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Thursday, January 21, 2010

New lease of life for prime site in KL

A mixed development project has been proposed for the site located directly across The Renaissance Kuala Lumpur and next to the Sunway Tower.

The developer of an abandoned hotel project at the junction of Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Ampang in Kuala Lumpur has submitted a new proposal for a mixed development project on the site, the city's mayor said.

The site, a prime piece of land located directly across The Renaissance Kuala Lumpur and next to the Sunway Tower (previously Wisma Denmark), was previously slated for the opening of the five-star The Grand Duta Hyatt hotel.

However, the project was stalled due to the 1998 Asian economic crisis.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) mayor Datuk Ahmad Fuad Ismail said it has received an application from the developer for a 52-storey mixed development project consisting of service apartments, offices and a hotel.
"We have approved (the project) over six months ago for service apartments, offices and a hotel," Ahmad Fuad told Business Times, adding that he does not know the current status of the construction.

"I have only seen the hoarding (in place) but no major work has been done there," he added.

He did not reveal the name of the developer who made the application.

A check at the site last Friday revealed that there was a project information signboard at the location, but no information was available to ascertain details of the project.

Kuala Lumpur Landmark Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Olympia Industries Bhd, was given the contract to develop the RM570 million The Grand Duta Hyatt in 1994. The project had then included residential and commercial components.

Mycom Bhd, the holding company of Olympia, then teamed up with Kuala Lumpur Landmark to develop a 52-storey building to house its headquarters and the hotel.

However, construction was halted in July 1998, when the group encountered financial difficulties during the economic crisis. The project was to recommence in 2003, but never did start.

The hotel was built up to the 29th level before it was stopped. Until today, it remains partly completed.

Tan Sri Yap Yong Seong, better known as Duta Yap, controlled Mycom, which is now called DutaLand Bhd. Yap is DutaLand's group managing director.

The Hyatt Group is no longer associated with the project.

By Business Times (by Vasantha Ganesan)

Sunway to buy 60% in Spanland

PETALING JAYA: Sunway Holdings Bhd, via wholly-owned unit SunwayMas Sdn Bhd, has signed a share sale agreement with Templer Forest Resort Sdn Bhd for the proposed acquisition of 60% equity interest in Spanland Sdn Bhd for RM13.8mil.

Yau Kok Seng (left) shaking hands with Datuk Kong Hon Kong after signing the agreement

The agreement was signed on Tuesday by Sunway managing director Yau Kok Seng and Templer Forest managing director Datuk Kong Hon Kong.

Spanland has the development rights for a 98-acre plot in Gombak opposite the Templer Park Country Club. The site has been proposed for a project comprising 163 bungalows with an estimated gross development value (GDV) of RM500mil.

The three-storey bungalows with built-up areas of around 6,500 sq ft have an indicative price of RM3mil.

Sunway managing director Yau Kok Seng said with the proposed acquisition, Sunway’s land bank would be increased to 390 acres with potential GDV of some RM2bil.

The project is expected to be launched by October.

He said that for the financial year ending Dec 31, Sunway was targeting a 50% growth in its property sales and property development would contribute close to 25% of Sunway’s earnings.

The construction division is the biggest contributor at 45%; while the manufacturing, trading and building materials division contributes 20%; and quarrying activities the balance.

“Property development has big potential and we are looking to replenish our land bank via acquisitions and strategic alliances locally and regionally,” said Yau.

Yau sees good potential in Singapore’s property market and is confident of good response to its latest condominium development there. To be launched by the middle of this year, the project will comprise 500 condominiums in eight 12-storey blocks. The 1,100 to 1,300 sq ft units will be priced at around S$1,000 per sq ft for a total GDV of more than S$450mil.

Sunway has launched and sold two public housing projects under the design-build-sell scheme totalling close to 2,000 units in Boon Keng and Toa Payoh. With built-up areas of 1,100 to 1,300 sq ft, the units were priced from S$520 to S$540 per sq ft.

“There is huge potential in Singapore’s medium range housing market and we will be looking for more opportunities there together with our 70% joint-venture partner, the Hoi Hup Group,” Yau said.

Sunway is also looking to launch its maiden project in China in the second quarter this year. The condominium project in Jiangying near Shanghai will have a GDV of close to RM500mil.

The 26:39:35 project between Sunway, Sunway City Bhd and Guanghou, will pave the way for more projects in China.

In the Klang Valley, a mixed development on 111 acres will be launched in Sungei Long. The project will have GDV of more than RM550mil.

By The Star

Genting’s Johor resort part of bigger plan

Justin Leong, head of strategic investments at Genting Bhd, speaks on the company’s proposals to build a theme park and hotel in Iskandar, a special economic development region in Johor.

The company, Asia’s largest publicly traded casino operator, is exploring the project through its plantation unit, Genting Plantations Bhd which is already working on a joint venture project to develop a high-end shopping complex in the state, which borders Singapore.

Leong made these comment in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg News.

“The building of a theme park and hotel in Johor is part of a broader development plan that the Genting Group has for its operations in Iskandar Malaysia.

“The development plan will be subject to a detailed market feasibility study and is contingent to the successful development of the Johor Premium Outlets, the retail shopping project that the Genting Group is developing with US-based Simon Property Group Inc.”

By Bloomberg

Shedding the kampung image

KUALA TERENGGANU: Another batch of affordable apartments will be made available to local folks affected by the ongoing facelift of Ladang, an area considered a niche property zone in the Kuala Terengganu City Centre (KTCC) re-development scheme.

Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said said the 192 apartments would be built adjacent to the Gemilang apartments that were nearing completion.

Construction of the new apartments started recently and is expected to be completed in 18 months.

The new medium-low-cost apartments are more spacious than regular apartments that have three bedrooms and two bathrooms and cater to those with big families.

“We decided to make the units bigger as those who visited the show apartment of the first project complained that the units were cramped,” Ahmad told The Star.

The second project will consist of 16-storey blocks similar to Gemilang.

Ahmad said the state planned to set up day-care centres at both projects to help working parents.

The 1,000 residents living in the area’s 70-year-old village houses will be relocated in stages from April. Some will move to the Gemilang apartments.

Each unit costs RM50,000 but relocated residents have to fork out only RM12,000 as the state has pledged a grant of RM38,000 to each household involved in the relocation.

Ahmad said the subsidy was given in the hope that they would purchase the apartments.

“The state is concerned about the welfare of locals affected by the relocation,” he said.

Kuala Terengganu hopes to shed the kampung-town image through its re-development into a modern city.

By The Star

Axis REIT plans new acquisitions

Axis Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) plans to acquire another three to five properties in 2010 and raise RM113 million in the early part of the year.

Its target was expand the total assets to at least RM1 billion from RM907.7 million as at December last year, said Axis REIT Managers Bhd Chief Executive Officer Stewart LaBrooy.

Axis REIT Managers is the promoter of Axis REIT. LaBrooy said the potential acquisition targets included two units of brand new logistics warehouses in Johor, a factory or warehouse in Puchong and an office building in Cyberjaya.

The acquisitions will total RM180 million.
As at Dec 31, 2009, Axis REIT had 21 properties in Malaysia.

In a media briefing on Axis REIT's financial performance for last year and its future growth prospects, he said: "We are positive about our financial results this year despite the soft property market.

"Our strategy is to maintain occupancy rates and make new acquisitions."

He said the trust also planned another capital raising exercise in early 2010. "There is potential to place out another 61.4 million units and raise a war chest of RM113 million for future acquisitions," he disclosed.

LaBrooy said that among other developments for this year would be on its corporate property in Petaling Jaya called Quattro West which was formerly known as Nestle House.

"We are undergoing a complete refurbishment of the building to reposition the asset and increase revenue," he said.

He said Quattro West would be taken up by another listed company that had committed to a 15-year lease of 50 per cent of the space commencing July.

Another property that would provide unitholders with opportunities for capital gain was the proposed acquisition of two logistics warehouses in Seberang Perai, Penang which was expected to be completed by March.

The Seberang Perai warehouse acquisition at RM24.25 million, he said, was at a 9.2 per cent discount to market value and would provide unitholders with a cpaital gain of approximately RM1.78 million.

"The acquisition will increase gearing level from 34.03 per cent to 35.61 per cent," he added.

LaBrooy said 35 per cent would be the trigger point for gearing level and should it touch above this level, Axis REIT would a undertake private placement to bring it down.

Axis REIT's unit price, he pointed out, saw an improvement at the end of 2009 as compared to end of 2008. "It closed at RM1.93, a 72 per cent increase from the 2008 closing price," he added.

By Bernama