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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Four Seasons KL launch delayed

VENUS Assets Sdn Bhd, controlled by property tycoon Ong Beng Seng, has postponed the launch of its RM2 billion Four Seasons Hotel and Condominium tower project in Kuala Lumpur due to the worsening economic conditions.

Sources said the launch was also being delayed as it was still firming up details on development matters.

While it was unclear what the details were, the company has obtained Kuala Lumpur City Hall's approval to increase the condominium block to 65 storeys from 60.

It has also completed piling works at the 1.04ha site, sandwiched between Menara Maxis and Wisma Central.

Business Times was told that Venus Assets was considering launching the project at the end of this year or next, provided the business environment improved.

It had considered launching the project last year. The project then was to comprise a 72-storey condominium block, later reduced to 60, and a 38-storey hotel building.

The condominium block was to be a joint project between Venus Assets and KLCC Holdings Bhd, developed on a 0.64ha site adjacent to Menara Maxis and owned by KLCC Holdings. Another 1.04ha was reserved for the 38-storey hotel building.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the plan was aborted. Instead, Venus Assets will build the 65-storey tower featuring condominium and hotel units.

"Venus Assets is quite comfortable at the moment and is not rushing to launch the development. It will wait and see how the market turns out over the next few months," a source said on condition of anonymity.

The tower will house 240 hotel rooms, 150 condominium units, six levels of parking and four retail floors. It will take four years to build.

The source said it was wise of Venus Assets to delay the launch as it would not be able to fetch the required market price.

Venus Assets was looking at pegging the condominium units from RM3,000 per sq ft (psf), and the hotel rooms from RM750 per night.

"I don't think they will be able to get that now as prices have fallen by 15-25 per cent for luxury condominiums in Kuala Lumpur. If they launch now, their development value may drop by that range," the source added.

Venus Assets is the owner and developer of the tower project. Its chairman is Tan Sri Syed Yusof Syed Nasir, who handles the business interests of Selangor's Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah.

The Sultan and Syed Yusof are close associates of Ong, who owns Four Seasons resorts in Bali, Singapore and the Maldives.

Ong is the controlling shareholder of Singapore's Hotel Properties Ltd, Southeast Asia's second largest hotelier by market value.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

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