Located within the Iskandar special economic zone, Forest City comprises four man-made islands spanning 30 sq km (Credit: Country Garden Pacificview)
SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Located within the Iskandar Malaysia special economic zone (SEC) in southern Johor, Forest City comprises four man-made islands spanning 30 sq km. This year, more than 20,000 residential units are expected to be handed over to owners. More than 4,000 residential units have already been transferred to owners since March.
The first phase of 482 units at Cerulean Bay in Forest City were handed over to owners in September last year. Prices range from RM13,000 psm to RM18,000 psm, or the equivalent of $399 psf to $552 psf, for most of the residential units, according to its developer Country Garden Pacificview (CGPV).
Since end-March this year, more than 4,000 residential units have been transferred to owners (Credit: Country Garden Pacificview)
CGPV is a 60:40 joint venture between Country Garden and Esplanade 88 Danga Bay Sdn Bhd (EDSB), an associate company of Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor (KPRJ).
Investors take ‘wait-and-see’ approach
To date, investments into Forest City total more than RM17 billion. The first island (Island 1) is 50% reclaimed and comprises a fully occupied retail complex, the five-star Phoenix International Marina Hotel, commercial units, a sales gallery, and Shattuck-St Mary’s Forest City International School.
The remaining three islands (Islands 2-4) will be built based on “property demand and supply”, according to CGPV.
The five-star Phoenix International Marina Hotel is part of the first island of Forest City (Credit: Country Garden Pacificview)
In August last year, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced that while foreigners can purchase residential units at Forest City, they will not be granted visas to live there. Following that, a statement from Malaysia’s Prime Minister’s Office said that property purchases by foreign nationals must abide by the country’s rules and regulations which are publicly available.
Buying property does not guarantee automatic residency. Foreigners who wish to make Malaysia their permanent residence can consider the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) government programme.
“Due to Dr Mahathir’s comments last year, many international investors have taken a wait-and-see approach towards their investments in Malaysia. [Because of] this condition, Forest City was inevitably affected,” says Zhou Jun, Forest City’s brand management general manager.
Buyers of Forest City hail from over 35 places including China, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Macau, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Canada, the US, Venezuela, the UK, Russia, and Australia, says Zhou.
“However, over time, we understand that the Malaysian government continues to welcome foreign investments,” adds Zhou. “Thanks to the comprehensive legislative system, Forest City was not badly impacted despite the Prime Minister’s remarks. On the contrary, as we are able to contribute to the Malaysian economy, create job opportunities and promote technology and knowledge transfer, we have received a lot of support from the government.”
In order to facilitate the growth of the Malaysian economy, Forest City has awarded contracts worth RM1.6 billion to local companies, and contributed more than RM300 million of tax to the federal and state governments. In addition, over RM10 million has been donated and sponsored, in terms of corporate social responsibility initiatives.
Classic Golf Course unveiled
For now, it’s “business as usual” at Forest City, says Zhou. On Aug 18, CGPV unveiled a 172-acre (70ha) Classic Golf Course at Forest City Golf Resort. This followed the opening of the 183-acre Legacy Golf Course, designed by Jack Nicklaus and his son Jack Nicklaus II, in September last year. There are also plans for the construction of a third golf course. The Forest City Golf Resort spans 8 sq km and is located about 7km from Forest City.
The Legacy Golf Course, designed by Jack Nicklaus and his son Jack Nicklaus II, opened in September last year (Credit: Country Garden Pacificview)
Designed by landscape architect and golf course designer Liang Guo Kun, the 18-hole Classic Golf Course is a parkland course, commonly known for its lush greenery and rolling contours, he explains. Liang is also the executive director and vice president of Country Garden Holdings.
“The Legacy Golf Course is desert-themed, and while it has an open terrain, I designed the Classic Golf Course with a hilly terrain,” says Liang. “If I were to design it the same way, where is the fun in playing then?”
He adds: “When people come [to the course], they would find the views pleasing to the eye, having a scenery to admire with every step.”
Designed by landscape architect and golf course designer Liang Guo Kun, the 18-hole Classic Golf Course is filled with lush greenery and lakes (Credit: Country Garden Pacificview)
According to Zhou, Forest City’s main focus for 2019 and 2020 is to build up the industrial component as part of Forest City’s Industry Integration Blueprint 2020. It intends to attract industries to set up in the industrial hub, and further enhance the tourism component of Forest City.
In addition, Forest City’s landmark Carnelian Tower, a 45-storey integrated building comprising of residential units, Grade-A offices and retail shops, is slated to open in 2020.
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