The creative making of i-City

Borrowing inspiration from successful attractions of famous places in the world, the resulting blueprint of the 72 acres of land in Shah Alam will set a new benchmark in township development.

BY YVONNE YOONG
yvonneyoong@thestar.com.my

The Jewel@i-City, a 70 storey-architecture icon expected to be launched in 2016, will target multinational and fortune 500 companies to be part of its MSC (multimedia super corridor) office, corporate and commercial components.

The Jewel@i-City, a 70 storey-architecture icon expected to be launched in 2016, will target multinational and fortune 500 companies to be part of its MSC (multimedia super corridor) office, corporate and commercial components.

IMITATION is the highest form of flattery, they say. In infusing sparks of inspiration borrowed from some of the world’s most successful tried-and-tested formulas for tourist attractions into its overall master plan, the RM7bil i-City development spanning 72 acres of freehold land in Shah Alam – when completed – will indirectly pay tribute to some of the world’s most attractive tourist destinations.

These include inspiration from the likes of Lotte World in Seoul, South Korea, famous for its sprawling recreation complex housing the world’s largest indoor adventure theme park and an outdoor amusement park dubbed Magic Island that opens daily, easily attracting over eight million visitors all year round.

Then, there’s inspiration taken from the successful blueprint of the major business district of Canary Wharf in the United Kingdom housing one of London’s two main financial centres with its mixed-use development comprising office and retail space spanning 14 million sq ft.

The example of the Lion City making a splashing statement of style at its historic riverside Clarke Quay all aglow with swanky restaurants dotting the scenery will also be replicated with i-City’s man-made lake and surrounding water landscape that will grace the ambitious development with a sense of serene recreational activities.

“We wanted i-City to be a self-contained and walkable ultrapolis planned as an urban centre so the various components will be linked together via pedestrian walkways and underground tunnels with the integrated residential and commercial components coming together just like at Lotte World,” emphasised I-Bhd deputy chairman Datuk Eu Hong Chew, sharing his thoughts on how the ultrapolis will take shape eventually.

“The inspiration from Lotte World will be echoed in the architecture of the various components, placing equal emphasis on the public spaces, infrastructure and facilities. In Korea, Lotte World’s commercial components are in the middle, surrounded by the residential on the outer circle which are developed separately. But here, I-Bhd develops and manages both the commercial and residential components,” he enthused.

Although i-City will be an urban centre, the ultrapolis will not be just a concrete jungle as the design will place emphasis on the different components at i-City being facilitated by connected walkways within the development.

The original hill has also been purposely retained alongside the natural meandering on the land.

There will be safe and attractive public spaces complete with digital lights and landscape dotting the entire development.

The RM7bil i-City ultrapolis is poised to be an international business hub by day and lifestyle haven by night.

The RM7bil i-City ultrapolis is poised to be an international business hub by day and lifestyle haven by night.

“These are the things that people will experience when they come to i-City,” he explained.

“Canary Wharf was a former dock riverbank side on the outskirts of London that was developed into the back-end processing centres for financial institutions.

Today, it has become a very successful urban development. That was our initial inspiration for our multimedia super corridor (MSC) at i-City which started off as a commercial component. There are already a lot of residential components and public infrastructure that have been put in place here,” continued Eu.

Citing the example of Singapore’s Clarke Quay, i-City is probably the only urban development with a river which will bring nature back to the urban centre.

Once completed, it will have a scenic riverfront view reflecting the 24-hour cosmopolitan lifestyle concept for tourists to enjoy. We hope to add on other water-based attractions as well.

Green landscapes will also feature prominently at i-City, with easily 20% to 25% of the development dedicated to greenery.

Besides the 72 acres of land, there is another 30 acres of buffer land surrounding i-City with a  concession of 21 years allocated to I-Bhd as part of the landscape beautification programme.

A place in the making

Elaborating on the overall massive master plan dreamed up by Jerde Partnership’s Jon A. Jerde, who is based in the United States, he said the land will be divided into six plots or parcels, each following different themes and their respective development focus.

I-Bhd, being the master developer for the whole area, will provide a unified vision to drive  innovation, creativity and economic growth” within the integrated components of the overall development.

He describes i-City as “a place in the making” – a phrase usually attributed by architects and developers to the creation of a sense of place for a development, by making it stand out. Jerde has in his own words stated that “experience makes the place”.

“We envision i-City to be a ‘happening place’ with the master plan, architecture, activities and public infrastructure as well as services being part of the ‘place making’ process. The process includes having an identifiable neighbourhood, unique architecture, a mixed-used development coupled with good public transportation and other facilities,” he added.

The 1.5 million sq ft CentralPlaza@i-City shopping mall jointly developed by Central Pattana PCL and i-City will transform the Capital of Selangor into a regional shopping destination.

The 1.5 million sq ft Central Plaza@i-City shopping mall jointly developed by Central Pattana PCL and i-City will transform the Capital of Selangor into a regional shopping destination.

“Today, when people buy into i-City and its overall concept, they can see the promise and vibrancy.

That’s also before the mall even opens – so we’ve already created this vibe. It’s a highrise urban centre in the Klang Valley that has a riverfront development.

Indeed, we are probably one of the few urban centres where the developer manages and provides better services for the Knowledge (K)-community, residents and visitors of leisure businesses for the long-term. We foresee and expect to have 50,000 K-workers, approximately 20,000 residents and 10 million to 20 million visitors to the mall and theme park in the near future,” he added.

Facilities and amenities

The Central Plaza@i-City will feature a regional mall which will be jointly developed by Central Pattana PCL from Thailand (60%) and I-Bhd (40%).

The six-storey mall with three levels of basement parking is expected to house 450 retail outlets and will target the middle to upper-middle income category of shoppers. While the commercial mix is still in the research stage, an estimate of the tenants will be made up from 25% fashion, 30% food and beverage and services will make up the rest.

The mall, scheduled to open in 2017, is spread across 1.5 million sq ft of new retail landscape with a gross development cost of RM580mil.

Eu pointed out that besides the iconic architecture of i-City – with its multi-faceted architecture and master plan components as well as The Jewel@i-City leading the way – the hotels and malls planned within the development will also cater to tourists and visitors. The Jewel@i-City will feature six blocks of staggered 45 to 70 storeys of mixed-used buildings, including residential towers and a luxury hotel.

Already, the entire development has a huge theme park attracting approximately 90,000 visitors weekly to experience its one million LED (light-emitting diode) City of Digital Lights display at its outdoor park, Space Mission, House of Horror and Waterworld, with the region’s first Tornado ride.

SnoWalk with its -5°C Arctic environment and ice sculptures peppered throughout a built-up area of 50,000sq ft are other existing highlights besides Fun World at City Walk with its indoor and outdoor recreational activities as well as Red Carpet – home to Malaysia’s first interactive wax and Trick Art Museum.

“When we planned i-City, we knew this will be a hub for residential and businesses to thrive, so we planned the necessary transportation to service the development,” he added.

This was followed by the signing of the Management and Development Agreement between the state, MBSA (Majlis Bandaraya Shah Alam) and i-City to enable i-City to manage all the public spaces with the development.

i-City is today responsible for all the ultrapolis services to better meet the expectations of the different categories of people coming to the area – be it the visitors to its leisure park or the K-community as well as residents.

“With this agreement, we could now translate the concept of making i-City a walkable neighbourhood into reality. This means more than just providing pedestrian walkways but also addresses upkeep and maintenance. It is about the periodic upgrading of the public areas in order to meet the changing patterns and profile of visitors,” he commented.

Adventure Studio, a new attraction in i-City that will be introduced early next month.

Adventure Studio, a new attraction in i-City that will be introduced early next month.

Easy accessibility

Both i-City and the various authorities are looking into the public infrastructure and facilities aspects of the development to cater to the large population density.

The state’s provision of land next to i-City for a police station and fire station will be complemented by the Shah Alam general hospital located within walking distance from i-City.

Served by three major highways – the Federal Highway, NKVE (New Klang Valley Expressway) and East Coast Highway – with convenient links to several other highways, the ultrapolis development which is already easily accessible will further benefit from the construction of the i-City Interchange that will provide direct access from the Federal Highway into i-City once it is completed.

Public transportation will see the BRT route travel along the Federal Highway. The LRT from Bandar Utama to Klang has also been announced and i-City plans to link the station to the development.

The prospect of i-City

When the Central Plaza i-City Mall opens in 2017, there will only be two shopping centres along the Federal Highway that will have direct access to the township – Mid Valley Megamall at the east and i-City at the west side.

“Besides that, i-City is the pioneer in providing fibre to homes in Malaysia. Today, while water,  electricity and telephone lines are provided by other developers as standard items, many are still not providing fibre.

We see the Internet as the fourth utility, and as such, we will provide fibre to the units as standard item,” said Eu.

He also pointed out the unique gated and guarded but open development concept of i-City that is enrolled under a “Polis Bantuan” programme covering the whole of 72-acre development site. In the imminent future, i-City envisions that each of its management corporation components within i-City will have its own security guards to double up the security features of the integrated mixed-use ultrapolis as a whole.

“We knew that from day one, i-City was going to be a place where people would want to be. It will be an integrated ultrapolis comprising different components – offices, residential, hotels and commercial within the development. We will also usher nature in and make use of the river and hills and also have lush landscapes within the 72 acres of land,” he said, drawing emphasis on the attention to detail i-City will lavish on public spaces for the people.

Sharing further on how i-City has been identified as one of the five key growth centres in Shah Alam, Eu said that even the decision to incorporate the leisure park on actual land for development was made in view of the intention for it to be distributed throughout the 72 acres.

“I-Bhd entered into an agreement with the state in 2012 and with this agreement, i-City will take care of the management aspect of the ultrapolis so that it goes beyond the gated and guarded concept.”

“It will manage the public spaces, infrastructure and facilities to ensure that activities can operate on a 24/7 basis here.”

Besides the existing upgrades, with another RM20mil being invested to spruce up the City of Digital Lights with its latest “Dancing Water” feature, the newest and latest attractions currently being planned at i-City include:

Adventure Studio

  • The Adventure Studio will be filled with exciting rides that will amaze visitors from all walks of life. Just walk the streets of i-City to partake in the experience of being swept away without any warning by the mighty Typhoon 8 – Malaysia’s first typhoon that is certainly not for the fainthearted! You’ll get to don a raincoat for this experience.
  • Make the most of multimedia as you watch the latest adventurous movies while embarking on the multi-sensory ride at Malaysia’s first U-shape cinema that can only be found at SFX Theatre, i-City.
  • Voyage the sub-aquatic deep sea through Malaysia’s first hi-tech multimedia Submarine. Grab this opportunity to also see marine life up close and experience the beautiful and captivating scenery of underwater habitats and other secluded treasure.
  • Kids can enjoy the fun of driving and learn about road safety as they will obtain points to maintain their driving licence at Fun Drive. Also, embark on a Jungle Adventure and learn more about animals in a fun-forest environment setting.
  • Adventure Studio is expected to open its gate early next month in time for the visitors to the StarProperty.my Fair to get the opportunity to be the first few to experience the rides.

StarProperty.my Fair @ i-City

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