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Monday, January 4, 2010

RM13 billion 'Space City' near Seremban

SEREMBAN: A “Space City” project costing up to RM13bil, to be financed by a Dubai-based private pension fund from India, is set to take shape near here as early as the end of this year.

The project will be similar, although not in size, cost and lavishness, to Abu Dhabi’s RM750bil Space City project that will be built over the next 10 years.

The local Space City project will be built on 400ha near Bandar Sri Sendayan-Bandar Enstek near here, and close to the KL International Airport, Putrajaya, Cyberjaya and the Education Ministry’s RM1.2bil complex which will house several institutes and universities, according to Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan in an interview.

“The ultra modern project will take shape in phases over 15 years ... among the tallest structures under the first phase will be a skyscraper over 40 storeys high which will be the tallest building in the state,” he said.

“It is going to be built on a totally new concept and will be the nation’s most modern city. It is something that you don’t see anywhere else here,” he said, adding that the memorandum of understanding for the project would be inked in the middle of this year.

He said the pension fund has agreed to the terms and conditions to buy the land from Mentri Besar Inc.

“We have negotiated a deal and everything is in order. In fact the investors were here recently for a due diligence and they were extremely happy with the way the project will be carried out,” he said, adding that the state government did not give the pension fund any incentives for the purchase of the property.

The project, Mohamad said, would not be carried out on a joint venture basis between MBI and the pension fund.

“We only sold them the land based on set conditions and they will be bringing the cash from abroad to finance it. We would not be forking out any cash for the project,” he said.

Mohamad said he had also been briefed by the project’s London-based architects and US-based town planners on details of the project during a visit abroad recently.

He added that the Space City would also house the Formula One City where competing teams would be able to set up their research and development (R&D) and other facilities.

“They would no longer have to stay in Kuala Lumpur when they come here for the race. It can be taxing to have to commute between both points during the race, what more with the congestion in the federal capital,” he said.

At present, these teams use helicopters to ferry their officials from Kuala Lumpur to the F1 track in Sepang.

The first phase of the project would be a mixed development with residential and commercial properties.

“The residential properties would cost more than RM500,000 and locals would be encouraged to invest here. In fact, the developers would also be allowed to sell these properties to foreigners,” Mohamad said.

“What is certain is that the Space City project would help boost the property market here. In fact the former 513 Felda LBJ settlers who became millionaires after they sold their properties would be able to make a lot more if they decide to dispose of the 0.8ha we gave each family,” he added.

The mentri besar said the Space City project would be carried out at the same time as Sime Darby’s Central Vision Valley (CVV) project located some 8 km away.

The CVV project will be carried out on 3,000ha, comprising mixed development, sports and educational institutions.

Mohamad said the proceeds to be raised from the sale of the 400ha would be used by the state government to repay loans taken from the federal government and the Pensions Trust Fund, some of which would mature this year.

By The Star (by SARBAN SINGH)

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