Smart city-like project in Malaysia woos investors
A NEW CITY of 6 million square metres is being planned for the Iskandar Region of Malaysia. Country Garden Pacificview (CGPW), the master developer of Forest City, is seeking investors for its US$100 billion (Bt3.3 trillion) project, with CEO Baiyuan Su trumpeting the project as Southeast Asia’s first and largest mixed-use green development with a “smart city” design theme.
Already, the firm has opened an Industrialised Building System (IBS) factory named Forest Industry IBS. It is the first of six factories on the 417-acre site that Su says will be required to produce the building materials for the larger Forest City project. The factory incorporates technology from Germany, Italy and China, and has the capacity to produce materials for up to 1 million square metres of built-up area. The production base for the construction of Forest City will integrate construction design, pre-cast concrete production, transportation, processing of accessories, and assembly construction. Materials research and development are also part of the project.
The six factories are required to support the equivalent of 6 million square metres of built-up area, potentially making it the world’s largest facility of its kind. While the initial focus of the factories will be to accelerate the development of Forest City, excess capacity will also be used to support other growing construction opportunities in Southeast Asia. Su said that the Forest City IBS is an early adopter of what will be a major future development trend. Upgrading of the industrial chain and information management will be anchored in the concept of sustainable development and an innovation-based principle. The IBS production model depends on having a strong local talent pool. The Forest City IBS will stand out for its long production period and large production volume.
Phase one of the Forest City project will involve an investment of 470 million Malaysian ringgit (Bt3.7 billion) to create a building area of 73,000 square metres. Depending on actual market demand, in the next three to five years, the firm will construct up to five additional factories. Total area of the entire IBS base is 510,000 square metres, making it the largest IBS base in the world. “Our goal is to create a world-class, sustainable township in Southeast Asia that supports a futuristic urban lifestyle,” said Su. “Our development’s custom-designed features are holistic and sustainable, and we are committed to becoming a role model for green and smart living.” The firm also has a partnership with PCCW Global to offer world-class digital infrastructure, and provide leading edge and energy-efficient data centre solutions to enable a future-proof digital framework for Forest City. Businesses and residents will be able to access a portfolio of best-in-class integrated communications solutions, as well as smart energy, transport and utility management services that are environmentally friendly and protected against physical and cyber threats. CGPV would not disclose the amount of money to be invested for the Forest City IBS, but it is a part of the Forest City project. That larger project will have a total investment of around $100 billion over the next 18 years. The project started in 2015. The firm expects Forest City will have 250,000 residential units and serve up to 700,000 people. In the first two years, some 15,000 units have been sold to investors and buyers from 23 countries. Buyers from China dominate with 70 per cent of sales volume. It has set up sale offices stretching from the United Arab Emirates, to India, Thailand and Indonesia, and Japan. Potential purchasers are approached through an invitation to enjoy eco-tourism and medical services, along with investing in Forest City. Last year, it attracted over 120,000 tourist and visitors, half of them from Singapore. The firm has plans to build a grocery store in Thailand next month.