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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Tan adds shine to KK shopping scene

The buzz around town may be talk of a recession and the global economic crisis, but none of it fazes businessman Humphrey Tan Koon Yee.

While others are postponing and pulling back on big projects and investments, the 57-year-old Tan is embarking on his life-long dream - and the biggest project he has yet to achieve - an ambitious RM330 million shopping centre in the heart of the Kota Kinabalu central business district.

The industrial engineer by training, who is now managing director of Makamewah Sdn Bhd, got an early insight into the business world, thanks to his father, who was one of Sabah's pioneer timber tycoons.

With his knowledge and values passed on from his father, he began his first foray into the business world with a small-time "Shop and Save" supermarket in his hometown of Sandakan in 1982, when neighbourhood sundry stores were the order of the day.

Since then he has ventured into the property business, opening up another "Shop and Save", a fashion outlet, a hotel, a hypermarket which was bought over by Giant, as well as the construction of Wisma Bandaraya, and a few oil palm plantations.

"Against this background, I had a dream to marry my years of experience in retailing, property development and financing to create the finest shopping complex in Sabah," Tan said.

He said that his confidence came from doing his analysis and knowing he had the best site in the city and the best team of consultants, anchor tenants and configuration for a shopping complex.

The shopping complex, Suria Sabah, is 700,000 sq ft of purely retail space for 250 outlets, in the centre of Kota Kinabalu's central business district and by the waterfront.

The mall will feature 70 per cent retail space for fashion and consumer durables, while the balance is for food and beverage and entertainment outlets. A four-star hotel with 80 per cent of sea-view rooms is also in the planning.

The eight-level shopping centre also has Metrojaya Department Store and Golden Screen Cinemas as its anchor tenants, who officially sealed the deal in a handover ceremony on Tuesday, which was witnessed by mayor Datuk Iliyas Ibrahim.

The mall was designed as a single lane mall, and 85 per cent ownership to be retained by the developer for maximum tenant control.

Tan said that so far, 30 per cent of its lots have been occupied, with many more waiting for confirmation.

The mall is expected to be completed by July, and operational by October this year.

By Business Times (by Julia Chan)

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