The 118-storey Warisan Merdeka tower project has moved from the drawing board and onto the construction phase after the first contract was awarded to Pintaras Jaya Bhd this week.
This effectively puts an end to speculation that the massive tower was going to be shifted to the old Sungei Besi airport where 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) is undertaking a mammoth development to create Bandar Malaysia.
The hope was that the tower would be a catalyst for 1MDB’s development there.
Since November last year, market talk was that the tower could be moved to the new location because there is no iconic building at Bandar Malaysia.
But the award to Pintaras Jaya Bhd, which took the market by surprise, underlines Permodalan Nasional Bhd’s (PNB) persistence to keep the location of the tower at its original location.
“There have been several proposals but a lot depended on the feasibility studies.
“What really works for PNB and where it really wants to be and naturally, it does not want to be pushed around,’’ says a source.
1MDB needs an iconic building to attract investors to Bandar Malaysia and prior to that, a lot of infrastructure would also be laid before investors can be enticed.
Pintaras Jaya in an announcement to Bursa Malaysia on Wednesday said its subsidiary Pintaras Geotechnics Sdn Bhd received a commencement date notice dated March 12 this year from PNB Merdeka Ventures Sdn Bhd to undertake foundation works for the proposed building at Warisan Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur.
PNB Merdeka Ventures is a unit of PNB, the developer of Warisan Merdeka.
The contract to Pintaras is worth RM74mil for foundation works.
Those in the know claim that there was a tender bid and Pintaras, given its expertise in foundation works, was selected for the job.
The pre-qualification for the foundation works commenced in March 2012.
But this is just the first of many contracts that will be dished out.
The next step is for further clearance works and within this year the contract for the superstructure will also be tendered out.
Several companies are keen to be part of the development but Merdeka Ventures is not willing to say much on that.
The skyscraper project or Warisan Merdeka, which will house the headquarters of PNB and its group of companies, will be located within the enclave of Merdeka Stadium and Stadium Negara.
It will be developed on 19 acres, and the two stadiums will be retained as national heritage buildings.
The skyscraper project will also consist of a mall and public park and house a luxury hotel and about 20 floors will be rented to tenants.
With 118 floors, the height of the building is expected to exceed 500m, meaning that it will surpass the current tallest building in Malaysia which is the 452m Petronas Twin Towers. It will have gross floor space of 3 million sq ft and 2.2 million sq ft of net floor space and the building will cost RM2.5bil to RM3bil.
The entire development in addition to the tower is projected to cost RM5bil.
As for 1MDB, it is a government-owned master developer for the redevelopment of the 495-acre (196 hectares) Bandar Malaysia in Sungei Besi. The development of Bandar Malaysia will kick start with affordable housing units within the next one to two years.
For Pintaras Jaya, analysts say the new contract will boost the company’s outstanding orderbook to RM224mil and likely boost earnings before interest and tax by RM22.2mil.
Pintaras Jaya said work at the site will commence on March 17 and is expected to be completed within a year’s time.