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THE EDGE Property Excellence Awards 2013: An innovative and thoughtful design

The Edge-PAM Green Excellence Award 2013: Honorary mention - Integra Tower, The Intermark – The Intermark Sdn Bhd

GRACING the Kuala Lumpur skyline, Integra Tower stands majestically at the crossroads of Jalan Ampang and Jalan Tun Razak, atop what is known as The Intermark. The tower, completed last year, is part of a RM2.2 billion redeveloped mixed development comprising retail outlets, offices and a hotel.

The Intermark was formerly City Square Centre. For those old enough to remember, City Square Centre comprised the 11-storey City Square shopping centre (now the retail centre Intermark Mall), the 62-storey Empire Tower office block (now Vista Tower) and the 28-storey, 571-room Crown Princess Kuala Lumpur hotel (now Doubletree by Hilton Hotel).  

The Intermark is owned by The Intermark Sdn Bhd, an investment holding company. MGPA (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, the Malaysian entity of MGPA, is the development and asset manager of The Intermark, on behalf of investors MGPA Asia Fund II. MGPA is an independently managed private equity real estate investment advisory company focusing on real estate investment in Asia-Pacific and Europe.

The Intermark’s Integra Tower was added to the existing structures and is the first Platinum LEED-certified building in Malaysia. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a US-based rating system for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of green buildings, homes and neighbourhoods.

For its many green features and environment-friendly processes, the 40-storey Grade A office tower received honorary mention at The Edge-PAM Green Excellence Awards 2013.


We always feel it is important to have green buildings. Our investors look to us to buy refurbished buildings that have little impact on the environment. - Liau

“I think it is a validation of the work we have put into Integra Tower for The Intermark,” says Patrick Liau, a director of The Intermark Sdn Bhd. “We always feel it is important to have green buildings. Our investors look to us to buy refurbished buildings that have little impact on the environment. It is also an encouragement to do more such projects.”

Integra Tower received its certificate of completion and compliance in November last year and its current occupancy is about 50%.

“Integra Tower was open for leasing since it obtained its Certificate of Completion and Compliance in November last year,” Liau explains. “Integra is a large building with about 760,000 sq ft to move and thus far we’ve leased over 300,000 sqft within a year at rents higher than the general market average for Grade A properties.

“This includes what we believe to be the single largest lease in Kuala Lumpur in recent years at 200,000 sqft for one lease to an oil and gas company. In addition, we’ve held back on leasing the high zone floors as part of our leasing strategy.

“The asking gross rents psf at Integra Tower is RM11 psf, whereas the asking rent for Vista Tower is RM9 psf. We understand that the average market rent for Grade A properties in KL is between RM6 to 7 psf.

Its tenants include recruitment agency Michael Page, Petronas Lubricants and Aker Solutions, a Norwegian oil and gas company.

“The construction of Integra Tower started in the second quarter of 2008,” Liau says. According to him, based on the original certificate of fitness dated March 24, 1998, the buildings were over nine years old when MGPA acquired them in 2007.

Left: The Integra Tower has many green features. Top-right: The rooftop garden with a reflective pool that reduces the urban heat island effect. Bottom-right: The double volume main lobby lets in plenty of natural light.

The green design of Integra Tower is said to be able to cut the use of energy by 30% and water by 40% and reduce carbon emissions by 4,000 tonnes. Using Vista Tower as a comparison, the approximate savings on the use of electricity and water for Integra Tower, when fully occupied, amount to RM2 million a year.

Besides the items included in the building, the fact that Integra Tower was built on a redeveloped site also helped in its LEED certification.

“LEED is not just about what you have [installed] but also how you construct the building,” Liau explains. “So, when we were constructing this building, most of the materials were sourced locally, resulting in a lower carbon footprint in terms of the materials we brought into the country. In addition, we were using an old site, a redevelopment site. The value in that is we didn’t have to clear a new area; we merely built on what was an old building.”

“It is difficult to quantify the cost of building the tower with green features because most of the things were built into the building. However, you’ll find that the cost is in line with that of a Grade A building.

“There are now more green buildings in the Klang Valley. They will no doubt proliferate to other parts of  the country. Already we can see a trend among occupiers going for green buildings. Case in point is our tenant JP Morgan which has taken a further step by having a LEED-certified fit-out.”

He adds that as a developer embraces the need to be green, it will find ways to do just that.

“If you are living and breathing the green philosophy, you will be able to deliver a product that is truly green, and not something superficially green.”

The concern of oversupply of office space in KL, Liau believes, will not dampen interest in Integra Tower. “Integra Tower is built to international standards, and its Platinum LEED certification and many other features differentiate it from the pack.”

Rising from an existing structure, Integra Tower brings new vibrancy to the KL landscape with its innovative and thoughtful design.

Green elements in Integra Tower
• Double-glazed low-emission glass provides heat insulation and maximum natural light admission
• Shading fins on the east, west and south-west sides that reduce glare into the offices
• To conserve water, condensate is recovered from the air-conditioning system. About 9.7 cubic metres of condensate is collected along with rainwater for irrigation purposes.
• Rooftop gardens on levels six and 40. The roof is coated with high reflectivity white polyurethane, which reduces the urban heat island effect and keeps the building cool.
• Regenerative and smart lifts, efficient lighting using T5 and LED lights and occupancy sensors in the toilets.
• Carbon dioxide sensors to improve the air distribution in the building and car park. Air-conditioning and mechanical ventilation systems use non-chlorofluorocarbon-based refrigerants.
• Low volatile organic compound paints, coatings, adhesives and sealants

 

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on October 14, 2013.

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