I Understand Why Forest City Condos Are Often Vacant After a Night’s Stay

Abandoned Luxury: The Unsustainable Future of Forest City in Southern Malaysia

In southern Malaysia, the luxurious Forest City was built by China’s largest developer, Country Garden. The development spans four square miles and features towering apartment buildings and a white-sand beach overlooking the Johor Strait. With views of industrial plants in Singapore, the estate boasts an impressive cost of $100 billion.

During my first visit to Forest City in May 2022, I noticed that the development seemed abandoned, with hundreds of dark windows in apartments and few people on the roads or at the beach. Despite plans for 700,000 residents in the next six years, only 9,000 people currently call the estate home.

In March 2022, returning to Forest City eight years into its development, I booked a homestay at a condominium unit for 70 Singapore dollars ($52) through a property manager. Similar units are available on Airbnb for as little as $38 per night. The owner of the unit declined to comment due to privacy concerns, but despite multiple requests, Country Garden did not respond to Business Insider’s inquiries regarding the status of Forest City.

The low population raises questions about Forest City’s future development and appeal to potential residents. Despite its grand plans and impressive cost, it remains largely unpopulated and abandoned.

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