Yoma gets lease extension for Landmark project

A LONG-STALLED downtown property project spearhead by tycoon Mr Serge Pun appears to be finally moving forward.

First proposed in 2012, the US$500 million Landmark Development has been repeatedly delayed because Pun had been unable to reach an agreement with Myanmar Railways to extend an existing lease for the 10-acre site.

But a spokesperson for Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings, which is controlled by Pun and the main investor in the project, told Reuters on July 13 that the state-owned rail operator had agreed to extend the lease to 50 years, starting from January 1, 1998. The investors will also be able to apply for two 10-year extensions.

“We are working with the relevant stakeholders including MIC [Myanmar Investment Commission] to proceed with the project,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.

The mixed-used project will include high-end residential, office and retail space, as well as a five-star Peninsula Hotel in the colonial-era Burma Railway Corporation headquarters.

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The lease extension was considered critical for ensuring the project would be economically viable.

The company said in a statement that it had entered into a shareholders’ agreement with First Myanmar Investment, Japan’s Mitsubishi and the International Finance Corporation, which will also invest in the development. Myanmar-listed FMI will hold 12 percent, Mitsubishi will have 30 percent and IFC 5 percent. Yoma will have 48 percent, while the Asian Development Bank is expected to take an equity stake of 5 percent.

Both Yoma and FMI are chaired by tycoon Serge Pun, whose business interests include the Pun Hlaing Estate and Star City property developments, and Yoma Bank.

Further details will be revealed at Yoma Strategic’s annual general meeting on July 26, the company said.

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