THE skyline of Kota Kinabalu is set to change with the many high-rise buildings being planned for the capital of Sabah.
In fact, many property developers in Sabah are rushing to launch their projects as they believe there would be great demand for commercial space although construction works for most of these projects are only expected to begin later this year or early next year.
There is so much vibrancy. We have not seen this for a long time, said CH Williams Talhar & Wong managing director Chong Choon Kim.
He said most of the developers in the past four years had concentrated on building residential units and there was less emphasis on commercial or industrial development.
Now, there was a rush to develop commercial properties, which left many sceptics wondering if the demand justifies supply, he said.
But one thing the state needs beyond 2008 is more hotel room and that is why several hotels are expected to be built over the next three years to meet the growing tourists arrivals.
One of the projects that would change the landscape of the capital would be the RM1.5bil waterfront city to be developed by Suria Capital on an area currently occupied by Kota Kinabalu port. Hotels, apartment blocks and retail space are part of the offering and would be developed on a 50-acre.
1-Borneo, a billion ringgit development, would become a huge attraction as it would comprise a four-level hyper mall, office towers and hotel/serviced apartments.
Another planned development is the RM800mil Likas project, which would have a hotel, apartment block, convention centre and retail space.
Other developments being planned in Kota Kinabalu are the Komplex Asia City on a 4.75 acre, the 3.75-acre Warisan Square, and KK Times Square, which would be located in Sembulan, about 2km from the city.
Chong estimates that an additional 300,000-sq-ft retail space would be available next year. In the following year, he expects an additional 500,000 sq ft of retail space.
By 2008, there would be about 1.5 million sq ft of retail space available in Kota Kinabalu, he said.
But the development is not merely in Kota Kinabalu.
Sandakan Harbour Square complex is being planned on a 12-acre in Sandakan.
Tawau would also have its share of the development, with the Eastern Plaza and Kuhara Court to be sited on 10 acres.