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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Harp Soon to build integrated resort in Malacca

PRIVATELY-HELD construction and property firm Harp Soon Construction Bhd plans to develop a 8.72ha integrated resort in Malacca, with the help of Crystal Crown Hotel & Resort Group.

The resort, to be named Bayou Lagoon Park Resort, will be a mixed development comprising a hotel, retail centre, four blocks of service apartments, a water park, convention hall and a club house.

The resort will be developed in stages, with the completion of two of its serviced apartment blocks by early 2012.

The entire serviced apartment development has a gross development value of RM250 million.

The water park, which will be exclusive for guests and residents of the resort, will be ready by the time the apartments are up, and has a gross development value of RM8 million.

The convention hall, club house and hotel, meanwhile, are to developed later.

Bayou Lagoon Park Resort Sdn Bhd executive director Marco Seow said the development is the company's first foray into integrated resort development after developing residential and commercial developments in the Klang Valley for the last 30 years.

"This is why we brought in Crystal Crown, which has experience in the planning, development and management of hospitality project, as a consultant for the project," Seow said.

Crystal Crown and the manager of the resort, Bayou Lagoon Park Resort Sdn Bhd, entered into a distinctive partnership yesterday.

Under the pact, Bayou Lagoon will be a member of the Crystal Crown Group, allowing it to leverage on the established brand name as well as be accorded technical and feasibility advice on layout and hotel system solution.

By Business Times (by Presenna Nambiar)

invest Penang GM tipped to head PDC Properties

INVESTPENANG general manager Wan Zailena Noordin is tipped to replace Osman Kallahan as the next head of PDC Properties Sdn Bhd, the property development arm of Penang Development Corp (PDC).

It is understood that chief executive officer (CEO) Osman's contract, which ends this month, has not been renewed.

Sources told Business Times that Wan Zailena is tipped to take over, but as managing director.

It is not known if Wan Zailena will relinquish her post at investPenang, where she had served as CEO and then resigned. She rejoined investPenang as its general manager last year.

Osman has more than a decade of property development experience under his belt when he was hired to helm the company during its inception.

Incorporated in 2005 as a private limited company and wholly-owned by corporation, PDC Properties has been actively playing the role of a major property developer of high-end properties to low-cost housing, condominiums, offices and shop lots.

On Penang island, its projects include the sea-fronting Bayan Mutiara, Ixora Heights and Halaman Kenanga at Sungai Nibong.

PDC Properties' Bandar Cassia development at Batu Kawan on the mainland is strategically located close to the landing point of the second Penang bridge.

A restructuring exercise at the PDC in 2004 saw the emergence of PDC Properties, which is understood to be making higher profits.

In April this year, PDC appointed former banker Julian Candiah as its deputy general manager, in a bid to help Penang woo more investors to its shores.

By Business Times (by Marina Emmanuel)

Bandar Raya unit to buy stake in Oman firm

PETALING JAYA: Bandar Raya Developments Bhd’s wholly-owned subsidiary BRDB (Oman) Ltd has entered into an agreement for the proposed development of an integrated real estate tourism project on about 40ha in Oman through Amouage Hotels & Resorts LLC, Oman.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, Bandar Raya said BRDB would acquire 30% stake in Amouage from its shareholders, Mamas Loizou Ioanou Christodoulides and Mohammed Saleh Bin Eid Al Khaldi, for RM423,000 cash.

“Subject to the relevant approvals in Oman, the project will comprise residential and commercial units, hotel and other facilities,” it said.

The acquisition is in line with Bandar Raya group’s intention for new property development projects locally and overseas to enhance its earning base.

“The proposed joint venture represents an opportunity for the group to expand to and take advantage of the fast growing economies of Oman and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries,” it added.

By The Star

US housing market stabilising but consumers lack confidence

NEW YORK: US home prices rose in May for the first time in three years, suggesting the housing market is stabilising, but a weakening job market hit consumer confidence in July and could prevent near-term economic recovery.

Potential home buyers afraid of committing to a fast depreciating asset have been clamouring for such signs of house price stabilisation. But rising unemployment and wage cuts are straining consumer optimism and keeping many potential buyers out of the housing market, impeding spending and prospects for economic rebound.

"People are getting a bit discouraged. Jobs are not coming as quickly as expected," said John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo in Charlotte, North Carolina. "This won't be a V-shaped recovery for either the economy or the jobs market."

Home prices have plunged more than 32 per cent on average from their 2006 peaks, but the pace of the annual declines slowed in May for the fourth straight month, according to Standard & Poor's/Case Shiller home price indices yesterday.

"This could be an indication that home price declines are finally stabilising" after tumbling to 2003 levels, David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P, said in a statement.

The index of 20 metropolitan areas rose 0.5 per cent in May from April, after a 0.6 per cent drop the month before, in contrast with the 0.5 per cent drop forecast in a Reuters poll.

"The pressures are all working in alignment to support that we're at the turning point" in the worst housing market since the Great Depression, said Steve Hagenbuckle, managing principle for TerraCap Partners, a distressed real estate private equity fund in Cape Coral, Florida.

"Affordability is at all time highs, inventories are shrinking, there's competition for properties, and we're not building as much new product to compete with the existing homes," he said.

Still, caution is warranted as long as the US unemployment rate keeps rising, economists advised. That rate is at its highest in nearly 26 years and is headed to double-digit levels.

For a rebound, consumer confidence needs to improve, foreclosures need to start falling from their record pace and potential buyers need to have a sense that it won't be even cheaper to purchase if they keep waiting.

Consumer confidence, however, fell more than expected this month because of the worsening job market.

The US Conference Board's index of consumer sentiment fell to 46.6 in July from 49.3 in June, according to data published yesterday. A reading of 49 was forecast in a Reuters survey.

The eroding sentiment came as Americans saying jobs are hard to get increased and those who thought jobs were plentiful fell to its lowest in more than a quarter century.

"Consumers are feeling no love in this recovery," said Boris Schlossberg, director of foreign exchange research at GFT in New York. "Consumers are still concerned about the labor market and their own security."

By Reuters

Survey: Dubai hotels hit hardest in region in first half

DUBAI: Dubai hotels saw the biggest falls in revenue in the region in the first half of 2009, according to a survey of key Middle East cities published yesterday.

Hotels in 22 cities in the region witnessed an average 10.9 per cent decrease in occupancies and a 17.2 per cent drop in revenue per available room (RevPAR), an industry benchmark, said a report by US hospitality research firm STR Global and Deloitte & Touche Middle East.

Occupancy rates in Dubai, the region's trade and tourism hub, fell 12.9 per cent compared to the year-earlier period, and RevPAR plunged 35 per cent.

Dubai, which attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists to its beaches and luxury hotels, predominantly from Europe and Russia, continued to suffer as the global financial crisis bit into the spending power of those countries.

Hotels in Oman's capital Muscat were among those badly hit as they experience "high seasonality in occupancies and revenues". Occupancies were down 21.7 per cent and RevPAR 16.6 per cent in the first six months of the year.

Lebanon's main tourism destination, Beirut, remained the top performer in the period, as it enjoyed "increased political stability". Beirut's occupancy levels soared 69.4 per cent and RevPAR surged 125.2 per cent, due to a significant inflow of tourists, the survey said.

By Reuters

China building materials expo from Oct 20 to 24

The China-Asean Expo (CAEXPO), which showcases Chinese building materials and processing machinery that caters to the Malaysian market, will be held for the sixth time in Nanning, China, from October 20 to 24.

CAEXPO secretariat said there will be more Chinese brand enterprises joining this year’s show The Chinese Ministry of Commerce of China has listed CAEXPO as one of the four major trade fairs in China under its direct guidance

By Business Times