The demolishing of Kota Kinabalu's abandoned Star City Mall has been announced. The neglected property has been an eyesore for more than 10 years now and is affecting the image of Kota Kinabalu as a well-maintained and beautiful city.
Landowner Sabah Urban Development Corporation Sdn Bhd (SUDC) reportedly said that China's Fujian Provincial People's Government would set up a special vehicle company to rebuild and develop the site.
They intend to repurpose the city landmark for the China tourist market as investors from China have bought over some businesses in KK previously such as seafood restaurants to bak kut teh shops.
There are plans for the upper floors to be occupied by hotels and will top the current mall's piling foundation, bringing the structure higher from 10 storeys to 20 storeys. This is because the realignment of the Kota Kinabalu International airport runway now permits taller buildings.
The joint venture agreement with SUDC has been signed and vetted by the State Attorney-General Chamber. SUDC's Leena Toyoi involved with its real estate projects sales and marketing reassured buyers of Star City Mall retail lots that their investments could be recouped pending future negotiations with all stakeholders, including the lender banks.
"SUDC did not and will not sell off the land. We are still the landowner and are still involved with the development project," she told the audience at the 8th Star City Buyers Association (Pekestar) AGM held at the Kota Kinabalu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry auditorium, recently.
Fujian is a well-known ancestral home of overseas Chinese (dominantly Hokkien, Hock Chiew or Foochow, Heng Hua and Hakka) of whom about 15.8 million in over 180 countries and regions around the world are of Fujian origin.
If successful, this would be a more involved China's provincial government role in the spirit of the Belt and Road Initiative to rehabilitate a failed real estate project with an agency of the Sabah Government under the current Chief Minister who wanted the problem solved, according to SUDC feedback.
The previous "white knight" ran into a dilemma when the Inland Revenue Board demanded a tax payment of some RM18 to RM20 million from the SUDC project but neither the landowner or the rescuer could settle before starting planned scheduled work this year.
Petrofiq Sdn Bhd Managing Director Kandrix Ng said to have written to ask for their earnest deposit of RM2 million back from SUDC after withdrawing from the project to finish constructing Star City Mall.
Petrofiq Sdn Bhd also built the new but yet-to-be-used overhead bridges from Oceanus Mall to Asia City as it was not paid in full (about RM20 million) for their work done.