A hint of Melbourne in Malaysia: Hayball's Empire City

It's not often a developer scopes out Melbourne, likes what they see and not only develops projects in the city, but becomes inspired by Melbourne's urban renaissance of the last decade; particularly the successful transformation of streets, the refashioning of laneways, alleys and other spaces into attractive public places.

Mammoth Empire have sought to transpose some of these successful place making qualities, cultural engagement and diversity. Having engaged local architects Hayball on their sister tower projects, MY80 and Empire, they have sought to inject a touch of Melbourne into their Empire City development in Kuala Lumpur.

Having added a number of Melbourne projects to its portfolio, Mammoth Empire Holdings recognised the city's success from an urban and development point of view, and that's what they sought for Empire City.

The fact that the masterplan and Architectural intent we prescribed have been upheld throughout the development process is a testament to the integrity of the design and its ability to evoke a true sense of place that is distinctive to Empire City.

Tom Jordan, Managing Director, Hayball

Located in Kuala Lumpur's Damansara and approximately 1km from one of the new and presently under construction Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit stations, Empire City is the flagship project from the Malaysian developer, for which Hayball was recruited to develop the master plan. Due for completion next year, construction of the greenfield site is valued at over AUD $1.2 billion. Mammoth's vision for developing the vibrant and cosmopolitan precinct, relied on Hayball's understanding of 'place making' and its importance in creating livable, dynamic and sustainable places, having been active in place making and precinct master planning for more than 30 years.

With 12 towers and medium-rise accommodation, Empire City will cater to the diversity of Kuala Lumpur's population and the market need for typologies to suit their varying preferences. From Studio apartments to luxury residences, Hayball's architectural principles have been adhered to throughout the development. Which is even more amazing when you consider Hayball had no ground presence in Kuala Lumpur during the project which was first conceived five years ago.

Empire City hotel closeup. Courtesy Mammoth Empire Holdings.

Premium tenants including 5-star hotel chains, Marriott and Ritz Carlton have signed lease agreements for Empire City, which is seen as a retail and entertainment destination in its own right with 200,000sqm dedicated to high end fashion brands, lifestyle facilities including an Olympic-sized ice skating rink, 4D cinemas, swimming pool, gym, and hospitality venues.

The project required Hayball to design a mix of housing typologies which responded to cultural preferences and an appreciation and understanding of the differences and expectations in the local market. This meant having an understanding of the financial metrics and rethinking the apartment layouts the firm was traditionally accustomed to designing. To ensure Empire City's success and viability the project was benchmarked against precedent projects in Melbourne and internationally.

Empire City construction progress. Photo courtesy of forum member D_Y2k.2^, Skyscrapercity.

More locally, Hayball and Mammoth Empire are working together on a third project with Mammoth interested in developing future sites on the CBD fringe moving forward. Their strategy in Melbourne is to secure sites and build a brand.

Meanwhile Hayball is finalising plans for a "big CBD student housing tower" with projects such as the Lyric Theatre redevelopment in Fitzroy, South Melbourne Vertical School on Ferrars Street and 25 Trent St Glen Iris underpinning the offices strong and diverse portfolio.

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