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Friday, June 10, 2011

Nusajaya on track to come alive in 2012

Kuala Lumpur: Developer UEM Land Holdings Bhd says its Nusajaya township, the key driver of the Iskandar Malaysia emerging economic zone in Johor, is on track to "come alive" in 2012 as targeted.

UEM Land is the master developer of Nusajaya, which is a tenth the size of Iskandar, but the largest integrated urban development in Southeast Asia.

"In 2012, there'll be enough critical mass and completion of projects. Post-2012, a new demand structure will evolve ... and with that, comes better profits," managing director Datuk Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim told reporters here yesterday.

Projects that are expected to be completed include the Coastal Highway, which will improve accessibility to Nusajaya. This is expected to be done by the end of this year, ahead of schedule, he said.

Healthcare-wise, there is already Columbia Asia Hospital, while Khazanah Nasional is poised to start on a 350-bed hospital soon.

As for education, Newcastle University Medicine will open this year, and next year, University of Southampton will be completed while Netherlands Maritime Institute of Technology will take on a new campus, Wan Abdullah said.

Theme park Legoland Malaysia will be completed in September next year, while an indoor theme park that is in the advanced stage of construction at Puteri Harbour will be completed by year-end.

As for residential occupancy, there are currently 20,000 homes occupied, which works out to a population equivalent of 100,000, he said.

The ultimate plan is for Nusajaya to have 100,000 homes over time, or a population equivalent of half a million.

Wan Abdullah was speaking at an event to formalise its subsidiary UEM Land Bhd's 55:45 joint venture with Iskandar Harta Holdings Sdn Bhd to develop a mall-and-residence project in Medini, Nusajaya.

The project, known as the Lifestyle Retail Mall and Residences @Medini North, is expected to generate sales of RM850 million.

"This is one of our initiatives to build up a portfolio of recurring income to weather any (property) downcycle," he remarked.

The first phase of the mall is targeted for completion in September next year to coincide with the opening of the Legoland, which is a 200-metre walk away.

Visitors have to go through the mall to get to Legoland, Wan Abdullah said.

The Iskandar project was launched in 2006 to much scepticism about its viability and prospects.

OSK Research, in a report earlier this week after attending a conference that centred on the developments in Iskandar, said it has turned optimistic on its prospects.

"We gather that just like the majority of us, when the entire (Iskandar) project was first launched in 2006, the locals had been sceptical, but have over the years progressively turned more optimistic, especially after witnessing the progress that Iskandar has made to date," it said in the report.

It maintained an "overweight" call on the property sector and said that given the "favourable" outlook for the property market in Iskandar, it had a preference for property developers with sizeable exposure in Iskandar such as UEM Land, SP Setia Bhd and Plenitude Bhd.

By Business Times

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