Medini Iskandar to focus on commercial projects

MEDINI Iskandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd, the company behind the flagship development of the Medini township in Iskandar Malaysia, will focus more on commercial projects in the near future to complement the many residential projects undertaken by other developers.
 
The master developer of Medini made a conscious decision last year to stop selling its land in the development.
 
Having sold 80 per cent of its land, it is holding on to the balance to further develop office space to kick-start the project’s business district of the project.
 
“The 20 per cent will comprise half-commercial and half-residential developments. But because most of the developers are building residential projects, we are not embarking on such projects in the near future. 
 
“What we want to do is to focus on commercial projects to complement residential projects.
 
“Our view is that we need to encourage a working population to be established in Medini, to bring life to the area — to help create demand for other amenities, such as retail, food and beverages — and that would encourage those who work in Medini to stay in Medini,” Medini Iskandar  managing director and chief executive officer Khairil Anwar Ahmad said.
 
This year, the company has come up with a smart city master plan to promote sustainable development in Medini.
 
In line with this, Medini Iskandar has also embarked on a process of taking over Medini’s township management.
 
On the back of RM1.5 billion in investments, it is maintaining all the parks, roads and coordinating the utilities (water, sewerage, power supply) as well as installing a high-quality fibre network to establish an open access information and communications technology platform.
 
“The development of the business district, ownership of township management, sustainable development — these are the three things we are putting in place to help fellow developers in Medini have a leg up on other property companies in the Iskandar region.
 
On the drawing board for possible future “activation” are crowd-pulling activities such as Medini Jazz Festival, Medini Rugby 7s and an art festival to showcase works of artists.
 
“Together, we are co-branding ourselves so that people understand that Medini is a destination,” Khairil said.
 
The most impressive of the projects that make Medini an attraction is Legoland, which is a runaway success.
 
The Gleneagles Hospital and a wellness resort by the Khazanah-Temasek joint venture, scheduled for completion by end-2015, are sub-destinations that are expected to add to Medini’s allure.
 
Medini also enjoys international experience via its three shareholders — Iskandar Investment Bhd (a Khazanah-controlled company) that owns 60 per cent, Japan’s Mitsui (20 per cent) and Dubai’s United World Infrastructure (20 per cent).
 
Khairil said when Mitsui came on board as shareholder last year, the Japanese brought along their expertise in sustainable design.
 
As for big name tenants, China’s Huawei stands out. The Chinese giant has signed a three-year lease where they are showcasing their products and bringing their regional customers to the venue.
 
Goldbury, which deals in SAP solutions for the automotive industry, has set up office there to conduct training.
 
“The board has approved our first high-rise building and we should start construction in March next year. It is a 24-storey office building due for completion in 2018.
 
“All these buildings are developed for rental income. We are not selling any of the space as we want to control the tenant mix. We want to encourage the Grade A names to come and set up office here. 
 
“We are looking at companies from Singapore and Malaysia,” he said, adding that Medini Iskandar is eyeing financial services, leisure and tourism, logistics, healthcare and education sectors.
 
On the possibility of a listing, Khairil said: “It is something that we have not decided on.
 
“Taking the IPO (initial public offering) route in our aspiration to raise capital for development activities and expansion of the company is one of the options we will consider.
 
“But there has been no decision by the board as far as an IPO is concerned,” he said. 
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