03 July 2014

Eco World to build resort theme park

  03 July 2014

GEORGE TOWN: Penang Development Corp (PDC) has firmed up plans to turn some 312ha near the Second Bridge in Batu Kawan into a theme park with a resort and golf course.
Towards this end, PDC is expected to award the development of two projects to two firms that are big names in the property development sector.
Sources said that one of them was Eco World Development Group Bhd, which is the fastest-growing name in the property sector this year because of its links to Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin, formerly of S P Setia Bhd.
“Eco World has won the tender to develop a golf course and mixed-residential property project encompassing an area of 190ha,” said a source.
It is learnt that PDC is in the final stages of negotiations with the group, firming up terms and conditions.
“When PDC called for tenders, Eco World was the sole participant, bidding to pay RM35 per sq ft for the land. If the land is for commercial usage, then the bid will open at RM45 per sq ft,” a source said.
Eco World’s parcel involves the development of a golf course and a mixed-residential scheme. “It’s not a commercial project,” a source said.
Eco World will use 60ha for the golf course project and the balance 130ha for a mixed-residential property scheme.
On an adjoining land measuring 121.4ha, the sources said, a large Kuala Lumpur-based resort and theme park operator had made a bid together with an overseas developer that specialised in theme park development.
“But the tender exercise for the second parcel, which is bigger, has yet to be completed,” an executive added.
Eco World already owns a 24.28ha parcel of land in Bukit Tambun, on which it plans to launch a RM920mil mixed development called EcoMeadows next year.
If it is awarded the job to develop the 190ha land in Batu Kawan, it would pave the way for Eco World to be established as a major land owner and developer in the state.
In May this year, Eco World president and chief executive officer Datuk Chang Khim Wah told StarBiz that the freehold land status and location near the second link and adjacent to the North-South Highway gave it great potential to be developed as a mixed-development project.
He had said the company was planning the development of a mini mall, comprising shops and offices all designed in line with its “Eco” theme that emphasises sustainability and livability.
“Over time, we aim to build up our presence in Penang so that it will be able to consistently contribute around 10%-15% to total group sales,” he said.
On Penang island, the group is planning to preview the RM340mil EcoTerraces in Paya Terubong, comprising luxury landed homes, condominium units and a private residents’ club on a 5.26ha site.
Since the announcement of the second bridge in 2006, property prices in Seberang Prai and on the island have surged significantly.
The price of vacant land in the area, especially in south Seberang Prai where the second bridge is located, is now hovering between RM40 and RM50 per sq ft, a huge jump from 2006’s RM8-RM9 per sq ft range, according to Henry Butcher Malaysia (Seberang Prai) Sdn Bhd associate director Fook Tone Huat.
Land prices in central and north Seberang Prai are now within the range of between RM50 and RM100 per sq ft, compared with RM20 and RM40 per sq ft then.
The attraction of Seberang Prai has also lured Mah Sing Group Bhd to acquire land-bank near the mainland where the second bridge lands.
Last December, Mah Sing acquired a 30.9ha site in Jawi, comprising 20 pieces of prime freehold contiguous land, for RM400mil.
According to group managing director and chief executive Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum, the group plans to introduce an integrated township called Southbay East, which will comprise linked homes, semi-detached units and town houses.

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