Another affordable housing project for Penang

GEORGE TOWN: Penang Development Corp (PDC) has called for request for proposal (RFP) for what seems to be the state’s ninth affordable housing project, to be located on a former marshland and site once gutted by fire.

The 4.23-acre (1.71ha) tract on Sandiland Foreshore in the northeast district on the island will house more than 321 low-medium-cost (LMC) units and about 482 medium-cost (MC) units, said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

The land owned by Chief Minister Inc (CMI) and located just 2km from government administration offices in Komtar, has a reserve price for land premium at RM125 per sq ft.

Developers have been given till Sept 3 to submit their proposals for joint development on the Jalan CY Choy land which has a 99-year lease, said Lim.

“Developers submitting their proposal must have LMCs with a minimum 700 sq ft space and a ceiling price of RM72,500.

“The proposer should also ensure that there are 241 units at 1,000 sq ft with a ceiling price of RM400,000, 161 units with a minimum of 900 sq ft at RM300,000 and 80 units featuring a minimum 800 sq ft space at RM200,000,” he said.

He said all 54 families affected by the development would be offered a free unit from the project while extended families who lived with them would be given the priority to purchase the LMC units.

“The families requested that they be given a ‘one for one’ unit after being affected by the development. This project will also cater to first-time buyers in Penang who are looking for affordable homes,” he said.

Lim said the LMC units should include floor tiles for the toilet, kitchen and living room, and wall tiles for the toilet and kitchen while the MC units should have similar features, as well as floor tiles for the bedrooms.

A closed-circuit TV fixture should also be installed in the common areas while the gate at the entrance and lifts should feature an access card security system.

Speaking at a press conference, Lim said developers would not be allowed to build single-office-home-office (SoHo) units, serviced apartments, business suites, medical suites or any other developments that are similar to SoHo.

Earlier this year, a similar RFP was called by the government for the Sandiland Foreshore project but cancelled despite receiving five proposals due to “legal issues” surrounding the bid.

“We felt it was better to go through the PDC instead of the CMI which is not a builder. This project is a joint venture, and we don’t want to get caught up with the legal issues on whether the CMI can conduct housing development.

“It would be more appropriate for the PDC to carry this out to avoid complications on this matter,” said Lim.

According to news reports, a state survey found that the site had 31 squatter houses, 12 workshops, two temples, five shrines and two godowns, all of which did not possess temporary occupancy licences (TOL).

Conversely, 23 residential houses and an office possessing TOL are located on the land that was a marshland and often suffered floods during heavy downpours and high tides.

About 10 years ago, a massive fire burnt down a large area of squatter homes preceding the construction of the Jelutong Expressway.

The affordable housing project comes on the heels of eight other projects that were announced by Lim two years ago. The eight projects, three on the island and five on the mainland, will provide nearly 20,000 housing units, costing between RM72,500 and RM400,000 each.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on July 22, 2014.


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