Thursday, December 01, 2016

One Page Summary: Objections against Copthorne re-development into 65 storeys

Objections against Copthorne re-development into 65 storeys

Imagine a KOMTAR in Tanjong Bunga !  A mixed development right on our beach !

A “travesty in the making”, says Michael Deeb, who leads the Cove residents’ opposition to the project. And indeed, there are monstrous plans now submitted to the Penang Council to destroy the current 22 storey Copthorne Hotel and replace it by a set of new buildings and car parks with a 65 storey tower close to the beach.

It would be a very high-density building with 217 apartments and 420 hotel rooms on a 2.5 acre site, translating into 254 units per acre.  That is almost double the allowed density in Kuala Lumpur (132) and way, way above the ideal maximum density in Tanjong Bunga which is 15 units per acre under the applicable rules of the Secondary Development Corridor.
By comparison, the 4 towers of the Cove only have 144 (admittedly huge) units, which translates into a density of 26 per acre, allowed under Primary Development Corridor rules, applicable to George Town.

The Cove would indeed be most affected by the towering ‘monster’ within 6 meters of its perimeter. At the MBPP hearing on 29 November, the Cove lawyers insisted on the need for preliminary studies (wind tunnel effect, traffic flow and setback rules), which were not provided or never done but necessary before the Council was to consider the project.

Another issue was zoning; currently the area is a tourist zone but it would have to be rezoned to allow for mixed development.  With all this pending it was hard to make precise objections to the proposed development.  Hence, for the Cove and Seahome residents, the hearing was considered premature. The Council will have to collect more information and then call for another hearing.

As direct neighbors, the Cove and Seahome residents are the only ones consulted by MBPP but it is clear that all of Tanjong Bunga will be affected. For at least 4 years if ever this plan is allowed to go ahead. Just imagine how many thousands of lorries will be crowding the service road and then the main road, first to cart off the debris of the old building and then to bring in the tons of concrete and what else it takes to construct Tanjong Bunga’s Komtar.

One of the plans is to build 5 storeys underground for car parks; but given that the hotel sits on a massive granite block, the digging can only be done by explosives; ergo, stop all traffic on Tanjong Bunga road ! The danger, noise, debris and dust will be unbearable for the people who live in Tingkat Laut, the now quiet Seahome street with just double storey bungalows within 4 to 6 meters of Copthorne land.  The explosions will shock and alarm people miles away, not least the Dalat School students, so close by.

At the press conference after the MBPP hearing, Michael Deeb, explained all this to reporters and showed them how close the new tower would be to the 4 Cove buildings. He also warned that it would harm investment. As an example, he noted that currently 71 of the 144 units of the Cove are owned by foreigners, the remaining 73 belong to locals, 50 of whom occupy their units, renting out the remainder to foreigners. He suspected that if Copthorne is given the green light, many of the owners will consider giving up on their investments and there will be more empty and low value apartments.   ENDS aa 30-11-16

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