Sime Darby Property Bhd (SD Prop) will go it alone in the development of the 379,000-acre Malaysia Vision Valley (MVV) project.
Sources said that the early partners in the development that covers an area that is twice the size of Singapore dropped out after the memorandum of understanding (MoU) lapsed a year ago. The MoU between SD Prop, Brunsfield Development Sdn Bhd and Kumpulan Wang Amanah Pencen (KWAP) lapsed in November last year.
"Later, all the parties mutually agreed not to extend the MoU. Subsequently, SD Prop decided to go it alone in developing the massive project by stages to take advantage of the development shift south of Kuala Lumpur," said a source.
It is learnt that KWAP has expressed interest in coming in as a partner in some parts of the development. "However, KWAP is not keen on being part of the master developer team to drive the project. It is too large for an entity such as KWAP," said an executive close to the fund.
SD Prop is said to be open to forging partnerships as the master developer of MVV, as well as in the specific projects within the development. The idea is to get large developers with deep pockets to invest as the master developer, and smaller funds and property developers to put their money in smaller portions of the project.
It is only natural for SD Prop to take the lead, as the company owns large tracts of land in MVV. In fact, MVV was a cornerstone for SD Prop even some 10 years ago.
SD Prop has charted out a masterplan and the development of the first phase covering more than 11,000 acres will kick off soon.
According to sources, the developer is confident of demand despite the soft property market because the area is located close to existing industries in the Nilai and Sepang areas. "The existing projects are seeing good demand because they are landed and not too expensive. The confidence is based on the thousands of workers in the industries," said a source.
The MoU between SD Prop, Brunsfield and KWAP was signed in May 2017. In the same month, Brunsfield disclosed that the Boston Design Group had prepared a concept masterplan to be presented to the MVV steering committee. Under the proposed plan by Boston Design Group, phase one of the MVV would have six clusters and essentially form the `heartbeat' of MVV. However, it is learnt that the steering committee decided to opt for a plan prepared by SD Prop.
Sources said that the SD Prop master plan caters to gradual development to create vibrancy and provide ample open spaces and green parks in its development.
"It will set the pace for future phases of development in MVV with a lot of open space," said a source.
MVV covers a large area from Sepang in Selangor right up to Port Dickson in Negri Sembilan. The high-speed rail (HSR) is to cut across the development with at least two stations located within the development. One of the stations is in Labu in Negri Sembilan.
Although the HSR project has been deferred, there is an existing railway line with a stop in Labu to provide connectivity.
Apart from SD Prop, the Negri Sembilan state government has been the other principle proponent of the MVV project to take advantage of the development south of Kuala Lumpur. Towards this end, an official in the state government said that all efforts have been made to help SD Prop develop the area between KLIA and up to Seremban. He said that the state saw tremendous potential, especially to cater to industries that want to be located in close proximity to the airport.
"The MVV is a project that will drive development in the state for the next 30 years," he said. The MVV project is projected to run for more than 30 years, requiring investments of some RM300bil with 1.4 million jobs being created.