Lendlease speeds up TRX project

  • Business
  • Friday, 31 Aug 2018

On target: Lombardo (left) and Mendel. Lendlease expects to complete developing The Lifestyle Quarter in in 2020-2021.

KUALA LUMPUR: Australian property and infrastructure group Lendlease is moving into high gear now that the coast has been cleared for financial and banking district Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) to move ahead.

It has secured up to three anchor tenants to take up 347,000 sq ft of its total 1.33 million sq ft of net lettable area (NLA), or 26% of the retail portion at The Lifestyle Quarter.

“We will be launching leasing of the remaining space in a month of two,” Lendlease Asia chief executive officer Tony Lombardo told StarBiz.

TRX has generated a lot of interest after Pakatan Harapan’s May 9, 2018 victory. After weeks of uncertainty pending a review of all major projects as a result of Malaysia’s trillion debt situation, Finance Ministry (MoF) in June announced that it would pump RM2.8bil into the 70-acre TRX. The money will be given in stages until the 70-acre project is completed in 2024.

The Lifestyle Quarter is a 60:40 joint venture between Lendlease and TRX City Sdn Bhd.

TRX City Sdn Bhd is the master developer for TRX and is a wholly owned subsidiary of the MoF, which means the government owns the remaining 40% of The Lifestyle Quarter.

The 17-acre mixed development comprises a four-level mall, a 400-room hotel and about 2,400 residential units.

The retail mall will be completed first and will have a 10-acre public park as its roof-top.

One of 18 regeneration projects around the world that Lendlease is involved in, Lombardo said the group is excited with its work here.

“We do not get to do a city-defining project (all that often),” he said.

Lombardo said Japanese departmental store Seibu, Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) and Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm would anchor up to 26% of the 1.33 million NLA mall space.

For comparison, Pavilion KL has a NLA of 1.37 million sq ft and Suria KLCC, 1.17 million sq ft.

The residential units will be launched in 2019.

To be completed in 2020-2021, The Lifestyle Quarter is, according to Lombardo, seeking to put “a new dimension and perspective” to the retail experience. He is working towards unveiling the country’s best retail mall.

This encompasses the whole gamut of retail experience from dining, entertainment, shopping and leisure.

“We will be able to offer a new retail environment which will give people a great destination to visit, (by offering) a new perspective.

“We are considering different activities and how we can curate the space differently from other malls,” he said.

Lombardo said the entertainment and leisure to be offered at The Lifestyle Quarter would involve the park where red carpet premiere events and star performances would be held involving cinema operator GSC.

“The cinema will have a broader purpose,” he said.

He said F&B would be dominant in the centre, next to the public square and the 10-acre park.

Retail will be over four levels, one of them in the below ground, or concourse area, which is connected to the MRT level.

On its retail rental rate, Lombardo is non-committal. “Look at KLCC and Pavilion KL or it could be less. There will be a lot of value creation at The Lifestyle Quarter.”

Lendlease Malaysia managing director and country head Stuart Mendel said the pedestrian connectivity from Bukit Bintang shopping district, vehicular and rail would make TRX a major destination.

“This site offers the latest generation of space that people will be moving to because of the convenience it provides.

“Once the retail, residential, infrastructure and park are delivered as part of phase one, the natural momentum will be there. The rest – offices and residential – will naturally follow,” Mendel said.

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