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5th February 2014

Developer Eco World may end up biggest landowner in Batu Kawan

The Second Penang Bridge opening is likely to see the entry of Eco World Development Group Bhd in Penang as the company looks to emerge as the biggest landowner in Batu Kawan.

Business Times learnt that Eco World is participating in a request for proposal (RFP) by Penang Development Corporation (PDC) to buy 190 hectares on a hillock close to the landing point of the new crossing between Batu Kawan in Seberang Prai and Batu Maung on the island.

It is further learnt that the winning bidder will have to develop a golf course on 60ha of the total 190ha plot.

“Eco World is currently the only company that has shown interest in bidding for the land, for which the bid is expected to open at RM45 per sq ft,” a source said.

If Eco World succeeds in its bid, the source added, an affordable housing component will also feature on mainland Penang, where the company has already acquired some land in Seberang Prai Selatan.

Property analysts have also speculated that if Eco World, with nationwide landbank of 1,200ha (of which about 40ha are in Penang), wins, its chief operating officer Datuk S.Rajoo will be making a comeback to Penang to oversee the development of the mammoth project.

Rajoo was formerly SP Setia Bhd’s northern region general manager.

The RFP is for an international theme park and golf resort development at Bandar Cassia in Batu Kawan.

The PDC is said to be inviting local and foreign firms to bid for the purchase and development of 87ha for the international theme park, and the 190ha, which Eco World is making a bid for, is meant for a golf resort development.

The requirement for interested bidders is a minimum paid-up capital of RM5 million with accumulated profit during the last five years.

Applications to purchase the RFP document were sold at a non-refundable RM2,000.

The RFP, which was advertised on August 14 last year, listed October 31 2013 as its closing date. No official word, however, is out on the status of the successful bidders.

Last month, Penang-based property developer Aspen Vision Sdn Bhd announced that it had formed a partnership with Ikano Pte Ltd – the regional franchaise holder for Swedish home furnishing store Ikea.

Aspen-Ikano Sdn Bhd is to carry out a mixed development project comprising offices and residences over a 99ha site.

The land, which is strategically located at the landing point of the Second Penang Bridge, is set to be developed over 10 years.

It will include 12.1ha for the development of an Ikea store and the first phase of a shopping mall development (due to break ground next year and will take five years to complete), 18.2ha for the development of the shopping mall’s second phase, and 68.7ha for mixed development.

Eco World’s share price has risen from below RM1 some six months. It closed down two sen at RM4.40 yesterday. – BT


By Marina Emmanuel
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