Once a lush forest, Medini is now slowly coming to life with a hive of activities and new standards in luxury living.
By Khalil Adis
For the newly initiated, Medini, located in Nusajaya, Johor, can be quite an assault on the senses, especially since it is a brand new township where the entire buzz is centred at.
Located in the heart of Iskandar Malaysia, this is where the breakneck pace of development has been taking place since Iskandar Malaysia was first mooted by former Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi in 2006.
As you drive past the Coastal Highway from the Second Link, you can’t help but be amazed by the sheer size of the developments taking place once you reach the sweeping intersection.
That was exactly how I felt when I was first covering Iskandar Malaysia as a property journalist way back in 2008.
Coming out of my cocoon in Singapore, that year witnessed my first foray into Medini, Iskandar Malaysia as part of a media junket trip to understand and write about what the buzz is all about.
I had heard a lot about Medini and Iskandar Malaysia back then but I wasn’t sure what to make out of it.
However, once I got there, it was something that completely blew my mind.
Measuring just 9.3 sq km, it is hard to imagine that this was once a lush pristine forest filled with oil palm plantations.
Now, Medini has transformed into a Grade ‘A’ site with top-notch infrastructure that rivals even that of Singapore’s.
The Malaysian government has so far spent RM5.9 billion to develop Medini into a world class city with infrastructures such as roads, lightings and sewerage treatment plants.
Medini – the spark that ignited the Iskandar Malaysia success story
Blessed with land that stretches as far as they eyes can see, Medini’s area spans from the iconic Legoland Theme Park landmark in the lifestyle zone to the creative buzz of film-making at Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios, near the leisure zone and business district.
First identified as a special economic zone by Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB), the statutory body has over the years developed various catalytic industries to spur the success of Iskandar Malaysia.
From tourism to creative industry, Medini is now slowly becoming a bustling district with a tourism hub at Legoland Theme Park and a film-making facility at Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios.
This was a far cry from the Medini that I was covering when Legoland’s construction was taking place in 2010.
During that year, I went into the heart of Iskandar Malaysia again to write a special report to update readers on the progress taking place.
Armed with a safety helmet and boots, this time round, I braved the elements as I witnessed first hand the construction of what is now the area’s iconic landmark – Legoland Theme Park.
Indeed, the rapid pace of development that Iskandar Malaysia had undergone since 2006 had caught most Singaporeans by surprise, as back then, many had thought Iskandar Malaysia would not take off.
Fast forward to 2015, Iskandar Malaysia is the most successful by far of the five economic zones in Malaysia.
According to Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA), Iskandar Malaysia has attracted a total cumulative investment of RM156.51 billion from 2006 to October 2014.
Of this total, 51 per cent of RM79.17 billion of investments has been realised.
Booming residential sector near Legoland Theme Park
As more and more investments and jobs are created in and around Medini, it has led to demand for residential homes to support the various catalytic industries.
Due to its limited size, however, land here is extremely rare and much sought after,
The first game-changer occurred when Temasek Holdings and Khazanah Nasional announced that they will be jointly developing two projects here that arose from the land swop deal in 2010 – Afiniti Medini and Avira.
Since then, Medini has attracted many developers to launch projects, among them Zhuoyuan Iskandar Sdn Bhd, who is the developer of Paradiso high-end residential project in Medini.
“One of the key main reasons we chose to invest in the Malaysian market was the clear identification of the different flagship zones and defined blueprints for each zone. In addition to this, there were considerations such as the ease for foreign investors to enter into the market and form partnerships as well as regulatory incentives that include tax exemptions up to 2020 and no restrictions on foreign buyers. It’s a rare opportunity in Malaysia that aided our decision,” said Wang Bin Wu, chief executive officer for Zhuoyuan Iskandar.
Indeed, Medini is the only area in Malaysia that has been designated as a free trade zone to make it foreign-investor friendly.
For example, in Medini, foreign investors are not subjected to the minimum purchase price of RM1 million and Real Property Gains Tax ((RPGT).
As we speak, the area in and around Medini is buzzing with expatriates from Frost & Sullivan to lecturers at EduCity who now call Iskandar Malaysia home.
Figures from IRDA shows that from January to October 2014, Iskandar Malaysia has secured RM24.87 billion in new investments.
Among the promoted sectors, manufacturing recorded the highest cumulative committed investment at RM50.97 billion.
Chartering new frontiers with revised city blueprint and luxury living
As more and more quality jobs are being created in and around Medini, so are demand for quality homes and infrastructure.
Realising this, IRDA has developed a new city blueprint that will take Medini and Iskandar Malaysia into a new frontier.
“IRDA has also developed several blueprints and the new version of the comprehensive development plan (CDP) incorporates the implementation plan and programmes such as the Iskandar Malaysia Smart City Framework that incorporates the environment, economic and social aspects. It will also help us in planning for the enablers to support future catalyst projects,” said Datuk Ismail Ibrahim, chief executive for IRDA.
The second game changer in Medini is Zhuoyuan Iskandar who has upped the ante in terms of luxury living in the heart of Iskandar Malaysia.
In Medini, the developer’s high-end residence called Paradiso Nuova is breaking new grounds in terms of finishings and fittings.
“Our focus is to develop high quality real estate that is benchmarked to top international standards that will appeal to buyers as a compelling investment opportunity. We have designed Paradiso Nuova to be a class above other developments in Iskandar,” said Wang.
Indeed, Paradiso Nuova offers discerning home owners something not found in other developments.
Paradiso Nuova is an oasis of grandeur that offers personalised attention and luxury from the ground-up featuring a range of luxurious apartments, stunningly designed by world-class architects Ong & Ong. Each unit will be completed with quality finishes such as marble and solid timber floorings. The apartment is also brandished with fittings from Bosch, Signature Kitchen, Teka, Franke, Toto and Grohe.
“All units are also equipped with a 5-tiered security system to provide full confidence in safety for all residents. Paradiso Nuova’s prime location ensures that residents will have easy access to the amenities surrounding the property in addition to enjoying its high-end facilities,” said Wang.
Paradiso Medini is blessed with a 4.2 acres backyard of urban green space at the doorstep. Zhuoyuan Iskandar will enhance this green space into uniquely designed recreational park providing its’ residents with a vast array of communal leisure facilities.