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Astaka Holdings Limited, the developer for One Bukit Senyum in Johor, is off to a good start this year.

The group recently signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Straits Perkasa Services Sdn Bhd (SPSSB) for potential collaboration on a mixed-use development project through its 99.99 percent-owned subsidiary, Astaka Padu Sdn Bhd (APSB).

The designated development land is 0.81 hectares (ha) in size and is located near Taman Mount Austin, a thriving township in Johor Bahru.

SPSSB, which is involved in the marine and shipping industries through its mooring services owns the land.

This is the second MOU signed by Astaka this year for the development of real estate projects.

In early January, the group signed a non-binding MOU with DMR Holdings Sdn Bhd for joint development projects totaling 17ha and an estimated gross development value (GDV) of RM1 billion.

The estimated GDV for the mixed-use development project in Taman Mount Austin is RM160 million.

Astaka’s executive director and chief executive officer, Khong Chung Lun, said that with the two MOUs signed in quick succession, Astaka has good momentum towards potential joint development projects in Johor.

“Moving forward, we will continue to identify suitable opportunities for developing high-quality projects across Johor to grow the group further,” he said in a statement.

According to Khong, the group has been closely monitoring the local market and has identified Taman Setia Indah as a township with great potential in Johor Bahru.

“(The land) is near Taman Mount Austin, a popular tourist destination in Johor Bahru with a growing population. Through this collaboration, we hope to create a high-quality living and lifestyle development that will meet the needs of the local township,” he said.

Khong said owing to the prime location of this project where the population is dense, Astaka will look towards targeting young families and upgraders.

The property is close to Austin Heights Water and Adventure Park, Eco Palladium, IKEA Tebrau, and the Tebrau Sport and Recreation Centre.

Meanwhile, One Bukit Senyum’s remaining phases will include a Grade A office tower, a five-star hotel, serviced apartments, branded residences, and an entertainment hub.

One Bukit Senyum is a 4.8ha development with a gross floor area of 6.2 million square feet and an estimated GDV of RM5.3 billion.

So far, APSB has built The Astaka @ One Bukit Senyum (twin tower apartments), the Johor Bahru City Council’s headquarters (Menara MBJB), and a 15-story Grade-A office tower.

Khong anticipates that the local real estate market will begin to recover in the first half of 2022, with increased buying interest in both the primary and secondary markets.

In 2022, the Malaysian economy is expected to grow at a rate of 5.5 per cent to 6.5 per cent, up from 4.5 per cent in 2021.

Furthermore, the elimination of the RPGT (real property gains tax) for property disposals has provided an additional boost to the property market, particularly for long-term property owners looking to upgrade and empty nesters looking to downsize, Khong said.

Khong said with the implementation of lockdown restrictions and the normalisation of hybrid work arrangements, homebuyers are demanding residential developments in established areas with good connectivity and amenities for convenience.

“The pandemic has also changed the demand for residential spaces,” he said.

According to Khong, the strategic location of the Astaka development projects, with their close proximity to various key amenities and highways, will add to the ease of convenience for these home-seekers.

Source: NewStraitsTimes, Sharen Kaur / January 31, 2022

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