WORK on the RM3bil Sepang GoldCoast, billed as an important tourism project in the country, has begun.
It will cover 1,850ha of sea and shore estates in front of the Straits of Malacca and 17km around a mangrove river.
Also planned are areas for retail, a dry market, restaurants, retirement village, a hotel and theme park.
Sepang GoldCoast is a joint venture between Sepang Bay Sdn Bhd and Permodalan Negeri Selangor Bhd. Sepang Bay is the Malaysian property development arm of the Indonesian Istana Group.
Piling works have begun and it stretches out 1.1km from the coast and 30 metres below the sea, Sepang GoldCoast president Ho Hock Seng told reporters.
All piling works will be completed by the year's end, and the show units completed by June or July next year.
He said this would be only part of the project's first phase. It would form the foundation for 366 units of sea villas designed to resemble the shape of a palm tree called Golden Palm Villas costing RM180mil.
While the concept itself is not new and is similar to the United Arab Emirates' The Palms very high-end development, Ho said it was the first of its kind in this region.
Upon completion in mid-2009, Golden Palm Villas will have a gross development value of RM230mil.
More plans are being drawn up to develop a 22km stretch of land along the coast.
Response to our villas has been positive. This is very encouraging for our future projects, said Ho, adding that 70% of the villas would be targeted at overseas buyers.
Ho said 76% of the units available for sale had been taken up. Of these, 116 bookings have come from Britain, 39 from South Korea, 32 from Dubai and eight from other countries. Malaysian buyers have booked 54 units.
Sepang GoldCoast chairman Yanki Regan said a selling point was the pricing.
If you buy a Palms unit in Dubai, you would be paying much more. Our prices start from only RM465,600, he said, adding that the Istana Group had a proven track record.