CAPITALAND is believed to be gearing up to build its first large-scale township development in Malaysia, its foray into the special economic zone of Iskandar seen as paving the way for hesitant investors from Singapore to follow suit.
According to a news report yesterday, the Singapore property giant plans to team up with Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH) to develop a project in the Danga Bay area whose estimated gross development value is RM4 billion (S$1.6 billion) to RM5 billion. Sources told BT the parties are considering a mixed integrated development and that an agreement would be signed today.
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is expected to join his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak at a ground-breaking ceremony for two wellness development projects in Iskandar's Medini area. Pulau Indah Ventures Sdn Bhd - the special purpose vehicle jointly owned by Temasek Holdings and Khazanah Nasional - is spearheading the developments.
According to realtors, Singapore's largest real estate player has been contemplating investing in Iskandar following an improvement in government-to-government ties and the completion of a number of large infrastructure projects which has pushed the zone closer to the tipping point. They are bullish about CapitaLand's impending involvement and expect the developer to offer the kind of products that have proven so successful with Singaporeans and expatriates.
Iskandar players are also hopeful that an official announcement will be made today on the sites for the rapid transit link between Singapore and Johor. Confirmation of the link's progress would further boost Iskandar's prospects because it would facilitate movement between the two countries.
Tthere are also plans for ferry or water taxi stations to be built at various points along the Johor Straits, but that could take a while to materialise.
IWH, the master developer for the Danga Bay area, has 2,000 acres of land in Danga Bay - it has disposed of only a 10th so far - and another 2,000 acres along the Tebrau Coast. One of its most recent transactions was the sale of 55 acres of land in Danga Bay to China's Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd for nearly RM1 billion.
Recent media reports say IWH is considering a listing on the Malaysian stock exchange this year to partially fund its portion of planned projects.
Businessman Lim Kang Hoo owns 60 per cent of the master developer through his privately held Credence Resources Sdn Bhd while the state government holds the rest via Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor.