MCT to transform One City's SkyPark into thematic mall

Property and construction player MCT Bhd’s SkyPark mall in the One City development, which is located in USJ 25 and surrounded by high-density areas like Subang Jaya and Shah Alam, will be transformed into a food and beverage-themed mall to attract more patrons.

MCT executive director Datuk Lim Kok Boon said the mall will focus on those who use the park and ride (P&R) facilities that will be provided in the surrounding One City township later.

The move to transform SkyPark, a 12-storey structure with 222 office suites and 250 units of retail shops that opened its doors in January 2014, came after MCT recognised that the mall is facing low shopper traffic.

“We are transforming the mall and getting new tenants to move in,” Lim said, adding that it is ideal to revamp the entire One City development to one based on the P&R concept as residents living nearby are commuting daily into the city centre to work.

“[We want these] people to drive and park their vehicles here and then take the train into the city centre. By doing so, we can generate income from parking and they may also spend at our tenant shops as well,” he told reporters after MCT’s annual and extraordinary general meetings yesterday.

In the One City development, there is also The Square, which the group intends to turn into a digital mall, and another six-storey retail space called The Place.

The Square will start operations next year and will have an atrium space that allows tenants to organise promotional activities.

“We have been in talks with several big brands. We are fine-tuning the details of the agreements,” said Lim, adding that MCT hopes the digital mall could be a change catalyst for its retail segment.

As for The Place, which comprises 72 retail shops and a grand ballroom at the rooftop, he said the group has yet to decide on the theme or concept of the mall.

As at October, SkyPark’s office lot was fully occupied, while its retail space’s occupancy stood at 62%. The Place’s occupancy rate was 46%. The Square is still vacant.

Aside from transforming the existing retail space at SkyPark, Lim said MCT is building another mall — the MCT Mall — in its 77-acre (31.16ha) One City development, targeted to be completed in five years.

The mall will have a net lettable area of 1.5 million sq ft, comparable with major malls like the Mid Valley Megamall.

MCT chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tong Seech Wi remains bullish on the group’s outlook even as he acknowledged the sluggish property sector outlook.

Tong said the current financial year ending June 30, 2016 (FY16), will be better than last year as the group has managed to register sales of RM300 million, but did not disclose the growth quantum.

“The group’s performance will [also] be underpinned by RM2 billion of unbilled sales, which can support our earnings for the next two to three years. We believe our sustainable operating module, which is doing everything in-house, will also help us improve our earnings visibility,” he added.

“We believe our projects’ take-up rate remain favourable, given the strategic location of our developments,” he added.

Tong said the group’s land bank stands at 500 acres, which will be developed in the next 10 years.

“We will continue to launch new projects according to plan and will not hold back,” he added.

Lim also dismissed concerns about a possible mandatory take-over by its single-largest shareholder, Philippine property conglomerate Ayala Land Inc, after the latter raised its stake in the company to 32.95% in October.

Ayala Land, MCT chairman Tan Sri Barry Goh Ming Choon (27.21%) and Tong (14.65%) do not see shareholding wrangling as the way to run a business, he said.

“They focus more on the management rather than shareholding and look at the totality (benefit of the group) instead of individual shareholder’s,” he said.

Lim also reasoned that MCT may not be able to maintain the minimal 25% public shareholding under the listing rules should Ayala Land raise its stake further.

MCT shares closed three sen or 2.34% lower at RM1.25 yesterday, valuing them at RM1.67 billion. - By Gho Chee Yuan / The Edge FInancial Daily