Malaysian developer sets sights on building 1000 homes by 2027
13 Jul 2022 | AFR

Malaysian development giant Gamuda Land has seen opportunity where other Asian developers see challenges after unveiling plans to build 1000 apartments in Australia over the next five years.

While the likes of Hong Kong-listed China Aoyuan Group and Chinese giants Polyand  and Greenland have all reduced their exposure to the Australian housing market, Gamuda Land will kickoff a new $180 million project this year in Melbourne’s Fishermans Bend and is in discussions on other site acquisitions.

Gamuda’s project is across the road from R.Corporation’s mega apartment development.

Ngan Chee Meng, CEO of Gamuda Land – a subsidiary of Kuala Lumpur-listed infrastructure and construction giant Gamuda – said the developer was focused on building a strong pipeline of residential projects in Australia over the next five years.

“Since Australia’s borders reopened for business, Gamuda Land has been actively looking to expand its foothold in all capital cities in order to bolster residential supply by an additional 1000 residences,” he said.

The Fishermans Bend project – Gamuda Land’s first since completing its maiden Australian development on Chapel Street, South Yarra in 2018 – will comprise 200 apartments over 20 levels.

The residential tower will replace the former 70-year home of Dunlop Rubber after Gamuda Land picked up the 2600sq m site at 272 Norman by Road late last year for $24 million.

It is across the road from a major apartment project by R. Corporation nearing completion and on the same street where Marriott and Oakwood have opened new hotels.

Designed by architects Hayball, the apartment project will comprise a mix of one-,two- and three-bedroom apartments and include a rooftop garden, wellness studio and an atrium retail space for 14 specialty retailers.

Gamuda Land Australian general manager Jarrod Tai at its site at Fishermans Bend.

Construction is due to begin in June next year.

Gamuda, in collaboration with the City of Port Phillip, the Victorian government and the Fishermans Bend Taskforce, will also turn a section of Johnson Street, which runs alongside the site, into a 3000sq m public park, part of its environmental, social and governance commitment to plant 1 million trees across its projects by 2024.

Gamuda Land’s Australian general manager, Jarrod Tai, said Melbourne remained an attractive market after COVID-19.

“Melbourne is a resilient market and the lifestyle factors [that make it appealing]have not changed,” Mr Tai told The Australian Financial Review.

“Many of our own employees have relocated to Melbourne from Malaysia. This gives us confidence to grow our business here.”

In addition, Mr Tai said the developer had noticed that demand for well-designed homes had increased since the start of the pandemic, providing an opportunity for Gamuda to bring its expertise gained from projects undertaken in Singapore and Britain to projects in Melbourne.

Mr Tai said Gamuda Land was in discussions on several acquisition opportunities and was “still looking for sites” with a preference for “high liveability” locations to the north and south-east of central Melbourne.

Gamuda’s April 30 quarterly update noted that sales were “ongoing” at its 661Chapel Street apartment project, which was completed more than four years ago.

A penthouse atop the 30-storey development sold last February for $17 million.

Outside of property development, Gamuda is undertaking $3.5 billion of major transport projects in NSW including tunnelling work for the Sydney Metro West train line and delivering the Coffs Harbour Bypass project.