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Thursday, November 17, 2011

RM460mil KL Eco City project to be funded by three Islamic financial institutions

Sustainable city living: (From left) Liew, Ahmad Fuad, Raja Nong Chik and SP Setia deputy president and COO Datuk Voon Tin Yow taking a look at the scaled down model of the mixed development project.

PROPERTY developer SP Setia Berhad, officially launched its KL Eco City project recently with a signing ceremony for a RM460mil syndicated Islamic financing facility provided by three Islamic financial institutions, namely HSBC Amanah Malaysia Berhad, Hong Leong Islamic Bank Berhad and Bank Muamalat Malaysia Berhad.

The syndicated financing facility marks the next step for the developer in realising its vision for KL Eco City which is a joint venture project between SP Setia and Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL). The privatisation agreement with DBKL was inked on Oct 24.

President and chief executive officer of SP Setia Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin said with all the required funding in place, KL Eco City was ready to take off and targeted to become the new iconic landmark exemplifying sustainable city living in Kuala Lumpur.

KL Eco City is an integrated mixed development comprising commercial and residential components situated on a 24-acre site along Jalan Bangsar just opposite Mid Valley City.

Liew said KL Eco City would transform the former Kampung Haji Abdullah Hukum site into an inner city haven comprising residential towers, serviced apartments, offices and a retail podium which will embody the group’s core development philosophy of — Live Learn Work Play in an urban setting.

The project is expected to take 10 years to complete and aims to be the country’s first integrated Green development targeting both the Malaysian Green Building Index (GBI) and US-based Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications.

Connectivity wise, the group is investing over RM150mil to link KL Eco City to all major highways. There will also be a pedestrian link bridge across Sungai Klang to connect the development to Mid Valley City.

Liew also shared that a new KTM Komuter station would be built and integrated with the existing Abdullah Hukum LRT station. The developer has also made provisions for an underground station for the proposed MRT line. “This will make KL Eco City a unique 3-in-1 public rail transport hub and the first of its kind in the city,” Liew added.

He said the group’s hard work and perseverance over more than a decade to secure this prime redevelopment site had truly paid off.

Phase 1 of the project comprising strata and boutique offices has been tremendously well received with most units taken-up even before its official launch.

Liew expressed his sincere appreciation to both KL Eco City’s customers for their faith in the project and also to the banks for extending the syndicated financing by saying: “We are thankful for your confidence in the group and look forward to your continued support.”

HSBC Amanah was represented by its chief executive officer Rafe Haneef while Hong Leong Bank Berhad was represented by its Group Business Banking chief operating officer Peter Chow. Representing Bank Muamalat was its deputy chief executive officer Musa Abdul Malik.

The guest of honour at the event was Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Datuk Raja Zainal Abidin, who was accompanied by Kuala Lumpur mayor Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail.

Raja Nong Chik said KL Eco City was a great milestone for both SP Setia and DBKL as it was a strategic and synergistic public-private sector partnership to realise the government’s mission to transform Kuala Lumpur into a great modern city, as stipulated in the Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley roadmap.

By The Star

Shortlisted Bangsar developers to be revealed next month

PETALING JAYA: The names of developers shortlisted to undertake the development of the 20 acres of prime land in Bangsar are expected to be revealed next month.

Permodalan Hartanah Bumiputera (PHB), which owns the land, is believed to be still in the process of shortlisting the candidates based on their project submissions.

Six to eight developers are said to have submitted bids to tender for the development earlier this year.

The candidates have so far made two rounds of presentation on their proposed development plans to the PHB board and independent consultants.

The criteria will be based on potential yields, project concept and design and traffic dispersal system, among others.

The land, formerly a famous landmark housing Lever Brothers' soap and margarine manufacturing plant, has been left unoccupied since Unilever Malaysia moved out in 2003.

Lever Brothers started operations there in 1947 and it was reputed to be the largest factory in the country then; providing jobs for hundreds of Malaysians.

Lever Brothers changed its name to Unilever Holdings Sdn Bhd in 1994. Since moving out, it has been operating at Menara TM in Jalan Pantai Baru, Kuala Lumpur. It also has a food factory in Rawang producing dressings, spreads, seasonings and sauces.

Since it was vacated, a number of developers had expressed interest in the land and were negotiating for a fair value for it.

Industry observers said the land's location was very strategic and would be ideal for an integrated commercial cum residential development.

The land previously belonged to the Railway Asset Corp and came under the ownership of PHB earlier this year.

It is understood that 30% to 40% of the development ratio would comprise residential units, and the rest would be office blocks, a hotel, shopping mall, and shop lots.

The plot ratio will be between six and eight times, and the project is expected to generate a gross development value of RM4bil-RM5bil.

A property valuer said the land could fetch between RM250 and RM300 per sq ft and should be worth between RM250mil and RM300mil.

By The Star

Special policy to assist people to own homes

SELANGOR is setting up a special policy for land development in order to assist residents to own a home.

In a reply to a question by Dr Shafie Abu Bakar (PAS-Bangi) who asked how the state was assisting residents to own a home and the areas identified for such homes, housing, building management and squatters committee chairman Iskandar Abdul Samad said those with land development of over 4.046ha in the Klang Valley would be subjected to 20% of low- cost houses, 20% medium-low cost houses and 10% medium-cost houses.

He added that development on less than 4.046ha of land would be subjected to build 30% medium cost houses.

Over and above this, Iskandar added that the maximum selling price of an affordable home (rumah mampu milik) would also be fixed accordingly.

For instance, low-cost houses within the local council area in the Klang Valley will be priced at RM42,000 while those within the local district area will be priced at RM60,000 and those on the outskirts are priced at RM30,000.

“The state has also introduced the ‘Selangor Affordable Homes New Concept’ programme which allows those with low income to own a comfortable home,” he said.

From 2005 to 2010 Selangor projected that it needs to have at least 435,775 homes in various types to accommodate some 7.3 million residents back then.

In line with the new scheme — targetted at low-income earners — the state is expected to build at least 10,000 homes through PKNS.

Five areas have been selected for the project next year — Bandar Baru Bangi in Hulu Langat, Antara Gapi in Hulu Selangor, Kota Puteri in Kuala Selangor, Kampung Seri Temenggong in Gombak and Taman Sains Selangor 2 in Sepang — which will see a total of 1,452 homes built.

By The Star

PKNS told to address concerns and resubmit application

The Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) wants PKNS to prove that its plan to redevelop the sports complex in SS7, Petaling Jaya, is sensitive to its surrounding and residents before the council can consider their application.

“The application has not been tabled at the OSC (One-Stop Centre). The public hearing was held last week and they will need to prove that the residents’ concerns raised during the session have been addressed when they re-submit their application,” said mayor Datuk Mohamad Roslan Sakiman.

He said the developer would need to show that all issues arising from traffic, land use and high density had been considered and rectified.

MBPJ councillor Derek Fernandez said they applied for a plot ratio of six which is legally impossible to give because the maximum allowable plot ratio for that area under optimum conditions was four, according to the gazetted local plan.

“Besides, they are applying for apartments when the land title is commercial. They should apply for service apartments instead.

Derek said if PKNS resubmitted their application, a public hearing would be called again to allow the residents to make comments especially in relation to the major issue of traffic congestion and lower quality of life.

SS7 neighbourhood action committee chairman, Datuk Zul Mukhshar Md Shaari said he doubted that PKNS would withdraw their application as Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim had mentioned that the land’s high value could earn PKNS a profit to be invested into other social projects like building affordable homes.

Selangor MCA Public Complaints Bureau chief Datuk Theng Book said the state government must ensure that the project would benefit the people, especially the middle income group.

“The developer may be asked to reduce the density but we still want the project to benefit the middle- income group that struggles to have their own house, or keep the area green.”

Seri Setia assemblyman Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said if the plan to redevelop the sport complex stayed, PKNS should start over with a clean slate.

“I hope the state government and PKNS will hold a townhall meeting with the residents before they resubmit the plan,” he said.

The 30-year-old PKNS sports complex which has a field, six tennis courts and a clubhouse was planned to be redeveloped into a mixed-development project comprising seven 35-storey apartment blocks and two 10-storey office blocks and a 15-storey business block.

The development on the 7.6ha site, a joint venture between Melati Ehsan Holdings Bhd and PKNS, is expected to cost more than RM1bil.

PKNS stands to pocket some RM384mil, or 70% of the total projected gross profits from the actual sales value of the development over a period of eight years ending December 2019. The developer, Melati Ehsan, will also pocket a profit from the sales of whatever it builds on the site.

By The Star

Protest a last resort for low-cost house buyers

About 50 buyers of the stalled low-cost flat project in Petaling Jaya Selatan (PJS) staged a protest outside the Selangor state secretariat building recently demanding a solution to their problem.

The group, led by action committee chairman Sugumaran S. Muniandy and Parti Sosialis Malaysia national treasurer A. Sivarajan, insisted on handing over a memorandum to Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.

They held placards that read, Mana rumah kami (Where are our houses), Tan Sri kami harapkan jawapan kepada masalah kita (Tan Sri, we are hoping for a solution to our problem) and Tunaikan tuntutan kami (Fulfil our demands).

Sugumaran said 276 people bought the Block E low-cost flats in 2003 but the development never materialised.

Some of them paid 10% down payment of either RM3,500 or RM4,200 while the rest took a 100% loan from banks.

The latter had to pay about RM30 per month as loan interests.

“Some of the buyers lived in squatter areas previously. They are now staying in PPR units in Lembah Subang, longhouses in PJS 1 or renting houses on their own.

“Those living in the longhouses suffer from floods which occur three times within five months. The drains in the area are clogged too but the Petaling Jaya City Council didn’t help us to solve the problems,” he said.

A buyer, Paisah Deraman @ Abdul Rahman was served a bank notice in October last year, urging her to pay a sum of about RM15,000 for the loan she took.

“The developer didn’t build the project and yet we have to settle the loan,” she said.

Another buyer, Zainab Mat Yaman, 40, said they just wanted their own house.

S. Kumaran, 36, was worried about applying for loan should the project revived later.

“My wife, who was eligible to apply for loan back then, has stopped working now. How are we going to apply for loan?

“The condition of PPR Lembah Subang isn’t perfect. Only one out of the three lifts are working. It is especially troublesome for us since we live on the 13th floor,” he said.

Sugumaran said the buyers had a meeting with Khalid on June 16 and he promised to settle the problem within four days after discussing with the developer.

“However, five months later and we still haven’t received any news from Khalid.

“We followed up with letters on Aug 19, Sept 26 and Nov 8 but to no avail. In our last letter, we told him we would be here if we still didn’t hear from him,” he said.

He added that Khalid also verbally promised to let the affected buyers purchase the 800 sq ft affordable homes costing RM35,000.

State Housing, Building Maintenance and Squatters Committee chairman Iskandar Abdul Samad came out of the state assembly to meet them at 11.15am but the buyers insisted that Khalid should be the one receiving the memorandum.

Iskandar then told them he would relay their message to the Mentri Besar, and the committee made up of 12 buyers would be allowed inside the building later to see Khalid.

At about 1pm, the buyers were still outside the gate of the state secretariat building, chanting, Turun, turun, MB turun. (Come down, come down, MB come down).

Finally, they were let in at about 2pm and Khalid, who received the memorandum, promised to come out with a solution within a week.

By The Star