BY Kent tan
Forest City, the multi-billion ringgit mixed development by Country Garden Holdings, a prominent developer from China, is expected to give a much needed boost to the local flagging market condition.
Featuring four man-made islands, Forest City is Country Garden’s largest real estate project outside China. It is envisioned to be a work, live and play environment that will benefit local residents, businesses and tourists.
Johor Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) branch chairperson Hoe Mee Ling said that Forest City would be a major catalyst and local developers can expect to gain some leverage from the economic strength and technology driven by the global financial powerhouse.
“Malaysian developers will benefit from the enhanced value brought in by Forest City. This will also encourage us to up our game for the benefit of all buyers,” Hoe said.
By 2035, Forest City is expected to create 220,000 jobs for Malaysians in the finance and e-commerce sectors.
In a move that would greatly augment its value, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak declared Forest City to be a duty free zone during its grand opening ceremony last weekend.
Najib also promised corporate tax incentives for qualified companies or companies with Iskandar Development Region status involved in tourism and meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions (MICE), education and healthcare as well as for green developers and green development managers. A waiver on company equity restriction is also offered for foreign investors to claim these incentives.
Country Garden’s chief executive officer Mo Bin said that the gazetting of Forest City as a duty-free zone would boost its position as an international destination and put Iskandar Malaysia on the world map.
“Among the upcoming facilities would be the first duty-free shopping mall which is expected to welcome visitors by this year-end at the Fisherman’s Wharf on Island 1 of Forest City,” Mo said.
It will carry a wide range of leading international brands and products. Another attraction will be a five-star boutique hotel.
Under the first phase on Island 1, the high-rise condominium units and coastal residences are now open to public preview and booking in Malaysia, Singapore and China.
The condo and coastal residences are exceptionally designed and are situated within leafy foliage corridors and car-free avenues with gated security. These contemporary-styled units range from 753sq ft to 1,862sq ft.