Thursday 20 Jun 2024
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This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly on April 24, 2023 - April 30, 2023

SELANGOR Properties Bhd (SPB) is seeking a buyer for a prime nine-acre parcel in Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur, that property experts expect to garner a lot of interest, given its profile and scale. If sold, the Jalan Semantan parcel, on which the 53-year-old Wisma Damansara office is sited, may be able to fetch as much as RM470 million, industry experts estimate.

Constructed in 1970, Wisma Damansara is said to be the first office building to be developed in the Damansara Heights area. The 16-storey building was once the headquarters of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) but has been vacant for many years now.

Last weekend, Knight Frank placed an advertisement on the land, reading, “For sale via private treaty”. The real estate agency said the site in Damansara Heights has both commercial and residential titles and offers a prime development opportunity. The land has a 238m frontage along Jalan Semantan, is close to the Semantan MRT station and is within Kuala Lumpur’s Transit Planning Zone. The site has a plot ratio of 1:6.5.

With the help of industry experts, The Edge managed to identify the land as belonging to SPB. When contacted, Knight Frank’s group executive chairman Sarkunan Subramaniam confirmed that the parcel did belong to SPB and that the firm had been hired as the exclusive marketing agent.

“This is a prime parcel in Damansara Heights. It is an exceptionally rare opportunity to purchase a large site like this, as a site of such profile and scale does not come up often in the market,” he says, adding that property developers will be able to showcase their ability to build a premium product on the site.

On pricing, Sarkunan thinks that the parcel will set a record as “there are no other sites to match this”.

SPB’s annual report for the financial year ended Oct 31, 2018, stated that it owned a 30-acre land bank in Damansara Heights. The report revealed that SPB had a preliminary development plan for the site — for a mixed-use development incorporating retail, commercial and residential elements — but had to suspend it when the government froze the development of properties priced above RM1 million in November 2017 due to an oversupply of commercial properties, including retail and serviced apartments. The freeze followed on the heels of a Bank Negara Malaysia report that there was an oversupply of high-end commercial properties and serviced apartments priced above RM1 million.

Industry experts contacted by The Edge peg the price of the 392,040 sq ft parcel at between RM800 and RM1,200 psf. At this price range, the land may be sold for as low as RM314 million or as high as RM470 million.

Located near Istana Negara, the land is therefore subject to height restrictions.

It is worth noting that nearby, along Jalan Semantan and facing Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim (formerly Jalan Duta), there is a 19.14-acre parcel (Lot 481123) adjacent to Istana Negara, which was sold in 2016 for RM646 million or RM775 psf. The land — equally owned by Jakel Group, Symphony Life Bhd and Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) — is being developed by PJS Damansara Sdn Bhd (see map).

However, since the purchase of the 833,665 sq ft tract six years ago, its value is said to have risen. Last September, The Edge reported that the land might be worth RM917 million or RM1,100 psf after Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) changed the zoning for the land from residential and main commercial (residensi dan perdagangan utama) to mixed development (pembangunan bercampur).

DBKL also increased the density. Where it was previously 80 persons per acre (for the residential portion) and a plot ratio of 1:4 (for commercial), the entire parcel now has a plot ratio of 1:5. This means that the developer, PJS Damansara, will be able to build more commercial or residential space.

DBKL also proposed a new dispersal road within the site to ease traffic congestion along Jalan Semantan and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim.

The last reported asset sale by SPB was in 2020, when it disposed of the then 49-year-old Plaza Batai retail shoplots in Damansara Heights to Malton Bhd’s Tan Sri Desmond Lim Siew Choon for about RM100 million.

This is not the first asset Lim has purchased from SPB. In 2015, SPB sold a freehold parcel measuring 25,686 sq m in Pusat Bandar Damansara to Lim’s Jendela Mayang Sdn Bhd for RM450 million. SPB had purchased the land two decades earlier for RM106.6 million. This parcel forms part of Lim’s Pavilion Damansara project.

In 2020, SPB’s Menara Millenium drew the interest of investors keen to acquire premium assets. Completed in 2000, it is a Grade A, 25-storey office building with 550,000 sq ft of net lettable area and sits on a 163,579 sq ft plot. In 2020, industry estimates placed the value of the asset at RM800 psf or RM444 million.

Other assets owned by the group and leased out include The Stories of Taman Tunku in Bukit Tunku. It is a low-density development with a total of 19 exclusive retail lots, 40 residential apartments and 26 refurbished units for business use.

Located right on the Semantan MRT Station (see map), The Five@Kompleks Pejabat Damansara (The Five@KPD) comprises five blocks of four-storey buildings with a net lettable area of 172, 900 sq ft. It underwent a RM10 million makeover in 2021.

The group also has land in Gombak Selayang and Ulu Langat.

Listed on Bursa Malaysia in 1963, SPB was delisted on June 4, 2019, from the Main Market after the majority owner finally succeeded in taking the company private at the third attempt. At the time, the Wen family controlled 68.23% of the company’s shares via their private investment vehicle Kayin Holdings Bhd.

Due to some dissenting minorities who were unhappy with the offer price, the offerors had to raise their offer twice — from RM5.70 on Oct 25, 2018, to RM6 on Dec 17, 2018, and then to RM6.30 on Jan 15, 2019. 



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