PNB expects to launch Merdeka Residence with RM2b GDC by end of 2020

The residence consists of 3 premium residential towers which houses up to 800 apartments

by FARA AISYAH/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

PERMODALAN Nasional Bhd’s (PNB) wholly owned subsidiary, PNB Merdeka Ventures Sdn Bhd, is expected to launch Merdeka Residence — the final phase of Merdeka 118 — by the end of 2020.

Merdeka Residence consists of three premium residential towers, housing up to 800 apartments.

“We have roughly about another RM2 billion gross development cost (GDC) for the final phase, which includes the infrastructure costs, among others,” PNB executive VP of property/real estate Rizal Rickman Ramli told the media at the launch of Merdeka 118 show gallery in Kuala Lumpur (KL) yesterday.

He added that PNB has utilised 40% from the RM5 billion GDC for Phase 1 and Phase 2 that comprise the office tower and a shopping mall.

Rizal Rickman said the Merdeka 118 tower is currently 38% completed at 75 floors and is expected to be completed by 2021.

He also said the company is currently at the advance stage in closing deals with major tenants, and will update on the take-up rate for both tower and retail mall once the deals are finalised.

Commenting on the oversupply of office units which might prolong into 2021, PNB group chairman Tan Sri Dr Zeti Aziz said “it is something that we took into consideration”.

“With supply still coming on stream going to that period, we have to look at innovative ways to address it. As such, we have several strategies for it,” she said.

Rizal Rickman said the project is coming to the market with Grade-A offices.

“If you look at the premium grade products in the city, they are all running at more than 90% occupancy rate,” Rizal Rickman added.

Zeti said PNB is also expected to take up 17 out of the 83 floors.

“(After moving out,) Menara PNB might be kept for a while as a land bank because of its strategic location. We have no plan to sell it,” she added.

Once completed, Merdeka 118 will span over three million sq ft of floor area, comprising 1.65 million sq ft of net lettable area (NLA) of Grade-A rentable office spaces.

The building would also house the PNB observation deck, Park Hyatt Hotel and approximately one million sq ft of NLA retail components, in addition to the three premium residential towers.

There are also several projects in the pipeline including a 1,000-seater theatre, which is expected to be an ideal venue for cultural and art shows, live music and entertainment, a ballroom and a four-acre park.

The Merdeka 118 tower overlooks two national landmarks, Stadium Negara and Stadium Merdeka, where Malaysia’s independence was declared in 1957.

As sole custodian of these heritage sites, PNB Merdeka Ventures has made efforts to preserve Stadium Merdeka which has undergone meticulous conservation in 2007, while plans are in the pipeline for Stadium Negara to be upgraded to enable it to host various activities.

“As a catalyst for change, Merdeka 118 is revitalising this historic location. To this, we have prioritised plans to fully activate the precinct all year round once completed, with potential collaborations and partnerships that will deeply involve and connect directly with the neighbouring community.

“It is our hope that it will draw visitors and reflect the personality and spirit of the Merdeka 118 precinct, bringing a positive impact to the other parts of KL,” Zeti said.

*Editor’s note: The heading should read Gross Development Cost (GDC) and not as reported.