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February 10, 2017 at 15:16 pm GMT

Developing a Central Business District

Medini Iskandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd has played an important role in the development of Iskandar Malaysia as both master planner and master developer of the thriving township. In this Business Intelligence, Medini discusses this role, and its promotion of smart and sustainable community initiatives.

Developing a Central Business District

CONSOLIDATING FUTURE GROWTH

Incorporated in 2007, Medini Iskandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd (MIM) is the master developer of 2,230-acres of land in a thriving urban township located in the southern tip of Johor; a township that is envisaged to become the central business district of Iskandar Puteri. Since its inception, MIM has undergone a continuous evolution. The company began as a master planner and infrastructure manager, investing over MYR1billion on building the infrastructure. Afterwards, from 2013 and 2014, MIM took on the role of a niche developer focused on commercial offices and providing value-added township management services. MIM has also taken a bold step to become the front-runner in the development of a smart and sustainable city.

MIM is backed by strong shareholders with an international composition and solid experience. 60 per cent of the company is held Jasmine Acres, which is jointly owned by the Malaysian Government investment arm, Khazanah Nasional Berhad and Iskandar Investment Berhad. Another 20 per cent is held by the global infrastructure investment and development company United World Infrastructure (UWI). The remaining 20 per cent is held by Mitsui & Co, Ltd. Mitsui brought with it a wealth of knowledge and experience in smart city solutions and development.

To date, Medini has attracted a mix of local and foreign property developers who are currently implementing their respective projects at various stages. The first property developer in Medini was WCT, and others who followed suit include Sunway Iskandar, BCB, CI Medini, UMLand, Mah Sing, Macrolink, Grand Global, Zhuoyuan Iskandar, Distinctive Group, LinkTHM, B&G Property, Eastern & Oriental and a few more.

Medini is also home to LEGOLAND® Malaysia Resort, which opened in 2012 and was the first of its kind in Asia. Adjacent to LEGOLAND® Malaysia Resort is the Mall of Medini, as well as Somerset Medini Serviced Apartments and Gleneagles Medini Hospital. This hospital offers an advantage to Singaporeans, as they can use their national healthcare medical scheme Medisave to pay for medical care.

With the Coastal Highway Southern Link scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2017, it will markedly reduce traveling distance from the Tuas CIQ Second Link to Medini. Another positive and exciting development is the Kuala Lumpur – Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR), of which the first stop after Singapore is in Johor, which has been designated within Iskandar Puteri. The HSR is slated for completion in 2026, and the availability of a HSR station in Iskandar Puteri will significantly improve connectivity.

The Medini township is an integral development within the greater area of Iskandar Puteri. The ecosystem within Iskandar Puteri comprises other catalytic developments surrounding Medini such as the education hub, EduCity, which houses a number of renowned institutions such as the University of Reading Malaysia and Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia, to name a few. Others include Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios, the waterfront development and marina, Puteri Harbour and the Johor state administrative office complex, Kota Iskandar.

THE MASTER PLAN: A SMART CITY IN THE MAKING

The Medini master plan is a comprehensive development encompassing infrastructure, commercial zones, residential and communal spaces, as well as green and multi-purpose areas. The plan was designed with a strategic vision to build the large-scale township that is built on the premise of a smart concept. As a people-centric township, Medini is turning towards technology to deliver city services, for example, to reduce energy consumption, address traffic congestion and monitor the safety and security of the township. With smart solutions in place, the quality of life for existing and future residents of Medini will be elevated as they experience an increased level of service and convenience.

At present, smart initiatives in Medini are being piloted and implemented in phases with a scale relevant to current development phasing. We have introduced an integrated operations centre and purchased electric vehicles to reduce the carbon footprint.

MIM is also part of a global research collaboration branded as the ‘Malaysia Biennial 100 Years City: Medini’ that sets out to design a vision of the 100-year development of Medini. The research collaboration aims to bring together visionaries and progressive architecture schools, as well as innovative architects from around the world, urban planners, economists, urbanists and futurists. It promotes critical and constructive proposals for future development that harness the idea of a smart city. We are also working closely with Malaysia Digital Economy Malaysia (MDEC) to connect with tech start-up communities that are eager to contribute and grow within a thriving central business district such as Medini.

SPECIALISING IN NICHE PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT

Regarding project developments undertaken by MIM, the first office building to be built was the two-storey Medini 6, which measures 80,000 square feet of gross floor area (GFA), and opened in 2015. Companies currently occupying Medini 6 include Huawei Technologies, i2M Ventures Sdn Bhd, Inneonusa Sdn Bhd and Vision Technology Consulting. A 4-storey office building known as Medini 7, measuring 145,000 square feet of GFA, marks the second office building that was completed in the second half of 2015. Tenants in Medini 7 include Frost & Sullivan and Courts. Medini 7 was recently named as a designated premise, meaning companies with Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) status were able to immediately occupy Medini 7 and enjoy preferential benefits and advantages offered by MSC Malaysia. MSC Malaysia is Malaysia’s national ICT initiative designed to attract technology companies while growing the local ICT industry. Additionally, Medini was also given the MSC Malaysia Cybercentre status by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC). The designated area covers 31.5 acres in the heart of the central business district.

Medini 6 and Medini 7 are located within the MSC Malaysia Cybercentre boundary as well as two other premier high-rise office buildings that are currently under construction. The twenty-one storey office tower Medini 9, measuring 490,000 square feet of GFA, and the 27-storey office tower Medini 10, measuring 508,000 square feet of GFA, are expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019, respectively. The high-rise office towers have contemporary and modern designs. In fact, Medini 10 was awarded Best Commercial Development (Malaysia) in 2016, presented by the Southeast Asia Property Awards.

The aforementioned office blocks form part of a cluster development known as The Pulse, a premier commercial development. MIM has three other development clusters that include The Compass, a luxury commercial development; The Crescent, a lifestyle retail and business park; and The Park, a residential and boutique commercial cluster. The Crescent was privileged to have been named as a merit winner in 2016 in the design excellence category awarded by the Malaysian Institute of Planners.

Future office buildings built by MIM within the designated MSC Malaysia Cybercentre area will be MSC-status ready and Green Building Index (GBI) compliant. The MSC status further strengthens the township’s position to attract and cultivate local and foreign investors in the Global Business Services (GBS) and Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) sectors, which could help accelerate the economic growth of the southern region.

DRIVING TOWNSHIP MANAGEMENT SERVICES

Through its wholly owned subsidiary Township Management Services Sdn Bhd (TMSSB), MIM deploys a broad range of, value-added and lifestyle-enhancing services to end-users. The implementation model TMSSB employs is unique, as the company forms partnerships with leading facilities management service providers to produce an integrated and holistic township management service.

In this context, two joint venture partnerships have been signed, the first in 2015 with Intelsec Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Telekom Malaysia Berhad. The JV company formed is responsible for providing information and communication technology-related services. The second was signed with UEM Sunrise Edgenta TMS. The JV company formed provides facilities and estate management services. The partners with which we have signed are two prominent organisations that are renowned in their respective industry.

MOVING FORWARD – BUILDING AN INCLUSIVE CITY

Indeed, the development of Medini as a smart city will enable its residents, investors, businesses and the public in general to experience the township in a unique manner. MIM has also spent significant time pursuing place making in 2016, in an effort to incorporate an even more multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces in Medini. The goal is to develop public spaces that promote people’s health, wellbeing and happiness, which is why facilities such as bicycle and running paths, parks and public art will be made available to enhance the Medini livability factor.

Medini’s vision is to become an ‘Icon of Future City Living’. To become one, it is critical for Medini to be adaptive and agile, particularly in the era of digital dependency. Community participation is also key in driving the success of Medini, where the budding city values welcomes communities of multiple backgrounds in creating an integrated and inclusive central business district within Iskandar Puteri.