Building an inclusive city

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Medini Iskandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd (MIM) is an unusual property developer in that it does more than just bricks and mortar. Although it does construct buildings, the company is mainly concerned with overseeing and managing the development of Medini. It also promotes the township as an investment destination.

Unlike private property developers that focus solely on their interests, MIM looks to build developments that complement the real estate assets built by others. Managing director and CEO Datuk Khairil Anwar Ahmad says it has adopted this approach to enhance the value and stability of Medini.

Khairil

“We are the master planner and master developer of Medini. Our job scope keeps evolving as it transforms from an urban space made up of distinct real estate projects built by property developers into an integrated smart township,” says Khairil.

“As a property developer, MIM focuses on offices and commercial units. We do not want to compete with private developers that are building residential units in this township. This way, we get to complement their project and create an all-inclusive township for residents, business owners and visitors.”

“Local authorities such as Iskandar Regional Development Authority and Majilis Perbandaran Johor Bahru Tengah have been very supportive of our developments.

“These symbiotic relationships play an integral part in the ongoing development of Medini.”

MIM has also taken on the role of placemaker. It is proud of its people-centric approach used in the planning, design and management of Medini’s public spaces. Done successfully, the township will be a lively place with space for people to unwind, relax and socialise.

“Placemaking is essentially about creating spaces that invite greater interaction between people. This is an integral part of Medini and an ongoing activity for us in our role as master planner of the township,” says Khairil.

“Ultimately, the aim is to foster a healthier, more social and more economically viable community. Once the community starts to connect, a strong community spirit can be cultivated.”

Medini is also designed to cater for the growing trend of wellness and preventive care. Khairil says the township aspires to be a place that allows residents and visitors to embrace well-being as a way of living.

The community in Medini will enjoy smart city technological solutions. As a people-centric township, it is looking at technology to deliver city services, reduce energy consumption and address challenges faced by residents, such as traffic congestion. To create a smart and sustainable township, MIM identifies, practices and encourages smart, sustainable initiatives.

“We want to create a modern urban township where people can experience smart solutions or smart elements in all aspects of their lives — where they live, work and play. For example, Medini must be a low-carbon society in line with Iskandar Malaysia’s Low Carbon Society Blueprint 2025. We have taken measures to ensure that the township is supported by efficient and robust infrastructure, a high quality security system and other high-tech city management solutions,” says Khairil.

“As the master developer, we incorporate smart qualities into our developments. We also encourage the use of smart technology among our partner developers, which are building mainly residential properties in Medini. A smart township allows our residents, investors, business operators and visitors to experience Medini in a unique manner. Smart initiatives are being implemented in phases and will eventually translate into smart buildings, an integrated operations centre, a Medini community portal and smart mobility.”

While development in Medini started in 2007, the township is considered relatively young with many of the buildings still under construction. A number of private developers, which launched residential units a few years ago, will be handing over the keys to their projects in 2017 and 2018.

There are four integrated commercial cluster developments in MIM’s real estate portfolio: The Pulse, a premier commercial development; The Compass, a luxury commercial development; The Crescent, a lifestyle retail and business park; and The Park, a residential and boutique commercial cluster. The Pulse was MIM’s first project and comprises Medini 6, Medini 7, Medini 9 and Medini 10.

“We are progressing as planned and working on two office blocks in The Pulse. MIM has already completed Medini 6 and Medini 7. Our developments are in prime areas and consist of office and commercial units. Our tenants are multinational corporations, such as Frost & Sullivan Malaysia Sdn Bhd in Medini 7 and information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider Huawei Technologies (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd in Medini 6,” says Khairil.

He adds that the township has applied for MSC Cybercentre status. This recognition is given to locations that nurture and support the growth of ICT and ICT-enabled industries while extending its benefits to the wider community.

Local companies in Medini 6 include i2M Ventures Sdn Bhd and Telekom Malaysia Bhd. The rental rates there and Medini 7 are about RM4.50 per sq ft (psf). Meanwhile, Medini 9, a 21-storey building, and Medini 10, a 27-storey building, is on schedule for completion by 2018. Rents are expected to be RM5.50 to RM6.50 psf.

“Our commercial properties have been able to command good rental rates even though the property market is quite soft. This could be due to our location, which is quite strategic, and the other benefits and incentives offered to investors,” says Khairil.

“The take-up rate in Medini is stable and we have received a lot of interest for Medini 9 and Medini 10. Our marketing team is constantly engaged with potential investors and aggregators. It is a good time to invest in the township as foreign investors can take advantage of a weaker ringgit.”

Medini’s investor-friendly policies allow foreigners to acquire homes without price restriction. They are also exempt from the Real Property Gains Tax.

Besides playing the role of master developer and master planner, MIM provides township management services such as ICT and infrastructure management services. “We signed a joint-venture agreement with Intelsec Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Telekom, in November 2015 to provide ICT-related services. Another joint-venture agreement was signed with UEM Sunrise Edgenta Bhd in January to provide facility, estate, building and security management services,” says Khairil.

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Medini’s value proposition

Medini is on track to becoming an integrated smart and sustainable township with distinctive buildings and inviting public spaces. It spans 2,230 acres in Iskandar Puteri (formerly known as Nusajaya) and has a maximum gross floor area of 182 million sq ft.

Medini benefits from being a former greenfield site. The master developer, Medini Iskandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd (MIM), was able to plan the entire infrastructure and services needed for an orderly, all-inclusive and efficient township.

MIM’s comprehensive design, aimed at creating a lively and sustainable community, includes infrastructure, commercial, residential, green lung, community and mixed-use areas.

Key sectors that have been identified to underpin and catalyse Medini’s economic development are:

● Education, which includes universities, colleges, institutions and regional training centres;

● Tourism and leisure, which consist of theme parks, amusement and family entertainment centres, conferences and exhibitions as well as hotel and leisure services;

● Creative industries, including design services, creative talent management services, film and television, games and animation, online and mobile content as well as visual and performing arts;

● Financial advisory, such as financial services, business process outsourcing, corporate consultancy and advisory services;

● Healthcare and wellness, which includes hospitals and alternative medicine providers, integrated dental and orthodontic services, healthcare rest and relax facilities and integrated lab services; and

● Logistics, such as integrated supply chain services and high-value supply chain services and solutions.

Medini is positioned as the central business district of Iskandar Puteri as well as a regional economic hub in the future.

MIM managing director and CEO Datuk Khairil Anwar Ahmad says talent is a pivotal aspect for any investor in a central business district. “Medini benefits from a diverse pool of educated and skilled talent. We are also looking at attracting more skilled talent. Fortunately, Medini can access a ready pool of graduates from world-class universities and institutions of higher learning in EduCity — a fully integrated educational hub with world-renowned universities in Iskandar Puteri,” he says.

EduCity is home to renowned universities such as Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia, University of Reading Malaysia, Multimedia University, Netherlands Maritime Institute of Technology, University of Southampton and soon, the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS).

Various events have been introduced in recent years to build interest in Medini and breathe life into the township. Medini Live! is an annual music, arts, film and community event that started last year. It provides insights into Malaysia’s artistic and cultural heritage.

The inaugural Sunway Iskandar Viper Challenge saw about 7,000 participants take on Asia’s biggest obstacle course. Other outdoor activities include a bike and run trail and adopt-a-park and tree-planting activities organised by MIM. Together with Johor Rugby Union, the master developer of Medini also organised and sponsored the Medini 7s Annual Rugby Tournament for schools.

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News Source:(Elaine Boey)

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