OSK, EPF’s Melbourne Square project to see first phase done by 2020

Southbank's Melbourne Square – a mixed-use vertical development and Melbourne's single largest integrated development

MELBOURNE: The first phase of Melbourne Square, a mixed-development project being developed by a joint venture between OSK Property Holdings Bhd and the Employee Provident Fund Malaysia (EPF), is expected to be completed by mid-2020.

OSK group executive chairman Tan Sri Ong Leong Huat said the first phase of the project, with a gross development value of AUS$927mil, which would kick-off in November, comprising two residential towers of 52- and 68-storey high had been 55% sold.

“Being our first development outside Malaysia, we believe that Australia provides the most attractive market, and we at OSK see great potential to grow our business here for the long term.

“We’d decided to invest in Melbourne because of its strong fundamentals - a strong and stable economy, well-planned urban infrastructure, a great education system, quality healthcare, and rich cultural heritage and diversity,” he told reporters after the official launch of the project on Thursday.

Meanwhile, EPF chief executive officer Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said the Melbourne Square is EPF’s third overseas development project outside Malaysia after the Battersea Power Project in London and Tanjung Pagar Centre in Singapore.

“Melbourne Square meets EPF’s long-term objective and would be a good addition to our overseas portfolio. The increasing demand for residential property in Melbourne will enable EPF to generate returns for our close to 15 million members,” he said.

Shahril said the property segment had been included in EPF’s portfolio since the last seven years and currently the portion took about four per cent of its total portfolio.

“The whole idea (of including the property and other segments into the portfolio) are to have more diversified portfolio which can withstand significant fever in the market and provides much more certainty of a longer-term return for the contributors.

“We started our journey in the property segment by acquiring yield-based assets because that was on the lower-risk ride of the spectrum. From there we decided that we would add more risk into the (property) mix and started moving into development projects,” he added.

Shahril said as the risk was higher than other parts of the property segment, the EPF kept the development part below 10% of the total property portion of the fund.

With a total GDV of A$2.3bil (RM7.6bil), Melbourne Square will transform a former car park the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground into a vertical village featuring six towers of varying levels, within a network of elevated gardens.

The project, spanning over 20,260 sq metres, will be delivered in five stages over a period of eight to 10 years. - Bernama
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