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Rising Star Of Medini

Like a rare glistening jewel awaiting its final polish before being unveiled, D’Pristine @ Medini in Iskandar Puteri, Iskandar Malaysia is poised to be a distinctive cut above the competition once completed.

Its coveted location backed by a unique concept and clarity of vision with a cluster of well-thought-out offerings including a Grade-A corporate office tower, two Small office Flexible occupancy (SoFo) towers, an upcoming entertainment-led mall and a four-star hotel about to be unveiled are turning this integrated mixed-use development into a prized reality.

More than a case of beginner’s luck, considering this is B&G Property’s maiden foray into Medini, the results are already starting to show with a mix of predominantly overseas buyers snapping up its SoFo units despite the market slowdown.

Joining in the cluster of developments in Medini where more established and prominent developers have already made inroads has proven to be an astute decision for B&G Property. The company incidentally has its own construction and development arm. Work on the mixed-use development is undertaken by D Pristine Medini Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of B&G Capital Resources Bhd.

Under the direction and leadership of B&G Property Director of Sales and Marketing Dato’ Soo Kai Chee, D’Pristine in Medini has been identified as a catalyst and landmark project for the company.

Soo relates that the decision to venture into Medini, Iskandar Malaysia correlated with a sense of right timing.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

“In 2012, Iskandar Malaysia was getting very prosperous so that was the year that many developers in Malaysia tried to take advantage of the situation,” he affirms, adding that B&G Property also had the foresight to plan its development in Medini.

Purchasing a prime tract of land in the heart of Medini proved to be the pivotal point in raising the company’s profile from good to great, heralded by the project’s integrated mixed-use development concept.

“There’s a lot of added value to this development. The gross development value (GDV) of D’Pristine is easily about RM1.8 billion although it is located on just a small parcel spanning approximately 8.43 acres of land on a lease nature. The reason we are able to generate this revenue is because it is in a very international metropolis location,” elaborates Soo.

“Property developers would always look for opportunity, and property is always about timing. When the timing is good, you have to act fast. And, when the timing is not good, that is the time you really have to sustain,” he opines.

Soo, who has been with the company since 2004, the same time B&G Group ventured into property development, says that the last 13 years have seen B&G Property completing more than 10 niche projects in the Klang Valley.

“B&G Group was established in 1995 and ventured into property development in 2004. I grew together with this company since it established its property arm 13 years ago. So, in terms of the history of B&G Property, we are the same age,” he says.

“We are actually an integrated developer and also have our in-house consultancy and construction teams. In the past, unlike our current ongoing developments, all the projects were boutique in nature.

“Currently, two of our current major flagship developments which are coincidentally ongoing are what I term as landmark projects by B&G Property. One is D’Pristine @ Medini in Iskandar Malaysia while the other is Kingsley Hills at Putra Heights,” explains Soo.

According to him, Kingsley Hills will be completed in phases.

“We are really looking forward for these two developments to be completed, one after another. The Johor project, D’Pristine, will be completed next year. For Kingsley Hills, we are talking about another three to four years to complete the entire freehold high-end properties on the hill comprising semi-dees, bungalows and condominiums,” he says. 

D’PRISTINE: GAME CHANGER FOR B&G PROPERTY

Soo says D’Pristine will be a game changer for B&G Property as it makes its mark on the Medini map in Southern Johor. The project’s success is already lifting the company’s status from a niche boutique developer to one which is able to compete in the big boys’ property league.

“I would think that upon the completion of this landmark project, B&G Property will have a more prominent standing in this industry as the previous projects were too small to be proud of,” he adds.

The integrated mixed-use D’Pristine development adopt both the Construction Quality Assessment System (CONQUAS) and industrialised building system (IBS) employing Korean technology.

Already, D’Pristine has recorded over 80% take-up rate despite the downturn in the property market and given the glut situation marked by an oversupply imbalance in Iskandar Malaysia.

Many of its buyers are foreigners – namely Singaporeans and Taiwanese forming the majority of the purchasers of its SoFo units as well as Indonesians.

“I think we made the right decision as a developer to turn D’Pristine into a mixed-use development. In Medini, those who go into pure residential developments lose their advantage for many reasons, and they might have a problem in getting them occupied.

“For instance, you will find that mostly, people have reasons why they want to rent a unit.  D’Pristine has a choice of commercial components which makes this project vibrant and very lively which is very important as compared to purely residential developments. Therefore, we have the right product mix.” 

MOVING INTO MEDINI

“We bought the land in 2012 and developed it one year later as Iskandar Malaysia was booming then. The price of land was not cheap then as compared to buying land in Medini now whereby the cost of land is relatively lower,” he says.

He says due to Medini in Iskandar Puteri, Iskandar Malaysia being gazetted, special initiatives apply here until the year 2025. These include exemption from Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT), no minimum purchase price for foreigners and a 10-year company tax exemption for selected industries besides flexibility under the Foreign Exchange Administrative rules.

“Other than Forest City, Medini is the only zone where foreigners can buy without a price threshold. There are also no squatter areas in Medini,” he elaborates.

The special incentives and versatility of its coveted location has seen positive feedback for its SoFo units priced between approximately RM700 psf and RM900 psf. The SoFo units come with built-up areas starting from 644 sq ft for a one-bedroom unit to 1,416 sq ft for the 3 + 1 units.

The semi-furnished SoFo units housed in two 35- and 36-storey blocks are priced from RM480,000 to over RM1.1 million, depending on the size of the units.  

Currently, the maintenance fee for the upkeep of the cleanliness of the development and SoFo units are kept at a minimal 15 sen psf.  

Residents can make use of a swimming pool, gymnasium, bistro, ballroom as well as a group and VIP lounge, not forgetting a business centre.

Although the pricing of its SoFo units are similar to other surrounding properties based on price psf, Soo opines that D’Pristine has a better advantage due to its concept, highly strategic location and recent progress development.

He anticipates that it will continue to attract the attention of expatriates and young professionals, especially when Iskandar Malaysia becomes even more developed as time progresses.

Iskandar Malaysia will also be complemented by Puteri Harbour’s development, hailed as the jewel of Iskandar Puteri for its reputation in promoting world-class waterfront living.

Projects already completed which are now operational include EduCity@Iskandar Malaysia and the Mall of Medini among others, which have attracted more investors – both local and foreign here.

MILESTONE ANNOUNCEMENTS

“We have in the pipeline, a few exciting and important news to be announced to our stakeholders. The first is the signing of the hotel agreement with Novotel from the French-based Accor Group which has a few hotel brands.

“This exciting news is important for the owners of the SoFo units who make up the stakeholders of D’Pristine,” he shares of the 32-storey hotel with 285 rooms.

Soo says that these incentives add value to its stakeholders both foreign as well as local.

“We have many foreign investors interested in our overall SoFo units totalling 1,182 units. Most of our foreign buyers are investing for rental yield,” he says adding that plans are underway to benefit its stakeholders.

Soo qualifies that its stakeholders refer to individual stakeholders as well as its corporate purchasers.

“Last year, Pelaburan Hartanah Bhd (PHB) bought the entire corporate 32-storey Grade A Corporate Office Tower from us which was very good news. It is important to have corporate owners as they are also able to bring their multinational corporation (MNC) tenants to us,” he says.

“Secondly, we’ve appointed Savills Malaysia as the exclusive leasing agent for our office which is important to us as we need the brand to bring in MNC tenants. This mixed-use development is international so we need tenants who have prominent and renowned names.”

Thirdly, Soo reveals that its mall spanning approximately 350,000 sq ft will encapsulate a science fiction concept indoor theme park to distinguish it from other regular malls and the retail space glut situation in Iskandar Malaysia.

“The mall is the most challenging component to address. There are too many malls leading to an oversupply situation in Johor so the retail industry is very bad now,” he adds.

The retail scene here will see Paradigm Mall being established, with another mall by the Hatten Group as well as Capital 21 and Mid Valley Southkey being planned.

In view of one after another mall coming up, Soo says that B&G Property’s strategy is to introduce an indoor science fiction theme park. This three-storey theme park is envisioned to also tap into the lucrative tourist market spanning an average of two million visitors to Legoland annually.

“Foreign tourists will go to Legoland and, knowing there is a science fiction theme park, may visit the mall. It will also complement and supplement Legoland because the location is within walking distance,” he says.

Envisioning the science fiction theme park as capable of attracting many tourists, Soo says renting its SoFo units out to them will be an attractive proposition since they are much more affordable as compared to staying at hotels. 

MAGIC OF MEDINI

“Medini will be transformed into an international metropolis in view of the population there and what’s going to be developed that will make it different from other parts of Iskandar Malaysia.

“Medini is a corridor like Cyberjaya, which is new and emerging but the difference is variety-wise. It has tourism, entertainment, financial advisory and healthcare awareness as well as logistics, education and what I term, the Singapore effect. I’m not just talking about a few developments located next to D’Pristine but also within the surrounding 10 – 15km radius which include EduCity, Pinewood and Sanrio Hello Kitty Town in Puteri Harbour,” he elaborates.

Soo adds that some catalystic developments are already in existence while others are forthcoming.

“Medini is also planned as a smart, futuristic city. It really emphasise other industries as well which make Medini different from others,” enthuses Soo.

Elaborating on the Singapore effect, he says its location is a natural attraction as witnessed by the many Singaporean tourists coming over to Johor during  the weekends which is an advantage that no other states – not even Penang, can enjoy.

“Despite the economic uncertainty, the outlook is robust because of the Singapore effect that is very strong. Why pay double-digit rental in Singapore when you can pay rental in Ringgit Malaysia which is not even RM5 psf in terms of office space rental.

“Meanwhile, the workforce in Johor is so cheap in comparison. It’s a trend so it’s just a matter of time for this concept to bloom in terms of the Singapore effect,” he observes commenting that many Singaporean businessmen may choose to relocate their back-end offices here.

“Next is the Shenzhen model of Hong Kong. Many years ago, Shenzhen was just a fishing village but it has been turned into a modern city now because of Hong Kong being so close to Shenzhen,” he adds commenting on the viability of Iskandar Malaysia, being located nearby Singapore to really take off. 

BEST OF THE BEST LOCATION

Joining in the cluster of developments in the heart of Medini , D’Pristine boasts easy accessibility in terms of travelling time. It is also located nearby many notable landmarks such as Legoland, the Mall of Medini, Gleneagles Hospital and Afiniti Urban Wellness Centre.

“Once you turn out from our project, it’s already the coastal highway and it is just 15 – 20 minutes to the second link. D’Pristine is just 20 minutes’ drive to the causeway and a mere 25 minutes’ drive to Senai Airport.

“Although currently there are no plans for a mass rapid travel (MRT) or light rail transit (LRT) system, there is still a bus shuttle travelling to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and vice versa,” he shares.

He opines that D’Pristine will be different with the science fiction theme park mall and Legoland located within nearby distance besides the office tower managed by Savills Malaysia. All these considerations he says will make the project very vibrant.

Soo adds that office workers, visitors, tourists and hotel guests will  come here so D’Pristine is anticipated to will enhance rental yields. This is in comparison to other projects encompassing just residential and limited retail space components on the ground floor.

“Medical tourists comprise the other target audience as Gleneagles is situated just next to us. We are proud to tell everybody that this project is in the ‘Best of the Best Location’ with Legoland and Gleneagles located within walking distance to our project,” he enthuses.

“Sometimes, these medical tourists will also come here for entertainment with their family for more than a few days’ stay. The project and location are winners that will attract many stakeholders to Medini,” opines Soo further.

As a developer, Soo says B&G will retain three of its assets; namely the hotel, shopping mall and its 4,900 car parks for future income. This is after taking into account the fact that B&G Property has already sold off a big portion of its SoFo units, apart from the entire office tower.

Besides its landmark D’Pristine development in Iskandar Malaysia, B&G Property is also concurrently developing Kingsley Hills @ Putra Heights in Subang Jaya, Selangor.

“Selangor is the most developed state in Malaysia while Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia, so the Klang Valley is still a good location. Besides Johor and the Klang Valley, we also have a total undeveloped land bank of approximately 230 acres located in Kajang, Putra Heights, Seri Kembangan, Kuala Selangor, Rawang and Templer Park – all in Selangor, Segamat in Johor, Genting Highlands in Pahang and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah,” he says.

“We are still confident in the Klang Valley. We always feel that the Klang Valley cannot go wrong because it is the most developed state in Malaysia. Therefore, if this is a place where property cannot ‘move’, then it would mean that other parts of Malaysia cannot have other new developments,” analyses Soo.  

Naturally, with its ongoing Kingsley Hills @ Putra Heights development shaping up nicely, being the only hillside development in Subang Jaya, Soo says the company is on the lookout for additional land bank.

Incidentally, B&G Property’s most recent completed project is V-Residensi 2 @ Shah Alam, a serviced apartment development which presents owners with premium quality finishes and fittings.

KING OF THE HILL

B&G Property’s Kingsley Hills freehold development in Subang Jaya differs from its D’Pristine project in Iskandar Malaysia as it is skewered towards residential landed and high-rise units whereas D’Pristine is a mixed-use development.

“Kingsley Hills is a very low density with only 130 semi-dees which was launched two to three years ago. In the pipeline, we plan to sell the 100 units of bungalows in two phases with phase one comprising only 35 units,” he says.

The launch of the semi-dees priced from RM2.1 million will be followed by the launch of the bungalow units priced from RM3.8 million and thereafter, the condominiums.

“Kingsley Hills is the only high-end property on the hill in Subang Jaya and the surrounding vicinity. Another selling point is the Kingsley International School which follows the UK curriculum from nursery to Cambridge A- Levels which has shifted its campus here since two years ago,” he adds.

Soo believes that following the popularity of transit-oriented developments (TODs), the future trend will focus on elevated living and education as encapsulated by Kingsley Hills with its landed units and three condominium blocks comprising 616 units.

Unlike D’Pristine, Soo says Kingsley Hills, located in Putra Heights, will comprise upgraders from the surrounding vicinity who can finally live out their dreams of being the king of the hill in a rare gem of a development.

Just as in the case of D’Pristine, emerging as a rare gem in Medini, Iskandar Malaysia.

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