A large mixed use property project, managed by an Indonesian building contractor, held a ground-breaking ceremony in Dili, East Timor, last week, signaling a stronger investment future between the infamously hostile nations.
Pembangunan Perumahan, an Indonesian state-controlled company better known as PTPP, will be constructing an iconic 26-floor building in Dili’s premium area, which will provide facilities including a mall, office units, apartments and a hotel.
The Rp 1 trillion ($86 million) building, built on 15,000 square meters of land, is called AGP Square named after Artha Graha group, which is controlled by tycoon Tomy Winata who is a majority shareholder in the project.
“The AGP Square will be the tallest building in Timor Leste. It will be the icon in Dili’s elite area,” PTPP president director Bambang Triwibowo said.
The ceremony, held on Saturday, was witnessed by Timor Leste government officials, including the country’s Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao and his deputy Fernando Lasama de Araujo as well as top executives from PTPP including Bambang and Tomy.
Bambang said once the AGP Square is operational, its presence is expected to ease the life of expatriates and the affluent, who often travel outside the country on weekend as they feel that the capital of the youngest nation in Southeast Asia lacks facilities.
The construction is expected to be completed in the next two to three years.
The AGP Square is not the first project for PTPP in East Timor. The company recently completed construction work on the East Timorese finance ministry buildings and two road projects (Likuisa and Tibar roads). A company statement did not disclose the value of PTPP’s previous projects in the country.
Local media, The Timor News, reported on Saturday that Tommy has joined forces with Franky Tjahyadikarta, an Indonesian businessman who is the co-founder of Alila Hotels and Resorts.
“We hope that this investment will serve as a symbol of good friendship between Indonesia and Timor Leste,” Tomy Winata said as quoted The Timor News.
Meanwhile, the country’s prime minister was quoted by the media as saying that he expected such investments to motivate other investors to consider the country which was made independent from Indonesia in 1999.
Earlier this year State Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan urged Indonesian state-controlled companies to expand into East Timor and tap into the small country’s economy as it starts to develop.