Mall Rat: Kota Kasablanca

By N. Mark Castro

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Another proof of Jakarta’s growing construction development is the final completion of the former white elephant Kota Kasablanca, which is geared to be a premier tourism, shopping, entertainment and “lifestyle” destination.

Assuming, of course, you survive the traffic.

Conceptualized as far back as 2003 and started in 2006, I remember how it became the butt of jokes among the list of stalled projects, including the ambitious but necessary monorail. Back then, when I spent most of my time scouring Jakarta’s malls — from high end to the local Pasar — I remember taking a picture of this site.

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And revisiting it years later to see this —

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Amazing how I’ve accidentally witnessed Indonesia’s growth in such a short span of time, including Pakuwon’s completion of this project. It isn’t so much for the lack of funds but rather the distribution of its projects that — and resources — that delayed its completion. After all, the sheer size of the project probably requires the same group that built the Pyramids.

The 9.5 hectare mall allocated its space according to:

MALL : 195,000 sqm
OFFICE : 82,000 sqm
APARTMENT : 161,000 sqm
HOTEL : 53,000 sqm
Total Built-up Area : 491,000 sqm
Car Park : 4,342

Yes, an international hotel, which promises to further congest the infamous Casablanca traffic. How they could have envisioned it to be the next Orchard Road of Singapore is beyond me, unless, of course, they were literally referring to filling with Orchard.

According to its press release: Kota Kasablanca is a “Compelling Story of concept vision celebrates the vibrant colors, pattern, details and experience of Casablanca in Morocco and the common legacy of trading and rich cultural heritage that ties Indonesia with the rest of world.”

So I’m waiting around for Ingrid Bergman, in case she shows up.

But what I do find compelling is that when the Pakuwon Group finally decided to complete the project, it blossomed into this:

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And deep within

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Food Center and Street Music

For music lovers and art performances, Kota Kasablanca provides a wide expanse of open space, which is a rarity in urban Jakarta. According to its press release: “All the textures are enrich with Moroccan touch to make the visitor and loyal customer feel the difference.”

But the Eat Eat facility is a beautifully-laid out hawker’s delight.

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Evidently, Kota Kasablanca wont take much time before flock in, with Sogo Department Store fully operational and brands like Bershka, Stradivarius, and …

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So in case you miss me at the office, be sure to check out my new branch at Kota Kasablanca, where I’m greeted by the Indonesian Information Counter Head as “Kabayan!” and proudly reminiscing the time he’s worked with Filipinos abroad.

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About Asmartrock

N. Mark Castro is the chief political communications strategist for PT AsiaLeads, a political and communications policy-making body based in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is also the Executive Director at the Southeast Asia Consulting Group, an investment advisory company assisting clients roll out their presence for the ASEAN Economic Integration in partnership with government. The views posted here are his own and do not in any way reflect the views of the companies he represents.

Posted on August 11, 2012, in General and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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