SP Setia to start work on the RM250 million subterranean project that has been the subject of much criticism and debate
WORK on the controversial subterranean PenangInternational Convention and Exhibition Centre (sPICE) project is scheduled to begin in April.
Physical work will be allowed to commence when developer SP Setia obtains vacant possession of the Penang International Sports Arena (PISA) site, where sPICE will be built, from the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP).
Many PISA tenants have moved out, and the remaining are in the midst of doing so.
The RM250 million sPICE project has met with objections since
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng announced early last year that Eco Meridian Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SP Setia, had won the contract to build sPICE.
The partially underground convention and exhibition centre will have a basement car park and a rooftop green park. The contract includes the construction of a 2.8ha public park, a hotel, retail outlets and a car park as well as the refurbishment, repair and upgrading PISA and the Aquatic Centre.
The agreement was signed on Aug 19 by MPPP and Eco Meridian.
Completion is targeted for 2014.
Since the start of the year and the departure of PenEvents Sdn Bhd, Eco Merid ian has been managing PISA at MPPP's request.
This was confirmed by SP Setia property division (north) general manager Datuk S. Rajoo, who declined to comment.
Streets has learnt that the company also now manages the central park, where many Bayan Baru and Bayan Lepas residents go for daily exercises.
"They are tidying up the place and putting in new landscaping for the comfort of the park users ... we want it to be as green as possible.
"In the next one month, they will be washing the external walls of PISA to further spruce it up," a source said.
The last time PISA received a thorough clean-up was 20 years ago.
A site visit revealed that 70 per cent of the PISA complex had been repainted. The trees had also been trimmed.