Property player expects new Matrade centre to be world-class


NAZA TTDI Sdn Bhd has been reticent about its development of the RM15bil KL Metropolis at Jalan Duta in Kuala Lumpur, a sprawling, prime vicinity that will house the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (Mitec) .
There were many public opinions about the property player after it secured the building-for-land deal from the Government which allowed it to buy the prime land of 75 acres and surrounding parcels for only RM620mil.
On top of constructing the Matrade centre, Naza TTDI was obliged to develop the commercial and institutional hubs as well as a residential component complete with infrastructure.
Among pertinent questions raised were the necessity for a new exhibition centre given the existing Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Matrade Export Exhibition Centre and Putrajaya International Convention Centre.
Naza TTDI deputy executive chairman and group managing director SM Faliq SM Nasimuddin (pic) refutes the negativity, saying there is shortage of a plumage-worthy space in the country.
“Event organisers tell us they are desperate for quality space,” he tells StarBizWeek.
In a separate interview, CH Williams Talhar & Wong managing director Foo Gee Jen concurs as he alludes to exhibition centres in Singapore, Shanghai and Dubai.
Singapore’s Suntec and Marina Bay Sands span 129,168 sq ft and 1.3 million sq ft, respectively, while the Kintex in South Korea features two column-free structures covering 580,986 sq ft and 586,724 sq ft, respectively.
“The Mitec will satisfy Malaysia’s need for a world-class centre for MICE (meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions) as Kuala Lumpur develops towards being a world-class city,” Foo says.
Sprawling structure
About 10 times the size of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre in terms of gross floor area, the Mitec will straddle one million sq ft.
Since construction began in late-2012, work in progress is 30% complete, Faliq said.
By February 2016, the centre will be ready with 12 exhibition halls built over three levels, dozens of meeting rooms as well as food and beverage outlets.
The Mitec will have the capacity to hold up to 40,000 visitors, Faliq says.
Naza TTDI’s approved masterplan shows that only 40 acres out of the 75 acres of acquired land in that area will be developed into commercial and residential components. Infrastructure like public utilities and 11.26 acres of surrendered green spaces will take up the balance.
The purchase price of the compound did not include infrastructure costs of RM200mil to RM300mil.
“That’s a fair sum for a project of this scale,” Foo says. “My only concern is the connectivity of the new Matrade centre to the world at large. There must be a mass rapid transit line from the centre to the KL International Airport.”
While details on the infrastructure and accessibility of the KL Metropolis are not available at this point of interview, Faliq says the infrastructure in the vicinity is to be tailored to the needs of the Matrade centre.
Business hub
The largest parcel of commercial land behind the MECC spans 15.34 acres and will comprise office suites, hotels, a regional retail mall and a landmark tower.
Naza TTDI has been in talks with several parties for joint-venture deals for most of its commercial and residential projects in this hub.
In describing the regional mall, Faliq alludes to the 3.8-acre Empire Shopping Gallery in Subang Jaya.
He says although Naza TTDI had garnered interest from both local and international retail players, it would all boil down to pricing considering the potential of the development.
So far, no deals have been struck.
Surrounding the exhibition centre are the 11.26 acres of greenery.
Beyond that, two parcels of commercial land flanking the exhibition centre will also feature hotels, serviced apartments and business suites.
Naza TTDI will launch a 250-room four-star hotel at the smaller hub, south-east of the exhibition centre this year-end.
While Faliq refrained from revealing more, he hinted at the brand’s long-time presence in the country.
Viability studies for institutions – he does not say local or foreign – to be located south-west of the entire compound are under way and will take some time.
Naza TTDI has allocated three parcels of land totalling 7.66 acres for the development of its residential component.
“We want to cater to the different needs of our residents so we are talking to potential partners as to how we will go about the high-rise blocks here. There will be residential buildings on the commercial side as well, so it all depends on how commercially viable the plans are,” Faliq says.
“I know there is the issue on housing affordability but it is not our priority to address that in this development.”
Due to the nature of the location, Naza TTDI is certain of good take-up rates when it launches its residential buildings in multiple phases over the next four years.
Commercially viable
While neighbouring township Mont Kiara has established itself as a commercially viable hub, there is the gaping issue of an oversupply of residential units in that neighbourhood.
Will this affect the take-up of residential units at the MECC land?
“That’s why we are releasing the blocks in phases so as to give us feedback so we can mitigate the risk of a glut,” Faliq says.
Speaking on investment opportunities in the development, Faliq says investors who can take on office suites en bloc are welcome.
Naza TTDI’s other projects include two office towers in the RM4bil development Platinum Park in Kuala Lumpur (one of which was handed over to Lembaga Tabung Haji in March), several mixed developments in Shah Alam and an upcoming 850-acre township in Bertam, Penang.
With some 1,100 acres of undeveloped land bank in the Klang Valley and Penang, Naza TTDI has launched projects totalling RM1.7bil in gross developmental value this year with a sales target of RM1.5bil.

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