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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs           14  July 2011

Jakarta shopping malls freeze

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Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo said on Wednesday that his government was planning to issue a moratorium on permits for new malls of more than 5,000 square meters.

“In the near future, I will announce a temporary moratorium on the issuance of permits for malls,” Fauzi said while opening a meeting of the regional chapter of the heads of the Indonesian Real Estate Association (REI).

He said the planned moratorium will remain in place until at least the end of 2012.

“I have obtained a lot of input from many developers saying that the issuance of permits for commercial shopping malls of over 5,000 square meters needed to be evaluated,” he said.

During the moratorium, city authorities will evaluate existing shopping malls. He said that with the number of malls now available in the city, many were still under-occupied and their presence often caused traffic and parking problems.

Cucu Ahmad Kurniawan, city spokesman, said the moratorium was also imposed “because the Jakarta administration is concerned with improving the transportation infrastructure to reduce heavy traffic in Jakarta.”

Cucu said that since Fauzi became governor no new permits for malls had been issued. Small malls may still be built, especially in the outer rim of the city, because they will help “economic equability.”

He said all the permits for malls which have been built since Fauzi became governor were issued before his tenure.

The head of the Indonesian Association of Shopping Center Managements, Handaka Santosa, welcomed the moratorium saying he believed it would “strengthen the foundation of the mall business.”

Handaka said he hoped that with the moratorium in place, empty spaces that have remained unoccupied in existing malls in the city would be able to find tenants.

However, Handaka said the moratorium should not be further extended because the city can still accommodate more malls.

With per capita income in the capital at around $10,000 with a 6.5 percent economic growth, the city could still absorb new shopping centers, he said.

Jakarta has 68 shopping centers of various classes, he said, adding that the city could still accommodate between 5 to 10 percent more.

Urban planner Nirwono Joga, said he had suggested the moratorium on new malls five years ago.

“We must question the motive behind this moratorium. I suggested this moratorium at the beginning of his period as governor, but why did he only do it today? It might be one of his strategies to draw public interest to his campaign for the next gubernatorial election,” he said.


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