International retailer at Gurney Paragon Mall

Hunza Properties Bhd (HPB) plans to attract an international retailer to be an anchor tenant at its RM400 million Gurney Paragon shopping mall in Penang, which is slated to open in two years.

Its executive chairman Datuk Khor Teng Tong said apart from creating between 3,000 and 4,000 new jobs in Penang when the mall opens, plans are in place to bring in new names to the state's retail scene.

"These will be old and well-loved international brands, which are not yet in Penang but already in Kuala Lumpur," he told Business Times.

The eight-storey mall is one component of Hunza's Gurney Paragon development, which is located in George Town where the historical and sea-fronting St Joseph's Novitiate was once located.

The 84 year-old French style building, which served as a novitiate for the Christian brothers and sits on a 4.08ha freehold site, was purchased by HPB from the Federation of Malaya of the Christian Brothers' Schools for RM97 million.

Apart from the shopping mall, an office block and 220 units of high-end condominiums form part of the development as well.

With a gross built-up area of 2 million sq ft, the mall will have a net lettable area of 700,000 sq ft and is expected to fetch a rental rate of around RM6.50 per sq ft.

Asked if the mall is up for sale, Khor said: "Our plan is to own the mall as a long-term investment."

He also did not discount the possibility of a real estate investment trust for the mall later as an option.

On HPB's proposed "Alila 2" project in Tanjung Bungah, Khor said the RM250 million high-end residential project is looking to obtain the Green Building Index certification.

"The layout plans have been submitted and we hope to break ground by the end of 2011." Khor said - By Marina Emmanuel (Businesss Times)

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