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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
RM5bil Warisan Merdeka will be country’s new landmark
Saturday October 16, 2010

THE Warisan Merdeka landmark, a RM5bil project located within the enclave of Merdeka Stadium and Stadium Negara, will change the city skyline.

Construction of the 100-storey skyscraper, which is part of the mega project, will start next year and is expected to be completed in 2015.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the two stadiums would be retained as national heritage buildings.

Real Estate and Housing Developers Association Malaysia said the plan to create the iconic feature must take into consideration demand for space.

“We recommend that the Government conduct feasibility and market studies in consultation with the private sector before embarking on this ambitious project,” its deputy president Datuk F.D. Iskandar Tan Sri Mohamed Mansor said in a press statement,

Architect Dr Tan Loke Mun said the building must be constructed with sustainability in mind.

“If we are going to give Malaysia the tallest building, we may as well make it the greenest building in the world. Additionally, local talents should be considered for job opportunities that will arise,” Dr Tan said.

Human resources manager Julian Sanjivan, 28, asked whether the project was aimed at competing with the Burj Khalifa in Dubai or to boost tourism and the construction industry.

“If they want to create more jobs, then we should welcome it. However, if it is just for the name, perhaps the money will be best used elsewhere,” he said.

Businessman Lo Yew Wai felt there wasn’t a need for such a development here.

He said there were many buildings left vacant after construction, adding that the status of having the tallest building in the country was not a good enough reason because it would be a waste of space and money.


Big projects eye foreign tenants
By Sharen Kaur Published: 2010/10/20

The Matrade Centre and Warisan Merdeka, two large property projects worth a combined RM20 billion, will include offices that will be marketed to multinational companies (MNCs).

"The two projects will have office towers with full-fledged upmarket facilities, even better than the Petronas Twin Towers," Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin said.

The RM15 billion Matrade Centre will be built by the Naza group. It will include an exhibition centre, residences, offices, a mall and a hotel, spanning 26ha, under a privatisation deal with the government. The 10-year project will be launched next month.

Warisan Merdeka, located within the enclave of Merdeka Stadium and Stadium Negara, will have a 100-storey tower. The project, which will start next year and be completed in 2015, is an initiative by Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB).

Little else is known about the project.

Raja Nong Chik said PNB has done its homework to ensure the project will be viable.

However, PNB will have to address the issue of limited road access as the project is located in a densely occupied area.

"The project is a good move by PNB, which is looking at various avenues to invest. But they must ensure that the tower is taken up as the money is coming from them.

They are answerable to their shareholders.

"PNB also has to ensure that the building is attractive so that investors don't go to Singapore, Vietnam and India. We will lose then," he said.

Raja Nong Chik was speaking to reporters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday after opening the 2nd International Conference on World Class Sustainable Cities 2010.

He also said that the ministry aims to launch Invest KL by early next year. It will work with the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) to encourage MNCs to set up shop here.

The minister expressed confidence that the government would achieve its target of having 200 new MNCs by 2020. Currently, there are 1,800 MNCs in the country.

"While the number is small as compared with Shanghai, which has 16,000 MNCs, and (against the) 4,000 in Singapore, we hope to surpass 2,000 in 10 years."

Invest KL will target MNCs worldwide, especially from the Middle East, China and India.


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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Consultants: Need to gauge potential impact of 100-storey Warisan Merdeka
By ANGIE NG Published: 2010/10/20

Map showing Warisan Merdeka project site

PETALING JAYA: Developers and property consultants have urged the Government to commission extensive and in-depth feasibility and market studies on the proposed 100-storey Warisan Merdeka to gauge its cost-benefit and potential impact on the property market before proceeding with the project.

Construction of the skyscraper, which is part of the RM5bil mega project within the enclave of Merdeka Stadium and Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur, will start next year and is expected to be completed in 2015.

Disclosing the project in his Budget 2011 speech last Friday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the two stadiums would be retained as national heritage buildings.

Real Estate and Housing Developers Association Malaysia (Rehda) deputy president Datuk FD Iskandar Mohamed Mansor said the plan for the potentially high-impact commercial development must take into consideration demand and supply of office space in the capital city.

He said such a massive project should be approached with caution and proper feasibility studies before proceeding.

“Kuala Lumpur already has a focal point – the Petronas Twin Towers – and the question is whether it is necessary to have another one. Moreover, there is enough office space in the city. Additional space from the Warisan Merdeka and other projects, including the RM26bil Kuala Lumpur International Financial District (KLIFD), may result in an oversupply of commercial property space,” Iskandar said.

Official figures from the National Property Information Centre show that occupancy rates of office space in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor averaged around 80%.

“What is more important at this point is for a holistic and comprehensive public transport system for Greater Kuala Lumpur that will integrate the proposed mass rapid transit project to the feeder transport network, including the buses and taxis, that also needs to be improved. It is one of the basic imperatives for KL to achieve world-class city status,” he added.

Amphil Corp Sdn Bhd chief executive officer PK Poh said the iconic projects planned by the Government were intended to fulfill national imperatives “to serve a bigger and higher purpose,” and should not therefore be looked upon as a pure property play.

Poh said the implementation and timing of the project would have a serious impact on the local property market in terms of the allocation of resources and the effect on current and future vacancy rates in the capital city.

“As such, it would be good if such super mega projects be demand-driven as well, in addition to fulfilling the national agenda.

“Based on what I observe overseas (including the Shanghai Financial Centre, Canary Wharf and Burj Khalifa), super mega projects there needed to go through at least one recessionary cycle.

“Our own Petronas Twin Towers were in fact completed in the teeth of such a recession. Therefore, the timing of, and preparation for, when the project should take off is of utmost importance, and requires truly extensive and in-depth studies,” Poh said.

He also pointed out that projects such as Warisan Merdeka and the KLIFD could straddle the property cycle.

“There is a real danger of these projects ‘crowding out’ other developers’ projects when the construction of this and other iconic projects starts. Prices of materials will tend to rise, thus making projects more expensive for all concerned.”

Property consultancy CB Richard Ellis Sdn Bhd executive director Paul Khong said a proper market and feasibility study should be professionally undertaken to determine the right mix of development, the commercial viability of the entire project, the future demand for the products offered within the project and also the theme of development which should really be featured around the heritage elements of Merdeka Stadium.

Responding to questions on the project yesterday, Najib stressed the Government did not instruct Permodalan Nasional Bhd to construct Warisan Merdeka and that it was the company’s board of directors that had wanted to embark on the project.

He said the construction work on the project would generate many economic activities.

“The area will be a business centre for both the bumiputra and non-bumiputra alike. It can be one of Malaysia’s attraction that will generate and bring profit. This project is not a waste,” he stressed.


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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
PNB well-placed to fund Warisan Merdeka
Published: 2010/10/20

Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB), which will be developing the RM5 billion Warisan Merdeka landmark, says it is well-positioned to finance the integrated development project from its own internally generated funds.

"However, we can look for loans from the market as long as we can maximise our returns," its President and Group Chief Executive Tan Sri Hamad Kama Piah Che Othman told a media briefing here today.

He also dismissed speculation that the project would be funded by the government or sourced from its unit trust funds. PNB, an investment holding company, currently manages funds worth more than RM140 billion. It has substantial interest in over 300 listed and unlisted companies.

Plans for the project, comprising three phases to be fully completed by 2020, were unveiled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak during last week’s budget speech.

The integrated development project located within the enclave of Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara, will comprise a 100-storey tower, with construction to start next year. It is expected to be completed in 2015.

Hamad Kama said the project to be undertaken by its 100 per cent owned company, PNB Merdeka Ventures, was part of PNB's plan to shift its assets class and diversify its portfolio.

Over the years, he said PNB has been investing in equity and "now we are focussing on property. "In fact we have bought many properties among others including Kenanga and MAS buildings, as well Perdana Hotel.

"We bought all those buildings because we believed that we want to make sure that our asset class would be reallocated a bit.
"In terms of risk we want to reduce calculated risk but as the same time returns also must be reasonable. So that's why this (the project) is one of the things that we are doing now," he said.

Hamad Kama said PNB, which bought the land in 2000 from Pengurusan Danaharta Nasional Bhd, had planned for the project since 2004.

This matter was discussed by the board and it had decided to embark on the project then. "It happens that this time we are embarking on the project."

Ultimately, PNB decided on the 100-storey building as "we believe this is a good strategic position." Excluding the stadiums, Hamad Kama said PNB has got 7.6 hectares for the green concept project comprising office blocks, shopping complex, hotels, apartments, and condominiums.

It will be a project blending heritage and commerce, he said.
He also reasserted that as an investment house, PNB had to make sure that the risks for developing the project are taken care while the returns aimed at are there.

Hamad Kama said the tower block upon completion would create economic activities and provide job opportunities. He said the construction of the tower would be also timely as by 2016, PNB's current building at Jalan Tun Razak would be 30-years old and would need refurbishment.

There would be no need to worry about capacity, he said.
"When we plan, we need to ensure there will be occupants. PNB and its group of companies need a headoffice and to also expand," he added. -- Bernama


Budget Highlight


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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
100-storey tower to be PNB new HQ
By Shahriman Johari and Sharen Kaur Published: 2010/10/21

The 100-storey tower that forms part of Warisan Merdeka will be the new headquarters of Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) as the fund manager is already thinking about redeveloping its existing head office.

Come 2016, its main building on Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur, will be 30 years old. It is already fully occupied by PNB and its companies.

"We have to ensure we have occupancy. We need to move to this place. It will be mainly used by us and our investee companies," group chief executive officer Tan Sri Hamad Kama Piah Che Othman said at a briefing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Warisan Merdeka, a 10-year mixed-development project estimated to cost RM5 billion, will be PNB's single biggest property project to date. Its construction is set to create some 5,000 jobs.

The tower alone, of about 525 metres , makes up half of the cost. The project will be done by PNB's wholly-owned PNB Merdeka Ventures Sdn Bhd, but it is open to having partners.

It may also sell part of the 14.6ha site, but this has yet to be finalised as it also wants to have recurring income from the properties.

"We must make sure returns prevail," Hamad Kama Piah said, adding that 8-10 per cent a year would be a good rate.

More importantly, Warisan Merdeka will boost the prices of residential, office and retail properties in the Golden Triangle, especially the Jalan Hang Tuah area, Pudu and Imbi, said Zerin Properties founder and chief executive officer Previn Singhe.

Property valuers said property prices shot up when the Petronas Twin Towers was built in 1985. Some foresee Warisan Merdeka to be the next KLCC.

"We need to look at the project very objectively. New York had five tallest towers in the world at any one time and they are all doing well," Previn said.

The land price in the Golden Triangle area is currently around RM2,000 per sq ft, while the net lettable area of a top office building is about RM800 per sq ft.

But valuers who were not so bullish said the key challenge is how to deal with traffic flow.

"You must look at the project site. It is very dense and road access and public transportation is limited. If the government can improve that, then we will have a different price outlook," said a valuer who declined to be named.

This was acknowledged by Hamad Kama Piah, who stressed that PNB has consultants working on the traffic issue. The cost of improving infrastructure in the area has also been factored into the overall RM5 billion cost, he explained.


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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
PNB to start 10-year Warisan Merdeka project with 100-storey tower
By ANGIE NG Thursday October 21, 2010

Tan Sri Hamad Kama Piah Che Othman pointing to the site of Warisan
Merdeka development during the press conference pn Wednesday.

KUALA LUMPUR: Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) will be undertaking the Warisan Merdeka development over three phases in 10 years starting with the 100-storey tower next year.

At a press conference yesterday to explain PNB’s plans for the project, president and group chief executive Tan Sri Hamad Kama Piah Che Othman said the development costing RM5bil would also have a shopping complex and condominiums.

The 100-storey tower – touted to be the country’s tallest – will cost RM2.5bil to RM3bil and will have gross floor space of 3 million sq ft and 2.2 million sq ft of net floor space .

“It will be a five-star green building. We are confident its completion in 2015 will create some excitement and spill-over benefits for the development as a whole,” Hamad added.

PNB has set up wholly-owned unit PNB Merdeka Ventures Sdn Bhd to undertake the project. The company is headed by Tengku Abdul Aziz Tengku Mahmud who was from Guthrie Property Development Holding Bhd and Sime Darby Property Bhd. He came on board early this year.

“We are now finalising the project design and concept, and may invite professionals, both local and foreign, to submit their ideas for the project.

“PNB’s existing headquarters, Menara PNB will be 30 years old by the time the new tower is completed. We are looking for strategic positioning for the future and will need new office space for the expanding PNB group of companies. The Warisan Merdeka tower will become the new PNB headquarters while Menara PNB will be upgraded and leased out for recurring income,” Hamad added.

He said PNB had the capability to finance the project through internally generated funds but he did not discount resorting to borrowings “if the interest rates are attractive.”

On the rationale for PNB’s decision to undertake the project, Hamad explained: “We have been planning to develop the land since 2004 after acquiring it in 2000. After holding the land for so long, we decided it is now the right time to move ahead with the project. As an investment house, our intention is to optimise returns from the development.”

He said the project was expected to yield reasonable returns of between 8% and 10%.

“For the past few years, we have revisited the plan every year. Now with Tengku Abdul Aziz helming PNB Merdeka Ventures, we are more focused on the project and are ready to move ahead with it. The Government is also promoting this type of development.”

PNB paid RM310mil or RM220 per sq ft to buy the 36-acre land from Pengurusan Danaharta Nasional Bhd in 2000. Hamad said the market value of the land was estimated at RM800 per sq ft today.

Of the 36 acres, around 17 acres are occupied by Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara, which have been identified as a national heritage site. Conservation works have been undertaken to restore their heritage characteristics and the two stadiums are now being managed by the National Heritage Trust.

The overall Warisan Merdeka development on 19 acres would have to complement and blend with the heritage theme, and together with the restored stadiums, the site was set to be another major landmark in Kuala Lumpur, he said.

Hamad said although the project was scheduled to take 10 years, it may be expedited if market conditions warranted it.

“As a long-term player, we would prefer to own the Warisan Merdeka property and leased it out for recurring profit but we may also consider unlocking the value if the situation warrants it.”

He said PNB had been expanding its portfolio of property assets from mainly investing in equities previously. It had been purchasing commercial properties that offered competitive returns and potential for capital appreciation at reasonable prices.

Today, its property portfolio includes Menara PNB, PNB Darby Park, Kenanga International Building, Bangunan MAS in Kuala Lumpur, Hotel Perdana in Kota Baru and PNB Ilham Resort in Port Dickson. Its first offshore property, Santos Place in Brisbane, Australia, a six-star Green Star building, was acquired in August for A$287mil.

Hamad said PNB was also active in property development through its strategic holdings in a number of companies, including the merged entity of Island & Peninsular Bhd, Petaling Garden Bhd and Pelangi Bhd.


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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
PNB defends Warisan Merdeka project
Written by Kathy Fong Thursday, 21 October 2010 13:14

KUALA LUMPUR: Permodalan Nasional Bhd’s (PNB) RM5 billion plan to redevelop the tract of land near Stadium Merdeka, which includes building a 100-storey office block, is a move to diversify the investment group’s asset portfolio, said its group chief executive Tan Sri Hamad Kama Piah.

He said PNB expected an annual return of 8% to 10% from the massive property redevelopment plan, which he stressed was a well-thought investment decision. “It was not a ‘one-day thing’,” Hamad told a media briefing that was called at short notice yesterday.

The meeting was called after growing public criticism over the 100-storey tower project, which was announced in last week’s 2011 Budget. Many quarters had lamented the tower as lavish and unnecessary, and questioned its viability in the face of a looming glut in Kuala Lumpur’s office space market.

Hamad reiterated that PNB could finance the mega development project in the city centre solely from profits that it had made over the past three decades. “We are not taking the government’s money (for the project),” he stressed.

“(Since) many years ago, PNB has been talking about shifting its asset class. Over the years, we have bought many properties, for instance the Kenanga (International) building, the MAS (Malaysia Airlines) building,” Hamad explained on the rationale of the project.

The massive development project on 19 acres of land, which PNB bought for RM310 million from Danaharta, would stretch over 10 years until 2020. The market value of the land has appreciated to RM800 psf versus the purchase price of RM220 psf, Hamad estimates.

The new tall tower, called Warisan Merdeka, will cost RM2.5 billion to RM3 billion and is expected to be completed by 2015.

Warisan Merdeka will be the second state-initiated mega property project in the country after the Petronas Twin Towers.

According to Hamad, Warisan Merdeka could house about 10,000 people or more with a total floor space of three million sq ft.

He revealed that PNB would be an anchor tenant, making Warisan Merdeka its headquarters. “We need a new office for expansion,” Hamad replied when asked about the tenancy.

As for PNB’s existing headquarters, along Jalan Tun Razak, Hamad said the group planned to refurbish and upgrade the building to fetch a better rental yield.

The 100-storey Warisan Merdeka may be another attractive icon for tourists, but for the locals though, the massive project raises concerns of a possible glut in office space supply — apart from concerns of infrastructure challenges, such as traffic congestion, and whether it will bring much benefit to the country’s economic development.

Statistics from National Property Information Centre (Napic) show that as of September 2010, Kuala Lumpur has 72.7 million sq ft of existing office space supply, of which 58.5 million or 80.5% is occupied. The rate has dropped over the past nine-month against 83.2% in December 2009, as more office space came into the market.

According to data extrapolated by The Edge Financial Daily from the Napic statistics, the nine-month period saw a rise of 3.9%, or 2.75 million sq ft, in office space supply. However, occupancy rose only 0.36 million sq ft. As a result, vacant office supply increased by 20% from 11.76 million to 14.16 million sq ft.

Meanwhile, another 10.4 million sq ft of office space is expected to come onstream later, based on projects that are under construction as at Sept 30, 2010. The take-up rate for Kuala Lumpur office space is estimated to have averaged 1.72 million sq ft annually from 1985-2009. Based on this calculation, it implies that the incoming office supply is equivalent to about six years’ worth of demand.

When the Petronas Twin Towers were conceptualised in the early 1990s and started construction in 1994, the office market was tight.

The office occupancy rate for Kuala Lumpur was above 90% from 1990 to 1997. It reached as high as 98.1% in 1997, just before the Asian financial crisis and the completion of the twin towers.

Following the completion of the Petronas Twin Towers in 1998, however, the city’s occupancy rate plunged to about 82.1% as total office supply increased by about nine million sq ft or 18% in that year.

Since then, occupancy levels have remained around the 80% mark. It dropped below 80% from 1999-2004 — to as low as 72.6% in 2001.

Going forward, there is a number of government-initiated massive development projects in the capital, in addition to the numerous private projects.

Examples are the joint development between Mubadala Real Estate & Hospitality (MREH) and 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) on the 34.4ha tract near Kampung Pandan and Jalan Tun Razak. 1MDB also partners with Qatar Investment Authority to redevelop the Royal Malaysian Air Force base near Sungei Besi.

The federal government also intends to redevelop its large tract of land near Cochrane Road area.

Outside the city centre are the upcoming Matrade development in Mont’Kiara-Dutamas, and the massive Rubber Research Institute township in Sungei Buloh.

Should all the projects kickstart, simple logic tells there will be ample supply of office space in Kuala Lumpur. Will there also be a surge in demand for them?

Much will depend on Malaysia’s ability to transform its economy and attract more foreign direct investments.

Still, PNB’s Hamad is more optimistic.

He said all developers lived through the cyclical property cycle. “When we are taking calculated risks, we also ensure reasonable returns,” he commented.

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
100-storey tower among world's tallest
Terence Fernandez Updated: 08:35PM Wed, 20 Oct 2010

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 20, 2010): As it stands on paper, the 100-storey tower to be built in the city centre.

Standing between 525m and 550m, the tower in the Warisan Merdeka mega project will surpass the 452m-high Petronas Twin Towers. This is provided taller skyscrapers do not come up by 2020 – the projected completion date of the tower and entire Warisan Merdeka development.

Revealing details at a briefing at PNB Darby Park today, Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) president and group CEO Tan Sri Hamad Kama Piah Che Othman said the yet-to-be-named tower which will be built by PNB at a cost of RM3 billion will not involve depositors funds.

"There is RM115 billion in investors' money but we cannot touch it as it is regulated by the Securities Commission," he said.

Hamad Kama Piah said PNB had its own funds and will look at other avenues to raise the funds needed for the project. He said the 7.2ha property earmarked for the project was purchased from Danaharta for RM310 million.

"We want to preserve the heritage value of the two stadiums so Warisan Merdeka will incorporate these two icons," he said, referring to Stadium Negara and Stadium Merdeka.

He said PNB will have 19 acres (7.7ha) to work on after excluding the stadium sites.

To be built in three phases, Warisan Merdeka project will cost RM5 billion. The mixed development will include office blocks, retail outlets, a hotel and high-end condominiums.

The tower with a three million sq ft gross built-up area will also take on a green theme with eco-friendly features from building material to fixtures.

"It will be a five-star green building. The tower can take in 10,000 people while the project itself will provide 5,000 jobs," he said, adding that the venture will be taken up by PNB Merdeka Ventures Bhd.

On the design of the tower, he said there was a basic design but it must blend in with the stadiums to take on a heritage theme.

He could not say if surrounding buildings will be sacrificed for the project as it was outside his jurisdiction, but dismissed that iconic schools in the vicinity will have to make way for the mega traffic dispersal system, including a light rapid transit system which will be part of the supporting infrastructure for the project.

He added that the project was still being fine-tuned and PNB was talking with various parties. "We want to learn from others and don’t want to have problems," he said.

Meanwhile, asked to confirm reports that Dubai-based Deyaar were in talks with PNB, senior vice-president and property division head Ibrahim Awang said there were talks with several parties.

Hamad Kama Piah added that foreign investors will be brought in if the need arose.

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Warisan Merdeka – a beacon to PNB’s future
By ANGIE NG Saturday October 23, 2010

The 100-storey 5-star green building is set to attract more interest to the whole development.

BACK in 2000 when Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) was presented the opportunity to buy the 14.5ha where Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara are located, it had decided to retain the heritage value of this priceless asset while looking for opportunities to develop the surrounding area.

A decade later, PNB is doing precisely that.

PNB paid RM310mil or RM220 per sq ft to buy the land from Pengurusan Danaharta Nasional Bhd. The market value of the land has since appreciated to RM800 per sq ft today.

At a special briefing for media editors on Wednesday, PNB president and group chief executive Tan Sri Hamad Kama Piah Che Othman disclosed that the heritage aspect has been fulfilled through conservation works to restore the heritage characteristics of Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara. The two stadiums are now being managed by a heritage trust.

Both the stadiums are occupying 6.8ha, which have been identified as a national heritage site.

Hamad says the overall Warisan Merdeka development on the remaining 7.7ha will complement and blend with the heritage theme. He is optimistic that together with the restored stadiums, the site will be another major landmark in Kuala Lumpur.

“We are looking at ways on how to integrate the building aspects of the stadiums with the planning of the overall development of Warisan Merdeka. The heritage part will not be sacrificed and will actually serve as the enhancement factor to the commercial aspects of the building. The heritage preservation of the stadiums will be undertaken by the heritage trust,” he explains.

Construction work on the 100-storey Warisan Merdeka tower will kick off next year.

Touted to be the country’s tallest when it is completed in 2015, the building will cost RM2.5bil to RM3bil. It will have gross floor space of 3 million sq ft and 2.2 million sq ft of net floor space.

Hamad says the five-star green building will be the “beacon” to create more excitement and attract more interest to the whole development.

This will be followed by two subsequent phases comprising a shopping complex and condominiums. The whole development, to be undertaken over a 10 year period, will cost RM5bil.

On the rationale for mooting the project, Hamad says: “Since the plan to develop the land was approved by the PNB board in 2004, we were waiting for the right time to proceed with the project.

“The concept of 100-storey building, its retail portion and the condominium was mooted in early 2004 taking into account the need for enhancement of value and effective utilisation of the 19-acre land adjacent to Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara. In 2005, the master plan was approved by the municipal authorities followed by final titles being issued in 2008. The principle concept of PNB Iconic Building was then approved in 2009.”

He says that having held the land for so long, “we feel it is now the right time to go ahead. The Government is also promoting this type of development.”

Hamad stresses that most importantly, by initiating the Warisan Merdeka project, PNB is taking the lead to preserve the historical value of Stadium Merdeka as the site for the country’s declaration of independence back in 1957.

Emphasising that PNB is not looking to compete with anybody when it decided to put up a 100-storey tower as part of the Warisan Merdeka development, he says it will make more economic sense to build the high-rise tower than lower rise buildings.

He says as a state investment agency, PNB’s main concern is to maximise return for its stakeholders. “Each year, PNB declares income distribution of 6% to 7% to unitholders. The project with expected yields of between 8% and 10% will be able to meet our responsibility as an investment agency.”

Meanwhile, the new tower will be able to meet PNB’s need for new office space in line with its strategic positioning for the future.

Hamad says PNB will be moving out from its present headquarters, Menara PNB, which will be 30 years old when the tower project is completed, to the Warisan Merdeka tower upon its completion.

PNB has set up wholly-owned unit, PNB Merdeka Ventures Sdn Bhd to undertake the project. Helming it since early this year is Tengku Abdul Aziz Tengku Mahmud who was formerly from Guthrie Property Development Holding Bhd and Sime Darby Property Bhd.

So, will Warisan Merdeka be an iconic project and will there be foreign expertise involved such as the like of world renowned architect Cesar Pelli who designed the Petronas Twin Towers?

Hamad says the project design plans are still in the drawing board.

“We are in talks with several parties comprising experts from the relevant fields. We are exploring the possibilities of creating a strong architectural and engineering team for the project,” he adds.

With its latest venture, PNB is certainly thrusting ahead with its plans to build up its presence in the local property scene.


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The plot is not very big for such a tall proposal.
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