Iskandar Waterfront Holdings gets the task of remaking Johor Baru


– IWH’s over 1619ha forms part of Iskandar Malaysia’s 221,707ha and Iskandar is being built into a metropolis of the south. With the developments taking shape in Iskandar from theme parks to an edu-city and a water front city, investors are trickling in.

– “Fifteen years ago no one wanted to lend me a dollar and people used to a laugh at me when I showed the concept of creating JB into a waterfront city like Hong Kong-Shenzhen. They thought I was crazy. But now, they are same ones telling me that JB is going to be another Hong Kong-Shenzhen and I am not even talking,” he tells StarBizWeek in an interview.

This week he sealed his biggest deal yet. He sold 55 acres to one of China’s biggest property developers, Country Garden Holdings Ltd, for nearly RM1bil and he says a lot more deals are in the pipeline including selling of an island made of reclaimed to an influential Singapore company. And all of IWH’s land is sold on a joint venture basis except the 55 acres to Country Garden.

– The next thing on his plate after developing certain plots of land in Danga Bay is the Tebrau Coast. Danga Bay will be developed into a premier waterfront destination with features such as a cruise ship terminal, marina, fisherman’s wharf and tower blocks to house commercial offices, hotels, exhibition and convention centres, and residential properties.

– Some of the ongoing projects at the 1619ha owned by IWH include the RM500mil Azea Residences by a Singapore group, the RM105mil Plazzo Hotel & Serviced Suites by Waz Lian Group, RM20mil Tune Hotel project, Dijaya Corp Bhd is investing to build a high-end mixed development project that will have a gross development value (GDV) of about RM5bil. Burnsfield is building retail and commercial buildings that will have a GDV of about RM4bil. The Country Garden project will have a GDV of RM18bil.

– The deal with Country Garden took four months to conclude but some others are taking their time because some companies have longer evaluation and approval process than others. He is in talks with several parties, some of them are GLCs and that requires government approval.

But what he is excited about is the sale of a man-made island in the east side to a Singapore party. There are other investors from Singapore who are interested in the fisherman’s wharf, which is one of the 10 projects in Danga Bay.

– But there are other Singapore parties looking at different parcels and even Country Gardens wants to buy more land in Danga Bay.

“The Indonesians are looking to buy some land to create lifestyle projects,” he adds.

– “There is no way we can do landed property or terrace houses on such a land because the cost will be too expensive and nobody will buy a terrace or semi-D for RM10mil. That is why we are modelling our land on Hongkong-Shenzhen and this development will take years because waterfront cities are not built in a day. They can take decades for full realisation,” he says.

Lim also wants to work with developers from different countries, say China, India, Europe, Australia, Indonesia and Singapore so that when there is a problem in their home country, not every developer is affected and the overall development can go on.

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