D'pristine sofos in the heart of Iskandar

SEVEN years since the grand plan for Iskandar Malaysia in southern Johor was announced, followed by the involvement of Khazanah Nasional Bhd and Temasek Holdings, the region is now a property hot spot.

Investor confidence is at an all-time high now that the general election is over and done with, and local and foreign investment continue to pour into Iskandar at a steady pace.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. With most projects having broken ground or already operating, the property market there is expected to heat up. There may still be many years of development work before Iskandar reaches its full potential, but many parties have already started cashing in on the value from their investments.

Among the emerging key areas within the region is Medini, which is the only site in Johor where foreigners are allowed to purchase property for less than RM500,000.

One of the many developers that have chosen to ride Iskandar's growth is D'Pristine Medini Sdn Bhd — a subsidiary of B&G Capital Resources Bhd — the controlling shareholder of MCT Consortium Bhd.

D'Pristine @ Medini

D'Pristine @Medini is a RM1 billion integrated mixed-use development on 8.42 acres of prime leasehold land. The project is ideally located, nestled in the heart of Medini and within walking distance from many notable landmarks such as Legoland, Mall of Medini, Hello Kitty World, Gleneagles Hospital and Urban Wellness.

When completed at end-2017, D'Pristine @Medini will comprise two blocks of 36 and 37-storey small office, flexible office (SoFo) units, a 33-storey Grade A office tower and a 300-room four-star hotel which will sit atop a three-storey interconnected mall with a net lettable area of 200,000 sq ft. The mall will house 163 retail and food-and-beverage outlets.

The first block of SoFos comprising about 600 units will be open for sale in July. Several layouts are available, from one to three-bedroom units, with the latter capable of being coverted into a dual key unit. Prices range from RM439,000 to RM1.104 million. The two SoFo towers offer a total of 1,187 units, with built-ups ranging from 644 to 1,416 sq ft.

"Based on the investment climate in Iskandar and the number of registrations by locals and Singaporeans, we are confident we can move on to launch the second block of SoFos in the next few months," says Soo Kai Chee, executive director of the group's financial, commercial and marketing department.

The developer is targeting locals, Singaporeans and Indonesians who buy for their own use or investment, says Soo, who adds that the SoFo is a versatile, flexible and practical workspace option that offers a complete lifestyle choice.

The group is working closely with ERA Realty Network Pte Ltd to market the SoFos in Singapore. D'Pristine @Medini is the group's first SoFo project in Iskandar.

Managing an integrated development

According to Soo, because of the complexity of the property components at D'Pristine @Medini, it is better for one party to manage the branding and the tenant mix of the mall, as well as the facilities areas and common services.

With this in mind, the group plans to manage and maintain the components of its integrated development such as the retail spaces and the hotel, to generate recurring income for the group.

It is also planning to keep the top few floors of the SoFos which will be leased out as serviced apartments for periods of one to three months. The management however, is currently undecided about the fate of the grade A offices.

Soo reveals that the group is in the final stages of negotiations with a local four-star brand hotel operator.

In an interesting twist, the group has come up with a pay-as-you-use facilities management, where the costs are chargeable based on the use of the facilities. This is a practical approach, especially for foreigners who want to use the residential units as a weekend home, says Soo.

The maintainence of D'Pristine @ Medini is an affordable 15 sen psf. The facilities include a swimming pool, bistro, ballroom, group lounge, VIP Lounge and gym. The development will also have a one-stop business centre that provides residents added-on facilities such as courier and photostating services.

Soo expects an influx of expatriates and professionals in Iskandar when more catalyst developments such as Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studio (PIMS), EduCity and Puteri Harbour are completed. "This will eventually lead to a shortage in quality accommodations in the market. We aim to fill the gap."

On the MCT brand

Established in 1995, MCT started out in civil construction as a design-and-build contractor specialising in pre-cast construction. In 2005, the group diversified into property development.

To date, it has completed about RM803 mil worth of projects, including USJ 1 Avenue, UEP Industrial Park and Garden Shoppe One City in Subang Jaya, Selangor; The Takun in Templer Park, Selangor; 162 Residency in Selayang, Selangor; Taman Tropika in Bangi, Selangor; B&G Komersial Sentral in Rawang, Selangor; and PD Gateway in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan.

Although the group has only been in the industry for about a decade, "we are one of the emerging developers in town. We will continue our efforts to aggressively establish ourselves as one of the big players in Malaysia", says Soo.

He adds that the group is set to strengthen and grow the MCT brand with the completion of its landmark projects in the next few years. This includes One City in USJ25, Selangor; Skypark in Cyberjaya; Kingsley Hill in Putra Heights, Selangor; and of course, D'Pristine @ Medini in Johor.

This story first appeared in The Edge weekly edition of July 8-14, 2013.

Looking for properties to buy or rent? With >150,000 exclusive listings, including undervalued properties, from vetted Pro Agents, you can now easily find the right property on Malaysia's leading property portal EdgeProp! You can also get free past transacted data and use our proprietary Edge Reference Price tool, to make an informed purchase.