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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tradewinds kicks off RM6b project, upgrades more assets

KUALA LUMPUR: Tradewinds Corp Bhd (TCB) will demolish the Crowne Plaza Mutiara Kuala Lumpur and Kompleks Antarabangsa as early as the first quarter of 2013 to build a RM6 billion Tradewinds Centre.

To be located on a 2.8ha site, the project with four towers and a retail podium, will have a total gross floor area of 3.77 million sq ft and a net floor area of 2.78 million sq ft.

The whole project will be completed in 2019.

“The buildings (along Jalan Sultan Ismail) will be demolished in the first quarter of 2013 or early part of the second quarter,” group chief executive officer Shaharul Farez Hassan said.

Shaharul said Crowne Plaza’s last day of operations will be on January 2 next year and that TCB is in negotiations with hotel operator InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) on ending the management contract ahead of its term.

It is understood that Crowne Plaza held a townhall session yesterday to notify its staff on the last day of operations.

Shaharul said financing for the project would be from a combination of debt and equity.

“We will fund it with debt and equity. We are in talks with key bankers,” he said, adding that the ratio would be 70:30.

Another redevelopment by TCB is the Mutiara Burau Bay Resort in Langkawi, which will close in the first quarter next year.

The hotel is slated for a makeover that would push it to a five-star property from three-starTCB will spend about RM200 million to develop the property, targeted for completion in three years.

TCB, which has been the operator of Mutiara Burau Bay for Langkawi Development Authority, will now lease the land and build its own hotel.

It plans to hire a third party to manage the property.

TCB has refurbished some of its hotels to cushion the impact of the closures of Kompleks Antarabangsa, Crowne Plaza, Mutiara Burau Bay and Menara Tun Razak (MTR).

The latter building at Jalan Raja Laut in Kuala Lumpur will be upgraded to a Grade A office building.

Refurbishing efforts include renovating the Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort and Spa for an estimated RM60 million, Hilton Petaling Jaya (RM50 million), Hilton Kuching and Hotel Istana.

Shaharul, who spoke to reporters after TCB's annual general meeting yesterday, said the upgrading of MTR will help double its per sq ft rent to RM7 from RM3.50. The block is expected to be completed by end-2014.

A new tower called MTR2, to be built adjacent to MTR , has been sold to Tradewinds (M) Bhd for RM510 million.

On reports that TCB is interested in buying Bukit Bintang Plaza to accommodate the MY Rapid Transit (MRT) station, chairman Tan Sri Megat Najmuddin Megat Khas said: "We are in talks (with UDA Holdings Bhd), but nothing concrete has come out of it."

TCB also said that it is unlikely that anything will happen soon to its planned redevelopment of Hotel Istana.

By Business Times

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