6 months ago to the day, I wrote an update about 1Borneo, Kota Kinabalu’s largest leisure and lifestyle hyper mall.
Half a year later 1 Borneo has 1 month of official operation behind it. This is 1Borneo Hyper Mall 6 months later.
The official soft launch took place on the 7th of last month and a string of events followed. There was the big launch on the 8th, which the CM, Mayor and various other luminaries attended.
On the same day a selection of Hong Kong celebrities made an appearance to much fan fare. My personal favourite was the fashion show staring Warisan Square / 1 Borneo’s Brand / Style Ambassador, Amber Chia, supported by a slew of other beauties and cool people.
The KK Jazz festival also made an appearance, although I can’t imagine that they walked away with as much funds as they did last year when it was held at Jessleton Point. But rumours (first of many) had it that they made a bundle when 1Borneo actually paid them to host it there.
The Jazz Festival was also slated to take place in Gourmet Avenue, but the venue wasn’t quite ready, so it was hosted in the Central Atrium instead. The nett result of this was that everybody who showed up to buy a ticket at the door, likely didn’t buy a ticket, as they had free access to the performances from the perimeter. The said perimeter was removed halfway through the show and all had access to seats.
Acoustics in the Central Atrium isn’t exactly conducive to this kind of event, but sitting in front of stage apparently created a sweet spot.
Disasters: Rumoured and otherwise
Shortly after the opening of 1Borneo, KK had a huge downpour of rain. Supposedly the road running past 1Borneo promptly flooded and shortly after the cars parked on the shoulder of the road were partly submerged. Of course, if this rumour is true I feel nothing for those car owners, because what were they doing parking there in the first place? But did this really happen in spite of a directive to improve the drainage issue way back in 2006?
The basement car park at 1Borneo also flooded (how bad depends on who you believe) and this led to some other nasty rumours. Suddenly allegations circulated of water running down the String Ray Roof (the yellow monstrosity outside the front entrance), inside the mall and down the escalator where, said the rumour, an explosion or so occurred.
Other stories went around that the construction was dodgy, that part of the roof collapsed, that the structure in general was unsound and that there were muggings and car break-ins that the management didn’t report. Rumours, of course, but KK loves rumours (think petrol kiosk closure) and it got bad enough for 1 Borneo to hold a press conference to dispel those rumours.
Official 1Borneo Website
In the meantime, 1Borneo seems to be having trouble with their online presence. 1Borneo.com, 1Borneo.net and 1Borneo.org are all the same company, but 1Borneo.com is independently maintained from .net and .org (which seem to point to each other). 1Borneo is neither a network nor an non-profit organisation, so why bother with .org and .net.
And they completely missed out on 1borneo.com.my and 1borneo.my, so if you’re quick you can still grab it (I would). And they missed out out on oneborneo.com, something I would have considered.
And I’m not sure what it looks like on your system, but through Firefox 3 on Ubuntu 8.04 the flash intro (why, why, why?) on their website is so small I can hardly read the text. Luckily Firefox 3 has this cool absolute zoom function, so you can zoom right in without loosing any formatting.
When they’re done with the mall, the website needs some love.
It could be because of the hysteria of a new destination, or perhaps it’s just that all the inconsiderate drivers in KK share an interest in 1 Borneo, but whatever the reason, over weekends 1 Borneo traffic is a mess (I can’t say what goes on during the week though, anybody?).
Punters park on the highway that zooms past the hyper mall, on both sides, and sometimes double. The signs that say Strictly No Parking mean as much as the gravel on the road next to it on which people park regardless. Traffic slows to a crawl as other people look for more parking on the road and tempers flare as others just want to pass.
When you actually make it onto the 1 Borneo property, there’s a few choices of parking locations. You can either park outside along the building’s border, in the basement, or on the 2nd / 3rd floors if you go up the ramp next near Tune Hotel.
Parking outside usually fills up first. It seems people think this parking is the easiest to get in and out of. Parking on the 2nd and 3rd floors also fill up quickly, but this is because there’s not all that much to start with.
The design of the parking is such that once the parking is full, cars go around in an infinite loop. More people come up the ramp and nobody wants to go down the ramp and admit parking defeat. The three or so times I got caught in this situation, the traffic soon locked up and nobody could move, until the security guards finally realised what was going on and started directing cars down the ramp again.
It seems people use the basement car park the least, even though this is where a lot of the parking is. Perhaps it’s the flood rumours, which everyone must have heard. I’m scared to park my car there too, just in case it’s submerged by the time I get back (nasty rumours, nasty).
Meanwhile, regardless of where you park, your car will likely be covered with a thin film us dust by the time you get back. Construction is still ongoing.
The 1Borneo shuttle bus also made a good entry to the market and I was quite impressed by their efforts. After all, they essentially fortified the public transport in Kota Kinabalu as they service a busy route.
But a few weekends ago when I tried to take the shuttle from Warisan to 1Borneo, I gave up waiting after 1 hour and 20 minutes. It was a Sunday, there was traffic yes, but to wait an hour an 15 minutes for a service which is supposed to run every 30 minutes is beyond acceptable. It was a nice dream though.
Shops stocked up
Once you get into 1Borneo things aren’t so bad. Apart from the fact that cellphone reception is a bit sketchy. Or it was, but hopefully they’ve solved that by now. It’s not like Maxis can afford to disconnect any of their subscribers…
The chaos that reigned on opening day has died down a bit and now the people traffic is steady and easy.
During the Jazz Festival there were a few disappointments though. We left Dome because they were out of stock of too many items on their menu. At Pizza Hut the veritable army of staff were at first not interested in our group of 8. They too were out of stock of several items, and the store was filthy. The floors looked like it hadn’t been mopped all day and dirty dishes, plates and jugs stood around on vacant tables and the kitchen counter.
We put it down to the exceptionally busy day that 1 Borneo had.
Earlier in the week I got a picture on email showing a fly inside a sushi plate that looked suspiciously a lot like the Sushi King at 1 Borneo. Of course, those little stickers on the plastic cover are probably used at Sushi Kings all over, but it came with a pretty descriptive email. I deleted it. Rumours I say, rumours.
Borneo is busy
Rumours, no rumours, like it or loathe it, one thing is certain: 1Borneo is busy. And busy is good. For 1Borneo it is. And success comes with envy, especially if you tried the same thing and it didn’t work, then it’s so much easier to spread rumours. Or if you disgruntled by a new traffic jam in your neighbourhood. Apparently people start rumours because of those reasons too.
I personally think a 1Borneo was overdue for Kota Kinabalu, but I also think they could have put a little more thought into things like parking and traffic.
Seeing as they’re such a ground breaking development, it would have been nice to see them break KK’s evil parking trend and actually build more parking than the demand. Why build a mall you want to be successful, but fail to provide sufficient parking for your customers? And then with 1 measly u-turn to handle all your customers, you’re bound to piss them off and make it less likely that they will come back in future.
Isn’t that limiting your own potential?
Anyway, I look forward to when the parking is sorted out, the traffic is smooth flowing and we no longer have to drive two kilometres down the road to make a u-turn to get back on the road to town.
1Borneo has potential, let’s hope they’re able to release it.