KUALA LUMPUR • A site in Malaysia's capital city that used to house the infamous Pudu Jail is being developed into a glittering mixed township featuring a RM1.6 billion (S$520 million) modern mall, a hotel and serviced apartments.
The project in downtown Kuala Lumpur is located beside the Berjaya Times Square mall that is popular with Singaporeans.
It is also a short walk away from Malaysia's main shopping district of Bukit Bintang.
Prime Minister Najib Razak officiated at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Bukit Bintang City Centre (BBCC) yesterday, saying the project marks "significant national-level development".
"With the scarcity of land in any developed capital city like Kuala Lumpur, it is essential that redevelopment of city centre brownfield sites is done carefully and very well," said Datuk Seri Najib.
The 1.4 million sq ft retail mall within the BBCC is 50 per cent owned by Japan's Mitusi Fudosan. It will be named Mitsui Shopping Park LaLaport KL.
The 8ha site will also have an entertainment hub, five blocks of serviced apartments, a four-star hotel and one strata office, with the first phase of the project expected to be ready by December 2020. A major shareholder of the BBCC complex is Eco World Development Group.
Asked about the project's location - as many prisoners were hanged in Pudu Jail - Eco World executive vice-president Richard Ong said in a January interview: "Redeveloping a former prison site is not new. Many countries have done it."
He also said many buyers, especially the younger generation, were not so superstitious.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK