City & Country: Q Sentral adds sparkle to MRCB's crown

Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) is adding another jewel to its crown with Q Sentral at its land transport hub, KL Sentral.

The 42-storey office building is being built on the 1.85-acre Lot B by Cosy Bonanza Sdn Bhd, a joint venture between MRCB (65%) and Quill Sentral Sdn Bhd (35%).

The name Q Sentral is derived from the Chinese concept of life force known as “qi”, MRCB CEO Mohamed Razeek Hussain tells City & Country.
Qi is the flow of energy around and through the body, linking each part and forming a cohesive, functioning unit.

“The design of Q Sentral is based on the concept of qi, represented by the letter Q, to create a resonating flow of energy throughout the building while establishing a cohesive and functioning environment,” Mohamed Razeek explains.

The RM1.2 billion Grade A office tower will have a gross floor area (GFA) of 1.4 million sq ft. Selling prices of this strata-titled development range from RM1,190 psf to RM1,500 psf.

Artist's impressions of Q SentralThe building is divided into the high zone and the low zone. The low zone contains 16 office units (from 1,366 to 3,420 sq ft) per floor over 17 floors. The high zone is being sold on a per floor basis with sizes from 15,000 to 40,880 sq ft. In total, the building contains 297 units, Mohamed Razeek says.|

Prior to its launch on Jan 8, about 50% of Q Sentral had been sold to registrants of interest, representing RM600 million in sales.

“We have a good mixture of both investors and those intending to house their operations and offices here upon completion in 2014,” says Mohamed Razeek.

Mohamed Razeek: The critical mass of tenants will become evident in 2012 with more buildings coming onstreamThe developer will also be aiming for Green Building Index (GBI) and MSC certifications for the building. To boost the investibility of KL Sentral and enhance the experience of those who live and work there, MRCB is targeting some of the highest green ratings for its developments. Besides Q Sentral, the KL Sentral Park Business Suites, retail centre Nu Sentral and 348 Sentral — popularly known as the Shell building — have already been granted green building status.

Wholly owned by MRCB, the RM602 million KL Sentral Park Business Suites is a 12.17-acre development on Lot E, which lies next to Stesen Sentral facing Q Sentral.

Featuring five blocks of office suites and retail space, the project has an estimated GFA of 982,658 sq ft and a net lettable area of 518,000 sq ft.

It has the Singapore Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) Green Mark Platinum rating and GBI certification. Its green features include a north-south orientation to reduce radiant heat, low-emissivity glass, a green wall, photovoltaic cells, a 130,000 sq ft atrium and a district cooling system. It will also employ regenerative lifts, where the kinetic energy derived from the constant braking of the lifts is used to power them.

So far, 70% of the offices have been taken up by the Small and Medium Enterprises Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp).

Meanwhile, The RM1 billion Nu Sentral, which comprises a retail mall and office tower with over one million sq ft in GFA, is GBI and BCA Green Mark accredited for the overall development, while the office component has a LEED Silver certification. Major tenants of the mall thus far are Parkson and Golden Screen Cinemas.

The RM914 million 348 Sentral, comprising a 33-storey office tower and adjoining 21-storey serviced residences with 1.17 million sq ft of GFA, is LEED Gold and GBI Gold certified.

“We spend about 6% to 8% in additional cost on greening a building because we want to keep the overall [rental] value of KL Sentral at about RM8 psf and beyond,” says Mohamed Razeek.

MRCB senior vice-president and head of property Wong Dor Loke says office rents have doubled since 2003 with new leases in KL Sentral Park at RM8.50 psf, while capital appreciation has more than doubled to RM1,100 psf from RM460 psf over the same period.

DTZ Debenham Tie Leung (M) Sdn Bhd executive director Brian Koh tells City & Country that the going rent at KL Sentral ranges from RM6.50 to RM6.80 psf, which is comparable to similarly graded offices in the city centre.

He notes that the ongoing works to enhance connectivity and earn green credentials will serve to boost KL Sentral’s competitiveness as the new central business district.

“Like any part of Kuala Lumpur, in the short term (2011, 2012) there will be a decline in rents on higher supply coming in around that period.

However, prices are expected to recover around 2014 to 2015,” he says.
Touted as the new CBD, KL Sentral is home to 160 international companies, including Shell, SBM Malaysia (a member of the SBM Offshore Group), Hilton Hotel, Le Meridien Hotel and the Hana Daol Fund, demonstrating its appeal to foreigners.

This is coupled with the six-star, 200-room St Regis Hotel and Residences as well as appearance of The Ascott Group Ltd in the near future.

The former will be developed by One IFC Sdn Bhd, jointly held by CMY Capital Sdn Bhd (60%), MRCB (30%) and Jitra Perkasa Sdn Bhd (10%).
With a GDV of RM1.5 billion and a GFA of 1.4 million sq ft, it is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2015.

The Ascott Group has been appointed as managers of the 143-unit serviced-residential component of 348 Sentral.

“The critical mass of tenants will become evident in 2012 as more buildings come onstream. On this platform KL Sentral will comfortably weather the expected competition ... as it did the 2008 economic downturn,” Mohamed Razeek says.

MRCB and IJM Land Bhd, the listed property division of leading construction and infrastructure outfit IJM Corp Bhd,  grabbed headlines in November 2010 with the announcement of a proposed merger. However, it was announced on Dec 30 that the merger had fallen through as both parties failed to agree on the terms of the definitive agreement to the merger. “Business as usual and we are moving forward,” says a group spokesman in an email response.

The proposed merger would have resulted in Malaysia’s second largest property developer with a landbank of over 9,000 acres and a market capitalisation of over RM7 billion.

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 840, Jan 10-16, 2011

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