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Rowsley to convert Vantage Bay to healthcare hub

Real estate firm Rowsley, controlled by billionaire Peter Lim, has decided to convert its long-delayed Vantage Bay integrated development in Iskandar into a healthcare cluster as residential market sentiments for the region remain soft.

The mainboard-listed company said in a press release after market close on Tuesday that its new planned healthcare hub will have a gross development value of RM5 billion (S$1.65 billion) and will be made up of three components: medical, education and "wellness". These will be developed in phases over 10 years, it added.

The project's medical component includes a specialist hospital, a community hospital, long-term care facilities and medical suites. The two hospitals will be next to the Thomson Iskandar hospital, and Rowsley said that the three hospitals will together have about 850 beds.

The Thomson Iskandar hospital does not belong to Rowsley but another firm that Mr Lim also controls.

The education component includes a teaching hospital with around 300 beds and a research institute, while the wellness component includes an "urban wellness resort", a hotel, serviced apartments and a retail mall.

Rowsley said in its statement that it plans to fund the investment using a mix of internal funding and bank financing.

The original plan for Vantage Bay was first proposed in November 2012 and had included a 75-storey condominium, a mall as large as VivoCity, office blocks and a hotel. The condo was supposed to have been launched by Q1 2014 but the project kept running into delays as market sentiment weakened.

Rowsley shares slipped 1.3 per cent or S$0.002 to S$0.148 on Tuesday before the announcement.