The first phase of the RM8.4bil Aspen Vision City in Batu Kawan, Penang, is scheduled for completion in 2018.
Aspen Group chief executive officer Datuk M. Murly said the earthworks for the first phase had commenced and were going at full speed.
“The cost of earthworks alone for the entire 99ha (245 acres) will cost nearly RM200mil.
“Construction of the Vervéa will commence once the earthworks are completed by end of this year,” he said.
The first phase includes the Vervéa, comprising 441 shop offices and an exhibition hall, Ikea store, and Columbia Asia Medical Centre.
“The project will also have first-class infrastructure, residential and commercial components, an international school, research medical facilities, hotels and a state-of-the-art 10ha central park at the heart of the development.
“The entire project will be ready in 2025,” he said.
Murly said this in his speech at the ground-breaking ceremony of Aspen Vision City in Batu Kawan, which was launched by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.
Also present were Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon, state executive councillor Chow Kon Yeow, and Aspen Group chairman Datuk Seri Nazir Ariff.
Murly said Aspen Vision City would spur new commercial activities in the northern region, creating fresh employment opportunities and economic activity.
“I am confident this development will become the new nexus not only in Penang, but in Northern Malaysia as a whole.
“And most importantly, a city of the future yet affordable for many,” he said.
Aspen Vision City is a long-term strategic investment made by both Aspen Group and Ikano Group.
While Murly said the current economic sentiment appeared very weak, coupled with the fall in the ringgit and low investor confidence in the stock market, he added, “A wise man once told me that great ideas and opportunities are created when everything seems to go down and uncertainty take centre stage.
“Penang however has been extremely fortunate to be able to continuously attract investments and positive economic activities despite this challenging environment,” Murly said.
Meanwhile, Lim said Aspen Vision City would be the next metropolis of Batu Kawan in the northern region.
“There is a satellite township being planned for Batu Kawan, which will emerge as a metropolis in the next 20 years,” he said.