Ivory seeks amicable deal, wants recognition of interest in revival of Plaza Rakyat


GEORGE TOWN: Ivory Properties Group Bhd is seeking an amicable solution even though Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has refused to recognise its interest in the revival of the abandoned Plaza Rakyat project in Jalan Pudu.

“We would like to appeal to DBKL to give us a chance to present our blueprint to them.

“The best solution is for all parties to sit down and reach a win-win solution for all the stakeholders, which include the purchasers who have already made downpayments,” group chief executive officer Datuk Low Eng Hock told StarBiz.

Low said he did not believe in bringing the controversy to court, as it was not the best solution even though AdamPrimus – the receiver and manager of Plaza Rakyat – had awarded Ivory the right to resuscitate the abandoned scheme.

“We will exhaust all channels to work out an amicable solution with DBKL to materialise the project as the plan to develop Plaza Rakyat, due to its strategic and prime location, would benefit the local community and the stakeholders concerned.”

Low said DBKL might be too concerned with the legal tussle between it and original developer Plaza Rakyat Sdn Bhd (PRSB), but Ivory believes it is a third party coming in as a white knight to solve the long-standing problem being faced by all.

“We believe we are the easiest party to close the deal since we have signed an acquisition and rehabilitation agreement with the lenders and PRSB,” he said.

According to legal opinions, even if PRSB did not get a favourable decision from the ongoing arbitration between the company and DBKL, the former still had the recourse to appeal, which would further delay the redevelopment of the Plaza Rakyat project.

The arbitration revolves around whether DBKL had the right to terminate the joint-venture agreement (JVA) and lease agreement with PRSB on the Plaza Rakyat project in 2010.

On June 27, Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib had revealed that DBKL did not recognise the appointment of Ivory to revive the project.

Ahmad Phesal had said that he was awaiting the completion of the arbitration between DBKL and PRSB to appoint the new company. He, however, had declined to name it.

“DBKL, together with the Federal Territories Ministry, has decided that some other company should take over the redevelopment of Plaza Rakyat and not Ivory. We were not involved in the appointment of Ivory for this project (initially),” he had said.

On the other hand, Ivory, which had won the rights to revive the project after a tender exercise conducted by PRSB in September last year, has not given up on undertaking the job.

Under the agreement, PRSB would transfer the existing sub-lease and all development rights under the JVA with DBKL to a subsidiary of Ivory.

Ivory wants to develop it into a mixed-development project comprising a shopping mall, serviced residences and hotels at a gross development value (GDV) of RM8bil.

“Plaza Rakyat will be enhanced with the introduction of new building components to maximise the potential of the land.

“On top of new serviced residence towers, the affordable component introduced will establish a community of young working adults, making it possible for them to afford a home located at the convenience of a city centre,” Low had said in an earlier report.

Ivory is currently working with PR1MA Corp Malaysia to come up with 1,000 affordable housing units for Plaza Rakyat, Low had said.

The group had put up a fair and attractive package for DBKL and PRSB, Low had added.

The story of Plaza Rakyat dates back to 1993 when PRSB, which was then controlled by Tan Sri Ting Pek Khiing’s Wembley Industries Holdings Bhd, had ambitious plans to develop it into a mixed-development project comprising a shopping mall, serviced apartments, a hotel and office towers.

The project was supposed to have a GDV of RM1.3bil.

However, the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1998 forced the developers to abandon the project, although the foundations and a six-storey basement car park were completed.

Subsequently, PRSB went into receivership and came under the administration of a consortium of lender banks.


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