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Thursday, January 10, 2008

SohoKL expected to recoup investment in 5-6 years

HERE IT GOES: (From left) eGenting Holdings Sdn Bhd senior vice-president Stanley Ng and Keen Yam with Sunrise managing director Datuk Michael Yam at the SohoKL sneak preview yesterday.

The developers of SohoKL, the up-and-coming dining and entertainment area in Mont Kiara, is expected to recoup its investment in the next five to six years.

Occupying an area of 150,000 square feet, the RM150 million project claims to be the largest food and beverage, and dinner entertainment hub in the region. SohoKL is due to open in March.

The project is jointly owned by Sierra Damai Sdn Bhd and Imperis Corp. The two firms have common directors who also sit on the board of Solaris Hotspotz (KL) Sdn Bhd, the manager of SohoKL.

Solaris chief Keen Yam said he came up with the idea for SohoKL after experiencing Soho London.

"After looking at the customer and food behaviour there, I felt that KL deserved a place like this," Yam said at a sneak preview of SohoKL yesterday.

SohoKL was developed by Sunrise Bhd.

"Our primary objective is to create a dining destination for Malaysia which will ultimately become a popular tourism destination," Yam said.

Mont Kiara was chosen because of the demographics, of which around 60 per cent are expatriates with an average monthly income of RM15,000 and its 10,000 odd families.

SohoKL is already fully tenanted with a total of 40 operators. Seven of them will be nightclubs.

The stores must also make their SohoKL outlet their signature outlets.

"So expect surprises even from chain or franchise operators like Starbucks, Haagen-Daaz and Zen Secret Recipe, which are usually pretty standard in their concepts," Yam said.

Some big names to set up shop there include Cocoon, Malaysia's first international champagne garden, Asia's first Haagen-Daaz lounge and Genji, which is expected to run Malaysia's largest Japanese buffet outlet in SohoKL.

Apart from dining and entertainment, SohoKL also intends to be an outdoor art venue as the building becomes a digital canvas at night.

He said even though Solaris plans to focus its efforts on SohoKL, the company is currently in talks to expand in the Middle East, China and India.

SohoKL yesterday signed an agreement with Worldcard Service Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of eGenting Holdings Sdn Bhd to launch its own loyalty card, called the CosmoEpic Club.

By New Straits Times (by Presenna Nambiar)

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