The Kuala Lumpur skyline is expected to transform dramatically once a new supertall skyscraper is approved to be built next year and completed in 2020.
The new development will dethrone the world famous Petronas Twin Towers as Malaysia's tallest buildings. As one of Malaysia's largest national pride, the Petronas towers have been dominating the city skyline for almost two decades.
PTLM Research reported last year that Kuala Lumpur will soon be home to two new supertall skyscrapers with both having more than 100 storeys. Both of these towers will be taller than the Petronas Twin Towers. This report is now confirmed.
From cars to seaports and from rice to sugar, prominent Malaysian tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar is optimistic about his latest endeavour. His planned RM6 billion Tradewinds Centre development in Jalan Sultan Ismail has now been 'upgraded' to a much larger and taller project.
It is now on paper Malaysia's tallest building.
Renamed as the Tradewinds Square, the revised plan for the project comprises a 110-storey corporate office tower, a 61-storey mixed-use tower and a shopping mall with a floor space of 1 million square feet. The mall will cater to the upper-end market.
The total gross development value (GDV) for the project could be in excess of RM6 billion.
Global architectural firm Woods Bagot has been appointed as the lead architect for this project in association with Singapore-based DP Architects Pte Ltd and its local subsidiary DP Architects Sdn Bhd.
The 61-storey mixed-use tower contains a luxury hotel at the upper segment of the building and service residences including penthouses that are expected to be among the priciest property in Kuala Lumpur.
The hotel will welcome guests at its sky lobby on Level 59, making it the highest hotel arrival lobby in Southeast Asia. Level 60 and 61 will offer amenities such as swimming pool, gymnasium, spa and the rooftop sky lounge.
The hotel operator has not been confirmed but according to sources, the hotel will be a renowned international brand.
The office tower will reach a top-of-crown elevation of 608 metres while the hotel-cum-residences tower will reach 288 metres. Both towers will have a unique crown atop the building glowing lights for the city centre.
Tradewinds Square will be linked via a skybridge to the opposite development, which is the redevelopment of the former MAS building. The redevelopment will see the 35-storey building structure being upgraded into a 'Grade A' office building and connected to a new 50-storey hotel block.
Tradewinds Square reaches to the sky.
From Hilton to rubble...
In April 2013, the former Crowne Plaza Mutiara Kuala Lumpur and Kompleks Antarabangsa had began demolishment works. By August 2015, the site would have been fully cleared to makeway for Tradewinds Square.
Crowne Plaza was the first Hilton hotel in Kuala Lumpur and operated from the 1960s until 2001 when the hotel was rebranded to Mutiara Kuala Lumpur Hotel and managed by Pernas Hotel Management Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pernas International Holdings Bhd.
Later in 2004, Tradewinds Corporation Berhad (Tradewinds Corp) — formerly Pernas International, announced the appointment of Intercontinental Hotels Group to manage the hotel as Crowne Plaza Mutiara.
The 559-room Crowne Plaza Mutiara hotel finally ceased operations on 1 January 2013. Kompleks Antarabangsa, which used to house Ernst & Young — a Big 4 accounting firm, had been vacated much earlier with many tenants such as MMC Corporation Berhad, a sister company of Tradewinds Corp, relocated to other buildings in the city.
In December 2013, it was reported that Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar and Mohamed Ali Alabbar, the founder and chairman of Dubai-based Emaar Properties, have teamed up to develop this project under a company called Tradewinds International Sdn Bhd.
Riding on Alabbar's experience in creating global real estate landmarks, the original plan then was to feature as many as four towers consisting of a 65-storey and a 24-storey corporate office block, as well as a 54-storey service apartment, a 14-storey medical centre and a centrepiece central plaza inspired by the Rockefeller Center in New York City.
Alabbar's Emaar developed some of Dubai's most notable landmarks, such as the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, and the Dubai Mall, the world's largest shopping mall.
The site and demolishment works as of May 2015 to pave way for the new supertall.
Iconic landmark in the city centre
Tradewinds Square is now said to be parked directly under Tradewinds Corp, the holding company of several blue-chip hotels and properties in Malaysia. The company was taken private by major shareholder, Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar, in September 2013 in a deal which valued the company at RM1.12 billion.
In August 2013, Tradewinds Corp had shown interest to acquire the neighbouring Kenanga International Building from Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB). It made sense for the company to demolish it to make the site part of the planned massive project.
Development order for the revised plan is expected to be submitted by August 2015. This is pending the developer obtaining the power of attorney for the completion of the acquisition of the Kenanga building and land. It is believed that with the acquisition of the next door building and land, the enlarged site would enable Tradewinds Corp to develop Tradewinds Square into a new landmark for Malaysia.
Upon approval by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), the construction tender awards will be made by the middle of next year.
The project is expected to be completed in 2020, perhaps within that year to coincide with Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar's 70th birthday.
KL118 Tower versus Tradewinds Square
Tradewinds Square is the latest addition to Kuala Lumpur's booming construction sector.
In another site within the city, massive groundworks are currently underway for the construction of the approved RM6 billion KL118 Tower, formerly known as Menara Warisan Merdeka.
Foundation works in progress for KL118 Tower.
KL118 Tower will rise to 118 storeys comprising 80 levels of office space, 12 levels of hotel and 5 levels of hotel residences and remaining floors for retail and facilities. PNB Merdeka Ventures Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of state-owned fund manager Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) is the owner and developer of the project.
The 250-room hotel component is said to be managed under the branding of Park Hyatt under the Hyatt Hotels Corporation. This disclosure has not been verified by PNB.
It was reported that two out of six bidders have been shortlisted to be the frontrunners to bag the construction portion of the diamond-cut, glass-cladded skyscraper.
The two outfits are a joint venture between WCT Holdings Bhd and Dubai-based Arabtec Construction PJSC, and a consortium comprising UEM Group Bhd and South Korea's Samsung C&T Corporation.
Under Phase 2, an 8-level shopping centre will be built with a direct access from the tower, the urban park-cum-stadium grounds and the Merdeka MRT Station. Seven levels of basement carpark together with a 2-level underground access road tunnel from Jalan Belfield will also be built.
KL118 Tower has a top-of-crown elevation of 570 metres and together with the building spire will make it a total official height of 682 metres.
This simply means Tradewinds Square's 608 metres will make it the tallest building based on the measurement of top-of-crown elevation or rooftop height. If completed at the same time, however, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) would most likely declare KL118 Tower as the overall tallest building.
International consultancy firm, Turner International is involved as project manager for both KL118 Tower and Tradewinds Square. The firm is also involved in the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX), which is Kuala Lumpur's future purpose-built business district.
KL118 Tower is a 118-storey skyscraper currently under construction.
Kuala Lumpur property market
Concerns on oversupply in the market will be further heightened with such 'megaprojects', not just these two but many others within the city centre.
Fortunately in the case of KL118 Tower, PNB has reinterated that 60 floors of office space have been set aside for own usage by PNB and its subsidiaries with international exposure.
Both these towers along with several ongoing large infrastructure projects were said to be able to drive the property market in downtown Kuala Lumpur. International consultants were hired for large projects and in turn will attract specialist expatriates to the city.
One such prime property located adjacent to the upcoming Tradewinds Square is Vipod Suites. It was sold at an average of RM900 per square feet in 2010 and is currently transacting at over RM1,600 per square feet for a fully furnished unit.
Kuala Lumpur continues to be an attractive market for real estate development. As many as 15 branded hotels and hotel-residences are expected to enter the market. It is not surprising that as many as 17,595 units of residential units are expected to come into the KLCC and downtown city market within these two years.
On the other hand, supertall buildings which cater mainly to the corporate market will poised a major threat to existing and upcoming office buildings. Multi-national corporations are likely to lease an iconic, prime address, a green-rated building and have greater requirements on technical and environment features.
No stopping for Tradewinds
Tradewinds Corp is also demolishing and redeveloping the former Menara Tun Razak (Pernas Building) on Jalan Raja Laut into a 50- and 26-storey office towers known as Tradewinds Towers. The site has been cleared as of PTLM's recent site visit last month.
Tradewinds Towers on Jalan Raja Laut is located just across the road from Kuala Lumpur City Hall.
Tradewinds Corp is 65% owned by Perspective Lane (M) Sdn Bhd, which in turn is developing a 42-storey service apartment block and a 5-storey retail-cum-office block in Jalan Belfield, which is a stone's throw away from KL118 Tower.
On 31 July 2015, Tradewinds Corp announced that it purchased 12.2 acres of land at Jalan Belfield for RM258 million cash.
Tradewinds Corp is also involved in the proposed Harrods Square development via Jerantas Sdn Bhd. Jerantas is the vehicle through which Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar, Tan Sri Desmond Lim of Pavilion famed and Qatar Holding LLC will jointly develop the luxury project.
Harrods Square will be connected to the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur shopping mall from underground as well as an overhead pedestrian bridge.
Pending land transfer approvals, Harrods Square was planned for four blocks: a 27-storey Harrods Hotel with 102 rooms and 60 service apartments; a 61-storey building with 508 service apartments and four floors of commercial and retail space; a 52-storey building with 516 serviced apartments and commercial and retail space; and a 31-storey office tower.
In July 2014, it was announced that Tradewinds Corp will ink a 70:30 partnership with UDA Holdings Berhad to jointly develop Bukit Bintang Plaza (BB Plaza) into luxury residences and a landmark retail mall with a total GDV in excess of RM3 billion.
Their joint-venture company — Zurah Ventures Sdn Bhd — will tear down the 18-storey BB Plaza that was constructed in the 1970s at the intersection of Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Bukit Bintang and erect in its place a 56-storey service apartment atop a 12-storey shopping mall and facilities podium.
Tradewinds Corp already owned eight hotel and resort buildings and operated several hotels under the Mutiara Hotels & Resorts. They are:
- The Danna Langkawi,
- Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur,
- Mutiara Johor Bahru,
- Mutiara Taman Negara in Pahang,
- Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa in Langkawi,
- Hilton Kuching,
- Hilton Petaling Jaya, and
- Batang Ai Longhouse Resort Managed by Hilton in Sarawak.
In Langkawi, Tradewinds Corp has a flagship development project called Perdana Quay. The project is the island's first integrated leisure, retail, residential and commercial development targeted at ultra high-end travellers seeking ecological and nature-oriented holidays. Its highlights are the water-themed adventure park below the Machinchang mountain and 60 luxury resort villas called The Burau (the former Mutiara Burau Bay Beach Resort).
In terms of landbank in Johor, Tradewinds Corp has a total of 3,661 acres available for development. The parcels of land are located in Nusajaya (607 acres), Sedili (2,055 acres), Pulai (629 acres) and Mount Austin (370 acres).
The Nusajaya landbank will host an integrated township called "One nu" with a potential GDV of RM18 billion comprising of more than 8,000 residential units.
In Kuala Lumpur, Tradewinds Corp was reportedly studying the possibility of monetizing the site of Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur and transforming the site into another iconic landmark of the future.
Harrods Square will be linked to the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur shopping mall.