It's all part of whole re-development of the 1973 Ampang Park / City Square Center Shopping Center - price tag at 1.3 b RM.
Will greatly benefit the area I'm sure.
Who MGPA is investing about RM1.3 billion to redevelop City Square Centre (now Intermark - meaning Integrated Landmark) and Plaza Ampang Mall (now Integra). MGPA, is an independent fund that has Australia's Macquarie Group as a shareholder. Mr Michael Wilkinson (MGPA CEO for Asia developments).
What City Square Centre, comprised of the 11-storey City Square shopping centre, the 62-storey Empire Tower office block and the 28-storey, 571-room Crown Princess Kuala Lumpur hotel. The properties have been rebranded and are now known as the Intermark Mall, Vista Tower and Double Tree by Hilton Hotel.
Integra is a "Grade A" 30-storey office building, which will be ready by end-2012.
Wilkinson said Vista, the first component of the redevelopment, will feature a grand double-height lobby, high-speed lifts and security access control when ready by the end of this year.
When Target complete for Integra - end 2012.
Target complete for Vista re-development - end of 2009.
The mall, which will offer 200,000 sq ft of retail space, and the five-star hotel, will be ready by the first quarter of 2010.
Where On Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur.
Why MGPA's Asia Fund II bought the properties, and Plaza Ampang Mall, for RM760 million from a Malaysian developer in 2007.
How A third of the building (Vista) is already vacant for the refurbishment. Some existing tenants may leave when their lease expires as they may not be able to afford the higher rates. MGPA is in talks with a few multinational companies to make Vista their headquarters.
Rental rates have doubled to RM9 per sq ft from RM4.60 per sq ft in the last two years.
Michael Wilkinson (left) and MGPA Asia Developments managing
director Moon Duck Kim posing with the replica of The Intermark
“Construction cost is now at a moderate rate and with careful selection of investment, we can still benefit,” he said during the launch of The Intermark, a fully integrated world class mixed-use development, yesterday. MGPA will invest RM2bil (including acquisition and construction costs) in The Intermark.
The amount involves the complete refurbishment of 62-storey landmark grade A office building Vista Tower (formerly known as Empire Tower), a new international grade A office building Integra Tower, retail centre Intermark Mall (formerly known as City Square) and Malaysia’s first Doubletree by Hilton Hotel (formerly Crown Princess Hotel).
MGPA - through it’s Asia Fund 2 - acquired the Empire Tower, City Square, the Crown Princess Hotel and Plaza Ampang in 2007 for about RM760mil.
Wilkinson says the reason to refurbish and build the grade A office buildings was because such buildings were limited in the city.
“Besides that, the location of the development - at the junction of Jalan Tun Razak and Jalan Ampang - is very strategic, just 500 metres from the Petronas Twin Towers and also about a two-minute walk to the Ampang Park LRT,” he says.
The company is comfortable with the investment in Malaysia and will be here for a long time, he says, adding: “In fact, we are looking for more investment opportunities in Malaysia and will announce that when the time comes.”
He says Malaysia was fortunate to be still resilient in the current climate and, with a strong market, the country was still attractive to investors.
Vista Tower is expected to be completed by year-end while the Intermark Mall and DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel will be completed in the first quarter next year. The other building, Integra Tower, is scheduled for completion by end-2012.
The first component to be launched for lease will be the Grade A offices in Vista Tower, or the refurbished Empire Tower.
Vista Tower will have a glass-wrapped, clean and contemporary façade. It will have a lobby with double-height ceiling in contemporary design, high-speed lifts, disabled-friendly features, security access control and a new air-conditioning system.
The current rent at Empire Tower is RM3.50 to RM4 psf but with the upgrading, the new rates may start from RM7 onwards, depending on the length of lease and location of the space. "We will adopt global standards for the building and in serving our tenants. We believe demand for office buildings with large floor space and quality fittings will continue to fetch premium rents," says Wilkinson.
According to data from Knight Frank Malaysia, the current supply of office space within the Golden Triangle and the Kuala Lumpur central business district (CBD) in 4Q2008 is about 41.1 million sq ft, while average rents for Grade A offices and Grade A+offices in the Golden Triangle are about RM6.17 and RM9.67 psf respectively.
The rents of offices at Petronas Twin Towers and Maxis Tower is an average RM8.70 psf and RM6.80 psf (minus service charges), according to KLCC Property Holdings Bhd's half-year results ended Sept 30, 2008.
Prospective tenants at Vista Tower will be multinational companies in various sectors such as the oil and gas sector. Several current tenants have renewed their leases, including a media agency, an embassy and an aviation company.
About two-thirds of the building is still being occupied by tenants. Conglomerate Ranhill Bhd, which leased about 50% of Empire Tower, is moving out gradually, hence the refurbishment can only be completed when the lease for the present tenants ends. Nevertheless, the renovation is expected to be completed at year-end.
"The building was more than 80% occupied when we first took over. Today, among the top 10 office buildings in KL, occupancy is more than 90%," says Kim. "Vacancy rates have been consistently low for Grade A offices in the city centre, so we are confident that demand for office space will continue," says Wilkinson. Knight Frank Malaysia has been appointed property manager of Vista Tower.
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