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Monday, December 6, 2010

MRT project poised to boost Aman Putri profile

PPC GLOMAC Sdn Bhd's newest development in the 6.76ha of Aman Putri prime freehold land in Sungai Buloh, Selangor is located within what renowned property researcher Ho Chin Soon has designated as "first-tier locations".

These are property hot spots that lie within a 15km radius from the centre of gravity in Petaling Jaya New Town and include Kuala Lumpur, Cheras, Puchong, Sungai Buloh, Shah Alam, Subang Jaya and Ampang.

"The first-tier locations will remain the focus and it's difficult to imagine a downside for (such) properties which, in general, have no bubble whatsoever," Ho, master mapmaker and principal of Ho Chin Soon Research Sdn Bhd, had said last year at an investment forum on real estate.

Aman Putri is going to be one of the main beneficiaries of the upcoming mass rapid transit (MRT) system.

With two main lines starting from and connecting to Sungai Buloh, Aman Putri will be wellconnected to the whole of Klang Valley.

But before that, it is already conveniently accessible via the New Klang Valley Expressway, LDP, and the Guthrie Corridor, all of which provide residents easy access to Kuala Lumpur city centre and Petaling Jaya.

It is also surrounded by mature and well-developed neighbouring estates like Valencia, Sierramas, Bandar Baru Sungai Buloh and Bukit Rahman Putra.

Nestled at the edge of tropical palms at the heart of Sungai Buloh, it is said that Aman Putri is "the only freehold landed property" still available in the vicinity.

With gorgeous gardens and the "longest linear parks" in Malaysia, Aman Putri's greens are designed by award-winning landscape architect, Malik Lip and Associates, while the houses are designed by another award-winner, NRY Architects.

Those with enquiries can call PPC Glomac at 03-9173-6877 or email

By Business Times

RM800mil projects in Klang Valley and Ipoh next year

Artist's impression of the RM100mil Taipan@Ipoh Cybercentre project.

GEORGE TOWN: Andaman Property Group, which is based in Kuala Lumpur, will develop six property projects with a gross sales value (GSV) of RM800mil in the Klang Valley and Ipoh next year.

Andaman Property Management Sdn Bhd head of sales and marketing Vincent Tiew said of the six projects, one would be in Ipoh.

In Ipoh, the plan is to develop landed commercial and residential properties while in the Klang Valley, the plan is to develop a mixture of high-rise and landed commercial and residential properties.

The pricing, which is yet to be determined, will be attractive to lure investors, Tiew said.

Potential buyers viewing a model of Andaman’s RM100mil Taipan@Ipoh Cybercentre project during its soft launch recently.

This year, the group launched four projects two in the Klang Valley, one in Johor Baru and one in Ipoh with an estimated GSV of RM350mil.

Ipoh is the group's focus as we have just unveiled the RM100mil Taipan@Ipoh Cybercentre in Bandar Meru Raya, he said.

The project is a 1,600-acre integrated, self-contained township in North Ipoh Growth Corridor, which is being developed by Perak government.

Tiew said the landed commercial and residential project planned for next year in Ipoh would also be in Bandar Meru Raya.

The residential component will be priced affordably to attract first-time home buyers while the commercial components will be marketed to local and outstation investors with competitive pricing, he said.

On the RM100mil Taipan@Ipoh Cybercentre, Tiew said the project saw 50% of its 102 retail lots sold during a three-day preview that started on Nov 26.

The three-storey retail lots, with a built-up area of 4,500 sq ft, are priced from RM688,000 while the four-storey retail lots, with built-up areas between 6,000 sq ft and 11,000 sq ft, are priced from RM1.5mil.

Tiew said there were two key reasons for the brisk sales the features of the retail lots and the location of the project, which is close to the Perak MSC Cybercentre in Bandar Meru Raya.

He said some 30 units had dual-frontage, which meant that they were accessible from front and back.

There are 24 retail lots with 770-sq-ft to 1,200-sq-ft land in front of them that can be used for al fresco dining and other business activities. These units cost RM50,000 extra, he said.

By The Star

Bukit Bintang’s covered walk among stars

PETALING JAYA: The Government's proposal to revive plans for the Bukit Bintang area to be developed along the lines of Singapore's famous shopping haven Orchard Road to boost tourism and increase shopping expenditure, has received positive response from retail associations and real estate consultants.

Under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), a 6km-long covered walkway would be built in the Bukit Bintang area. The walkway is part of the RM204bil public-private investment master plan under the ETP's Greater Kuala Lumpur development.

For comparison, Orchard Road is a 2.2km one-way street flanked by distinctive shopping malls on both sides of the road.

Malaysian Retailer-Chains Association (MRCA) secretary general Valerie Choo said in principle, the Orchard Road concept would be good for Bukit Bintang.

MRCA is happy that more emphasis has been placed on reviving Bukit Bintang. Malaysia is now able to sell Bukit Bintang as a tourism product while tourists and locals will be able to walk seamlessly and comfortably from one mall to another, she told StarBiz in an e-mail.

However, she said more needed to be done such as shopping mall enhancement and refurbishment.

This is what Singapore Tourism Board did in 2009, pumping in S$40mil to rejuvenate Orchard Road together with other stakeholders i.e. shopping malls and building owners, she said.

Choo suggested planting more trees to create lush greenery and shade to complete a multi-sensory experience for tourists and locals alike.

But the most vital thing is how the traffic condition can be improved in that area, she said, adding that road closures were now carried out without stakeholders being informed beforehand.

H.C. Chan

Malaysian Association for Shopping and Highrise Complex Management (PPK) president H. C. Chan said Bukit Bintang had the pedigree and history in shopping since its first shopping mall Sungei Wang Plaza opened over three decades ago and this gave the area tremendous potential to be a world-class shopping destination.

Creation of a comprehensive pedestrian network would be a major step towards integrating all the mall and hotel facilities and linking them to public transportation, befitting and expected of a world-class shopping destination, he told StarBiz via e-mail.

Besides customer-friendly physical integration, he said there was a need for a long-term holistic approach of branding and marketing Bukit Bintang as a single shopping haven entity, similar to Orchard Road or Regent Street of London.

PPK urges all mall owners and managers in Bukit Bintang and interested stakeholders like the City Hall to adopt a common platform and work closely together for the common good of the country's tourism and their respective properties, he said.

Tan Hai Hsin

Henry Butcher Retail managing director Tan Hai Hsin said reviving the concept of Orchard Road in Bukit Bintang area was viable and long outstanding. It should have been done many years ago! he told StarBiz in an e-mail reply.

However, Tan said many things still needed to be done to make Bukit Bintang area a world-class shopping district, including:

Covered connection

All major shopping centres should be linked via a series of tunnels and/or bridges that provide cover and protection from the rain and the sun. Berjaya Times Square is now disconnected from Sungei Wang Plaza. There is no covered bridge or tunnel joining both buildings. Also, Plaza Low Yat is disconnected from Sungei Wang Plaza/Bukit Bintang Plaza. Sungei Wang Plaza/Bukit Bintang Plaza is linked to Lot 10 via a bridge. Lot 10 is disjointed from Fahrenheit 88, which is not directly linked to Starhill Gallery or Pavilion.

Pedestrian mall

Jalan Bukit Bintang or Jalan Sultan Ismail should be turned into a pedestrian mall during the weekends. This was attempted many years ago but with great resistance from the hotel, office and retail operators in the area who complained their customers would not be able to access their premises when the road is closed.

Public facilities

Public facilities such as a tourist information centre, public toilets and street furniture are important components of a world-class shopping district. The tourist information booth in front of McDonald's is too small, unfriendly and stocks too few brochures. According to recent media reports, the public toilets (in front of McDonald's and Lot 10) are not well-maintained.


A tourist brochure or shopping directory just for the Bukit Bintang shopping district is a must. In Singapore, there are a few publishers on Orchard Road's retail attractions and other facilities.

By The Star

Malaysia-S'pore firm to develop Johor poject

Singaporean and Malaysian investors today announced a partnership to jointly develop a RM500 million new waterfront residential and commercial project in Johor.

To be known as Azea Properties, the high-end development will be coming up on a 1.68 hectare site in Danga Bay – one of the key flagship zones within Iskandar Malaysia.

The Singapore investment, valued at an estimated RM150 million, is by Imperial Marina Pte Ltd – a property investment company helmed by businesswoman Tan Yang Po.

The company is a special purpose vehicle set up by Tan to explore and seize investment opportunities in the booming Iskandar Malaysia real estate sector.

According to a statement today, she will be teaming up with Danga Bay Sdn Bhd (37 per cent) and Pembinaan Sahabatjaya Sdn Bhd (33 per cent) to develop the project through a joint-venture company – Para Impiana Sdn Bhd.

Witnessing the joint venture signing ceremony in Johor Baru today was Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, who, with the Prime Minister, is joint-chairman of the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA).

Danga Bay is a waterfront master developer with a land bank of over 450 acres along the Straits of Johor, while Pembinaan Sahabatjaya, a building and civil engineering company, has successfully undertaken projects worth over RM1.3 billion since 1999.

Tan, who is also chief executive officer of Azea Property Investment Pte Ltd, has property investments around the world.

Her latest foray was into the United Kingdom and the United States, where over RM50 million worth of choice residential properties were snapped up.

This joint-venture comes on the heels of several major recent investments in Danga Bay, including the RM40 million hotel by Tune Hotels Sdn Bhd and a RM150 million 4-star hotel project to be built by a Kuala Lumpur-based developer.

In August this year, property developer Dijaya Corporation Bhd had also entered into a 60:40 joint venture with Danga Bay Sdn Bhd (DBSB) subsidiary, Iskandar Waterfront Sdn Bhd, to develop high end condominium and retail properties on 37 acres of land.

DBSB chief executive officer Datuk Lim Kang Hoo said the latest joint venture with Imperial Marina was a clear signal of the growing confidence of Singapore investors in opportunities across the causeway since the Prime Ministers of Malaysia and Singapore announced a resolution to the long-standing issue of Malaysian railway land in the Republic earlier this year.

Lim also noted a marked increase in investment interests since Khazanah Nasional Berhad and Temasek Holdings Limited announced the setting up of a joint-venture company to explore iconic property developments in Iskandar Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Tan said the proposed waterfront development in Danga Bay would comprise 700 units of serviced apartments spread over several tower blocks.

Retail space would also be incorporated into the buildings.

“All available units in one of the tower blocks has already been booked even before the project launch,” she disclosed, with selling prices ranging from RM650-RM880 per sq ft.

She said the premier seafront project offered exceptional value because of its prime location and proximity to Singapore.

Most of the prospective buyers, she admitted, would be members of the Azea Property Investment Club - a 1,000-strong member club of ordinary individuals who invest in properties around the globe.

The group recently acquired £3 million (about RM15 million) worth of 12 Victorian-styled apartment units in London and another 200 units of landed properties valued at over US$7 million (about RM21.7 million) in Houston, USA – all of which were going for sale below market value.

“We’re also looking into developing commercial properties on an adjoining parcel of land in Danga Bay,” she said.

By Bernama

GuocoLand moves to integrated development

Malaysia’s Hong Leong Group property arm, GuocoLand (China) Ltd (GLC), is set to go bigger into integrated development in China from its early years of single building projects when it first set foot in that country.

GLC managing director Violet Lee said that after GLC’s flagship project, Guoson Centre, won the Best International Mixed-Use Development award last week in London, she was positive that integrated development was the way to go for the company.

Taking the prize at the International Property Awards had given her more confidence to continue with even bigger integrated development projects, she said.

“Over the years, we have transformed from single building projects to mega integrated projects of 100,000 sq metres, 600,000 sq metres,” she said.

Now, the company “will do bigger,” she told Malaysian, Singaporean and Hong Kong journalists in London last weekend after the award ceremony

“The next project in Beijing is going to be 1.4 million sq metres and in Tianjin 1.2 million sq metres, even bigger, double the size I am doing now,” said Lee who initiated the Guoson Centre development.

She said that after winning the award, at least she knew that she was doing the right thing and that she had been recognised for producing quality products.

“So if I continue with this development, this way of doing things I should not be wrong,” she said, adding that GLC’s focus would be on integrated developments in the years to come.
GLC’s developments are in prime locations in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing and Tianjin.

Lee said that to-date GLC, which was established in 1994, has a land bank of some 2.5 million sq metres valued at over US$3.5 billion in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing and Tianjin.
“We are not intending to move out of these four cities. They will always be within these four cities,” she addded.

The award winner Guoson Centre is a sustainable and fully-integrated development brand in Beijing and Shanghai. Comprising a large-scale cosmopolitan Guoson Mall, five-star British-styled Guoman Hotels, Grade A Office Towers, high-end residences, and expansive Singapore-inspired “Garden City” landscaping, the Guoson Centre combines aspects of ‘Work, Live, Play’ in resembling a city within a city.

Built specifically on prime locations that integrate two of the largest transportation hubs in the world, Guoson Centre is set to provide local, national, and global interconnectivity while satisfying the market’s needs for eco-friendly environments and cosmopolitan lifestyles. The centre is strategically located to provide easy access to some of the largest transportation hubs in the world, connecting urban, national and global centres.

Lee said that the US$2 billion 600,000 sq metres Beijing Guoson Centre is 90 per cent completed while the slightly smaller US$600 million Shanghai centre is on its first phase.

The US$80 million Guoman Hotel Shanghai, which is located within the Shanghai Guoson Centre, is already opened for business while the Guoman Hotel Beijing will open in July next year.

Touching on the hospitality sector, especially the hotel sector, where GuocoLand has ventured into, Lee said that despite the stiff competition there was still a market for hotels if ”you differentiate yourselves from the rest of the people in the industry.”

She noted that two years ago when China hosted the Olympic Games a lot of money were thrown into the hospitality business, with hotels sprouting out everywhere coupled with entertainment complexes, restaurants and malls. Similar facilities also emerged during the recent Shanghai Expo which was held from May 1 to Oct 31.

“But can you sustain this, that is the big question. To me, I think a lot of it will depend on the products that you are giving to the market. That means the hotel itself.”

Another factor would be the services one is providing because “branding comes not only with the products, a lot of it with the software too – the services.”

“When we march into a hotel, no bell boy to take your luggage, you walk to the front desk and they are talking on the phone and do not even want to look at you, I don’t think you would want to go back to the same hotel.

“So is there a market for hotels? The answer is yes, Despite the competition, there is a market. But you have to differentiate yourselves from the rest of the people in the industry," she said. So how is this done apart from having products that are spectacular?

“To me, I always emphasise on the different kinds of services. People say in a hotel you are looking for comfort, you don’t want to feel inhibited. You want to be comfortable. You want to know that people are looking over you. Actually in Guoman (hotels) we emphasise a lot on these services."

For example, she said that the Guoman Hotel Shanghai opened a few months ago is a “true blue five-star standard hotel” where the design was done from scratch.

“From now on all new hotels will be like the hotels in China. Those are our own own hotels we build from scratch. The next one in Beijing, you will see the Guoman signature."

Apart from the hotels in Shanghai and Beijing, one is being planned in Nanjing, and there would also be a hotel in Tianjin, she said, adding that all these hotels had and would have the Guoman signature.

Britain’s Guoman, which runs the hotels, has a 30-year history in hospitality management.

Lee was reported to have said at the launching of the Guoman Hotel Shanghai that with Guoman''s 30-year history in hospitality management and its uniqueness in services, she was confident of the group''s future in the China market.

By Bernama

UEM Land Buys Two Parcels of Land

KUALA LUMPUR:UEM Land Holdings Bhd is buying two parcels of agricultural land from Inch Kenneth Kajang Rubber Plc for RM268.5mil to be developed into a township in Bangi, Selangor.

It told Bursa Malaysia today it was buying the 463.51 acres of land in Semenyih, Selangor for a cash consideration of RM13.30 per sq ft.

It said the indicative market valuation of the land as appraised by Messrs Raine and Horne International Zaki + Partners Sdn Bhd was of RM248.3mil or RM12.30 per sq ft.

The group had stated "the scale of the Bangi land, with a total land area in excess of 450 acres, would provide the opportunity for UEM Land to develop a comprehensive and integrated township".

The group said it had surplus cash of RM351.5mil as at Sept 30, 2010 and the board intends to fund the requirements through internally generated funds and/or bank borrowings.

The Bangi land is adjacent to the Alam Sari township and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, and is within the vicinity of Bandar Baru Bangi.

Whilst the Bangi land is currently classified for agricultural land use and is an oil palm plantation estate, approval for conversion to mixed development status was obtained by IncKen in 2007.

It added that the proposed acquisition was part of its strategic plan where one of the objectives was to secure at least one new township development outside Nusajaya by 2015.

This was to enable the group to diversify its development portfolio and revenue sources outside Nusajaya in order to achieve its long term growth strategy.

The scale of the Bangi Land, with a total land area in excess of 450 acres, would provide the opportunity for UEM Land to develop a comprehensive and integrated township, it said.

By The Star

Board expects buoyant building sector as 10MP projects roll out

The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) expects the construction sector to be buoyant next year as projects under the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) start to roll out from January.

But the government will be cautious in awarding contracts to mitigate the risk of being exposed to a second wave of global economic crises, said CIDB chief executive officer Datuk Hamzah Hasan.

Hamzah said the European debt crises and the slow US economic recovery was worrying and many countries are taking steps to reduce their expenditure in order to improve their budget deficit.

"Malaysia is taking similar steps in view of the expected crises. The impact will be felt in 2011 as what was experienced in 2009," he said.

He, however, said the impact will not be as great as last year due to continuation of projects from the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP), new jobs under the 10MP and more public-private partnership (PPP) projects coming up.

Under the 10MP, an amount of RM230 billion has been allocated for development, whereby 60 per cent, or RM138 billion, is for infrastructure.

Hamzah is bullish the industry will replicate this year's expected growth of 3.7 per cent in 2011. To achieve the target, it would need RM80.3 billion new projects next year, up from RM77.4 billion in this year.

He said projects like Matrade Centre, Warisan Merdeka, mass rapid transit and the Malaysian Rubber Board's land development in Sungai Buloh, worth RM70 billion, will contribute to growth next year.

This year, the government has announced projects to the tune of RM72 billion such as the LRT extension, the New LCCT terminal, power plants and luxury housing projects in Iskandar Malaysia.

"These are high-impact projects which will improve the business environment and private investment," he said.

In 2009, when the global economy hit the height of recession, Malaysia's construction sector was able to grow by 5.8 per cent because of completed jobs worth RM309 billion within four years of the 9MP.

"We expect by 2015, the sector will contribute 5 per cent to the country's gross domestic product, from the current 3 per cent," he said.

By Business Times

Pantai to build hospital in Iskandar

Pantai Holdings Bhd intends to expand its network of hospitals to Iskandar Malaysia with the purchase of six hectares of land in the mixed development area of Medini, Iskandar.

An agreement was signed between Global Capital & Development Sdn Bhd (GCD), a consortium led by Mubadala Development Company, and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Pantai Hospital Johor Sdn Bhd.

"This development is a key step in establishing healthcare as a catalyst sector in Iskandar Malaysia and will set new benchmarks for quality healthcare to reinforce Malaysia's capacity for delivering world-class medical services to both Malaysians and foreign partners," Pantai Holdings Chairman Khairil Anuar Abdullah said in a statement today.

The planned healthcare complex will be built in phases and will eventually comprise a 300 bedded private tertiary hospital, a 150 suite medical office block with centres of excellence to address the healthcare needs of the population.

By Bernama