview with Business Times.

Cheung: Chinese developers are not as experienced in developing resorts like those found in Malaysia

Malaysian developers can also look at growing the hospitality and entertainment market in China.

"The Chinese developers are not as experienced in developing resorts like those found in Malaysia. We are looking at resort destinations such as Langkawi to be brought to Hainan," he added.

Cheung said there was also room for the development of entertainment facilities such as theme parks in China.

Recently, Malaysia's Lion Group founder Tan Sri William Cheng tied up with business partners to invest 17 billion yuan (RM7.74 billion) in a film studio and theme park in China's Yunnan province.

Brian Koh, executive director of investment for DTZ Nawawi Tie Leung Property Consultants Sdn Bhd, said local developers can derive as much as 30 per cent of their revenue from offshore projects.

DTZ, which operates across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and the Americas, will focus on growing its Chinese business.

It aims to double its number of offices to 30 within 10 years, said DTZ's North Asia chairman David C Watt.

Aside from China, Watt said, the consultancy will concentrate on growing its business in India for the next five years.

"No doubt that these two markets will be the top four markets of the world in terms of pure economic size," he said.

The firm, which is involved in leasing, property management, valuation and investment, said it will enter new markets such as South Korea and Vietnam.

DTZ, which provides consultancy for residential, office, retail, hotel and industrial segments, doubles its revenue every five years.

"Our revenue (derived from consultancy fees) globally is just over US$1 billion (RM3.26 billion) annually," said Watt.

By New Straits Times (by Jeeva Arulampalam)

Second Penang bridge on track, cost may rise

UEM BUILDERS Bhd, a contractor for the second Penang bridge, said the project is on track for completion in 2011 and that the government has agreed in principle on a price increase as the cost of raw materials surges.

"The project value is at RM4.3 billion now. There will be a mechanism to take into consideration price rise and a formula will be worked out," managing director Datuk Ridza Abdoh Salleh said after a shareholder meeting in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

In general, he said, contractors should be allowed to raise project costs as the recent sharp jump in building material prices was far beyond any contractor's projection.

While the government said that it may stop certain mega projects in favour of more people-centric programmes, Ridza is positive that the project to build a second link from the mainland to Penang island will continue.

"If you read further on the Second Finance Minister's statement, he said that the Penang bridge may not be affected. We'd like to look at this positively," Ridza said.

He said the company has committed over RM200 million on the project and have spent RM50 million so far.

"As far as we are concerned, the preliminary work is going on. Some 70 per cent to 80 per cent of the land has been cleared and we have also done the advanced soil investigation," he said.

UEM Builders' current order book stands at RM4.8 billion, 35 per cent of which is from overseas. Chairman Datuk Abdul Rahim Abu Bakar said it is aiming for a balanced earnings mix to cut reliance on domestic projects.

He said the company hopes to increase its activities in India and the Middle East while it pursues new construction and infrastructure projects in Singapore, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

By New Straits Times (by Chong Pooi Koon)

Malaysia may scrap APs for more steel products

The government said it will consider removing the approved permits (APs) for other steel products used in the construction industry, says International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

"We are now issuing liberally import permits for steel and cement. We also want to shorten the period (for issuance of APs) from one week to two to three days," he told reporters after chairing the Malaysian Services Council meeting in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The government has scrapped the ceiling price for cement, while that of the steel bar and billet market has been liberalised.

Earlier, the meeting also discussed the shortage of human resource in the services sector and a comprehensive study will be undertaken.

"We need qualified technically trained manpower in five areas - in business and professional services, health services, tourism, education services and distributive trade services," said Muhyiddin.

By New Straits Times (by Rupa Damodaran)