Fri, 23 Jun 2000

Future of Tenda Semanggi hangs in the balance

JAKARTA (JP): The administration will put Tenda Semanggi, a popular hangout among Jakarta's young elite in South Jakarta, in order because it has violated the building code.

While not spelling out the precise action against the cafes and restaurants in the area, Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso said on Thursday that the operators have turned the places virtually into permanent structures while the original permits were for tents.

"We have seen some permanent structures in the complex which should have required building permits," Sutiyoso said.

The administration is determined to uphold orderliness and the Tenda Semanggi complex, standing on a 2.8 hectare area, will be one of the targets, he said on the sidelines of a ceremony to mark Jakarta's 473rd anniversary at the City Hall.

Tenda Semanggi, or Semanggi Tent, is located behind the Jakarta Stock Exchange building. Many of the cafes, which now employ some 2,000 people, were set up by out of work local actors and actresses at the height of the economic crisis in 1998.

Zulvan, an official of the South Jakarta Tourism Agency, was quoted by Kompas daily on Thursday as saying that none of the cafes and restaurants in the area had applied for business permits from his office as required by a 1997 regulation.

He also noted that these cafes occupied permanent structures and not tents as originally planned.

The Tenda Semanggi complex occupies a plot owned by PT Danayasa Arthatama which postponed its plan to build a superblock office complex when the economic crisis hit Indonesia in 1997.

The company leased the land to Mitra Jakarta Foundation for 18 months. The lease ended in May.

The foundation has invested Rp 1.5 billion (US$176,000) on infrastructure such as water and electricity, access roads and offices. Mitra Jakarta offered space to cafe and restaurant operators and the area became highly popular among Jakarta's youths, even during the economic crisis.

When it was established in 1998, the administration appeared to have allowed some latitude as the cafes and restaurants created new jobs to accommodate many people who were displaced by the crisis.

Aside from the administration's plan, the future of Tenda Semanggi has been in doubt because Mitra Jakarta and Danayasa Arthatama have yet to sign a new lease agreement, Kompas said.

Mitra Jakarta has not made a decision on whether to accept Danayasa's proposal to increase the monthly rental from Rp 80 million to Rp 92 million.

Mitra Jakarta has now been given two months to make up its mind or return the plot. Danayasa said another company had expressed willingness to take it over at the higher rental rate. (06)