Monday February 6, 2012
Locals looking forward to a boost in business when mall opens
Story and photos by EDMUND NGO and CHERYL HEW
IT is impossible to miss a prominent five-storey building that is coming up in Station 18 as one drives along Jalan Pasir Puteh.
Dominating the skyline and landscape of Pengkalan, the city’s second Jusco Store, with an internal built-up area of 111,483.65 sq m, is set to be the largest shopping mall in Perak when it opens its doors to shoppers this month.
An iconic purple billboard has been erected, adding a dash of colour to the otherwise quiet part of Ipoh city.
Popular landmark: The five-storey Jusco shopping mall that dominates the landscape of Station 18.
A survey by The Star
showed that many locals are excited about the development that is taking place and view the RM300mil investment by Aeon Co (M) Bhd as a chance to revive Station 18.
Shops surrounding the new mall are currently vacant and dirty with some having been converted into birdhouses, which echo with the endless chirping of swiftlets.
However, all these are expected to change as investors begin to flock to the area with hopes of cashing in on the development that would be brought about by Jusco.
Daniel Chong, 33, owner of a laundry shop at Station 18, said he had set up shop three months ago in anticipation of a boom in activities with the opening of the shopping mall.
“I’m really looking forward to the opening of Jusco.
Colourful: Inns or budget hotels such as these are beginning to spring up in Station 18, in anticipation of the development here.
“I am hoping it will bring in huge crowds and good business, and change what’s here,” he said.
Like Chong, Restoran Sinar Iman owner Zulkefli Mohammad, 38, had just started operating a month ago.
“I did not hesitate taking over the business from the previous owner due to the location of the shop, which is directly next to Jusco,” said Zulkefli, who owns three other restaurants in Gopeng, Jeram and Malim Nawar.
“The location and ample parking space in front of my restaurant is sure to encourage shoppers and workers at the mall to eat here,” he added.
Restoran Feei Ma supervisor Sucada Ng, 42, is confident that the vacant shoplots surrounding the mall would be occupied once it opened.
Not a plus point: Some shops in Station 18 surrounding Jusco have been turned into birdhouses with swiftlets chirping away.
“Everyone is anticipating Station 18 to become a busy commercial centre,” said Ng, whose restaurant has been operating there for the past five years.
Despite the optimistic outlook of most people, there are a few like Ainaz Marketing manager Zainab Nasir, who felt that the revival of Station 18 came with disadvantages.
“I think our shop rental is going to skyrocket after this.
“My landlord has been asking for more ever since work on the mall started,” she said, adding that some tenants nearby had left as they were unable to afford the rental increase.
Zainab, 50, who sells sports equipment and apparel, said she also expected the Ipoh City Council to start imposing parking fees once Station 18 became a thriving commercial centre.