Friday, January 23, 2015

Projects in Iskandar - Housing Glut looming?

[In addition to the projection that there is enough homes in the pipeline currently (being developed, for completion within the next few years) for Singapore until 2030, there is also a projection that there will be a glut of homes in Johor. 

These are two of the projects underway.]

Jan 14, 2015

Controversial Johor Strait land reclamation project Forest City gets the go-ahead

By Marissa Lee

An artist's impression of Forest City. -- PHOTO: COUNTRY GARDEN PACIFICVIEW

SINGAPORE - Construction and reclamation for a luxury housing project to be built on a man-made island in the Johor Strait will continue, with Malaysia's Department of Environment (DoE) giving the developer the go-ahead.

Work on the project off Tuas had been suspended from last June as concerns about its environmental impact were raised on both sides of the border. Since then, all parties have been waiting for a final verdict from the DoE.

Singapore conveyed its concerns about the project on a number of occasions to the Malaysian government, asking for more information on the reclamation and construction works.

Apart from the project which is called Forest City, a group of investors is also planning a 1,410ha reclamation project for an oil and gas hub farther west off Tanjung Piai.

The DoE last Friday announced on its website that the Forest City project had been approved.

On Wednesday, the project's master developer, China-based Country Garden Pacificview (CGPV), said in a statement that reclamation will continue, but with the project's total size slightly reduced.

The project, now divided into four reclaimed islands instead of one huge island nearly three times the size of Ang Mo Kio as originally planned, will have total size of 1,386ha (3,425 acres).

This is smaller than 1,623ha proposed by the company.

The master developer is a joint venture between China's property developer Country Garden and a Johor state agency, with reports saying that the project's backers included Johor's Sultan Ibrahim Ismail.

Country Garden is controlled by China's richest woman and one of the world's youngest billionaires, Ms Yang Huiyan, 33, who is the second daughter of businessman Mr Yang Guoqiang, 59.

Datuk Md Othman, executive director of CGPV, said: "Our next step is to ensure that all compliance monitoring, in terms of air, noise, water quality and sediment, are robustly implemented and carried out."

"Upon completion, it is expected that new job opportunities will be created for vast numbers of citizens."

The development will diversify the income base of the local communities by providing workshops and training schools in different sectors, CGPV said in its release.

It will also rejuvenate the area infrastructure, by building a new access road, constructing power stations and new water reticulation systems, CGPV said.

Jan 21, 2015

Up next at Iskandar Malaysia: A snow world theme park and an opera house

By Rennie Whang

SINGAPORE - Another large mixed development project at Iskandar Malaysia is on the cards.

Chinese state-owned company Greenland Group and Iskandar Waterfront City Berhad (IWCB) will be jointly developing a RM3 billion project over 128 acres along Tebrau Bay.

The first phase of the Tebrau Bay Waterfront City project, as it is called, will include a snow world theme park, an opera house, a hospital specializing in Chinese traditional medicine and a school. It will be developed over 15 years.

Johor Menteri Besar Mohamed Khaled Nordin said in Shanghai on Wednesday that this is part of plans to develop the eastern corridor of Johor Bahru, stretching from Tebrau Bay to Pasir Gudang.

He was speaking at the signing of a joint-venture agreement between Shanghai State Government-owned Greenland Group and Johor State Government-linked IWCB.

Datuk Khaled noted that about 13 local and foreign companies are already actively involved in developing the proposed Iskandar Waterfront City in Danga Bay.

The Iskandar Waterfront City has a cumulative gross development value of RM125 billion and is on the western corridor from Johor Bahru to Nusajaya.

High impact foreign direct investments (FDI), including from China, are necessary to jump-start economic activity in Johor, Datuk Khaled said. Johor's growth has been invigorated by the launch of several mega foreign property developments which have boosted the local economy due to their spillover effects, he added.

Greenland Group executive vice-chairman Xu Jing said that Greenland was "extremely upbeat" about growth prospects in Iskandar Malaysia as the special economic zone was spearheaded by the Malaysian government.

Greenland is, together with Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH), developing a RM2.2 billion integrated property project on a 13.6 acre plot in Danga Bay

"We've undertaken urban development in over 80 cities throughout China. We're keen to share the experience with IWH as our long-term joint-venture partner and help transform Iskandar Malaysia into an international destination," added Mr Xu.

New JB waterfront city facing S'pore

JAN 22, 2015


CHINESE state-owned developer Greenland Group is investing RM2.4 billion (S$889 million) to build "a waterfront city" near the mouths of two rivers that flow into the Johor Strait - the latest in a line of massive developments facing Singapore.

The deal to construct the Tebrau Bay Waterfront City in eastern Johor Baru was signed in Shanghai yesterday by Greenland and its Malaysian partner, Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH).

The 15-year project, partly on reclaimed land near the mouths of the Tebrau and Pelentong rivers, will showcase a "snow-world theme park", an opera house and a hospital specialising in traditional Chinese medicine, the companies said in a statement.

Greenland Group, a Fortune 500 company, is controlled by the Shanghai state government. IWH is partly owned by Johor's investment arm, Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor.

They did not say what types of residential or commercial projects would eventually be built. The first phase will be on 52ha of land - about the size of 74 football fields - and is slated to begin this year.

Unlike most other projects announced in recent years in Nusajaya or around downtown Johor Baru, the Greenland-IWH development is in Permas Jaya on the eastern corridor of Johor Baru heading towards Pasir Gudang.

The project site faces the Admiralty Road area in Singapore between Senoko power station and Sembawang Park.

Johor Menteri Besar Mohamed Khaled Nordin, who was present at the Shanghai signing ceremony, said there are about 13 Malaysian and foreign companies involved in Danga Bay projects on the western corridor from Nusajaya to JB. "I now want to develop the eastern corridor of Johor Baru stretching from Tebrau Bay to Pasir Gudang," he said.

Mr V. Sivadas, executive director of PA International Property Consultants, said the snow-world theme park could be a major employment and tourism generator.

The Tebrau Bay Waterfront City joins other projects announced along the Johor Strait.

Last week, Malaysia approved the Forest City project to be built by China's Country Garden Holdings and a Malaysian partner. The project involves four man-made islands totalling 1,386ha - nearly the size of three Sentosa islands.

Malaysia also okayed reclamation of two pieces of land totalling 31.7ha on both sides of the Causeway. The Princess Cove development is backed by China's R&F Properties.

There has been concern that these projects, along with other residential developments in Danga Bay and Nusajaya, will cause a massive glut in property in the coming years.

Mr Wee Soon Chit, executive director of Landserve consultancy in Johor, said that as of last November, 548,295 residential units will be available in southern Johor by 2017. These include about 117,155 high-rise apartments.

"We have more than adequate residential stock. Unless developers are able to get foreign buyers to come in, it will not be easy to find takers," he added.

Mr Wee said that assuming Johor's population grows at 5 per cent a year, its two million population in 2017 would need just 500,000 units at a ratio of four people to a home.

[I am sceptical. MY's grasp often exceed their reach. As for the China partners, I wonder if this is how they intend to continue to generate growth - by exporting ghost cities to other countries?]

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