SANDAKAN: The opening of the Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan Hotel and Harbour Mall Sandakan has helped transform the city into a more modern and vibrant one. The hotel and mall also marked the completion of the Sandakan Harbour Square (SHS) urban renewal project.
The integrated masterplan development with a gross development value of about RM510 million also consists of a central market (market and fish jetty), town square and waterfront esplanade, Swiss Inn Waterfront Hotel and commercial shop offices. SHS is developed by ICSD Ventures Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Ireka Corp Bhd's London-listed associate Aseana Properties Ltd, with joint development partner Sandakan Municipal Council and managed by Ireka Development Management Sdn Bhd.
"We look forward to seeing Sandakan's revival to its halcyon days as the ‘Little Hong Kong' of the East," said Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Aman at the official opening on Oct 23.
Also present at the opening ceremony and gala dinner were Sandakan Municipal Council president James Wong, ICSD Ventures Sdn Bhd managing director Lai Voon Hon and Ireka Corp Bhd group managing director Lai Siew Wah.
"Having witnessed the birth of this project in 2003, I can testify that Sandakan city centre has been transformed from a sleepy backwater to the modern, vibrant city it is now.
"Sandakan Harbour Square is a great example of private-government joint partnership. This iconic landmark has rejuvenated Sandakan into a thriving commercial hub, complementing this famous eco-tourism destination with international class accommodation and shopping facilities.
"We must also not forget the abundant employment and business opportunities Sandakan Harbour Square brings to Sandakan," said Musa.
"From the technically challenging sea reclamation, which added 25% land area to the central business district of Sandakan in three months which we completed well ahead of schedule, to today's grand opening of this final phase, we are grateful for the strong support from the state government," said Voon Hon.
"Undoubtedly the success of Sandakan Harbour Square is also fuelled by the economic potential of the Sabah Development Corridor. We are very proud to see our vision coming to fruition — to bring modern lifestyle, social rejuvenation and tourism boost to Sandakan city."
Fronting the coast of Sandakan Bay, Four Points by Sheraton is the only internationally branded hotel in Sandakan offering 300 rooms. Harbour Mall Sandakan, which opened in July, is managed by international mall manager, CB Richard Ellis.
The 12-acre Sandakan Harbour Square was completed in four phases within the targeted 10 years. Sandakan is a famous eco-tourism destination in Southeast Asia. Unique attractions include the Sandakan Heritage Trail, Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary, Turtle Islands Park, Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, Sun Bear Sanctuary, Kinabatangan River and Gomantong Caves.
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on Nov 2, 2012.
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