Hot on the heels of plans for a theme park and golf resort in Batu Kawan, comes another plan for a 40-acre “international-class” “Penang Designer Village” that would include a mall tenanted by “first-tier luxury international brands retailing branded items at discounted prices”.
Also included is a 300-room “international-class” hotel, cafes and F&B outlets and residential units.
These upper-middle class hangouts are supposed to make residential living in Batu Kawan “more attractive” for the folks in the 12000 affordable homes being built by the PDC.
But I am not sure if the people who live in such “affordable homes” will be able to afford such luxuries, given how hard pressed many ordinary people are in coping with higher grocery prices and growing indebtednesss – a result of the neoliberal, property-centric, FDI-based model we are pursuing.
What do you think? Is this what Batu Kawan needs or is this a case of the “bing chui” – the keeping-up-with-the- Joneses – consumerist lifestyle spreading its wings across the channel to mainland Penang?
Will this be mainland Penang’s equivalent of Gurney Paragon and STP2, which I believe caters for the top 1-5 per cent to “work, live, learn, shop and play” while the rest can only gawk and “window-shop”? (By the way, what’s happening to Midland One-Stop Centre and the mall at Times Square in Penang?)
And how about allocating land for a large public park which would better serve recreational needs of the people? Wouldn’t we better off also allocating land to ensure our food security in the long run?
Incidentally, the premium for the land works out to RM37.50 per square foot.
Meanwhile, check out a reader’s letter to FMT on his concern over what will happen to recreational/public spaces (i.e. the commons) in Batu Kawan.
This is a statement from a state government source.
PREMIER SHOPPING OUTLET TO OPEN IN BATU KAWAN, PENANG
George Town, Penang, Friday, 11 October 2013 – Penang’s Chief Minister Mr. Lim Guan Eng today announced the setting up of a premium retail shopping outlet in Batu Kawan, the latest component in the State Government’s plan to develop Batu Kawan with new attractions towards a quality place to work, live, learn, shop and play. The Penang state government hopes that the Premier Shopping Outlet will help to make residential living in Batu Kawan more attractive for affordable homes built by the Penang Development Corporation (12,000 units). The Penang state government wishes to dispel negative perceptions that this new satellite township in Batu Kawan is inferior to living on the island.
Covering an area of 40 acres, the international-class destination – which will include excellent facilities and scenic landscaping – is planned to include the following:
An up-market outlet shopping mall tenanted by first-tier luxury international brands retailing branded items at discounted prices;
A 300-room international-class hotel;
Attractions such as cafés and F&B outlets, and a landscaped garden with a children’s playgrounds and residential units
PDC had offered this catalyst project by open competitive tender. The project was awarded to PE Land Sdn Bhd , the successful tenderer and operates Sarawak’s premier mall, Kuching’s The Spring Mall – which will own, build and operates the facilities while CB Richard Ellis (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd will act as the principal consultant. Payment for the land premium of RM65.34 million will be within three months from the date of the Purchase and Development Agreement.
Branded as Penang Designer Village of the GDV (Gross Development Value) of RM 1 billion, this outlet shopping mall and the hotel and developments related to it are expected to be completed within thirty-six (36) months from the date of the Purchase and Development Agreement.
The development is in line with PDC’s policy to promote and sell land to attract catalyst projects to Batu Kawan’s Bandar Cassia which is targeted to provide other services like shopping outlets, specialist hospital, international school, and recreational facilities. Further announcements will be made shortly. These new investments are expected to help complement the rapid development of Batu Kawan which in recent years has witnessed the entry of premier companies such as Bose Systems, Honda, Malaysian Automotive Lighting and VAT Manufacturing.
The PDC, in striving for sustainable development, is optimistic that the presence of companies such as PE Land and CB Richard Ellis will ensure successful implementation of integrated international-class lifestyle district, providing synergy and support for accelerating the growth and development of Batu Kawan.
PE Land Sdn Bhd, with a paid-up capital of RM3.7 Million, is the property development arm of PE Holdings and under Pan Sarawak Group, while CB Richard Ellis is a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company, headquartered in Los Angeles, and is also the world’s largest commercial real estate services firm in terms of its revenue in 2011.