We are all familiar with the Live, Work, Study & Play concept, but not many comprehend the importance of these elements gelling together in ensuring that a city is successful.
ADDRESSING THE LIVABILITY ISSUE
Regardless of a strategic location and Grade A office buildings, when there is no supporting infrastructure and commercial elements as well as transportation services in a green field development, people will not want to live there.
Case in point, some developers in the aspiring regional business hub of Iskandar Malaysia (IM) had trouble securing corporate and institutional tenants a few years back due to this one reason. The underlying factor could be attributed to the lack of synergy and communication between the public and private sectors the state and local government (authorities) makes money from income and property tax collections while developers’ rice bowl depends on the sales volume of their developments.
With different agendas as their focus, the interests of its (potential) citizens might slip through the cracks and unfortunately, get sidelined. Nevertheless, there is also the financial constraint issue government funding alone will not be able to sustain the development of the city, particularly in developing countries and emerging developments like IM.
Hence, there is a need for public-private partnerships, namely “creative alliances” formed between government entities, developers and private service providers in order to achieve the common purpose of building a successful city.
MIDDLE-MAN: PROPERTY MANAGEMENT FIRMS
The truth is that not many partnerships can achieve the results/growth they want without the help of an intermediator, who serves as a bridge between two parties. This is where service providers come in.
One such entity is CORE Home Management Sdn Bhd the only property management firm specialising in corporate and institution accommodations in IM.
Its Head of Business Development, Gregory Low shared,” We started off with providing our clients, who are MNCs and educational institutions with accommodation for their staff/ students and managing the entire tenancy process.
“It was during discussion sessions with our clients where we discovered that most of them, have the concern that IM does not have enough supporting facilities and services for a good quality of life,” said Gregory.
Recognising an under served market in IM, CORE Home Management has since then taken on the ‘middle-man’ role in IM connecting the dots between prospective tenants, developers and the local authorities in IM through communication with all three parties.
It works very much along the lines of capacity development which is about engaging the relevant stakeholders, assessing capacity needs and assets and finally implementing a response.
Similarly, CORE will determine what are the requirements of potential tenants/citizens and needs as well as what they are looking for in an area/neighbourhood namely commercial vendors and food outlets, service outlets such as launderettes as well as transportation.
This will be conveyed to developers, from an advisory standpoint who then provide the funding to bring in the necessary infrastructure and commercial facilities. At the same time, CORE will communicate with the relevant public agencies such as Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) to discuss allocation plans and to obtain project approvals.
A ONE-STOP SOLUTION
CORE has since worked with developers and local authorities for projects in Medini and Iskandar Puteri, especially for office developments.
Most MNCs and big corporations perceive that Singapore is a better option for their branch offices or regional headquarters’ location as they believe IM is still in its transition phase and cannot support the needs and lifestyle of their staff. This sentiment is shared on the micro level many working professionals prefer to work in mature cities such as Klang Valley and Singapore as they will have the ability to be mobile and can access friends, employment and activities easily.
CORE is working with Medini Iskandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd (MIMSB), the master developer of Medini in an effort to change this mentality by developing Medini’s built environment in order to attract talent and corporations into IM.
This is where companies like CORE adds value by filling in the gaps. Not only do they provide property management services, they build the surrounding environment as well by sourcing the proper commercial tenants such as malls and retail outlets as well as providing private transportation services such as scheduled shuttle buses and vehicles for working professionals.
“Corporations are more than happy to invest into these one-stop solutions,” said Gregory.
“Throughout this whole process, we will liaise with MIMSB to ensure that all planning is done on a people scale and the projects executed aligns with the interests of all parties be it the citizens, businesses, developers and the local government itself.
“For instance, we facilitated the execution of the ‘Causeway Link’ bus service a public bus service made available for the students Iskandar and Johor Bahru. It provides easy accessibility to localities such as malls and offices in areas such as Kota Iskandar and Bukit Indah Commercial zone, the CIQ Second Link as well as across the Causeway to Jurong East and the Kranji MRT station,” he added.
CREATING THRIVING NEIGHBOURHOODS
One of their success stories includes the bridging of two populations, namely the University Of Newcastle, based in Educity, Iskandar and the nearby Bukit Indah township.
The university has an existing student population which CORE helped bring in and are currently managing the company provides total tenant management solution which includes weekly checks of units; cleaning and maintenance services; outsource contractors for plumbing and renovation issueAnchors.
CORE played a part in supporting the commercial retail component of SP Setia’s Bukit Indah township in Iskandar Puteri by bringing in the student population and corporate crowd into the area which features outlets such as the Aeon Shopping Centre, Tesco Hypermarket and an entertainment centre.
As Gregory shared, “We saw how these two developments could complement each other we could cater to the basic requirements and lifestyle needs of the student population and guarantee a steady flow of spending consumers for the commercial vendors.
Shuttle bus service provided for Newcastle University Students
Feedback garnered from students were shared with the developer to enhance the tenant mix of these commercial centers in the Bukit Indah township. On the other hand, we worked to provide transportation services, i.e regular shuttle buses from the university, making it easy for students to access these localities in Bukit Indah”.
So much so, the students’ daily routine now include going to university in the morning and heading on to Bukit Indah after classes for dinner, grocery shopping or to just relax over a cup of coffee.
“This is a great example of how structured synergy could result in improving both citizens’ quality of life and businesses’ competitiveness. The proper development of public goods and services in a zone will foster clusters of thriving neighbourhoods,” explained Gregory.
Gregory believes that strong communities arise from well resourced and well functioning neighbourhoods, which is made possible through the cooperation and pooling of resources between public and private sectors.
This article was first published in the iProperty.com Malaysia November 2016 Magazine. Get your copy from selected news stands or view the magazine online for free at www.iproperty.com.my/magazine. Better yet, order a discounted subscription by putting in your details in the form below!