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Abandoned projects mar Seremban's image
13/02/2009 The Star Story and photos by CHARLES FERNANDEZ

UNLIKE big cities and towns, there are not many tall buildings in Seremban but unfortunately one of the tallest buildings located in the town is ironically an abandoned project that sticks out like a sore thumb.

The building, supposedly a hotel and office block at Kemayan Square, can easily be seen from the North-South Highway and those visiting Seremban will be drawn to it as it is the first prominent towering structure that welcomes visitors as it is located near the entrance to town.

The project has been abandoned for more than 10 years and the dilapidated structure faces a new private hospital.

Not taking shape: The abandoned site for a multistorey shopping complex.

And Kemayan Square is home to not one but two abandoned projects, the other being the Kemayan Square Shopping Complex.

Further down, there is another project, a budget hotel in Jalan Tuanku Antah, facing a government clinic.

And it is not just abandoned projects but white elephants such as the two underused pedestrian bridges that are sorry sights and give the town a bad image.

Since most roads are not pedestrian-friendly due to lack of pedestrian crossings, the two bridges, one in Jalan Tuanku Munawir and another in Jalan Datuk Bandar Tunggal, are not serving its intended purpose.

Unsightly: The abandoned budget hotel project in Jalan Tuanku Antah

Eight years ago, special incentives were given to developers who were interested in reviving abandoned projects in Negri Sembilan, especially those located in Seremban.

Most of the projects were 55% to 80% completed and interested developers could continue from where construction was abandoned.

The state government, then under former Mentri Besar Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad, was particularly interested in the hotel and office block at Kemayan Square, the budget hotel in Jalan Tuanku Antah and a multi-storey building in Jalan Datuk Bandar Tunggal.

The state government even pledged to provide any form of assistance to developers, including looking for anchor tenants when the projects were completed.

And down the road all these years, the projects, which were abandoned during the economic slowdown in 1997 never took off.

Towering structure: The abandoned office tower in Kemayan Square, Seremban

It is learnt that many developers were interested in developing the projects but unable to do so due to funding problems.

Being private initiatives, there is only so much the state government could do but the residents are puzzled as to how long these projects would be allowed to stand as eyesores.

“The project has been left uncompleted for nearly a decade and from time to time, we hear that it is going to be revived,’’ said Bhajan Singh, a car park operator.

Bhajan was referring to the budget hotel, a joint venture between a private developer and the state government.

The so-called multi-storey building is one big abandoned project and with water collecting there, it resembles a swimming pool.

This prime property had once been the site of the Convent school before it was proposed as the site for a commercial complex comprising shops and offices, with beautiful landscape, a clock tower, children’s playground and a senior citizens’ leisure hub.

Former students of the convent sigh in dismay when they pass by the site.

Bhajan said abandoned projects with protruding steel bars and half-finished concrete work were unsightly, especially when the state government was trying to promote Seremban as a garden city.


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