GEORGE TOWN, Sept 3 ― Developer Aspen Vision Land, IKEA franchisee Ikano Pte Ltd and the Penang Development Corporation (PDC) have entered an agreement for a RM8 billion integrated development in Batu Kawan that will be built around the Swedish furniture icon. The massive project will be headlined by a regional integrated shopping haven anchored by IKEA, and include a mixed development of residences, offices, medical facilities, a 20-acre park, an international school, standalone retail outlets and an integrated central transportation hub for Seberang Perai. With the signing of the agreement this morning, Aspen and Ikano can immediately start preliminary measures such as conducting impact studies and market surveys before commencement of the project.
“We are opening up a full-sized IKEA store here so we will need an elaborate study to be completed first before works can begin,” Ikano managing director Christian Rojkjaer said at a press conference after the signing ceremony at the Royale Bintang Hotel here. The first phase of the project will consist of the integrated shopping mall anchored by IKEA and is expected to start by the end of next year, with completion scheduled for 2018. The second phase will include other components such as mixed development, high rise commercial buildings, school, office complex, healthcare facilities and a hotel. The entire project will take up to 10 years to complete. The project is one of several planned in Batu Kawan, including a RM1 billion project consisting of an upmarket outlet shopping mall, a 300-room international-class hotel and a branch campus of Britain’s University of Hull.
The rising demand for land and projects based in Batu Kawan is due to the opening of the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah bridge, which connects the small township to Batu Maung on the island. Aspen and Ikano jointly bought 245 acres of land from PDC for RM483.95 million for the project. The IKEA store and the first phase of the shopping mall will take up 30 acres while another 45 acres will be set aside for phase two of the shopping mall; the remaining 170 acres will be for mixed development. Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who witnessed the signing, said the whole development is in line with the state’s efforts to attract catalyst projects for Batu Kawan and the state. The state, through PDC, also plans to build 11,800 units of public and affordable housing in the area.