UEM set for busy 2015 in Johor


UEM Sunrise Bhd, the principal developer of Iskandar Malaysia, will be busy in Johor next year with the groundbreaking ceremony of Motorsports City in Gerbang Nusajaya and other catalytic developments in Nusajaya.

The massive 1,800ha Gerbang Nusajaya has a gross development value (GDV) of RM40 billion. Its components include lifestyle and retail parks, campus offices, industrial parks and residential precincts, which will be developed in five phases over 25 years.

Motorsports City was launched in December 2012. UEM Sunrise sealed a deal with FASTrack Autosports Pte Ltd, which is controlled by Singapore billionaire Peter Lim, to build it over 118ha in Gerbang Nusajaya.

The RM3.5 billion project will feature a 4.5km race track to host GT (grand touring), go-kart and motorcycle races, and other kinds of racing.

It will also be a model automotive hub, comprising 4S (sales, services, spare parts and systems) centres, car showrooms, bonded warehouses, and retail and al fresco spaces with food and beverage outlets.

UEM Sunrise had also inked a joint-venture agreement in 2012, with Singapore’s Ascendas Group to develop a 207.6ha integrated eco-friendly technology park with an estimated GDV of RM3.7 billion.

The fully landscaped park will focus on a built environment suitable for a wide range of industries such as electronics, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, food processing, precision engineering, fast-moving consumer goods, logistics and warehousing.

UEM Sunrise managing director and chief executive officer Anwar Syahrin Abdul Ajib said the groundbreaking for the technology park will be held next year.

“It is going to be another exciting year for us in Johor. The other exciting development is the Asian Trade Centre (ATC) – China Mall, which is akin to Dragon Mart in Dubai. ATC will be developed over 48ha and we are in the midst of getting approvals from the relevant authorities.

“We are building the trade centre because we believe Malaysian products are not being marketed properly. We want international and local manufacturers to showcase their products and do trade shows at the ATC. We are tying up with Chinamall Holdings Pte Ltd from China,” Anwar said, here, recently.

The 1.4 million sq ft mall worth over RM600 million will house more than 3,000 merchants, offering products such as textile, gifts, souvenirs, electrical and household appliances, furniture, toys and jewellery.

UEM Sunrise is also undertaking the development of Nusajaya, one of the five flagship zones and key drivers of Iskandar Malaysia.

Key landmarks at Nusajaya are Kota Iskandar, Puteri Harbour, EduCity@Iskandar, Afiat Healthpark, Legoland Malaysia, Southern Industrial Logistics and Clusters and Nusajaya residences.

According to Anwar, Nusajaya has yet to reach critical mass but, he anticipates Gerbang Nusajaya will help to address this concern soon.

The gross development value (GDV) for Nusajaya is RM24 billion. So far, around 10,000 properties worth about RM10 billion have been constructed or are in the process of being developed.

“We are developing activities and lifestyle and not just building homes at Gerbang Nusajaya. These developments, worth billions of ringgit, will create job opportunities and economic activities which will spur demand for new housing in Nusajaya. At a mature stage, Nusajaya is envisaged to be a self-sustained city and a choice location to live, work and play for both locals and the international community,” Anwar said.

Anwar said UEM Sunrise is planning new developments at Puteri Harbour. It wants to expand the number of wet berths from 76 to 148 for yachts up to 40m high, build a yacht club marina, a mega yacht marina/fuel tank/fuel dock, yacht centre and a new marina management office.

The company is also planning for a convention centre and is in the process of getting approvals, Anwar said.

“We are planning to open a route to Singapore Harbour Front from the Puteri Harbour International Ferry Terminal this month, which will take about one hour and 15 minutes journey.

“Currently, the routes are to Tanjung Balai and Batam. We expect all these new developments to boost the vibrancy in Nusajaya as a whole,” Anwar said.

Anwar said more than 70 per cent of UEM Sunrise’s remaining landbank (including joint ventures) is located in Johor, hence its focus on property projects in the state will be long term.

In terms of revenue, Johor accounts for close to 60 per cent of yearly contribution over the last two years.

Anwar, meanwhile, said that UEM Sunrise has revisited some of its development plans to cater to current market demand and trends.

“It is key to price new launches competitively and to offer the ‘right’ products, especially in a softening market, to ensure good take-up rates. Until and unless there is on-the-ground clarity, near-term outlook remains challenging.”

It is a lot more challenging to sell in Iskandar Malaysia presently relative to other states in Malaysia due to rising competition and concerns of potential oversupply, especially in the high-rise segment.

“To mitigate a slowdown, we think it is best for us to selectively acquire land in other key property states (based on transaction volume) and upcoming areas in Malaysia. With a more diversified landbank portfolio, UEM Sunrise will have greater flexibility in terms of product offerings. This will allow us to better manage any policy and industry changes or risks in a particular state or location.

“Moving forward, we have just started development planning for a new mid-market residential project within our Gerbang Nusajaya project, which we hope to launch towards the end of 2015 or in early 2016.

“In addition, we also envision that the residential components in our Fraser Metropolis development, which we are undertaking via our joint venture with Kuala Lumpur Kepong Land, will also have a large percentage of mid-market housing which targets local buyers,” Anwar said.


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