JOHOR BARU • Johor will soon have its own version of Melbourne's famous Queen Victoria Market as part of new development plans announced at the weekend.
The B5 Johor Street Market will be developed by the state investment arm Johor Corporation (JCorp) on a 2.34ha site in Tampoi town, at a cost of more than RM80 million (S$27 million).
Johor Mentri Besar Mohamed Khaled Nordin, who is also JCorp chairman, said B5 stands for Batu Lima.
The area in Tampoi town is also known as Pekan Batu 5.
The street market project - expected to be completed in the second quarter of next year - will be a new tourism attraction in the southern Malaysian state.
It will provide business opportunities and employment to locals, especially younger people, said Datuk Seri Khaled.
The new development will feature a range of local products, and offer more than 168 retail spaces, with job opportunities for 1,000 residents, he added.
Mr Khaled said: "When visiting certain destinations, most likely, we will want to buy some local produce from there. It will not be complete if we go to Sarawak without buying the famous salted ikan terubuk or layered cakes.
"Based on this observation, we decided on having the B5 Johor Street Market as a centre to market local products," he said.
Ikan terubuk is a type of fish.
He said the design of B5 Johor Street Market will be characterised by traditional Johor-style Malay architecture, and will include a retail bazaar, food trucks, food and beverage stores, and an arts and culture hub, among other things.
The project aims to revitalise Tampoi town, which was previously a thriving business community before a fire ravaged the area in the 1990s, he added.
There are several commercial developments already taking shape in a 3km radius around the site, and three shopping malls - Plaza Angsana, Paradigm Mall and Capital 21 - are slated to open later this year.
In a speech at the launch of the project last Saturday, Mr Khaled said it would be a waste if there is no strategic planning for the area, which is located in the middle of massive development projects.
He said the B5 Johor Street Market has already received positive enquiries and feedback, including from Prime Minister Najib Razak during his visit to the Johor Berkemajuan Expo last year.
BERNAMA, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK