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Mulia Group's TRX Signature Tower is Kuala Lumpur's latest supertall skyscraper

The diamond-crowned tower has 92 storeys. The diamond-crowned tower has 92 storeys.

When it comes to buildings in Kuala Lumpur, it is all in the superlatives. The 88-storey Petronas Twin Towers and the newly-launched 118-storey Merdeka PNB118 Tower are going to have new company. And maybe a bit of competition.

A third super tall building is entering the scene, this time in Tun Razak Exchange (TRX).

Mulia Property Development Sdn Bhd, which is part of Indonesia’s commercial property developer Mulia Group, will be building its 92-storey Signature Tower in the 70-acre site that is being primed as Malaysia’s financial and banking district.

When completed, it will be among the top 20 tallest buildings in the world while Merdeka PNB118 Tower, which was formerly called Warisan Merdeka, is among the top 15.

When the Petronas Twin Towers were completed in 1998, they were the world’s tallest.

Mulia chief executive director Datuk W.H. Lai said Signature Tower (1,440 ft/438.9m), about 43 ft short of the Twin Towers’ 1,483 ft (452m), should not be seen as competing with iconic buildings in the city.

“Signature Tower will complement them. When completed, it will offer a fresh and contemporary look to Kuala Lumpur’s landscape,” he said at a press conference on Saturday.

It was a milestone for Mulia. The company took the press for a site visit to view the pouring of a massive 20,200 cu m of concrete into its foundation or belly of the building, enough to fill eight Olympic-size swimming pools.

About 1,500 workers were involved with work on a 22x7 schedule, said project director Roland Suckling.

Suckling said the Mulia Property Development had kept to that schedule since November/December last year in order to speed up construction. Signature Tower is expected to be completed by 2020.

Said Suckling: “It has to be done over the weekend or it will impose a significant strain on the city’s infrastructure. We wanted to minimise the impact of this ‘concrete pour’ on the city’s infrastructure. It is arguably one of the ‘biggest and longest pour’ in Malaysia’s (building and construction) history.”

The concrete pour, estimated to be among the largest recorded globally, involved 8.5 million kg of cement, 16 million kg of sand, 19 million kg of construction aggregates and 2 million kg of ice to address the extreme heat created during the process, Suckling said.

The Signature Tower, with a gross development value (GDV) of more than RM3.5 billion, will have 92 storeys of column-free floors each averaging 34,000 sq ft (3,159 sqm), the largest configuration of column-free floor space in the city.

It will have a gross floor area of 4 million sq ft and a net lettable area of 2.65 million sq ft (246,193 sqm).

“It will be the most luxurious skyscraper, built with some of the most advanced and fast-track construction strategies which we hope to share with other developers. We will have four lifts to take workers up and once they are up there, they will not be coming down until it is the end of their working day. Food will be delivered to them so that no time is wasted,” Lai said.

On the already oversupply of office space in the Klang Valley and the group’s rationale to spend more to go on a fast-track construction mode, Lai said the group was aware of the situation.

“But we are not benchmarking ourselves against the general current environment. Signature Tower offers a particular market segment like no other. In that sense, what Signature Tower is going to offer is not in oversupply,” he said.

Lai said the urgency to complete the project by 2020 would have its benefits.

“Once we start a project, we want to see fruition as fast as possible. The group will reap the benefits of spending additional money to fast-track its completion. If you look at the lifespan of the entire project on a 20-, 50- and 100-year basis, a little money upfront will have its benefits,” he said.

The group is eyeing banking and finance, information and technology, oil and gas sectors among its tenants.

On Mulia Group’s decision to buy the 3.4-acre site in May 2015 for RM665 million, or RM4,490 per sq ft, among the highest land deals in the vicinity, Lai said: “We ran through our financial model, and we looked at the market. Based on that and other considerations, it is a valuable project. There were incentives for developers and standard incentives, which were given to other developers in TRX. But there were no (special) incentives given specifically to us. They were incentives given to TRX as a whole.

“There were also incentives (given) to attract tenants into TRX. Not for Signature Tower per se but for tenants in general, and this (site of Signature Tower) is part of the financial quarter,” said Lai.

Located in the financial centre, it will feature a square and a circle, representing equality and strength in Islamic architecture, enabling it to complement the other iconic buildings in the Kuala Lumpur landscape.

"We are working on an aggressive schedule, the building (tower) must be built in a fast-track environment, with technology used for this project geared towards fast tracking. The reason for this is because we need to catch the momentum and get the tenants inside. If we prolong the project, there will be a prolonged financing cost to it.

"We have also consolidated and integrated all of our expertise in-house, a full team for property management, construction to maintenance to ease the whole process for this project," added Lai.

 

TRX road systems will be underground tunnels as the aim is to promote pedestrian traffic at ground level.TRX road systems will be underground tunnels as the aim is to promote pedestrian traffic at ground level.

 

 

Mulia’s land has the highest plot ratio of 18.5 times compared with other TRX land parcels that were sold which ranged from 10.8 to 15.2 times. The group paid RM77 million more for the piece of land to build the iconic tower compared to the earlier price on the table.

The location is near a large underground Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) interchange station, which can handle about 25,000 passengers per hour during peak hours or 500,000 passengers a day.

The first MRT Line that uses the station will be in operational by July 2017.

Initially, Lembaga Tabung Haji was offered the land that came with the mandate to build the tower. However, the pilgrim fund turned down the offer and bought another TRX site slated for a residential development.

As Indonesia’s largest commercial property developer, Mulia Group has a leading market share for premium properties in Jakarta. It owns and manages many premier office buildings in Jakarta’s central business district, including Wisma Mulia 1 and 2, Wisma GKBI and Taman Anggrek Mall & Condominium. Wisma Mulia 1 and 2 are among Jakarta’s tallest office buildings that house key global and Indonesian blue-chip companies.

Meanwhile across the site, Australia's Lend Lease has also started work on the TRX Lifestyle Quarter, a 16.8-acre integrated development that will act as the gateway to the entire TRX development.

It will comprise a 1.35 million sq ft shopping mall, a 12-acre multi-layered central park, a 5-star international hotel and 6 blocks of residential towers. The mall will be seamlessly connected to the MRT Station.

 

Original article adapted from The Star article entitled "Mulia to make Signature mark", dated 2 May 2016.

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