City&Country: MBM Resources’ first go at property development

MBM Resources Bhd (MBMR) is generally associated with the automotive industry, as the holding company is involved in the manufacturing of auto components and distribution of motor vehicles such as Perodua, Volvo and Daihatsu. It is also the appointed dealer for Volkswagen in Malaysia.
The company has over 30 showrooms across the country, mainly in locations with high traffic to attract potential customers. One such showroom is the 20,000 sq ft Volvo showroom and service centre that belongs to its wholly-owned subsidiary Federal Auto Holdings Bhd in Jalan Syed Putra, Kuala Lumpur. It is one of the oldest Volvo showrooms in the country.

Federal Auto was established in the 1960s, and the first Volvo car dealer in Malaysia. It was acquired by MBMR in 2004. The said Volvo showroom will now be redeveloped and an even more prominent building will be developed in its place.

MBMR managing director Looi Kok Loon tells City & Country that the land was acquired over 40 years ago, but the idea for redevelopment only came about a few years back, after seeing how the nearby Mid Valley City had managed to establish itself.

To undertake the redevelopment, MBMR set up a subsidiary company, Inai Benua Sdn Bhd, and formed a joint-venture company with Teknikhas Holdings Sdn Bhd and Meridian Residence Sdn Bhd in 2008. Inai Benua’s shareholding in the joint venture is 70%, while that of Teknikhas and Meridian Residence is 20% and 10% respectively.

The redevelopment of the Volvo showroom into Menara MBMR, a 24-storey office tower, began in mid-May after the official handover of the showroom to the contractors for its demolition. The construction of the tower is expected to be completed by 3Q2014.

“There will be a total of 135 office units, with MBMR taking 18 units on six levels. There is also a six-storey basement car park with over 480 bays,” he says, adding that the ground and mezzanine floors will be used as a showroom by MBMR.

The entire development, on 1.2 acres of freehold land, has a gross development value of RM240 million, and will offer 240,000 sq ft of office space.

Looi says that in line with its expansion, MBMR wanted to have its own office-cum-showroom and saw value in redeveloping the Volvo showroom.

“We remain focused on the automotive sector. Menara MBMR is our first redevelopment effort, but if the potential is there to develop [other standalone showrooms], we will go for it and realise their value,” he adds.

Inai Benua director Timothy Liew says the building will comprise a single tower with a north and south wing so that it appears to be two towers. The north wing will have 70 office units, while the south will have 65. The lift area will act as the core of the building.

The building will be served by seven high-speed lifts and two dedicated car-park lifts. All 135 office units will come with an individually controlled and dedicated air-conditioning system, and have private toilet facilities.

The building will sport an interesting external façade. According to Liew, the façade looks different from different angles. The building is designed by CGN architects, a Singapore-based architecture firm that also designed the SS2 shopping mall in Petaling Jaya and Gardens shopping mall in Mid Valley City.

The office units have sizes ranging from 1,060 to 3,836 sq ft, with the smaller ones located on the lower levels. Prices will be from RM960 to RM1,365 psf.

“Abour 65% [of Menara MBMR] was sold within six months during previews,” says Liew, adding that the buyers were individuals who were familiar with the area and wanted to upgrade their offices. Menara MBMR was launched on May 23.

He adds that Menara MBMR’s close proximity to the established Mid Valley City and the offer for customers to own office units in the area are among the project’s selling points.

“The Gardens offers good grade offices, but we saw that some people want to own offices in this area, which they can’t do at the Gardens as it is owned by the developer IGB Bhd. They are only available for lease,” he explains.

Liew says once the building is completed, drivers on the Federal Highway will be able to see Menara MBMR before they see Mid Valley City, which also has direct links to several major highways like the New Pantai Expressway (NPE), North Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE), Kerinchi Link, Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong (LDP), East-West Highway Link, KL-Seremban Highway and the KL-Putrajaya Highway.

As green and sustainable buildings are currently in demand, MBMR plans to apply for the Green Building Index (GBI) certification. Green features that will be offered include double-glazed windows for optimum heat and sound insulation, with added shielding from glare for lower energy consumption, as well as rain-water harvesting.

Security features will include CCTV monitoring and smartcard access. There will also be a building automation system to provide central monitoring and control of common areas.

Another feature of Menara MBMR is that the building will be directly linked to the Mid Valley KTM commuter station via a covered walkway, which will be about 150m long There is also an existing pedestrian bridge that links the station to Mid Valley Megamall.

“The distance from the MBMR building to Mid Valley Megamall is shorter than the distance from one end of the mall to the other,” quips Liew.

The development is also easily accessible by other means of public transport, such as taxis, public buses and the Abdullah Hukum LRT station, served by RapidKL feeder buses. Furthermore, there is an abundance of food and beverage outlets, retail stores, hotels, convention centres and entertainment facilities.

Other than the GBI certification, the company will also be applying for MSC status for the building to attract information and communications technology (ICT) companies. One floor in Menara MBMR will be used for a one-stop centre for ICT-related start-up companies. The centre will be managed by MBMR.


This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 861, June 6-12, 2011

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