US developer enters eastern Indonesia
US-based property developer the Bliss Group says it will spend Rp 600 billion (US$64.8 million) to develop two projects in Maluku this year as part a long-term program to tap growing demand in eastern Indonesia.
The company’s CEO, Isaac Bliss Tanihaha, said in Jakarta on Wednesday that the first project would be Bliss Village, a 30-hectare development in Lateri, Ambon, comprising 2,100 houses that will be sold from Rp 88 million to Rp 250 million. Tanihaha said the project would be complete by 2014.
The firm’s second project would be a Rp 150 billion convention center to be built on three hectares in the city’s central business district, which includes the recently opened Ambon City Center shopping center, Tanihaha said.
When complete, the business district would include a hotel, office buildings, a multiplex cinema that would supplement the island’s current two-screen cinema and a water park, he added.
Ambon City Center, which hosts anchor tenants such as Hypermart, Matahari Department Store and family recreation center Funworld, is the largest and the first shopping mall in the capital city of Maluku.
The mall was launched in February this year.
According to Ambon Mayor Richard Louhenapessy, the city still lacked entertainment and business centers that could help spur development of the local economy for the Ambon’s 383,000 residents.
“After 65 years, Ambon finally has a shopping mall that will be beneficial and drive the economy in the city. We are very welcoming to any investors who want to develop any infrastructure projects there,” Richard said.
The Bliss Group, which was founded in the US by Indonesian-born Isaac Tanihaha, has developed projects totalling $250 million since its inception in 2002, mainly in Southern California. In 2010, the company started to shift focus to Indonesia.
The company’s third project in the pipeline is building a shopping center, Ponorogo City Center, in Ponorogo, East Java, about 160 kilometers east of Yogyakarta by road.
“I see a lot of opportunities, especially in eastern part of Indonesia. I notice that 70 to 80 percent of the economy is concentrated in Java. That means Indonesia as a whole is not as developed as Java,” said Isaac.
“Our company can assist in improving the lives and infrastructure as a whole in eastern Indonesia,” Isaac said on Wednesday during a press conference. (nad)