Paramount makes debut in Penang with university metropolis

SHAH ALAM (Nov 15) : Paramount Corp Bhd’s (Paramount) property arm has launched its first development in Penang, the 44.3-acre Utropolis Batu Kawan university metropolis development.

With an estimated gross development value (GDV) of RM1.8 billion, the development is located in Batu Kawan on mainland Penang, just 1km away from the Second Penang Bridge and the North-South Highway.

Speaking at the preview of the development in Shah Alam today, Paramount group CEO Jeffrey Chew said the development marks the company’s debut in the Penang property sector, which has consistently remained one of Malaysia’s most vibrant.

Utropolis Batu Kawan is expected to duplicate the success of Utropolis Glenmarie in Shah Alam, Selangor, which was launched in 2013, he added.

The integrated development of Utropolis Batu Kawan will be divided into four phases. It will comprise residential, commercial, retail and hotel components as well as a new flagship campus for KDU Penang University College, which is owned and operated by Paramount’s education division.

The 10.5-acre campus will be the biggest purpose-built campus in Batu Kawan when fully completed, said Paramount Property division director of innovation Benjamin Teo.

"When the campus is completed, it will be able to house up to 5,000 students," said Teo.

The entire Utropolis Batu Kawan development is expected to be fully completed by 2026, said Chew.

We have launched the phase 1a of the development last month. The phase 1a comprises 196 units of commercial and retail component with prices starting at RM326,600,” Chew said. “We are going to launch the phase 1b early next year, this phase will consist of two blocks of studio apartment with a total 612 units.”

“The phase 1a and 1b will be completed in the second quarter of 2019, in conjunction with the completion of the KDU Penang University College campus so that the students will able to enjoy all the facilities and amenities when they come in,” he added.

He pointed out that a university metropolis is a unique community as it never grows old due to the constant infusion of new students. “They will act as a catalyst to attract lifestyle businesses and support services while creating a dynamic and evolving community,” he said, adding that this will create a vibrant real estate market which offers a constant demand for residential properties, as well as commercial, retail and office spaces.

Meanwhile, Paramount is also planning to launch phase three of Utropolis Glenmarie early next year.

With a GDV of about RM300 million, phase three will consist of serviced apartments, retail shops and a three-and-a-half-star hotel, which will be a joint venture with Lasseters International Holdings.

Paramount is looking to achieve RM430 million in property sales this year, which is on par with last year.

"Next year, we will have a higher sales target of RM500 million as we will be launching more projects from now onwards," Chew said.