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Saturday, November 27, 2010

A leisure place for Kelantanese

An artist’s impression of QueensPark SportzCity & Boulevard project in Kelantan.

KRISTANA Holdings Sdn Bhd, the property arm of logistics company Metroport Group Bhd, is investing RM30mil to build its maiden property project, the QueensPark SportzCity & Boulevard lifestyle and recreational centre in Kota Baru, Kelantan.

Meeting Kristana group managing director Datuk Dr Stanley Chew, one is tempted to ask the obvious why Kelantan?

The state is no doubt popular for its rich traditional culture and heritage. However, more often than not, it's Kelantan's conservative enforcement rules towards entertainment that's more renowned.

Still, Chew is confident about the prospects of the company's QueensPark SportzCity & Boulevard project, insisting that it would be the first of its kind in Kota Baru.

Our concept is different from the conventional shopping complexes and hypermarts in Kota Baru. Apart from (just) shopping, we will also offer recreational facilities and al fresco dining to potential customers, he tells StarBizWeek. The project is slated for completion next month and will be officially launched in April 2011. The QueensPark SportzCity is a commercial sports and recreational centre that will boast the largest bowling outlet (with 36 lanes), snooker and pool centre, four futsal courts (including one FIFA-sized court) and a musical roller-skating rink (also a first in the state's capital).

Datuk Dr Stanley Chew ... ‘Our concept is different.’

Chew says apart from commercial reasons, having multiple bowling alleys and futsal courts means the centre would also be able to host international sports events some day.

He adds that space within QueensPark SportzCity would only be rented out (rather than sold) as the company wants to maintain control over the activities that are offered at the centre.

We already have interested bowling operators that want to start business at our centre, says Chew.

Getting the tenants

Meanwhile, the QueensPark Boulevard comprises 32 units of two and three storeys of shopping space. These shops will comprise food and beverage outlets, convenient stores, health and beauty, information technology, crafts centres and banking services.

We will start offering the stores to potential tenants this month, says Chew, adding that the shops would be priced at around RM220 psf.

He also says selection of the tenants would be selective, adding that Kristana would also have a say on who the tenants wanted to sub-let their premises to.

We want to have a certain level of control over what we offer at QueensPark Boulevard, says Chew.

He says 70% of the tenant mix would comprise local businesses.

People that come to Kelantan want to enjoy and experience the local culture and food. The remaining 30% of the tenants will offer foreign products. This is to offer variety to our customers.

Chew says the centre was developed on the build-then-sell concept so that potential tenants would have the assurance that the building is already up and ready.

When they purchase the premises, they would be able to rent it out and start earning rental yields immediately. The project is also strategically located within prime land. As there is already a park and crafts centre nearby, there's an available crowd to attract.

Chew says the centre would also be able to leverage on Kelantan's unique weekend' which falls on Friday and Saturday.

Kelantanese observe Saturday and Sunday as their weekend. This means that the state's weekend is actually three days long instead of just two. A longer weekend means more time for the crowds to come in and shop.

The location

The QueensPark SportzCity & Boulevard is strategically located opposite the Taman Perbandaran Tengku Anis recreational park and close to a crafts centre, says Chew.

Because of the location of our centre, we can attract a wide range of customers. Rather than just attract shoppers, the area will pull in crowds that want to enjoy a walk in the park. Those that appreciate cultural arts can go to the crafts centre.

After that, they could shop or enjoy a meal at our centre. Alternatively, they could play a game of futsal, go roller-skating or bowl.

Chew says with the project's strategic location, the aim is to position the centre as a hub for sports, lifestyle and entertainment activities.

According to Chew, the QueensPark name was inspired by the Tengku Anis recreational park (Tengku Anis being the former queen of Kelantan).

He says the development was influenced by international public parks, such as Hyde Park and Central Park in London and New York respectively.

Hyde Park and Central Park are popularly sought-after addresses and we wanted to emulate that by having a complex by a famous park in Kota Baru, says Chew.

Pulling the crowd

Apart from attracting customers from within Kelantan, Chew hopes the centre would also be able to pull in crowds from neighbouring countries, especially Thailand.

A lot of people from the south of Thailand actually come to hypermarts in Malaysia to purchase certain goods because they are cheaper here (in Malaysia).

The QueensPark SportzCity & Boulevard is located about 45 minutes away from the Thai border and we hope to target potential customers from there, he says.

Chew says that many of the existing entertainment outlets in Kelantan were already packed and feels that customers and patrons are eagerly looking for a new place to unwind.

Emulating the trend

One of the reasons Kristana decided to build its project in Kelantan rather than the Klang Valley is because there were already plenty of sports and recreational outlets in Kuala Lumpur or Selangor.

The challenge of building such a centre in the Klang Valley is that there would be too many competitors, says Chew. However, he adds that the company is looking to set up similar centres in other locations.

We are looking for similar type of locations, meaning that we want to set up a lifestyle and recreational centre near an available park. This means that we'd probably develop it at the fringe or outskirts of the city rather than in the heart of the city itself. We're looking at replicating this model within the Klang Valley and perhaps Ipoh, Chew says.

He adds that the long-term goal is to develop a similar project within the South-East Asian region.

If we go regional, than 30% of the tenant mix will comprise Malaysian businesses, Chew says.

By The Star

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