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By David Tan, The Star

November 14, 2011

 

GEORGE TOWN: Tourism projects comprising six hotels in George Town and a water theme park in Teluk Bahang in Penang, with gross development value (GDV) of over RM860mil, will be operational in 2013 and 2014.

IGB Corp Bhd's St Giles Hotel and Cititel Express, and NT Industrial Park (M) Sdn Bhd's five-star boutique hotel, with a combined GDV totalling over RM225mil, are the latest projects approved by the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP).

Construction work for the RM100mil NT Industrial Park's project on a one-acre site at Lebuh Gereja is scheduled for completion in 2013.

IGB's projects, with over RM125mil GDV, are expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2014.

The other hotel projects that will be ready by late 2012 and 2013 are the RM150mil new wing of Eastern & Oriental Hotel (known as Victory Annexe), which is scheduled for opening at the end of next year, the RM285mil Rice Miller Hotel & Residences in Lebuh China which will open in 2013, and the RM83mil Mansion One Hotel at Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah.

Sim Leisure Consultant's RM120mil Escape Waterpark in Teluk Bahang is expected to begin work soon and scheduled for opening in 2013.

Approved by the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) in September 2011 and scheduled to start work in six months, the NT Industrial Park project entails the development of a five-star five-storey hotel with 85 rooms. The design takes cue from the early 20th century port office and warehouse building in George Town.

Two heritage buildings on the site formerly used as offices will be preserved for adaptive commercial use to accommodate restaurants and boutiques.

The hotel, yet to be named, will be ready for operations in late 2013.

IGB Corp Bhd will also start the construction work soon on its St Giles Hotel and Cititel Express on a one-acre site in Jalan Magazine, the heritage city of George Town.

Cititel Hotel Management Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Eric H.K. Lim said the GDV for both hotels was over RM125mil.

The hotels, which will be built back-to-back to each other, are scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2014.

St Giles would house a grand ballroom with a seating capacity of 1,200 persons, several meeting rooms, a caf swimming pool, gymnasium, health centre, executive lounge and a helipad, he said.

“The development will also include retail shops, restaurants, a food court and car park bays for more than 500 vehicles.

“Adjacent to the St Giles Hotel Penang will be the 260-room Cititel Express Penang,” Lim added.

Asian Global Business chief executive officer Dr Noraini Abdullah said piling work was currently being done for the RM285mil Rice Miller Hotel & Residences, which comprised of a 48-suite hotel, retail space with 17,000 sq ft of lettable area, two five-storey office blocks, and 99 units of city residences.

“The piling work for the hotel has been completed and we are now doing the piling for the residences.

“The project will also accommodate clubhouse facilities such as a swimming pool and a gymnasium, and five restaurants catering Asian and Western cuisines.

“The entire project is scheduled for completion in June 2013,” she added.

The RM150mil new wing of Eastern & Oriental Hotel known as Victory Annexe, is now about 65% completed and is scheduled for opening at the end of 2012.

Eastern & Oriental Hotel general manager Marco Battistotti said the new wing would add another 120 suites to the existing 100 suites of the hotel.

“The new wing would also have two banquet rooms, a state-of-art gymnasium, spa, and swimming pool.

“The Sarkies Restaurant at the new wing is expected to open for business next month,” Battistotti said.

The RM83mil Mansion One (formerly known as Northam Tower) building at Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah is currently being transformed into a four-star hotel with 200 rooms.

Magna Putih Sdn Bhd director Adrian Tan said that the refurbishment work for Mansion One would be completed in 2013.

“There would be 200 hotel rooms, all facing the sea and George Town city.

“The competitive edge of Mansion One is its prestigious address and that its management would be provided by a well-known hotel chain group with strong presence in Asia and the Middle-East.

“To add further value to Mansion One, the Hardwicke House, a heritage building, would be renovated to become a fine dining restaurant,” he said.

Meanwhile, MPPP's technical review panel committee member Datuk Richard Jong said both the designs of the Rice Miller Hotel & Residences and the NT Industrial Park project were in line with Unesco's heritage guidelines.

“The architectural theme of both projects complements the other heritage buildings in inner George Town.

“Both projects should help revitalise the tourism belt of inner George Town,” he said.

Sim Leisure Consultant Sdn Bhd managing director Sim Choo Kheng said the company's was mobilising to start work for the RM120mil Escape Theme Park Resort on a 44-acre site in Teluk Bahang.

Sim said the first phase, comprising an adventure park and water park occupying a 17-acre land area, was due for completion in 2013.

“When the remaining two phases are completed in six years, the theme park would generate economic benefits for some 6,000 people involved in the services industry and supply chain business.

“We expect about 50% of our visitors to come from within the country and from the Asean region,” he said.

Yeng Keng Hotel owner Datuk Ong Gim Huat said entrepreneurs should explore developing hotels with larger rooms and interesting designs to differentiate themselves.

“If the land allows for a 100-room hotel, the developer should look into building a hotel with 60 to 70 rooms with innovative designs and interesting facilities.

“The local authorities should not impose rules on heritage buildings to have terracotta tiles or gable roofs.

“A modern building with interesting design can blend well in a heritage surrounding,” he added.

Yeng Keng is a well-known heritage boutique hotel located in inner George Town.