Malaysia: Massive reclamation project for luxury homes in southern Johor near Singapore

Country Garden, KPRJ plan massive reclamation development for luxury homes
ng bei shan The Star 19 Mar 14;

PETALING JAYA: China’s Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd and Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor (KPRJ) have drawn out plans for a massive reclamation project to build luxury homes near Pendas in southern Johor near Singapore, according to sources.

Sources said that the project could entail a land area of “a few thousand acres,” which would make it one of Iskandar Malaysia’s single largest projects.

It isn’t clear how much Country Garden is pumping into the project, but going by its size, it would dwarf the Hong Kong-listed firm’s first project in Danga Bay, which only covered an area of 50 acres or 20ha, for which it had paid RM900mil.

The new project is being dubbed Forest City.

Industry sources said that such a reclamation project would probably be the largest reclamation project in the country, and that the parties embarking on it would have to have deep pockets.

Country Garden had cash and bank deposits amounting to 21.51 billion yuan (RM11.37bil) as at June 30, 2013.

KPRJ, on the other hand, is the state government’s investment arm. It owns 30% in Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH), which, in turn, has 1,619ha of land in Iskandar Malaysia.

Country Garden is already well-known in the Iskandar region for its maiden project in Malaysia, Country Garden@Danga Bay, which surprised the Malaysian property market when it launched 9,000 condominium units at one go last year.

The RM10bil project is built on the land in Danga Bay it had acquired for RM900mil in December 2012.

It is understood that the new project by the Country Garden-KPRJ joint venture, which is situated near the second link crossing to Singapore, will also become a new tourism hub.

Previous reports have indicated that the Johor government might also consider creating Malaysia’s biggest duty-free zone in this reclaimed land area, leveraging on its proximity to Singapore.

The location of the new Country Garden-KPRJ development is also close to Singapore tycoon Peter Lim’s multi-billion-ringgit Motorsports City project, which will include a Formula One-compliant racing test track as well as showrooms, garages and entertainment outlets spread over 109ha.

The new Country Garden-KPRJ project illustrates the growing interest among mainland China developers in Iskandar. The Chinese already have a strong presence in the southern region.

Besides Country Garden, another developer, Guangzhou R&F Properties Co Ltd, made a record-breaking deal when it paid RM4.5bil or RM891 per sq ft to the Sultan of Johor for 47ha of land in the vicinity of the old Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex.

Sources said there were at least another three China developers in talks to acquire land in Iskandar.

Meanwhile, the sale of reclaimed land seems to be also becoming a trend in Johor. Prior to this, IWH had sold a 28.33ha man-made island at Danga Bay to Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd and CapitaLand Ltd for RM800mil, while the land Guangzhou R&F bought is partially reclaimed land.