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Mixed-use project in JB with mall and theme park to draw international crowd

Siow Chien Fu, executive director and CEO of Capital World, expects Singaporeans to make a beeline to Capital 21 mall in Johor Bahru when it opens in August. “We are building a one-stop entertainment and shopping haven in the heart of Johor Bahru,” he says.

The mall is part of the 1.2 million sq ft Capital City being developed by Capital World, which was listed on Catalist last year via a reverse takeover of marble producer Terratech Group. The project occupies a 439,726 sq ft site on Jalan Tampoi — a 15-minute drive from Woodlands Causeway and 30 minutes from Senai International Airport. It will consist of a six-storey theme-park-and-mall, 315- room Hilton Garden Inn, 630 hotel-style serviced suites and 690 serviced apartments.

Capital City occupies a 439,726 sq ft site located 15 minutes from Woodlands Causeway

(Image credit: Capital World)

When completed, the indoor theme park will rank among the world’s five biggest and be the largest in Southeast Asia. “An indoor theme park is a very good niche,” says Siow. “We are adapting to the local weather condition by having it indoors.” He reckons the entertainment element injected by the theme park will help the integrated development compete against online retail and the other malls in Johor Bahru.

Billed as a mall within a theme park, the retail component comprises 1,655 units, of which Capital World is retaining 242 for recurring income. Seventy per cent of these units have been leased out, says Siow. Meanwhile, of the 1,413 units available for sale, the developer has sold about 65% at an average price of RM2,600 psf. The serviced apartments, which are priced from RM500 to RM600 psf, will be launched for sale later this year. The price level is aimed at local buyers, says Siow, but Singaporeans would also be able to invest, as the quantum will cross RM1 million ($337,592).

Siow: As long as the location and product are good, there will be demand

Despite concerns of an oversupply in Johor, Siow is confident that the apartments will be well received. “As long as the location and product are good, there will be demand regardless of the oversupply in the larger market,” he explains.

The entire project is spearheaded by the theme park, he adds. Spanning Levels Three and Four of the retail podium, it will feature several theme attractions, including Movie Planet, Cartoon Planet and Music Planet. The Movie and Cartoon attractions will integrate augmented reality and virtual reality, while Music Planet will have circus, musical and theatrical performances. The retail component will also feature thematic zones inspired by five continents — the Americas, Europe, Australia, Asia and the Middle East.

Coupled with affordable ticket prices, the attractions will ensure a steady stream of repeat customers. That is the key to a successful theme park, notes Siow.

The theme park will feature several attractions, including Movie Planet (pictured), Cartoon Planet and Music Planet

(Image credit: Capital World)

The theme park will cater for people from all walks of life. In addition to the discounted rates offered to senior citizens, children who are handicapped or from less-privileged backgrounds will enjoy complimentary access. “It will be a theme park for everyone,” he says.

Ahead of its opening in August, Capital World is also working with tour agencies and organisations such as the Express & Excursion Bus Association to promote the theme park and mall. “We want to have busloads of people visiting,” says Siow.

Capital City’s retail component will also feature thematic zones inspired by five continents

(Image credit: Capital World)

The groups he is targeting include day trippers from Singapore, local Malaysians, as well as other nationalities via Senai International Airport, which receives international flights from China, Indonesia, Macau, South Korea and Thailand.

When fully completed in 2020, Capital City will be a destination where people can live, shop and play. It will also be a showcase of Capital World’s capabilities as a developer and a stepping stone into other markets. According to Siow, having a completed project under its belt would make it easier to secure joint ventures with partners who own land, which is the company’s preferred business strategy.

Capital World’s development pipeline includes Austin City, another mixed-use project in Johor Bahru

(Image credit: Capital World)

Capital World’s development pipeline includes Austin City, another mixed-use project in Johor Bahru; Sitiawan Wellness Hub, a mixed-use project in Perak with a health and wellness focus; and Pengerang Project, a 207.5 acre landed housing township in Kota Tinggi, Johor.

The developer is keen to expand beyond Malaysia, where its current projects are located. “The market is vibrant in Singapore, where we are listed,” says Siow. “We wish we could be there.”

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