Golf courses targeted for re-development – Too valuable for golf?

Golf courses in the centre of development areas are now being targeted for re-development as property prices rocket through the roof.

Caddy Master By WONG SAI WAN

JUST a couple of decades ago, the crowning jewel for any Malaysian developer was to own a golf course and to use that sporting facility to enhance their property sales.

In the 1980s and 1990s, it was unthinkable for a housing developer not to try to have a golf project. Even if they do not have enough land for a full 18 holes, they would try for a nine-hole or at least a driving range.

But how things have changed with the Asian financial crisis of 1998. There were less than a handful of new golf courses built in the past 12 years. In fact, more golf courses have closed down in this period.

KGNS sits on prime land and has been in the news a lot of late.

Fast forward to this year and once again developers are eyeing the golf courses but in a totally different manner. Developers no longer want to build golf-related projects; instead they want to tear them down.

Word has it that, especially in the Klang Valley where the prices of property have gone up tremendously, developers are eyeing golf courses to be turned into property development projects.

An 18-hole golf course with a reasonably sized clubhouse will cover about 50ha and a land of that size in the Klang Valley or even just outside the greater Kuala Lumpur is worth hundreds of millions.

For developers such a large track of land will be worth billions in terms of property for sale especially if it is located near major highways or with railway access to Kuala Lumpur.

Many of such courses when developed between 15 and 20 years ago were located away from the city centre with some built on former estates – usually the lousiest piece of land that is hilly and with plenty of valleys and swampy soil.

Those days this kind of land was considered “rubbish” and too costly to rehabilitate to build good houses that would have fetched the top dollar.

But two decades on things have changed. The Klang Valley has grown and the Government has adopted the concept of the Greater Kuala Lumpur where they expect almost 10 million people will live in.

Principal cities within Klang Valley within th...                     Image via Wikipedia

This expanded Kuala Lumpur will stretch all the way from Sungai Buloh in the North all the way to Kajang/Semenyih in the south; Klang/Banting in the west to Bukit Tinggi in the east.

More than 40 golf courses are located within this very large area and every single one of them have suddenly become prime land and worth a lot of money. The landowners who previously thought they were sitting on a worthless piece of property now find that they have a gold mine.

From the likes of Rahman Putra Golf & Country Club to the now defunct Emville Golf & Country Club, these are now prime properties. Even the Kampung Kuantan Golf Club and Kundang Lakes Golf & Country Club which were the starting grounds for many golfers in the Klang Valley may not be safe from the hands of developers in a few years time.

Already, Kajang Hill Golf & Country Club has been sold to Dijaya Corporation Bhd for redevelopment for RM228mil into mixed development with an estimated gross development value (GDV) of RM2bil.

Dijaya, which owns Tropicana Golf & Country Club in Petaling Jaya, plans to develop the more than 80ha site that now sits the golf course and the clubhouse facilities into a new project called Tropicana Kajang.

The deal was struck in September and club members were then informed that they had less than a year left to play on its Par 72 championship course layout measuring 7,148 yards.

Kajang Hill was owned by the Japanese company Taiyo Resort (KL) Bhd. It was not the most exciting golf course but it had unique Japanese features set in tropical settings.

There is now a rush by golfers to play there before the course is closed down for good.

Word is abound about all sorts of other courses been targeted by land hungry developers. Among them is said to be the Kelab Golf Negara Subang which sits right smack beside of the Federal Highway in Petaling Jaya.

The present committee decided to not renew a Caveat the club had placed on the land thus allowing the Federal Land Commissioner to act on the land title.

Speculation is rife that there are some people eyeing the land of one of KGNS two 18 holes. There is no concrete proof but a hurriedly called EGM by the members has appointed a panel to look into the matter.

KGNS is reported to be sitting on land worth some RM5bil – a sum that some people deemed too valuable for golf.

This is what worries the golfing community that both courses on the outskirts as well as those within the city limits are being eyed for re-development.

This is made worse by the fact, many of the commercial club owners are only just too keen to sell or redevelop the land. It would seem that only a recession or the burst of the property bubble would prevent this from happening.

Till next month, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Dijaya in RM228mil land deal for Kajang Hill Golf Club land

I was a member of the Kajang Hill Golf Club and I received notice to terminate the membership from November 2011. However, they are paying back the monies that we paid to join. So, I was expecting some news on this. This was confirmed in today’s papers. The owner, a Japanese Datuk is going to make a lot of money in this deal.

However, if you go to the vicinity of the area, the whole place is going to be developed very soon. The size of the whole area is huge with the other areas combined.

The prices of the properties here is also very high (by Kajang standards), mind you. So it’s left to be seen how the place will eventually turn out.

Until the next time, cheers.

The Star, Tuesday September 6, 2011

Dijaya in RM228mil land deal

Purchase of freehold land from Taiyo to cater for increasing demand for property in Kajang

PETALING JAYA: Dijaya Corp Bhd has entered into a conditional sale and purchase agreement with Taiyo Resort (KL) Bhd to acquire five parcels of freehold land in Mukim Semenyih, Ulu Langat, Selangor, measuring approximately 80.33ha for RM228mil cash.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, Dijaya said the agreement with Taiyo Resort was entered by its wholly owned subsidiary, Tropicana City Service Suites Sdn Bhd (TCSS)

The parcels of land are currently held under the operations of Kajang Hill Golf Club, it added.

Dijaya said the land would be transformed into a mixed development consisting of landed houses, condominiums, apartments and shop offices with an expected gross development value of about RM2bil.

“The development, known as Tropicana Kajang, will be another future revenue generator for the group and shall contribute positively to its financial performance,” it said in a separate statement.

Dijaya said the freehold land had an upside potential in terms of capital appreciation because of the increasing demand for residential and commercial properties in Kajang, as seen in other developments such as Nadayu 92, Tiara Residence, Ramal Villa, Twin Palm and Jade Hills, just to name a few.

“With increasing population and expanding residential properties in and around Kajang, the proposed development of commercial properties will cater to the rising demand for office and retail spaces.

“Furthermore, the proposed Kajang-Sungai Buloh MY Rapid Transit project will enhance the investment potential of Kajang, presenting a greater opportunity to property investors,” it said.

Group chief executive officer Tan Sri Danny Tan Chee Sing said the group was continuously acquiring sizeable land-banks with good development potential in strategic locations.

“The land deal provides an opportunity for the group to introduce more development in Kajang with quality and prestige synonymous with our Tropicana brand,” he said.

Dijaya said the purchase price was arrived at on a willing-buyer, willing-seller basis after several considerations including the reasonably low land cost of RM26.36 per sq ft which will enable TCSS to price its proposed development competitively and with reasonable margins.

On the financing for the purchase, Dijaya said it would be funded through internally funds and/or bank borrowings.

“The exact mix of internally generated funds and bank borrowings will be determined by the management of the company at a later stage, after taking into consideration Dijaya Corp and its subsidiaries’ gearing level, interest costs and internal cash requirements for its business operations,” it said.

The group’s net gearing is expected to rise to 0.22 times post-land acquisition assuming about RM114mil, representing approximately 50% of the purchase price, is financed via borrowings. As at Dec 31, 2010, Dijaya was in a net cash position.

Related post:
BJCC Golf and Country Club News


Challenge yourselves !

Young Couple SleepingImage by via Flickr

On The Beat By Wong Chun Wai

Young people who just whine at the demands of their employers or prefer to stay within the confines of Daddy’s home won’t go far.

THERE was a time when most youngsters could not wait to move out of their parents’ homes.

For those living outside the Klang Valley, moving to Kuala Lumpur meant the beginning of a new life, start of a career and, of course, being away from the watchful eyes of their parents.

The independence that came with it for young adults was just too irresistible. Living alone or sharing an apartment with friends offered better privacy than staying with the folks, even if it ate into their pay.

But many unmarried young Malaysian adults, especially among the urban middle class, are now opting to stay with their parents.

They have become a lot smarter. They get to keep their salaries while enjoying the comforts of a proper home and do not have to pay for the utility and household food bills. They also have the maid to take care of their demands, which include washing their cars.

No wonder our kids grumble when they are picked for National Service, which is really just like an outward bound training programme compared with the real McCoy in Singapore. There, they are dressed and treated like real soldiers.

Living such pampered lifestyles, where many seem to have their own cars even when they are still in college, these young adults’ outlook has also changed.

Employers have found that many job entrants snub a RM2,500 starting salary even when they have yet to prove themselves. Some already receive pocket money of about RM1,000 a month and fear losing their allowances from their parents once they start working. For these spoiled kids, it’s just bad mathematics.

Some, I have been told, receive pocket money of at least RM2,000 a month because they maintain a lifestyle that includes having regular sessions at Starbucks and clubs and, of course, raking up bills for the mobile phone and iPad.

So, the result is they can be choosy. This attitude is an issue faced by many employers these days.

We do not need an in-depth survey to know the condition of the job market. A managing director of a media company told me last week that a young applicant refused to accept her job offer because the office was located in Petaling Jaya.

“She said her home was in Cheras and having to wake up early to beat the traffic jam to PJ wasn’t appealing. So she just turned us down,” she said.

Good workers are hard to come by and it does not help that Malaysian employers are not quite prepared to offer competitive salaries, conscious of the fact that this would add to their costs.

Young staff bring in greater energy, freshness and a better outlook but these don’t necessarily come with more passion or loyalty. Young Malaysians today would probably have worked in at least six companies, maybe even more, within a short period.

The good ones know they would be talent scouted or they would simply leave for other jobs that offered better salaries and perks.

This writer has worked for The Star for 27 years, which probably makes me a Jurassic subject here. I have had only one employer and while it may seem strange to many young people, those of my generation would understand.

I travelled around campus on a motorcycle, which was regarded as a privilege then, and I used the same kap cai when I started work in Penang.

Getting my first car, which was the result of some serious saving, was a great achievement. And it was a second-hand car.

The biggest headache for employers today, however, is the inability of many job seekers to speak and write well in English. This is high on the list of minimum requirements.

Recruitment advertisements, whether in print or online, state clearly that English is an absolute essential, but many job seekers cannot pass this first hurdle.

“It has become a norm to hear applicants speaking in Bahasa Malaysia or Mandarin when they call up. You can tell that they cannot even carry out a simple conversation in English,’’ an employer tells me.

But as Malaysian companies look beyond the local market, which is really tiny in comparison to Indonesia, India, China or the Middle East, they would acknowledge that applicants who speak more than just English would be more marketable.

My non-Chinese friends are often annoyed when they read job advertisements specifying Mandarin-speaking candidates. I tell them many Malaysian Chinese from English-medium schools would share their feelings.

Bananas” like me – yellow outside but white inside – would struggle like my non-Chinese brethren if we were in China because of our language handicap. The reality is that many companies need to do business in China, which has become the world’s most important market. And with Europe on the decline economically, China’s status has become even more powerful.

So there really is nothing discriminatory about those advertisements. A Malay who can speak and write Chinese would probably get the job. There are two Malay reporters in The Star with these skills and they are regarded as gems.

Dubai is also a strategic hub with many multi-national companies setting up their regional headquarters there. Surely, job seekers who speak Arabic would enjoy an advantage there.

The question is how ready are our young adults to learn new skills, including language and even social networking skills, to make them more marketable?

We won’t go far if we continue to whine at the demands of our employers or just prefer to stay within the confines of Daddy’s home.

Go out there and challenge yourselves.

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