Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Tycoon Ong Beng Seng Gets to Build first Four Seasons Hotel in KL

KUALA LUMPUR: Singapore tycoon Ong Beng Seng, who owns Four Seasons resorts in Bali, Singapore and the Maldives, won government approval to build the brand's first hotel in Kuala Lumpur after a 17-month wait.

Ong would partner a sultan and CapitaLand Ltd to build the RM1.5bil hotel and apartment complex in Kuala Lumpur, Venus Assets Sdn Bhd executive director S.A. Raju said. Venus is owned by Ong, the controlling shareholder of Singapore-based Hotel Properties Ltd.

The project, next to the Petronas Twin Towers, marks the biggest investment in Malaysia's hospitality industry this year.

“Never under-estimate the power of the brand,'' said Joyce L. C. Chang, the principal of C-Hospitality Consulting Sdn Bhd. The Four Seasons is an “international name with prestige, and this is very good for Malaysia's tourism industry.''

Ong's two-tower project has been revised with the initial 72-storey condominium reduced to 60 floors, while the hotel tower remains at 38 stories, Raju said last week.

“We got approval from city hall in December and we are inviting tenders for piling works,'' he said. The revised plan “doesn't change the plot ratio of the project''.

The Four Seasons development would include 200 hotel rooms, 50 serviced apartments, and 173 condominium units, he said.

Ong bought the 2.6-acre site in 2003 from the late Singapore billionaire Khoo Teck Puat for RM90mil, or RM785 per sq ft. The development, through Venus, would be the fifth Four Seasons property for Ong. His Hotel Properties owns four of the brand's hotels.

Hotel Properties is also building a Hard Rock hotel at a beach in Negri Sembilan, and another in Penang. The new hotels will add to the company's five other properties in Malaysia, including three under the Concorde brand.

Venus, the owner and developer of the hotel project, is owned by Ong and his associates. Its chairman is Syed Yusof Nasir, who handles the business interests of Selangor's Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah.

Occupancy at the 900 hotels in and around Kuala Lumpur may rise to 72% this year, boosting average room rates to a record RM250 a day, said Ivo Nekvapil, vice-president of the Malaysian Association of Hotels.

Source : STAR
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