GEORGE TOWN: The controversial Penang International Convention Centre (PICC) in Relau which has undergone a name change will become the first subterranean convention centre in Malaysia.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the PICC which would now be called the Sub-terranean Penang International Convention and Exhibition (sPICE) Centre would be built partially beneath the ground.
It would also have a basement car park and a green park on the roof top.
Lim said the RM300mil project would also include upgrading and refurbishment of the Penang International Sports Arena (PISA) and the Aquatic Centre.
Lim said sPICE, together with PISA, the Aquatic Centre and the park would be called the Penang People’s Park as a whole.
“The project was awarded to Eco Meridean Sdn Bhd not only based on the price, quality and world class standard building ma-nagement but also because it will be a green building.
“This will be a win-win situation for the company, the Penang Municipal Council, Penangites and the environment,” he said.
He said the council would bear RM50mil of the cost of the project while Eco Meridean Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of SP Setia Bhd, would bear the rest of it.
“The company will manage the place for 30 years under the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) before transferring it to MPPP,” he said.
Lim said sPICE Centre would be able to accommodate 600 banquet tables compared to 300 tables in PISA.
“There will also be a total of 2,200 parking lots in the park,” he said.
Themed a place to live, learn, work and play, the Penang People’s Park would feature facilities for a holistic, healthy lifestyle (live), exchanging knowledge, culture and information (learn), business activities (work) and sports activities (play).
Council president Patahiyah Ismail said it opted for Eco Meridean Sdn Bhd because of its user-friendly, disabled friendly and environmentally-friendly architectural design.
“The 6,503sq m sPICE Centre will consists of a ballroom and a pre-function hall.
“Traffic consultants will also be assisting in traffic flow modification around the area,” she said, adding that three companies had tendered for the project.
S.P. Setia Bhd Northern/Southern regions property division executive vice-president Datuk Chang Khim Wah said the entire project was expected to be completed in three years.
“We expect the upgrading work of PISA and the Aquatic Centre to begin in phases in six months. We expect to get the work done in nine months,” he said.
Its property division (North) general manager S. Rajoo said the existing multi-storey car park would be converted into a four-star hotel while the sPICE Centre would feature four wedding banquet halls with 120 tables respectively.