KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 24 — Property and resort developer KB Group Sdn Bhd is looking to launch two development projects in Lumut and Ipoh respectively, with a total estimated gross development value (GDV) of RM1 billion this year.
The Ipoh venture which carries an investment tag of about RM600 million is still in the planning phase.
KB Group Managing Director Datuk Roslan Khalid said the development in Lumut is expected to be launched soon, with a GDV of about RM400 million.
To be named Ramada-Resort Hotel, the four-star project over 1.9 hectares of land, is in partnership with the Ramada Group and expected to be the tallest hotel in Perak and with the most number of rooms.
“For the time being, we prefer to go for suburban locations, instead of major areas such as the Klang Valley or Johor. We are also looking for locations with future growth potential.
“We chose Lumut because it has sufficient land with only several hotels of a maximum three-star standard. Businessmen who come here (Lumut and Manjung) have no choice (for hotels). They just take whatever is available,” he told Bernama.
He said Manjung, situated next to Lumut, is a place with a lot of natural resources, inviting much agricultural development, besides manufacturing, oil and gas.
“Manjung is also the fastest growing district in Perak currently. Due to all this development, the hotel occupancy in Lumut is now higher than that of Pangkor Island,” he added.
Roslan said currently Perak’s property-buying volume is among the top three in terms of nationwide property sales, with the medium household income growth increasing by 12.9% between 2012 and 2014.
“With the West-Coast Highway, that has already been awarded, and the targeted completion date being around 2019, it will shorten the travel distance from the Klang Valley to Lumut, to about two and a half-hours,” he added.
The Ramada-Resort Hotel is targeted for completion by end-2018 and Roslan said it would be able to tap the growth potential of Manjung and Lumut.
“The property will be sold and then leased back from the buyers, with a guaranteed rental return (GRR) of 7.0% for the first three years, under the lease-back arrangement with them,” he added.
For the next three years, Roslan said the GRR would be increased to 7.3%, before going up to 7.5%.
He said the project would be launched and made available for booking by the public after the Chinese New Year.
“We will start in Penang, and then move to other states in Malaysia, as well as seek out foreign buyers,” he added.
For the Ipoh project, he said the company would be submitting plans soon to the relevant authority and hopes to get approval before year-end.
On the possibility of the weakening ringgit and challenging economy affecting buying momentum, Roslan said the company was also looking for foreign purchasers.
“We are actually looking at (buyers from) other countries as Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia. There is also some interest shown from the Philippines, the Middle East, China and Taiwan to buy some of our properties.
“Overseas buyers look at the overall potential growth in this region. Those experienced in investments know the (economic) crisis is not the end of the world. Things will turn around in the next one or two years,” he added.