ISKL puts former school, land up for sale

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on August 20, 2018.

According to ISKL’s website, the school has relocated to Lorong Kelab Polo Di Raja in Ampang Hilir, which is about 3km from KLCC. Photo by Mohd Izwan Mohd Nazam

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KUALALUMPUR: The International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL), which has a long-standing history in Malaysia, has placed two of its campuses in Selangor up for sale after moving into its new campus in Ampang Hilir, Kuala Lumpur.

The sale of the building and land could fetch the non-profit, parent-governed school as much as RM180 million, according to sources.

The school has hired Savills Malaysia as the exclusive marketing agent to seek expression of interest (EoI) for the campuses in Ukay Heights, Ampang and in Melawati, documents obtained by The Edge Finance Daily showed.

Interested parties will have the option of operating the campuses as an education facility or redeveloping the site.

When contacted, Savills Malaysia senior director of capital markets Nabeel Hussain confirmed that the agency had been hired as the exclusive marketing agent for ISKL, but declined to provide additional information.

The information memorandum (IM), sighted by The Edge Financial Daily, showed that the Ukay Heights facility comprises a school with 268,000 sq ft in built-up located on a 6.4-acre (2.59ha) site. Based on the facilities available at the school, it can comfortably accommodate up to 1,200 students.

This is a leasehold parcel with 70 years remaining on the lease. The original building was completed in 1976 and there have been numerous renovations and extensions completed since.

The IM also stated that the school has been functioning solely as the location for middle- and high-school students.

“This offering presents a rare opportunity for interested parties to acquire a large, regular-shaped 6.4-acre development site in close proximity to the city centre, or alternatively, to acquire the proven, established former campus of the market leader in the international school segment,” the IM said.

Ukay Heights is said to be one of the most established and affluent neighbourhoods in Greater Kuala Lumpur.

Two separate valuers contacted for an indicative price range said the parcel may be able to fetch between RM200 per sq ft and RM250 per sq ft. This means the land, which is equivalent to 278,784 sq ft, could be valued at between RM56 million and RM70 million.

As for the Melawati campus, the school sits on two adjacent parcels — a 3.7-acre plot and a 3.8-acre plot. Both parcels have a freehold title. The total built-up area of the school is about 186,000 sq ft and it is able to accommodate about 700 students.The original building was completed in 1996 and has had numerous renovations and extensions.

On this asset, the IM said it offers a rare opportunity to acquire a 7.5-acre development site, which is located in close proximity to the city centre which is ideal for mid-range, high-rise development. “The site can also naturally be divided into two smaller development sites should the investor so desire.”

For this, the valuers’ ballpark pricing is at between RM300 per sq ft and RM350 per sq ft. This means the 326,028 sq ft could be worth about RM98 million to RM114 million.

Both the parcels in Ukay Heights and Melawati are located within a commercial zone.

An industry observer told The Edge Financial Daily that the assets are best run as a school rather than to be redeveloped. “The campuses are old, but well maintained. It may be best to run it as a school as there are already so many condominiums, serviced apartments and shopping malls surrounding the area.”

A call to the school revealed that it commenced operations at its new campus in Ampang Hilir on Aug 13.

According to ISKL’s website, the school has relocated to Lorong Kelab Polo Di Raja in Ampang Hilir, which is about 3km from KLCC. The school’s project budget for the purpose-built campus located on a 27.5-acre site was RM365 million.

ISKL is a school with no shareholders and dividends to pay, and all revenue generated from the tuition supports the students. It is also said to be the first Malaysian school designed to achieve platinum Green Building Index status with environmentally sustainable concepts. The new campus features world-class science laboratories and classrooms with flexible teaching spaces, two libraries, gymnasiums, competition swimming facilities, regulation track and playing fields, as well as a performing arts centre.

ISKL’s beginnings can be traced back to 1920s to Jalan Maxwell in Kenny Hills. Later in 1965, it began classes with 48 students. When the Malaysian government wanted this land back, the Society for the International School of Kuala Lumpur was granted a 6.4-acre site in Jalan Kerja Ayer Lama, Ampang Jaya. Operations at this new premises began in 1976.

Later in 1992, the Melawati campus opened the elementary school and the Ampang campus became home to the middle and high schools. In 1995, the high school moved to a new wing of the Ampang campus. It is the first fully accredited international school in Malaysia. It is also the first International Baccalaureate accredited school in the country. The closing date for the submission of the non-binding EoI is Sept 28. After the initial round, the selected parties will have to submit their final binding offer. The sale is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2019.