The property development in connection with the tunnel is about to start with earnest with the RM800m City of Dreams project having received approval from the Penang Island City Council.
City of Dreams involves the construction of a total of 522 luxury serviced apartments in two 38-storey towers on a 3.7 acre site in Sri Tanjung Pinang in Tanjung Tokong. Sea-front apartments will be priced from RM1200 per sq ft, which is reportedly lower than E & O’s nearby RM1800psf high-end condos.
Ewein Bhd is in a 60:40 joint venture with tunnel developer Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd (CZBUCG) through a jv company called Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd. (Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd is a 60 per cent subsidiary of Ewein Land Sdn Bhd, which itself is a 100 per cent subsidiary of Ewein Berhad.)
The 3.7 acres is part of a 110 acre land-for-tunnel swap deal. The Penang state government is awarding the tunnel developer Zenith 110 acres of super-prime land as part compensation for constructing a RM6.3bn undersea link from Gurney Drive to Bagan Ajam on the mainland.
On 31 March 2015, Ewein announced that the jv vehicle, Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd, had received planning permission approval from the city council for the proposed development on the 3.7 acre plot.
Then on 7 April:
Further to the announcement dated 31 March 2015, the Board of Directors of EWEIN wishes to announce that the Building Plans for the proposed development on the said parcel of land known as Lot 702 situated in Section 1, Bandar Tanjong Pinang, Daerah Timur Laut, Negeri Pulau Pinang (the said “Land”) has been approved by Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang on 7 April 2015. The gross development value (“GDV”) of this proposed development is approximately RM800 Million.
Check out the location of Lot 702 in the image above.
The jv is now reportedly hoping to bag a second plot of land measuring 4.3 acres.
A few questions arise:
- Where is the location of the low-end ‘affordable’ housing for all this?
- Last August, it was reported that the “undersea tunnel feasibility study will take about a year to complete as it is an environmental sensitive issue for which we need to get Detail Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) approval.” Has the tunnel feasibility study been completed after the earlier failure to undertake it?
- If the tunnel feasibility study has not yet been completed, how can the state jump the gun and start awarding land to the tunnel developer/property developers? This is a key question that needs to be answered.
- Or are we to assume that the feasibility study and the DEIA are just academic and the outcome a foregone conclusion?
- How was the MBPP able to independently assess the planning/building plans for the City of Dreams project when it is so tightly intertwined with the state government’s pet project (the tunnel)?