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Friday, February 15, 2008

Green light for KL Grand Hyatt

LONG OVERDUE: An artist's impression of Grand Hyatt KL - website picture.

The Brunei Investment Agency, one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds with assets of US$30 billion (RM97.2 billion), has finally been given the green light to develop the Grand Hyatt hotel on Jalan Pinang, Kuala Lumpur.

Business Times was informed that the proposal, which was submitted in 2005, was approved in late November 2007, after several amendments to its original proposal had been made.

Brunei Investment Agency official Suharafadzil Yusof when contacted said the project had been approved.

However, he declined to say when work will start or when the project will be ready. Apart from a 40-storey five-star hotel, the building will also house service apartments and offices.

The hotel alone may cost about RM360 million, industry executives estimated, if it sticks to a plan to have 450 rooms.

There was also no response to Business Times' query from Hyatt International's office in Singapore.

Industry experts say that if construction begins immediately, it could take anything between 30 and 36 months to be ready.

This means that the hotel may be operational in 2010.

In a press release put out in 2007, it was reported that international destination-design firm Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo (WATG) served as the design architect, together with local firm GDP Architects.

WATG did not reply to e-mail queries.

The 2007 release said that the hotel lobby is located at the top of the building and guests at the lobby will have an impressive 360-degree view of downtown KL.

The project is slated to open to the public in December 2010, the statement said.

Earlier plans to open a Grand Hyatt Duta came to an end as the project was never completed.

The Hyatt Group in 1994 gave the contract to develop the RM570 million Grand Hyatt Duta to Kuala Lumpur Landmark Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Olympia Industries Bhd.

Mycom Bhd, the holding company of Olympia, then teamed up with Kuala Lumpur Landmark to develop a 52-storey building to house its headquarters and the hotel.

However, construction was halted in July 1998, when the group encountered financial difficulties during the 1997/1998 economic downturn.

The Grand Hyatt Duta was to have been completed in 1997. Until today, the hotel at the corner of Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Ampang remains partly completed. The Hyatt Group is no longer associated with the project.

The Hyatt Group also operates the Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, Hyatt Regency Johor Baru and Hyatt Regency Kuantan Resort.

By New Straits Times - (Business Times) (by Vasantha Ganesan)

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