Mah Sing strengthens presence in Medini

MAH SING Group Bhd is strengthening its presence in Johor with the upcoming launch of The Meridin @ Medini in Iskandar Malaysia — its sixth development in the state.

Located just next to Legoland, The Meridin sits on 8.19 acres of leasehold land acquired from Medini Land Sdn Bhd in October 2012 at RM34.90 psf. The integrated development will be built in two phases. The first phase, Meridin Suites Residences, comprises three towers of 32 to 36 storeys, offering 756 serviced apartments at prices ranging from RM650 to RM750 psf. The Meridin will have a gross development value (GDV) of RM1.1 billion, with Phase 1 amounting to RM535 million.

Mah Sing is currently previewing block A, which will have 400 units — ranging from 521 to 2,134 sq ft — sitting above 30 retail lots. The first phase will be officially launched in the middle of June while Phase 2 is set to launch in 4Q2013, depending on the performance of the first phase, says James Bruyns, Mah Sing's township residential COO.

Facilities for the residential component include an infinity swimming pool, Jacuzzi, children's wading pool, playground, thematic landscaped garden and gymnasium. There'll also be a fitness parcourse, yoga deck and barbecue terrace, multi-purpose hall, childcare centre, and launderette, among others. The retail floor will offer basic services to cater for the day-to-day needs of residents.

The 35-storey block A will appeal to working executives while block B (32 storeys) and C (36 storeys) — with larger-sized 2 and 3-bedroom units ranging from 1,000 sq ft to 1,300 sq ft — will cater for small families. All units come with two car park bays.

The units will have balconies that taper off in size as the height of the building increases.

"Based on modular architecture, the project features mainly clean lines with a stable base tapering up to an elegant tip, creating an iconic curved façade which will be very distinctive due to the proposed height of the towers. This design has created quite a buzz in Iskandar," says Bruyns.

Another distinctive feature of The Meridin is that it will move away from the conventional key system. Instead, residents will get one key card to access all facilities as well as their units, giving them more freedom to move around easily.

Phase 2 is still being planned and is expected to offer more serviced apartments, SoVos (small office, versatile office), hotels, office towers as well as a retail podium, adds Bruyns.

Since the start of previews in October 2012, more than 4,000 people have registered their interest, of which 60% are Singaporeans and the rest Malaysians.

A balloting exercise was held for the project at Persada Convention Centre in Johor on May 11, which enabled serious buyers to get a secured booking with a deposit of RM10,000.

"All the properties in Medini priced from RM300,000 to RM1 million are saleable to any foreign buyer," says Bruyns.

He adds that a number of developments coming up in Medini are spurring growth and making it an attractive place to live.

Johor expansion

Bruyns says Mah Sing is definitely looking at more projects in Johor, which accounted for up to 6% of Mah Sing"s RM2.26 billion sales in 2011. The following year, total sales hit RM2.51 billion, with sales contribution from the state rising to 12%. This year, the developer has set a sales target of RM3 billion, with Johor sales expected to contribute 20%.

The developer currently has RM2.22 billion unbilled sales from its projects in Johor, while total unbilled sales stand at RM3.16 billion.

Mah Sing still has 407 acres in Johor to be developed. The parcels of undeveloped land are scattered throughout six projects in the state, including Austin Perdana and Sierra Perdana in Tebrau, i-Parc at Tanjung Pelepas in Gelang Patah, Sri Pulai Perdana 1 & 2 in Johor Baru, as well as The Meridin @ Medini, Iskandar.

According to Bruyns, the current challenge in Johor is in getting land.

"We don't want land located in the middle of nowhere. We would want to go for a location accessible by a trunk road or a highway, with an interesting upcoming catalytic project."

He adds that both Johor players and companies based in the Klang Valley and Singapore are fighting for land in Iskandar.

Southville City in Bangi

Apart from The Meridin, Mah Sing is planning to officially launch the first phase of its township project, Southville City in Bangi, Kuala Lumpur South, in August or September.

The initial phases of the 420-acre freehold Southville City will offer serviced apartments, SoVos, hotels, office blocks and a shopping centre.Future phases will include high-end condominiums, a convention centre with a hotel, market hall with F&B outlets and premium housing such as semidees, cluster homes and bungalows as well as public housing. The entire project will have an estimated GDV of RM3.63 billion.

The first phase comprises a 28-storey serviced apartment project called Savanna Executive Suites, comprising 3,000 units on top of a 5-storey car park and 228 units of 2-storey shop lots.

The units will be housed in four blocks, spread over 27 acres, sharing common facilities and linked by an overhead bridge. The 3-bedroom units will be sized from 957 sq ft, with an indicative price of RM280,000.

There are already 9,000 registrants for the units.

The second phase will offer 197 units of 3-storey garden linked homes with a built-up of 2,800 sq ft and priced from RM760,000 to RM780,000.

Future phases will be planned based on market demand and performance.

Going forward, Mah Sing is currently looking at organic growth via land acquisitions.

"We are looking at the four main property hot spots in Malaysia where we have a presence — Greater KL and Klang Valley, Iskandar Malaysia, Penang and Sabah [Kota Kinabalu]," Bruyns says.

Last year, Mah Sing completed the acquisition of 589 acres, including 157 acres in Rawang and 408.2 acres in Kajang. The sites are estimated to have a GDV of RM5.88 billion.

"We surpassed our landbanking target by 18%," says Bruyns.

This year, the developer acquired a 6.55-acre parcel in Seksyen U19 in Sungai Buloh for RM85 million where it is planning a RM800 million integrated offering dubbed D'Sara Sentral.

D'Sara Sentral will offer SoVo units with sizes starting from 750 sq ft and priced from RM650 psf as well as a retail component with F&B outlets. The development will be previewed in 4Q2013.

"There is a lot of land out there but the asking prices are quite high. We are a public-listed company and we have a duty to our shareholders not to overpay for land," says Bruyns.

This story first appeared in The Edge weekly edition of April 29-May 5, 2013.

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