Focus Malaysia - 13 June 2015 - Green lung to breathe life into Tropicana Metropark

13 June 2015

BUILDING confidence is one of property developers' greatest challenges. Confidence in the KM7.2 bil Tropicana Metropark development in Subang Jaya has been building up as its Central Park, an integral unit of the development, takes shape. Developed by Tropicana Corp Bhd, the park, comprising 1.9ha of greenery and walkways and a 1.8ha lake, is nearing completion since the project' official launch in 2013.

The Central Park occupies over 10% or 3.7ha of the entire 35.6ha mixed development Metropark. The transformation of the former industrial site is well on its way to become a vibrant community of tomorrow, says Tropicana group managing director Datuk Edmund Kong. Much emphasis has been given to the Central Park because it will be the heart of the entire development, he tells FocusM. "We are spending about RM20 mil for the development of the Central Park. If we were to develop the park, its GOV (gross development value] would have been RM800 mil," says Kong. "But it's not always about making money.

Tropicana's overall development UNA is one that is built on the cornerstones of accessibility, connectivity, innovative concepts and designs, generous open spaces, amenities, multi-tiered security and quality," he says. "We felt that it was necessary to show our buyers that we arc delivering impression. Ihe park is real and so will the rest of Metropark," he says. The walk-through of the updates of the development is also to set the stage for the next phases which Tropicana will announce in the next two months. Kong says the next part of the project is to develop Phase IB, a 3.46ha integrated commercial plot, which was initially supposed to house four office towers, and Phase 2A, comprising two towers of residential serviced apartments. "The commercial development will look significantly different to the original rnasterplan designs," he says. While Kong declines to provide the CiDV of the new phases, Phase 2A is expected to be around the RM500 mil mark compared to the first serviced residences, according to a source. Paloma, launched last year, has a GUV of RM465 mil and comprises 587 residential units and 16duplex courtyard villas and Pandora, launched in 2013, hasaGDVofRM365 mil.

The 627 units of Pandora come with three design options, namely, studio, two and three-bedroom units with built-up areas rang] ng from 600 sq ft to 1,200 sq ft while Paloma's units comprise studio units with an average size of 609 sq ft as well as two- and three-bedroom our promises. It's not just glossy artist's Minimum maintenance units with built-up areas ranging from 1,259 sq ft to 1,309 sq ft. To-date, Pandora is 98% sold and Paloma is 75% sold. In addition, the RM106 mil flyover linking the development to the Federal Highway is about 30-40% completed. Pandora is also nearing completion with over 70% of the construction completed and will be delivered as planned next year, says Tropicana project executive director Daniel Teh. "We have started on Paloma's construction.

The foundation works are underway and once that's completed, the towers will start," he says. "With the majority of its first two phases sold, Tropicana is starting the next phases of Metropark as expected. It could also he the result of the softening of Johor's property market and the postponement of approvals for new serviced apartments that resulted in the properly developer turning back its attention to Metropark," says a property analyst. According to news reports, Johor Menteri Besar Uatuk Seri Moharned Khalcd Nordin had said that the postponement is to allow the department We are spending about RM20 mil for the development of the Central Park. If we were to develop the park, its GDV [gross development value] would have been RM800 mil." - Kong of town and country planning to draft guidelines to address the issue. The guidelines will include a check on approval criteria for the construction of serviced apartments and a feasibility study to ensure oversupply can be avoided.

Apart from Johor, Tropicana has several projects running concurrently, including Tropicana Gardens in Kota Uamansara, Tropicana 1 leights in Kajang and two other projects in Penang 218 Macalister and Tropicana Worldcity, he says. The company will also see an improvement in its financials once CapitaMalls Malaysia Trust (CMMT) acquires Tropicana City Mall and Tropicana City Office Tower, he adds. CMMT s acquisition of the mall and office tower is expected to be completed by the third quarter of this year. international school But eyes will be on the next phases of Metropark as the commercial component is integral to the development's success, he says. There is also the education aspect of the project, which will be filled by global educational group Gems Education, says Kong. The 2ha purpose-built campus will house Gems International School, offering from foundation to primary and secondary stages of learning, which is expected to start in September 2017. The school will be able to accommodate up to 2,400 students and prepare students for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (KiCSE) and A-level examination of the Cambridge International Examinations. design We designed the Central Park to be basically self sustainable, says Teh

THE Tropicana Metropark Central Park has a sustainable design that requires minimum maintenance to keep the park healthy and running through the use of green technology. As the maintenance of the park will eventually be ceded over to the Subang Jaya Municipal Council once the entire project has been completed, Tropicana Corp Bhd is ensuring that the council will not be burdened by the "green lung". "That's why we designed the Central Park to be basically self-sustainable," says Tropicana project executive director Daniel Teh. "One of the biggest drawbacks of having a large body of water is mosquitoes but the lake is designed to continue flowing and steps are taken to keep the quality of the lake, which also serves as a water-retention basin, ecologically healthy," he tells Focusm Water discharge from the roadside will be directed into a surcharge channel from which three windmills will power the turbines to draw up water through constructed wetland cells to filter the water to improve its quality as well as to pump water down to the base gravel bio-filter, he explains. "The wetland cells double as ecological island habitats for wildlife. We will also introduce fishes to the lake," he says. As the lake is to be a water-retention reservoir, it will not be used as a recreation area for water activities like canoeing or paddling, says Tropicana group managing director Datuk Edmund Kong. "Only the green areas of the park can be utilised. Both the residents and members of the public will have access to the park. We want the commercial side of Metropark to be interactive alongside the park offering facilities like sidewalk eateries," he says.