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S P Setia launches maiden project in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU (Feb 27): S P Setia Bhd made a foothold in Sabah with the launch of its RM1.6 billion Aeropod in Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu.

The 60-acre mixed development — which comprises retail offices, SoVos, F & B pods, a shopping mall, hotels and serviced apartments — is poised to become the transportation hub of Kota Kinabalu with the redevelopment and modernisation of the historic Tanjung Aru railway station. Aeropod is S P Setia's maiden project in East Malaysia.

"Our award-winning approach of building well-planned developments with great accessibility and extensive amenities within a single location will see to it that Aeropod becomes the state's hotspot," said Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin, the president and CEO of S P Setia, during the launch last Saturday.

In 2008, the developer signed an agreement with the state government to redevelop the transport terminal in return for rights to build a mixed commercial project on the surrounding land. Aeropod is modeled after the developer's successful SetiaWalk development in Puchong, and is conceptualised along its development's philosophy of LiveLearnWalkPlay. The development is one of the first projects parked under the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC). Launched in 2008, SDC is aimed at transforming Sabah into a gateway for trade, tourism and investment, and to create job opportunities.

"Not only does the project stand to benefit from having a transportation hub contained within it, but its close proximity to the Kota Kinabalu International Airport also ensures that it will be the gateway for international and local tourist to the state," said Liew.

The Chief Minister of Sabah Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Aman, who officiated the launch, said during the press conference that the improvement of the state transportation system is important, especially if they want to see significant growth in the state tourism sector.

"The state government welcomes initiatives like Aeropod that will help SDC achieve its objective within the context of tourism and real estate development. I also call on developers to come up with innovative developments that [are] suitable and mindful of the environment. I'm very pleased S P Setia has ventured to Sabah, and [that] it will help to spur the economic growth of the the state," said Musa, adding that the development will cater to the locals as well as tourists.

Lieu expressed his delight at the state government efforts in pushing forward the SDC, which he believed will greatly enhance the state's future prospects, and offers exciting possibilities to be tapped by developers. He added that the expansion to Sabah is in line with the developer's aim to diversify geographically into other high growth states in Malaysia, as well as international markets. S P Setia has already established its presence in the Klang Valley, Johor, Penang, as well as internationally in Vietnam, Singapore and Australia.

In recent years, Sabah has seen increasing economic growth and development due to its robust tourism industry and expanding population, which is estimated at over 3.2 million in 2011. In November 2011, Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) announced the discovery of oil about 100km off the coast of Kota Kinabalu. The discovery is poised to make oil and gas the next growth sector in the state.

The first phase of the development — the en bloc 8-storey retail offices (4-storey— have sold almost 100% since its preview in January. Each retail office block has an average size of 12,000 sq ft, and prices start at RM8.8 million. Next to be launched in mid-2012 are the SoVo and retail units. The SoVo units are sized between 315 sq ft and 1,220 sq ft, while the retail units start from 985 sq ft to 1,830 sq ft.

Liew is confident S P Setia's products will be very well received by the commercially-savvy East Malaysian property investors. "For investors looking to capitalise on Sabah's rising economic potential to families planning for an enjoyable outing, Aeropod will have something to offer everyone," concluded Liew.

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