Growing concern: Sean Ng, Jason Ooi and Andrew Fortey. Photo: Luis Enrique Ascui
MALAYSIAN property developer Mammoth plans to put its mark on Melbourne's horizon and build a sister tower next to its landmark 55-storey MY80 development.
Mammoth paid $15.1 million to a Melbourne family for a 1028-square-metre block at 398 Elizabeth Street two weeks ago, beating two other parties in a public tender.
In a rare interview with BusinessDay, the directors of the little-known Malaysian group said they hoped to build a twin tower to complement the $250 million MY80 high-rise being built next door in A'Beckett Street.
''Maybe we will have another tower slightly taller or the same height. When you come to this area you will feel the vibrancy, you will see twin towers here,'' director Joseph Ooi said.
At present the site houses a nondescript single-storey building tenanted to a hairdresser and software retailer.
The nearest skyscraper is the Melbourne Central tower on the corner of La Trobe and Elizabeth streets. However, one block away at 150 Queen Street, Planning Minister Matthew Guy this week gave formal planning approval for a soaring 71-level residential tower that will dwarf most other city buildings.
In the same area, Brookfield Multiplex this week finished building a $90 million residential tower at 33 Mackenzie Street.
Mammoth owner and director Sean Ng said his group was happy with progress of MY80's construction, having sold 90 per cent of apartments in the complex.
Malaysian, Singaporean and Chinese-based developers have snapped up $385 million of prime CBD residential sites in Melbourne in the past 18 months and are proving to be a driving force in Melbourne's property construction industry.
The company has a strong development pedigree in Malaysia. There, it is overseeing an enormous 40-hectare, mixed-use project on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.
The 10-year-old firm has begun the first 10-hectare phase of Empire City that will include retail, hotel, apartments and offices in a 12-tower complex with two Marriott-managed hotels and a 20-screen cinema complex, Mr Ng said.
Mr Ng was unknown in Melbourne two years ago when on a week-long visit he bought the MY80 development site complete with permits from the Hampton Group.
But apart from the two sites in Elizabeth Street, the group has bigger plans for Melbourne.
Mr Ng would like to expand into retail development.
''We are looking at opportunities every day. We are here for the long term. We are starting to build our foundations,'' he said.