WCT Land to launch RM1.2b Kelana Jaya project in June

By BUSINESS TIMES

PROPERTY developer WCT Land Bhd, which has gained a strong foothold in Klang, will in June this year embark on a RM1.2 billion commercial development project in Kelana Jaya, Petaling Jaya.

The development, which covers 5.02ha of prime leasehold land, will be WCT Land’s second development outside its home base of Klang after Kota Kinabalu.

Dubbed “The Paradigm”, the development will consist of a shopping centre with 500,000 sq ft of lettable retail space, four grade A office buildings of 31 to 33 storeys in height and two blocks of 27- and 30-storey small-office-home-office (soho).

WCT Land Group general manager Yong Kiang Keen said it is looking for strategic partners to jointly develop the project that may take between five and six years.

“We are talking to several parties (to form a joint venture to develop the project) and are looking for partners that can create value to the project,” he told Business Times.

He declined to name them, but said that the partnership can be either with government agencies, financial institutions or private sector.

WCT Land will hold the majority stake in the venture.

“Nevertheless, a joint venture is only an option. Either way, we will definitely be going to the market by the middle of this year,” he said.

The Paradigm project will be built on land owned by WCT Land, which is located directly opposite the existing Giant hypermarket in Kelana Jaya.

Yong said the group will first launch the office buildings and retail portions of the project.

Like all its previous commercial developments, WCT Land will keep some units of its office buildings for future rental purposes in line with the group’s plans to increase its recurring income.

The development will also see an upmarket neighbourhood shopping centre, much like Bangsar Village and Bangsar Shopping Centre in Kuala Lumpur size-wise.

WCT Land executive director and chief operating officer Lai Yeng Fock said The Paradigm will offer high-quality office space and add value to the entire Kelana Jaya and surrounding areas.

“There is a shortage of good quality office space in Petaling Jaya. Most of the existing office buildings are old, and not top-tier grade A type,” he said.

Lai is confident that the project will get good response due to the fact that more companies are moving towards the fringe of the city and Kelana Jaya will fit nicely in their plans.

The Paradigm is one of WCT Land’s major projects for 2007. It recently opened sales for BBT-One, a RM145 million commercial complex in Klang’s Bandar Bukit Tinggi 1.

Lai said the group will make its first foray outside Malaysia in Vietnam with its first mixed-use property development scheduled in Ho Chi Minh City at year-end.

It plans to build an integrated development of retail, commercial and residential properties on a piece of state-owned land ranging in size from 4.05ha up to 12.2ha in Ho Chi Minh City.

Lai said the group has already submitted its proposal to the relevant authorities and is now awaiting their approval.

It expects to be issued with a certificate of ownership and land use right and begin construction by year-end.

“Once the approval is granted, we will proceed to form a joint venture in which we will take a majority stake. We have already identified a local partner there,” said Lai.

Meanwhile, Lai said the group expects its performance this year to be “positive”, driven by the sale of its residential properties in Kota Kinabalu and commercial properties in Bandar Bukit Tinggi 1.

It posted a smaller net profit of RM46.9 million on revenue of RM231.7 million last year.

So far, it has some 162-182ha of undeveloped land in Klang, which will keep it busy for another six to seven years.

Still, the group is on the lookout to expand its landbank in the country.

“However, we want to go to areas that have immediate development potential rather than to buy some land and hang on to it until it is able to get a good price. We are looking for both commercial and residential developments,” said Lai.

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