THE RM350mil Subterranean Penang International Convention and Exhibition Centre (SPICE) project in Bayan Baru is 80% done and should be completed by the end of next year.
Among the components already up are the SPICE Aquatic Club (RM16mil), SPICE Canopy comprising F&B retail outlets (RM28mil) and the upgrading of the SPICE Arena formerly known as Penang International Sports Arena (RM22mil).
Still under construction are a 2.8ha public park on the rooftop, a convention hall, function rooms and exhibition areas totalling RM284mil.
So far, the basement and lower ground structural works have been completed. On-going works include the building of a multi-storey car park and the installation of steel trusses for the green roof.
SP Setia general manager (north) Ng Han Seong said an iconic structure would be erected at the entrance to welcome the guests.
“We will have a world-class convention centre, hotel, aquatic centre and retail outlets.
“It will be a place for family outing, be it recreational or sporting activities.
“They can also visit our retail outlets,” he said during a site visit and dialogue session with representatives of Penang Island City Council yesterday.
Ng said there would be a hotel to complement the MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions.
SP Setia, through its subsidiary Eco Meridian Sdn Bhd, was given a 30-year concession by the council to run and develop the place.
Earlier, SP Setia technical senior manager Tang Song Teik, in his briefing, said the SPICE Canopy, with 98,000 sq ft of rentable space for retail outlets, was completed in September and targeted to open for business in December.
He said among the tenants were Everyday Supreme Chinese restaurant and Coffee Smith cafe.
He added that SPICE Aquatic Club, with facilities such as badminton courts, squash courts, kids water theme park with party corner and an Olympic-size swimming pool, was completed this month.
“It is expected to be open in December. We are investing RM4mil on a solar PV system on the roof, which can generate 984 MWh yearly,” he said.
State Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said he was happy to witness the progress of the project which began in 2012.
“Our team of consultants will continue to assist the developer to complete the project as scheduled.
“It will promote Penang as a MICE centre once everything is ready. We are also curious to know how the rooftop park will look like,” he said.
Ng said a final component of the project — a RM300mil SPICE hotel consisting of 25 storeys with 453 business class rooms — will be built in the first quarter of next year.
It is scheduled for completion in 2018.