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I-Berhad group executive chairman Tan Sri Lim Kim Hongstanding proudly a mong the tall structures he built in i-City.
I-Berhad group executive chairman Tan Sri Lim Kim Hongstanding proudly a mong the tall structures he built in i-City.

A “GOLDEN triangle” is synonymous with an area noted for its economic success, prosperity and influence, a mongothers, and reflects the growth of a city.

China’s famed trinity of Hong Kong, Macau and Shenzhen, forming the outer tips of the Greater Bay Area, is apt representation of a golden triangle with its 68 million population, US$1.4 trillion (RM5.7 trillion) gross domestic product (GDP) and US$20,000 per capita income.

In the United States, even the hugely-successful Silicon Valley has its own golden triangle area with “golden” as an appropriate descriptor given the level of commercial, residential, retail and hospitality real estate projects in that particular region.

Back home, there is the highly-recognisable golden triangle of Kuala Lumpur, encompassing the Bukit Bintang and KLCC areas. This is the greater area that drives investments into the country and also home to a large number of expatriates.

Shah Alam, which is the capital city of Selangor, could very well be the next golden triangle as it has all the ingredients to be successful.

Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari has said rapid developments in I-Berhad’s i-City, can turn Shah Alam into one of the centres of the Golden Triangle area in the state.

Selangor, with its almost 25 percentcontribution to Malaysia’s GDP, is the country’s economic power house andmost progressive and developed state.

According to Amirudin, total investment in the state last year may have breached RM14 billion, the second highest in the last 10 years.

He said the amount would double the Selangor government’s RM7 billion target.

“If you look at the record in the last 10 years, this is the second highest achievement for Selangor. The highest was in 2014 when we achieved over RM15 billion in investments,” he said after attending are ception inconjunction with the Federation of Hokkien Associations of Malaysia’s 2019 Chinese New Year celebration.

Amirudin hopes more local and foreign investors will come to Selangor.

A DESIRED LOCATION

Shah Alam typifies all that is desired as a location of choice.

Being the first planned city since Malaysia’s independence and the first city in the country to use a centralised sewage system and underground utility cables, Shah Alam’s pioneering moves over the years have seen it emerge from the shadows of its faster-growing neighbours to become a vibrant are a that has attracted property buyers and developers alike.

Due to its status as the state capital, Shah Alam, including i-City, are blessed with excellent infrastructure and connectivity, such as highways and roads, which link it to seaports and airports, as well as keep it within a 30-minute driving distance from all other areas in the Klang Valley.

The number of highways connecting i-City to the rest of urban Klang Valley attests to its strategic location at the heart of Selangor’s golden triangle.

Public transportation needs are also catered to, with the light rail transit (LRT) network from Bandar Utama to Klang having a station in i-City.

Property valuers said i-City, which is the biggest integrated development in Shah Alam that is linked to an LRT is fast shaping to be the heart of Selangor’s golden triangle.

Nawawi Tie Leung Property Consultants Sdn Bhd executive director (investment/research and consulting) Brian Koh said i-City is a well-conceived integrated sub-commercial centre for Shah Alam/Klang with live, work and playcomponents.

I-City would definitely lift up the image of Shah Alam and the overall Selangor as it further progresses, he told NST Property.

“I strongly believe that more foreign investors would set up shop in i-City. I-City has been an MSC Malaysia Cybercentre (development) for several years now. What will likely attract investors to i-City is the development’s MSC Malaysia Cyber centre status, excellent infrastructure and highway connection,” Koh said.

He applauded I-Berhad founder and group executive chairman Tan Sri Lim Kim Hong for having done a fantastic job in putting the masterpiece together.

“He has the drive and vision to take the project (i-City) from concept to reality today despite the early challenges (interms) of market perception of the locationand limited track record. The completion of the Central i-City Mall will add to the buzz.”

WHAT MAKES I-CITY THE NEXT GOLDEN TRIANGLE?

1. Prosperity

i-City is now a sought-after residential address with its last residential launch, Hill10, having been snapped up at a benchmark pricing of RM1,000 per square ft (psf).

Located above the Double Tree byHiltoni-City, the Hill10 units are Internet of Things-ready and fully furnished with four-star hotel-standard designs.

“The demand for i-City as a residential address is also reflected in the speed at which the developer’s launch price has more than doubled from about RM450 psf for its i-Residence launched in 2012 (for an unfurnished unit) to that for Hill10 in 2017,” said Lim.

2. Influence

i-City has helped cement Shah Alam’s place on the world tourism map with its theme park being listed by CNN Travel as one of the world’s top 25 most colourful and brightest places.

Since its opening to the public in 2009, i-City’s theme park has attracted more than five million visitors a year to Shah Alam.

Its City of Digital Lights with one million LED lightscapes, the Red Carpet 2 interactive wax museum and the SnoWalk falling snow and ice carving experiences have continued to woo and wow visitors.

Lim said i-City is a distinct exception to the notion of Shah Alam lacking entertainment venues, with its blend of corporate, residential and leisure components ingredients of almost perfect living.

“It has been said that great cities have to continuously recalibrate, renew and reinvent themselves in response to ever-changing demographic, technological, economic, and global advancements.

“Against this backdrop, i-City will continue to push the boundaries yet again with its development of work places of the future — one which inspires innovation through the ability to focus, socialise, learn, collaborate and rejuvenate under a single space— and living spaces of the future, one which offers collaborative living spaces with quality facilities and office-standard technology,” said Lim.

3. Economic success

The i-City that is unfolding today isfounded on the determination to offer a fully-integrated lifestyle township with the infusion of cutting edge technologies, characterised by a number of strategic alliances with some of the world’s A-listers.

Lim said this strategy is a part of i-City’s vision to be an international park, a status conferred on it by the Selangor government as part of the administration’s drive for Shah Alam to be an international city.

From i-City’s perspective, being “international” not only means catering to the international community, but also being an investment location of choice for global companies, he said.

INTERNATIONAL APPEAL

Koh said what was once an industrialfocused area, the part of Shah Alam where i-City is located has had a positive impact on developments and properties.

“It has gentrified the area. Earlier phase pricing for residential properties were launched in the RM400-RM500 psf range.

I understand the latest pricing is RM1,000 psf,” he said.

Perhaps it is the international offering in i-City that is driving up property prices, not just for units within the development but also in the surrounding area, added Koh.

The 220-room Best Western i-Cityhotel is currently in its fifth year of operations.

Under construction is the 300-roomDouble Tree by Hilton i-City, and on the launch padis the Fraser Place service dapartments.

On the drawing board is a 400-room five star hotel to be operated by an international hotel group.

i-City open edits International Convention Centre (iCCC) in November last year, providing a platform to host Meeting, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions events and weddings.

Coming up next month is the opening of the RM850 million Central i-City Mall with one million sq ft net leasable area — developed as a joint venture between the Central Pattana Group of Thailand and i-City.

The mall will be augmented by the 300 units of CentralWalk high-street retail outlets.

Lim said it is envisaged that these retail developments would transform Shah Alam into a regional shopping centre and a destination of choice for cruise ships stopping at Port Klang.

15 YEARS ON FOR I-CITY

Lim has come a long way since the project was first envisaged over 15 years ago.

The first phase of i-City’s development comprising low-rise MSC Malaysia Cyber centre Office Suites was a pioneering move for Shah Alam as i-City became the first private sector MSC Malaysia Cybercentre development in the country.

The MSC Malaysia Cybercentre status, the International Park status as well as i-City’s recognition as a tourism destination have contributed to the vibrancy of the place.

With Central i-City Mall, iCCC and theme park, Lim expects i-City to receive 12 million visitors this year.

Lim said I-Berhad is confident to grow the numbers to 30 million visitors over the next five years, given the opening of the DoubleTree by Hilton, a second convention centre and the completion of Central Walk.

The Central Walk is one of the key features of i-City. It has multiple blocks comprising shopping, hospitality, leisure, convention and medical hubs.

From a master layout planning perspective, CentralWalk helps differentiate the commercial component of i-City with those of the residential and office components. It is already an extension of the City of Digital Lights.

This U-shaped complex stretches from the Red Carpet 2 in the north west corner of i-City to the new Central i-City mall in the south before U-turning to join TheJewel and the i-City LRT station in the north east corner of i-City.

Designed as a network of buildings with three wings, CentralWalk’s west wing comprises 300 retail units with the Red Carpet 2 and iCCC as the anchors while the Central i-City mall, coupled with the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, are the main stay of the south wing.

Lim told NST Property that the seeds of inspiration for i-City as a golden triangle development were planted back in 2005 when he and his management team visited Universal City in the United States.

Universal City is a 121h a development that is home to Universal Studios, NBC, Universal Studios Hollywood theme park and Universal CityWalk. The latter was designed by renowned American architect, Jon A. Jerde, who was also the master planner of i-City.

Lim said Universal City was seen as a perfect example.

Apart from being a tourism destination and a business centre for the motion pictures industry, the master plan for thesite included a residential neighbourhood and hotels.

“It opened our eyes to the possibility of a vibrant mix-used enclave for businesses, residences, hospitality and leisure to be undertaken by one developer with a longterm outlook, one which is financially sound and able to garner strong support from the authorities.

“We were especially attracted by the architectural concept of Universal CityWalk where a central pedestrian spine serves as a link to all the various components. Thus it is not surprising to see similarities in the architectural master plan of i-City with CentralWalk pedestrian spine being home to the shopping, leisure, hospitality and convention activities.”

Lim said considering that only about half of the approved gross floor area has been completed, there are still opportunities for i-City to contribute to the economic development and prosperity of Shah Alam, further strengthening its place as the centre of Selangor’s golden triangle.

“i-City’s RM3 billion Tourism Masterplan, one that has been presented to the Tourism Ministry, will see three hotels, a shopping centre, a theme park, three convention centres and a medical hub among the many other offer ingsin i-City. The next few years will see a five-star hotel and medical hub coming on stream, apart from the Double Tree which is currently under construction,” he added.

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