Pioneering a solar-ready biz park

GONE are the days where industrial parks and factory buildings in Malaysia look dull and monotonous.

Nowadays, more and more factories across Malaysia carry a modern and contemporary look. Yet, it takes more than frontage or overall appearance for an industrial park to truly stand out from the rest.

Investors planning to invest in Johor are not only looking for a business-friendly state government but also other factors such as good infrastructure, connectivity, efficient utilities and a conducive environment.

“As a leading industrial park developer and an experienced builder of dedicated customised factories, we have the expertise, knowledge and experience to assist our clients,” said WB Land Sdn Bhd managing director Kevin Woon.

He says winning the FIABCI Malaysia International Real Estate Federation Malaysia Property Award 2020/21, (Industrial Category) for its Frontier Park project speaks volume for the company.

German multi-national company SEW Eurodrive in Frontier Park.German multi-national company SEW Eurodrive in Frontier Park.

“The jury acknowledges and recognises our undivided commitment in delivering on our industrial specialty to our clients,” he said. The 136-acre Frontier Park comprising 173 factories over three phases is located within the mature industrial hub of Desa Cemerlang in Ulu Tiram Johor Bahru.

“Work on our Phase 3 which we call Frontier 3, is currently underway. It will be our ‘final frontier’ in Desa Cemerlang and, after this, we are looking for a ‘new frontier’ elsewhere in south Johor,” he said.

The past 2 phases are fully sold and are fully occupied, with most end-users purchasing their own factories. Woon added the company was playing its part in assisting the Johor government attract more capital-intensive, high-technology investments and clean industries into the state.

“Our Frontier Park has the right ecosystem to attract local and foreign investors to Johor and to assist them to grow their businesses together,” he said.

In discussing the success of Frontier Park in Desa Cemerlang, Woon shared the company’s “winning formula” which was to identify and meet the “unsatisfied” needs of clients and how the company assured these entrepreneurs and industrialists they only need to focus on their businesses while WB Land would “take care of the rest” when it comes to factory facilities.

The gated, guarded and green Frontier Park is complete with a facial and number-plate recognition security systemThe gated, guarded and green Frontier Park is complete with a facial and number-plate recognition security system

“Our clients only need to focus on growing their business. We’ll handle everything else and we’ve been doing so for years now. In fact, some of our early clients have grown so rapidly that they have again chosen Frontier when they needed to upgrade their production capacity.

“You have to differentiate yourselves from others in terms of products and services and must be willing to push the limits and we did just that,” he said. One way that WB Land has done

so is to provide the Build-to-suit service to multi-national companies. Woon explained that normally an MNC would have to buy land, appoint design and engineering consultants and then engage contractors separately in a step-by-step process.

“We realise that they will certainly need and appreciate our one-stop solution in customising their factory. They can leave the complex tasks of design, approval and construction to us so that they can focus on what they do best.”

Woon says the company’s mission and vision from Day One has been to find new ways to better serve its customers. That has always been WB Land’s top priority. However, he said, it was not an easy journey as the company was not spared from challenges but they did not deter the company from achieving its goal.

Woon: Frontier 3 is a New Normal-ready Business campus.Woon: Frontier 3 is a New Normal-ready Business campus.

Woon said this was achieved through effective park management where the streetscapes were deliberately kept spick and span. The side-tables are not only free of rubbish but also are without unauthorised objects. Even long-term parking is not allowed.

“The common areas are as important as the factory buildings as they are part of the overall look-and-feel of Frontier Park. As a responsible developer, we take on this role of ensuring a well-managed and sustainable environment.” He said the company controlled the façade of the building and standardised it when it comes to extensions in terms of paint colour and materials used even after hand-over.

“We have a handbook with a guide on ‘Dos and Don’ts’ not just in the common areas but the factory appearance too. We are glad that many years after handing over, our operators are still appreciative of this objective and they have cooperated with us to continually improve the industrial park environment,” said Woon.

He said initially, the team had to put in a lot of effort to educate and change the mindset of the Frontier Park community adding it was not an easy task. Eventually this was successfully done when all stakeholders realised they had a shared purpose to keep the environment professional, clean and green.

The dormitory with a one-acre sports park in Frontier 2.The dormitory with a one-acre sports park in Frontier 2.

Woon said the company also gave equal attention to the environmental concerns with regular inspection of local drainage to ensure no effluents are discharged into the water bodies.

“Safety and security is also top on the list as we want to give our clients peace of mind to focus on their operations and expand their businesses instead of having to worry about their properties,” he said.

Woon said to give factories more control over the access, the company had customised an app that allows them to register visitors for facial and licence-plate recognition, verify visitors with real time CCTV and review in-out entry records.

He said during the first movement control order (MCO 1.0) imposed on March 18, 2020, the streets were empty and the company had tightened security within Frontier Park that kept it free from any damage or loss.

Frontier Park also boasts of an integrated 2,212-bed workers’ dormitory designed like service apartments and located within its park confines. The two-block dormitory comes complete with a one-acre sports park and a big canteen that can seat 500 people.

An artist’s impression of the cluster units in Frontier 3.An artist’s impression of the cluster units in Frontier 3.

“We are glad that our dormitory was recognised by the government as the first workers’ dormitory in Johor to be certified under Akta 446,” he added.

“We take rest-and-recreation seriously and this is why our two-acre Central Park is on a prime squarish location. It’s a green lung for them to engage in communal activities and welfare programmes,” he said.

On development at Frontier 3, Woon explained that it is being designed like a Business Campus and is new normal-ready, more employee-friendly, and a safe, secure environment with its own Urban Park for the community to enjoy the outdoors.

He said the factories at Frontier 3 are the first in Malaysia to be solar-ready and will bring about a huge advantage to modern-day businesses as they to start their Green journey and enhance their competitiveness and brand-value.

Frontier Park Phase 3, offers 100 units of semi-detached and cluster factories with built-up area from 5,991sq ft to 13,000sq ft and price ranging from RM2.5mil to RM8mil for each unit. “Frontier Park is a well-planned, well-managed and well-organised industrial park but we are not resting on our laurels in delivering the best services to the end-users,” he said.

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