Thu, 11 Dec 2003

Tanah Abang developer appointed

Bambang Nurbianto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

City traditional market operator PD Pasar Jaya has directly appointed developer PT Priamanaya Djan International (PDI) to carry out the first phase of the complete renovation of Tanah Abang textile market, Central Jakarta, estimated at Rp 600 billion (US$70.59 million).

PD Pasar Jaya president director Prabowo Soenirman said on Wednesday after meeting with City Council Commission B on economic affairs that PDI was one of four companies that had submitted proposals to transform Tanah Abang's Block A into a luxury shopping mall. The block was destroyed by fire on Feb. 19.

He did not give details on the other companies, nor did he provide reasons for PDI's appointment. He only stressed that it was the best among the four and did not mention who was the main force behind PDI.

When asked as to the developer's performance, Prabowo only said, "I cannot answer that question."

Tanah Abang, the biggest textile market in Southeast Asia, was razed by a fire in February. It took firefighters five days to completely extinguish the massive fire at the four-story market. Of the market's 7,594 shops, 2,420 were gutted.

PD Pasar Jaya had originally designed the renovated market to be seven-floors high with a seven-level basement. But advice from the Jakarta Fire Department, based upon its recent experience, prompted the market operator to revise the design to 16 floors above ground and three below.

A March article in Tempo magazine, which insinuated that businessman Tomy Winata was behind the fire in order to win the market renovation project, has ensued in an ongoing legal battle between the weekly and the businessman.

Prabowo said he held an open tender for the developers, but had cut the bidding in mid-process and directly appointed PT PDI.

"I exercised my legal rights to appoint the winning bidder," he argued, referring to Paragraph 5, Article 11, of Presidential Decree No. 18/2000 on procurements for government agencies.

Another article in the decree stipulates that direct appointments can be exercised in the case of a maximum Rp 50 billion project.

Prabowo claimed that the redesigned market building would be the most luxurious commercial complex in the capital.

The ground-breaking ceremony is to take place on the evening of Dec. 15, featuring fireworks.

The tenancy rate at the new mall will be more expensive than plush Plaza Senayan in Central Jakarta or Mal Taman Anggrek in West Jakarta.

A report from Procon property consultant says that average monthly rent at primary shopping malls like Plaza Senayan and Mal Taman Anggrek is Rp 675,042 per square meter.

Tanah Abang market, which consists of six blocks and 7,600 kiosks, is to be replaced by a mega-complex of shopping malls in the future. The malls will face Tanah Abang railway station on Jl. Jati Baru, which is to become a monorail station.

Prabowo promised that the 2,000 traders of Block A will be given a special 20-year rate of Rp 20 million per square meter, as well as special location among the 8,000 shops of the mall.

"It is part of our commitment to the old traders," he said.