Mulia to make Signature mark

The tower in TRX to be among Malaysia’s tallest and the world’s top 15

KUALA LUMPUR: When it comes to buildings in Kuala Lumpur, it is all in the superlatives. The 88-storey Petronas Twin Towers and the newly-launched 118-storey Merdeka PNB118 are going to have new company. And maybe a bit of competition.

A third super tall building is entering the scene, this time in Tun Razak Exchange (TRX).

Mulia Property Development Sdn Bhd, which is part of Indonesia’s commercial property developer Mulia Group, will be building its 92-storey Signature Tower in the 70-acre site that is being primed as Malaysia’s financial and banking district. When completed, it will be among the top 15 tallest buildings in the world while Merdeka PNB118 is among the top 10. When the Petronas Twin Towers were completed in 1998, they were the world’s tallest.

Mulia chief executive director Datuk W.H. Lai said Signature Tower, about 30 ft short of the Twin Towers’ 1,482 ft, should not be seen as competing with iconic buildings in the city.

“Signature Tower will complement them. When completed, it will offer a fresh and contemporary look to Kuala Lumpur’s landscape,” he said at a press conference on Saturday.

It was a milestone for Mulia. The company took the press for a site visit to view the pouring of a massive 20,200 cu m of concrete into its foundation or belly of the building, enough to fill eight Olympic-size swimming pools.

About 1,500 workers were involved with work on a 22x7 schedule, said project director Roland Suckling.

Suckling said the Mulia Property Development had kept to that schedule since November/December last year in order to speed up construction. Signature Tower is expected to be completed by 2018.

Said Suckling: “It has to be done over the weekend or it will impose a significant strain on the city’s infrastructure. We wanted to minimise the impact of this ‘concrete pour’ on the city’s infrastructure. It is arguably one of the ‘biggest and longest pour’ in Malaysia’s (building and construction) history.”

The concrete pour, estimated to be among the largest recorded globally, involved 8.5 million kg of cement, 16 million kg of sand and 19 million kg of aggregate, Suckling said.

The Signature Tower, with a gross development value (GDV) of more than RM3.5bil, will have 92 storeys of column-free floors each averaging 34,000 sq ft, the largest configuration of column-free floor space in the city. It will have a gross floor area of 4 million sq ft and a net lettable area of 2.65 million sq ft.

“It will be the most luxurious skyscraper, built with some of the most advanced and fast-track construction strategies which we hope to share with other developers. We will have four lifts to take workers up and once they are up there, they will not be coming down until it is the end of their working day. Food will be delivered to them so that no time is wasted,” Lai said.

On the already oversupply of office space in the Klang Valley and the group’s rationale to spend more to go on a fast-track construction mode, Lai said the group was aware of the situation.

“But we are not benchmarking ourselves against the general current environment. Signature Tower offers a particular market segment like no other. In that sense, what Signature Tower is going to offer is not in oversupply,” he said.

Lai said the urgency to complete the project by 2018 would have its benefits.

“Once we start a project, we want to see fruition as fast as possible. The group will reap the benefits of spending additional money to fast-track its completion. If you look at the lifespan of the entire project on a 20-, 50- and 100-year basis, a little money upfront will have its benefits,” he said.

The group is eyeing banking and finance, information and technology, oil and gas sectors among its tenants.

On Mulia Group’s decision to buy the 3.4-acre site in May 2015 for RM665mil, or RM4,490 per sq ft, among the highest land deals in the vicinity, Lai said: “We ran through our financial model, and we looked at the market. Based on that and other considerations, it is a valuable project. There were incentives for developers and standard incentives, which were given to other developers in TRX. But there were no (special) incentives given specifically to us. They were incentives given to TRX as a whole.

“There were also incentives (given) to attract tenants into TRX. Not for Signature Tower per se but for tenants in general, and this (site of Signature Tower) is part of the financial quarter,” said Lai.

Mulia’s land has the highest plot ratio of 18.5 times compared with other TRX land parcels that were sold which ranged from 10.8 to 15.2 times. The group paid RM77mil more for the piece of land to build the iconic tower compared to the earlier price on the table.

Initially, Lembaga Tabung Haji was offered the land that came with the mandate to build the tower. However, the pilgrim fund turned down the offer and bought another TRX site slated for a residential development.

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