Penang is set to welcome investments totalling RM35 million this year from food and beverage operators into phase one of the Gurney Paragon development on Gurney Drive.
The project's developer, Hunza Properties Bhd (HPB), has already seen the entry of nine tenants into Phase 1B of its multi-billion ringgit waterfront development with capital investments in excess of RM10 million.
"We are working hard to continue bringing in established names which have yet to set up a presence in Penang to open their businesses in Gurney Paragon," HPB executive chairman Datuk Khor Teng Tong told Business Times yesterday.
Phase 1B of the project comprises some 100,000 sq ft of lettable space, and its developers are touting the entire Gurney Paragon project as the only one in the country for now which integrates a restored heritage building amidst modern residential, retail and commercial spaces.
The company last night officially opened its "St Jo's@Gurney Paragon" building, which is the restored heritage building built in 1918.
The building is flanked by two towers which house 220 high-end dwellings, along with eateries on its first three levels.
St Jo's, which was formerly known as St Joseph's Novitiate, was initially started by the De La Salle Brothers to train young Catholic men to enter the religious order.
The colonial building, which was restored by HPB for RM10 million, was also once the site for Uplands School now known as the International School of Penang.
The restoration works include retaining the building's teakwood floors, roof trusses, window frames, stairways and clay tiles.
Khor said the current tenants surrounding St Jo's are Goku Roku Ramen, Pacific Coffee Co, T.G.I.Friday's, Brussels Beer Cafe, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, and Meet Fresh.
The tenants who will open soon for business, he added, are Italiannies (serving Italian cuisine), Wong Kok Char Chan Teng (Hong Kong's foods and treats eatery), Share Tea (Taiwanese bubble tea beverage) and Petite Millie (casual French cuisine).
Khor said HPB is expecting at least 30 per cent of its new tenants to be first-time investors in Penang where a lifestyle mall - the Gurney Paragon Mall - is due to be completed by the end of this year. - By Marina Emmanuel (Business Times)