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Monday, May 31, 2010

Adiva project wins Fiabci award

The Adiva is the third precinct to be developed in Desa ParkCity after Safa and Nadia

BALI: Adiva, a precinct within Desa ParkCity in Kepong, Kuala Lumpur, has been named the world’s best residential (low rise) category at the 61st World Congress of the International Real Estate Federation (Fiabci) here last Thursday.

Fiabci is a French acronym for the Paris-based federation founded in 1948 to highlight real estate specialities and activities.

The 11-acre Adiva precinct won the Fiabci Prix d’Excellence Award under the residential (low rise) category.

The project comprises 160 triple, double-storey and walk-up apartments set against meandering linear parks within the masterplanned development of Desa ParkCity.

Desa ParkCity is a project by Perdana ParkCity Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Sarawak-based Samling group.

About 10 precincts are already occupied around a commercial area and work is in progress for the rest of the 500-acre development.

Adiva was the third precinct to be developed after Safa and Nadia. The developer has a vision to turn what used to be a quarry into one of the city’s most beautiful landscaped residential community.

The runner-up in the same category is Jakarta Garden City, a joint-venture development between Singapore’s Keppel Land and Indonesia’s PT Modernland Tbk.

The Fiabci Prix d’Excellence Awards received 54 entrants from 11 countries vying for 14 categories.

Perdana ParkCity group CEO Lee Liam Chye, who has been with the project from its birth, said: “We bought this land of about 500 acres for RM10 per sq ft in June 2000. It was a wilderness with rocks, granite and lots of trees and was part of what is today Country Heights Damansara.

“It was a hillock with ravines and ridges – a hot potato that no one wants – and we carved out the different parcels.

“People may say we paid RM10 per sq ft for this land, but we also spent RM250mil to blast the rocks and prepare it for development. It was a tremendous challenge but amid all that wilderness, I saw the potential.”

Lee said he and his team worked with the local authorities because legislations and town-planning controls had to be amended to legitimise and validate this new housing concept.

Adiva, with its ideals and ideas, played a large part in convincing the authorities to respond favourabley in facilitating the changes.

“I was educated in Britain and when I go there (Europe), especially to Paris, these places are so absorbing. I asked myself, ‘What is it about these places that provoke such emotions within me?’

“I asked myself many times. Today, I have the answer. The emphasis is on authenticity, the embodiment of history and culture. When I set out to plan and build this place, I wanted to create that sense of place and space. It’s exactly 10 years now and I have learned so much,” said Lee.

“When you see a duck swimming in the water, you only see the serenity and gentleness of the scene, but you do not see the furious paddling under the water. The same goes for the development of Desa ParkCity.”

Sime Darby group will operate a hospital there. A contract to build it will be awarded in about two weeks and the hospital is expected to be operational by the third quarter of 2012.

Another contract to build an international school was awarded two weeks ago. This will be completed by the middle of next year.

By The Star

IGB set for bigger challenges

PETALING JAYA: IGB Corp Bhd is ready to take on bigger challenges after having built a substantial portfolio of properties in the retail, hospitality and high-end residential sectors.

»Our Mid Valley Megamall that is parked under KrisAssets Holdings Bhd is doing very well« ROBERT TAN CHUNG MENG

With the stronger ringgit and the company’s low gearing and healthy cash reserves, it was high time to expand aggressively in retail sector abroad, said group managing director Robert Tan Chung Meng.

“Our Mid Valley Megamall that is parked under KrisAssets Holdings Bhd is doing very well.

“We are now aggressively looking to acquire one or two malls in the United States and Europe,” Tan said recently.

For the first quarter ended March 31, its 75%-owned KrisAssets posted a net profit of RM27mil against RM25.4mil in the same period last year.

IGB’s net profit rose 4.1% to RM35.32mil in the quarter from RM33.9mil a year earlier.

Tan said the company, which has a cash reserve of RM180mil, would have no problem raising funds. The company expects the expansion abroad to cost RM1bil to RM2bil.

Its hotel division, which contributes 50% to group profit, is also slated for expansion locally and overseas.

“We are targeting Japan, China and Indochina where we will either buy existing hotels or develop new ones,” Tan said.

In Malaysia, IGB owns Garden Hotel, Boulevard Hotel, Pangkor Island Beach Resort, Garden Residences, the Cititel chain of hotels and the Micasa all-suites hotel.

The company is submitting a proposal to develop the final phase of Mid Valley City comprising office blocks on a 500,000-sq-ft site.

Tan hoped to get the approval for the RM500mil office project by the year-end.

IGB is focusing on expanding businesses which offer recurring income, especially in hospitality and property investment and management.

It is now leasing offices at the Gardens north and south towers within Mid Valley City.

However, “small (property) launches’’ by IGB lately have been a cause of concern, with AmResearch Sdn Bhd describing them as a “disappointment”.

“Given the robust consumer sentiment, we had earlier expected IGB to launch more residential projects such as 6 Stonor with a gross development value (GDV) of RM300mil and projects at Sierramas in Sungai Buloh,” the brokerage said.

Tan said IGB’s two new launches were doing well. “Most of the units at Seri Ampang Hilir Residence and Garden Manor have been sold.” Both projects had a combined gross development value (GDV) of RM150mil.

Founded in the early 1960s by two brothers – the late Datuk Tan Kim Yeow and Datuk Tan Chin Nam – and named after its maiden project in Ipoh, IGB has turned from being a mere developer into a mega asset-based company that is worth RM4.5bil at the end of 2009.

IGB, which was listed in 1981, and Tan & Tan Developments Bhd, another property unit formed by the Tan brothers and listed in 1993, announced a massive merger and rationalisation exercise in the year 2000.

That resulted in IGB assuming the property assets of parent Tan & Tan, which then transferred its listing status to a new vehicle, Gold IS Bhd, another entity controlled by the two Tan families.

The group is now looking at injecting its properties into a real estate investment trust (REIT), which will probably be the country’s largest.

To do that, analysts said the group must inject properties with good financial track records and these include Gardens Mall developed by Mid Valley City Gardens Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary IGB.

However, the proposed REIT was probably delayed due to the drastic drop in market value of such trusts in 2008 and early 2009 and the poor sentiment for REIT listings.

By The Star

China, HK property retains allure despite wobbles

Real estate in mainland China and Hong Kong retains a strong long-term allure despite current fears of a damaging bubble, according to an influential player in the regional market.Alastair Hughes, Asia-Pacific chief executive of Jones Lang LaSalle, a dominant presence in the Chinese property markets, sees plenty of reasons for optimism.

"For every expat who whinges about pollution, there are 20 people in London who'd like to be here," he told AFP in an interview, gesturing out across Hong Kong's famed skyline on a rare clear day in the city.

"I don't think you'd find many people who've made money betting against Hong Kong," Hughes added.The market for luxury property in Shanghai and Beijing is seen as "a little bit frothy" because of wealthy individuals indulging in speculation, he said.

"On the other hand, you've got everywhere else in China," he said, pointing to the annual migration of 50 million people from the Chinese countryside to cities in search of work and better housing.

As other parts of the world struggle out of recession, property markets in China and Hong Kong have been charging ahead, so much so that Beijing has taken increasingly aggressive steps to rein in the mainland market.

The government has restricted lending and made it harder for people to own second or third homes, or to buy outside their home towns.

Largely in response, Shanghai's stock market has fallen about 15 percent in two months.

One analyst, Carol Wu of DBS Vickers Securities, predicts a 20-30 percent fall in prices for top-tier mainland housing and a 10-15 percent drop in the "second tier".

Nonetheless, Hughes says that not only is market "frothiness" confined to the swankiest neighbourhoods, but that the commercial and office sector, where cooler heads prevail, is largely unaffected.

"It's really important to separate commercial from residential. The drivers for residential property are very much individually driven and there's more sentiment and emotion," he said.

"On the commercial property side it's a very professional market. People don't do things on a whim."The International Monetary Fund appears to agree.

In April it said that concerns about Asian property bubbles were "limited to some urban areas in China and high-end luxury segments in Hong Kong and Singapore," although it warned policymakers against complacency.

That said, mainland China's market for commercial and office space doesn't always obey market forces.

Beijing office rents continue to rise despite high vacancy rates. Elsewhere, Shanghai office rents jumped 4.9 percent just in the first quarter, according to Jones Lang LaSalle.

Growth ranges widely, from Shenzhen in the southeast, where Goldman Sachs recently took up grade-A office space, to more modest rises deep in the interior, such as the southwestern city of Chengdu.

As for Hong Kong, the former British colony regularly takes a bashing for its polluted air and fares poorly in some international rankings of cities for "liveability", such as those by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

But boosters of Hong Hong real estate point to the sale this May of an elite property on the Peak, known for its majestic views over the South China Sea -- weather permitting -- for a cool 233 million US dollars, to a local tycoon.

For Jones Lang LaSalle, which traces its origins to a funeral and house-clearance business in London two centuries ago, Asia and particularly China look set to remain key growth areas.

The company employs 4,000 people on the mainland, virtually all of them Chinese nationals, and another 4,000 in India.