KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 2): Johor Bahru's City Council (MBJB) intends to collaborate with Singapore Exchange-listed property developer Astaka Holdings Ltd in relocating the city council's new headquarters to a new central business district in Johor, One Bukit Senyum (OBS).
In a statement today, MBJB said it has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Astaka's 99.99%-owned subsidiary Astaka Padu Sdn Bhd, whereby Astaka will construct, develop and sell to MBJB a 14-storey Grade A office tower, Menara MBJB.
With a gross floor area of approximately 445,848 sq ft and 558 car parks, the city council said Menara MBJB will be located adjacent to The Astaka, a project envisaged to be Southeast Asia's tallest residential towers, upon completion.
The Astaka is being constructed within the OBS and about 700 MBJB staff will relocate to OBS once the office tower is completed by the end of 2019.
OBS is being developed in two phases and is located next to Singapore and projects like the Ibrahim International Business District, the High Speed Rail, the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System and Coronation Square.
MBJB said these projects are part of Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar's vision to transform Johor Bahru (JB) to become Malaysia's second-biggest city after Kuala Lumpur.
It added the decision to relocate to OBS comes amid increased domestic and international investments in Johor.
OBS is a mixed development which comprises two towers of serviced apartments (The Astaka @ One Bukit Senyum), as well as Phase 2 of One Bukit Senyum, which comprises a shopping mall, grade A office tower, a five-star hotel, serviced apartments and residences.
The entire project has an allowable gross floor area of 6.3 million sq ft and is targeted to be completed by 2021.
Astaka said Phase 1 of OBS, which is The Astaka @ One Bukit Senyum, has achieved 71% sales to date and is expected to receive its Certificate of Completion and Compliance in 2018.
Astaka's chief executive officer and executive director Datuk Zamani Kasim said this MoU is part of Astaka's vision to act as a major catalyst to transform JB.
"As a respected and responsible developer focused on quality, we will always put our local communities first, to ensure the sustainable and continued growth of our great city. For this reason, we are honoured to set this vision in motion with the development of Menara MBJB," he said.
JB Mayor A Rahim Nin commended the MoU is "highly symbolic" because it puts one of the state's most important governing institutions at the heart of urban transformation.
"By relocating within OBS, MBJB is positioning itself at the hub of Johor's financial, business and educational activities," he said.
"Its state-of-the-art facilities will offer excellent connectivity to propel JB's quest for second-city status, which will rank it alongside other great second cities such as Los Angeles, Vancouver, Melbourne and Rio de Janeiro," he added.
The mayor also said the MoU is an important development in JB's upward trajectory in providing an efficient system, credible and pioneering governance, effective resource management and utilising the most innovative technologies to benefit the city.
The MoU was also officiated by the Johor State Executive Council for Housing and Local Government YB Datuk Haji Abd Latif Haji Bandi and Astaka's founder and controlling shareholder YB Datuk Daing A Malek Daing A Rahaman.