New developments to the west of Johor Baru’s city centre could have stolen the thunder lately, however the centre of town is placed to capitalise on its prime location and growing transport links to become residential and business hot spot. Within the last of a four-part series on Iskandar Malaysia, Lee Xin En looks at plans in the pipeline for the town centre.
Johor Baru’s city centre established fact to numerous Singaporeans as a lively, low-cost shopping and eating destination just over the Causeway.
However the precinct, using its haphazard streets and ageing malls, is showing its age – and lags behind slick new neighbouring areas like Iskandar Puteri and Danga Bay.
That is set to change next couple of years, as plans to rejuvenate the location have now been occur motion, beginning with the Ibrahim International Business District (IIBD).
The RM20 billion (S$6.48 billion) plan, launched in November 2015, aims to transform the town centre into an international business district over another decade by improving infrastructure.
Last Tuesday, the first public infrastructure project to improve accessibility through pedestrian bridges was unveiled.
A 268m link bridge will connect JB Sentral railway station and bus terminal to Persada Annexe, an expansion of the present Persada Convention Centre, which can be part of Coronation Square. Construction has not yet begun, however the bridge is anticipated to be be completed and operational by the finish of next year.
A flyover may also stretch from the Tebrau Corridor, an up-and-coming area east of JB city centre into the town, connecting it to IIBD and Coronation Square.
The jewel of the IIBD is the upcoming Coronation Square, which will have six towers and is being manufactured by Coronade Properties. With a gross development value of RM3 billion, the project will feature two office blocks, two condominium and serviced apartment towers, a resort and a structure for medical suites.
Construction were only available in January on three of the towers: the medical suites tower, one office block and one residential tower, estimated to have 480 high-end units.
A Coronade Properties spokesman said the organization has “robust financials” and is optimistic about sales, inspite of the perception of oversupply in Johor. The firm is indeed bullish it is building the residential tower even before selling any unit – mainly given its prime location in one’s heart of the town centre.
The spokesman added that despite Iskandar Puteri’s growth, “there’s no problem with having two city centres “.”Logically, when you have linkages to cities, these gateway cities tend to accomplish well… the standard city centre ‘s been around for quite a long time, and it is opportune because of it to be revitalised,” he said.
While one developer is building an international business district, another wants to construct Johor’s new central business district.
Mainboard-listed Astaka Holdings launched its RM5.4 billion development One Bukit Senyum in 2013, which it expects to perform by 2021. Located at the crossroads of the Tebrau expressway and Jalan Lingkaran Dalam in the town centre, the development will house Johor Bahru City Council’s new headquarters, an office building, a five-star hotel, a shopping mall and residences.
Its first phase of development is residential: The Astaka, comprising two towers that will be 65 storeys and 70 storeys tall, features a total of 438 units and is likely to be completed next year. A lot more than 300 units have now been sold; Singaporeans make up 55 per cent of buyers.
While many are bullish on the town centre’s prospects, some Princess Cove projects experienced to change course amid the rapid changes in the region.
Rowsley, a firm controlled by Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim, has tweaked its plans. Its Vantage Bay project was in 2015 repositioned from a residential, office and retail project right into a healthcare hub.
Mr Ho Kiam Kheong, Rowsley’s executive director and managing director for real estate, said the firm is working with Thomson Medical on the healthcare project.
Meanwhile, Rowsley opened a group of food outlets and a pharmacy at Vantage Bay last November that has helped “to earn some recurring income from the rental of space to tenants”, he said.