THE Dataran Pahlawan Melaka, a new retail, entertainment and gourmet centre in Malacca's historical core of Bandar Hilir will be officially launched this Saturday.
The 19-acre development, opposite the Mahkota Parade in Jalan Merdeka, is also set to be a meeting point for both locals and foreign tourists where one could shop for traditional handicrafts, savour authentic Portuguese, Baba-Nyonya and Malay cuisines as well as spend a leisurely day enjoying folk dances.
One can also visit the nearby former Portuguese fortress, the A'Famosa and other historical monuments.
A unique thing about it is that there would be no high-rise buildings to mar the view of the fortress and other historical structures. The entire retail area will only be one-storey high and the 500-odd bay car parks will be located under the present field or popularly referred to as the “Padang”.
Lianbang Ventures Sdn Bhd, a joint venture between the Malacca State Government and the Lianbang Group is undertaking the project with a total value of RM174mil.
Lianbang Ventures marketing director Derek Lew told StarBiz that about 30% of the 240 retail lots available for sale had been snapped up during a recent soft launch. The rest of the lots are for lease. The project has a total of 600 retail lots. Lew said most of the purchasers were locals who were looking for a suitable place to operate their businesses.
“We're confident of selling the remaining retail lots as we have received many enquiries. We want to identify and choose the right mix of tenants,” he said, adding that the marketing focus was in Malacca as the company wanted to give Malaccans the opportunity to buy the lots first.
Lew said retail lots for sale would have 119 sq ft to 350 sq ft sizes to make them more affordable as the pricing is between RM1,600 psf for standard units to about RM2,500 psf for corner lots.
“In this way, everybody can afford to buy and do business here. In the past people could not afford to buy the big lots in shopping centres. They could not rent them, as the overhead costs are too high. Some of the purchasers told us they want to start their own franchise at our development,” he said.
He said each of the five zones would have a theme such as a Melaka Street, Night Bazaar, Dome Area with monument pillar and water cascade and a “Sound and Light” area near the old fortress where stage performances could be held.
There will also be a display of Malaysian sculptures like a bullock cart, people playing with the “Wau” (kite) and kampung kids running after some ducks. The landscaped Dome can be used for exhibitions and promotions.
The idea, as Lew explained, was to make Dataran Pahlawan Melaka a place for people to interact and appreciate the Malaysian culture. It is also poised to be a tourism spot in the state and a venue for newly-weds to take outdoor photography.
“At present the shopping and entertainment places are spread all over the place and foreign tourists do not know where to go,” he said. He said the turnkey contractor United Engineers Singapore Ltd Co would also manage the project. In the pipeline is a proposed Gold Trade Centre located at one end of the project while the main food and beverage area with traditional Malay-styled restaurants will be sited at the other end.
The Gold Trade Centre will have among others jewellery shops, a cineplex, children's educational centre, and a food market. There is also a plan to build a 200-room tourist hotel on a nearby piece of land.
“We are very excited as this land has been there for a very long time. Everyone knows it's a landmark but no one knows what's coming up until now,” he added.
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