PERMODALAN Nasional Bhd (PNB) expects to start ground works on the proposed 100-storey Menara Warisan Merdeka project by the middle of next year.
Its president and chief executive officer Tan Sri Hamad Kama Piah Che Othman said PNB has already submitted plans, including design and concept for approval to the Kuala Lumpur City Hall recently.
"We hope to receive the approval soon and will make an announcement accordingly," he told reporters after a media briefing to announce the income distribution for its Amanah Saham Bumiputera scheme for financial year ended December 31 2011 here yesterday.
He said this when was asked to provide update on the mega project.
"Usually, it takes several months for the approvals from the City Hall. We will give ample time to City Hall to evaluate thoroughly to avoid any problems in future.
"(But) by the middle of next year, we think we can carry out several groundworks and others on the project," he said.
Earlier reports said that PNB will be undertaking the RM5 billion Warisan Merdeka development over three phases in 10 years, starting with the 100-storey tower this year.
It was reported that the development will also have a shopping complex and condominium.
The tower - touted to be the country's tallest - will cost RM2.5 billion to RM3 billion and will have gross floor space of three million sq ft and 2.2 million sq ft of net floor space.
It is scheduled to be completed in 2015.
It was also reported that PNB had set up wholly-owned unit PNB Merdeka Ventures Sdn Bhd to undertake the project.
Tengku Abdul Aziz Tengku Mahmud, formerly from Guthrie Property Development Holding Bhd and Sime Darby Property Bhd, heads the company now.
Apart from the Warisan project site, PNB's other property portfolio includes Menara PNB, PNB Darby Park, Kenanga International Building, Bangunan MAS in Kuala Lumpur, Hotel Perdana in Kota Baru and PNB Ilham Resort in Port Dickson, Negri Sembilan.
Commenting on the uncertainty of the global economy next year, Hamad Kama Piah said PNB has its own strategy to face the challenges in the global arena.
"We have been facing uncertainties almost now and then. The issue of US economy, the issue of Europe, we just cannot say it is a small thing. It is something big in the world.
"So far, we have done our best because in terms of strategy, we as a long-term player have to make sure that we are creating growth for the future.
"Our strategy is always creating value, while more or less every year we pay dividend. This is the basic principle of investing," he said.