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Friday, January 23, 2009

New mall for PJ residents

Dancing lights: One of Tropicana City Mall’s unique feature is its signature glass portal with changing colour hues that light up at night.

Branded as the New Pulse of Petaling Jaya, the Tropicana City Mall (TCM) is a neighbourhood mall that is set to provide the Damansara and PJ community the convenience of shopping and lifestyle entertainment under one roof.

Located at the intersection between the Sprint and LDP Expressways, TCM is part of a mixed commercial development that includes Tropicana City Business Park (formerly known as Damansara Intan e-Business Park), Tropicana City Tropics Service Suites and Tropicana City Office Tower.

TCM is owned by Dijaya Corporation Bhd and offers four floors of retail space.

Among its unique features is the signature glass portal with changing colour hues that light up at night and a glass-domed skylight.

The mall had its soft opening on Dec 18 last year.

Miniature version: A model of how Tropicana City Mall would look like with the soon-tobe- completed ramps.

Dijaya Corporation Bhd and Tropicana City Sdn Bhd managing director Tong Kien Onn said a neigbourhood mall should have three elements – convenience for grocery shopping, places to eat and entertainment outlets.

As such, TCM has the Carrefour hypermarket as its main anchor on the lower ground floor and GSC cinemas with eight halls on the second floor.

Carrefour is already open for business while GSC cinemas is expected to be opened in late June.

TCM’s mini anchors include fashion and lifestyle retail outlets like Nichii, Kitschen, Shop-A-Lot, Best Denki, Borders, Gymboree and Toys “R” Us.

Among the one-of-a-kind outlets at TCM are Sorella’s first boutique, Storybook’s photo compilation services store, BodyBar Natural Skincare’s organic skincare shop, Kid’z Spot’s speciality store for children, as well as F&B outlets Sushi Tei, Good Taste Cafe and Bad Ass Coffee.

Shoppers will be spoilt for choice with the variety of F&B outlets that includes Santini, San Francisco Steakhouse, Bangkok Twist, Esquire Kitchen, Penang Village, Papa John’s Pizza, Pho Hoa, Subway, Otak-Otak House and Sumptious Corner.

The mall’s other stores offer a variety of products and services related to beauty and personal care, fashion, IT, jewellery, entertainment, home living, gifts, toys and hobbies, sports, optical, as well as other facilities.

“About 85% of TCM’s total lettable area has been leased out. This includes one hypermarket and about 200 retail lots,” Tong said.

“Out of that number, 65% have been opened for business and we expect another 12% to be open in the next two months.”

He said the 12-storey Tropicana City Officer Tower is set to be completed by the second quarter of 2009, while the 601-unit Tropics Service Suites is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2010.

The gross development cost for the entire Tropicana City development is RM310mil.

For details on TCM, including its Chinese New Year promotions, visit or call 03-7710 0101.

By The Star (by Jade Chan)

STG unit to invest RM10m in ECER project

GOLD Coast Kuantan Resort Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of the STG Group that aims to be listed on the local bourse by 2012, will invest RM10 million in its first property development in the East Coast Economic Region (ECER).

The development will consist of 99 apartment suites with full hotel service and will be located with a full view of the South China sea.

"Over 60 per cent of the freehold Gold Coast Kuantan apartment suites have been sold," said STG Group chairman Datuk Dr Alex Tan Siong Seng in a statement yesterday.

"Some 80 per cent of them have signed up for the investment plan, while the balance will be owner- occupied," Tan said, adding that the buyers are equally split up between domestic and foreign purchasers.

The Gold Coast Kuantan project is expected to be completed by 2010.

Gold Coast Kuantan follows in the footsteps of another Gold Coast development, Gold Coast Morib Resort, which is expected to be completed by December this year.

"The group has plans for properties with different characteristics from those with ocean and lake views to islands' hills," said Tan.

He added that the new property in Kuantan will be built with high standards in mind, with the building material and furnishing being fitted out like a hotel.

"You can enjoy your own personal spa in the bathroom while looking out at the ocean or enjoying the east coast's famous sunsets," he said, adding that Gold Coast Kuantan will also provide good return on investment.

"While purchasers own a luxury holiday property by the beach, which is run like a hotel, and enjoy the property's leisure facilities, they can also choose to have their properties managed and rented out on a nightly occupancy basis by a professional company when they are away.

"This gives owners an 8 per cent return per annum on their investment for up to 15 years, without sacrificing their ability to use the property or any other Gold Coast properties for up to 60 days if they chose to," he said.

Owners can also expect a capital appreciation of 40 per cent after five years from the date of purchase.

Facilities at Gold Coast Kuantan include a club house, a cafe, seafood restaurants, water sports, a healthcare centre, karaoke, a bar, 24-hour security and hotel management services.

By Business Times (by B. Suresh Ram)

Property fire sales in 3 countries seen

SYDNEY/TOKYO: Emergency property sales are in store in Japan, Australia and India as banks refuse to roll over debt, forcing landlords to raise funds or go out of business.

Although banks in the Asia-Pacific region are not hobbled by the toxic assets that have paralysed their Western counterparts, they are cutting exposure to falling property markets.

Big firms with healthy reputations and balance sheets will likely get the benefit of the doubt, but their small rivals will suffer. And big discounts on "distressed" sales will drag down prices for land and commercial buildings across whole markets.

In Australia, large real estate investment trusts (REITs) raised A$5.5 billion (A$1 = RM2.37) of equity in 2008 to cut debt, including Mirvac and ING Office Fund.

But the sector needs another A$20 billion-A$30 billion of debt refinancing or other funding in two years.

JPMorgan estimates the 22 most highly leveraged Australian REITs have some US$32 billion (US$1 = RM3.61) worth of debt, which accounts for 94 per cent of their enterprise value. They include Macquarie CountryWide and Tishman Speyer Office Those who fail to lure new investors will need to sell some, or even all, of their buildings.

"I think 2009 is going to be the year of trusts going private and assets being sold," said Jonathan Kriska, analyst at Paterson Securities.

Things are even tougher in Japan, where 16 listed property firms including Urban Corp failed last year because of trouble raising operating funds, despite having profitable businesses.

The Japanese government announced last month emergency measures to rescue cash-strapped property firms. But since then, Creed Corp filed for court protection from creditors and the economic outlook has grown even more gloomy, raising the prospect of more victims of the credit crisis.

"As Creed's failure shows, I think banks still want to rein in lending despite requests to be more flexible," said Goldman Sachs analyst Atsuko Chiyoda.

"It's almost impossible for small and mid-sized REITs to get refinancing with the same kind of agreements they inked before."

In 2009 some 1.1 trillion yen (100 yen = RM4.06), or about 30 per cent of total debt held by 41 Japanese REITs, will be due for refinancing.

Analysts have said the biggest property firms, Mitsui Fudosan Co and Mitsubishi Estate, may emerge as buyers when the market is glutted with sellers.

The companies bolstered their balance sheets following the asset bubble in the early 1990s and are now cashed up and own prime assets to generate healthy cash flows.

"Property firms with bigger exposure to the leasing market are in a relatively stable condition," said a brokerage analyst, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorised to speak to media.

"But most of the small- and mid-sized developers expanded via securitisation, and that's why they're suffering."

In India, shares of the country's biggest developers DLF, Unitech and Indiabulls Real Estate have tumbled by 75-90 per cent in the last year because of a slump in home sales and a lack of finance.

The Indian government has asked banks to restructure loans for commercial property and to give better terms. But property firms, who survived on a mix of upfront payments by home buyers, loans and public equity sales, could be forced to sell land or stakes in projects to investors - if they can find any.

"They're looking for money, even the big developers," said Sharmila Joshi, vice president at Systematix Shares & Stocks. "If they don't get access to funds, the scenario could get worse."

By Reuters

TA buys Melbourne hotel for A$160mil

MELBOURNE: TA Enterprise Bhd has acquired the five-star Westin Melbourne Hotel for about A$160mil.

CB Richard Ellis hotels directors George Nicholas and Scott Callow negotiated the sale which saw offers by offshore investment groups from the Middle East, Asia and the United States.

The property was sold on behalf of a consortium of industry super funds. Nicholas described the sale as a “vote of confidence in the Australian hotel investment market”.

The Westin Melbourne, popular with Malaysian officials and businessmen, is at the corner of Collins and Swanston streets.

By Bernama

MK Land to use sale proceeds for projects

KUALA LUMPUR: MK Land Bhd plans to use the proceeds from the disposal of 9. 2ha in Sungai Buloh, Selangor, for development projects.

In reply to a Bursa Malaysia query, MK Land said the market value of the land was RM157.8mil while the forced sale value was RM118.35mil.

The land was acquired by Ketara Megah Development Sdn Bhd, a company related to MK Land chairman and chief executive officer Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal Abu Bakar, for RM157. 8mil.

Ketara Megah acquired the two parcels of leasehold land in an open tender after they were forced sold by PPC International Sdn Bhd.

MK Land said an open tender was carried out by Henry Butcher Real Estate Sdn Bhd from Sept 9 to Oct 20 last year. As there was no bid received, a second open tender was carried out from Dec 1 to 15.

The proceeds are intended to be used as working capital for the various deve lopment being undertaken by the group .

By The Star

Axis REIT to spend on enhancing properties

AXIS REIT Managers Bhd will invest RM8 million for property enhancement this year, its chief executive officer and executive director, George Stewart LaBrooy said today.

By taking advantage of the economic slowdown, the exercise would be cheaper, as the cost of construction materials had fallen, he said.

LaBrooy said RM6 million would be used to refurbish the Nestle House in Petaling Jaya, which the company owns.

“This will be our major refurbishment project and it will start in November,” he told a media briefing today.
He also said that the company was looking to acquire at least one property this year but nothing has been finalised.

Axis REIT, the manager of Axis Real Estate Investment Trust, owns 19 properties.

On the company’s performance, he said Axis REIT managed to record an income before taxation of RM38.97 million, an increase of 39.2 per cent from the preceding year.

Gross revenue for the year rose to RM63.442 million from RM46.827 million the previous year.

On the property outlook, he said, the industry is expected to remain flat this year, as a result of the gloomy global economic outlook.

He said that demand for high-end condominiums would be most affected, as buyers were looking for cheaper alternatives.

LaBrooy also stated that the rental rates of commercial offices were retreating.

By Bernama

Axis-REIT Q4 net surges 88pc

AXIS Real Estate Investment Trust Bhd (Axis-REIT) reported an 88 per cent surge in fourth quarter net profit, driven mainly by the higher value of its properties.

However, excluding revaluation gains, its net income from operations was RM10.5 million, a third higher than what it made in the same period last year.

Out of this, it will distribute RM10.38 million to unitholders.

Axis-REIT made a net profit of RM35 million for the quarter to December 31 2008. About 70 per cent of that was due to revaluation gains.
Revenue from rental income increased by 30 per cent to RM16.93 million.

Axis-REIT said it will be able to maintain a strong performance for the coming quarter and the financial year ending December 2009.

Its existing investment portfolio as well its strategy to actively pursue quality buys will drive growth.

However, for the 12 months period, net profit dipped 7.5 per cent to RM63.4 million, mainly because the value of its assets grew at a slower pace in 2008.

Revenue in the same period increased by 36 per cent to reach RM63.44 million.

For 2008, Axis-REIT will distribute 99.31 per cent of its realised income before tax of RM38.7 million.

"This translates into a distribution per unit of 15.27 cents for year 2008," it said.

Beginning January 1 2009, Axis-REIT will change its current income distribution policy from semi-annual payment to quarterly payment.

By Business Times