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Tuesday August 28, 2012

EPF buys land for RM2.3bil to build iconic township

PETALING JAYA: Employees Provident Fund's (EPF) wholly-owned subsidiary Kwasa Land Sdn Bhd is acquiring the 2,330 acres of Rubber Research Institute (RRI) land in Sungai Buloh from the Malaysian Rubber Board for RM2.28bil or RM22.50 per sq ft, thus confirming reports that the land will cost more than RM2bil.

The land, to be known as Kwasa Damansara, would have a development period spanning 10 to 15 years and would be transformed into a township with a mix of residential and commercial properties, infrastructure and public amenities for an expected population of 150,000.

Kwasa Land's chairman Tan Sri Samsudin Osman said in a statement that the township would “incorporate plans that are befitting of a city replete with infrastructure and modern facilities both residential and commercial that aim to serve the entire Damansara region, if not the Klang Valley.”

Kwasa Land, tasked as the master developer, would be calling for a process to pre-qualify developers for projects in the township. Earlier reports quoting sources had said that this would likely involve tendering out parcels of between 100 acres and 500 acres.

“We will soon be calling for the pre-qualification of developers to participate in the creation and building of an iconic township that will be the toast of the town in the coming years,” Samsudin said.

He said the master plan was now in an advanced stage and was being finalised for submission to the Selangor State Planning Committee for approval as development is expected to commence next year.

Sources have also said the pre-qualification process would start soon but this, according to observers, would take time as EPF and Kwasa Land must still come up with a master plan acceptable to the local authority, which hopefully would include provisions to accommodate changes in the future.

Samsudin said Kwasa Land would be responsible for obtaining all the necessary approvals for the master layout plan and for the construction of the main infrastructure.

“The land will be divided into parcels, developed in phases, and sold to developers according to plot ratios, development components and in conformance with the urban design guidelines by Kwasa Land,” he said, adding that developers who have successfully completed projects with a high gross development value in the past two to three years could participate in the pre-qualification process.

“The design concept plan is to be evaluated first prior to the tender price,” Samsudin said.

He said the master plan would incorporate an integrated transportation system that links the township via the My Rapid Transit to the Klang Valley. “A 7.5km green park of 160 acres will also be among the highlights of this new development,” Samsudin said.

He said that the proposed development components must be aligned to the urban design guidelines determined by Kwasa Land “in which harmony is an important pre requisite to the entire development.”

Meanwhile, VPC Alliance (KL) Sdn Bhd managing director James Wong said in an email reply to StarBiz that the price “does not seem unreasonable given the limited prime land in the Klang Valley for township development.”

Dijaya Corp Bhd had to pay RM26 per sq ft for a 198-acre track in Kajang and Mah Sing Group Bhd paid RM18 per sq ft for a 172-acre site in Bandar Baru Bangi.

Wong said the price was reflective of the market value of the land since Kwasa Land was responsible for the necessary approvals and construction of the main infrastructure.

“In addition, part of the RRI land is within Petaling Jaya and the Petaling Jaya address always commands a premium,” he said.

Another property valuer said besides giving an indication on the tender price, the sale price would indicate the type of projects that the township may incorporate.

“Hopefully Kwasa Land will plan something sensible, we need more green spaces. What I'm worried about is that there'll be too many highrise projects contributing to higher density,” he said.

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