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Published on March 12, 2014

In a joint effort to revitalize the 17th century Old Batavia heritage area in the north western part of the capital city Jakarta, the private sector has joined forces to invest and breathe a new and innovative life into this part of the city that was once renowned as the “Pearl of the Orient”.

The plan is to recreate the Old Batavia area into a center for arts and cultural activities, education and lifestyle.

Although a masterplan had been drawn for years by Jakarta’s provincial Government , however, many challenges continued to be faced in its development, not the least of which was since owners of dilapidated buildings were unwilling to let go of their property, but did little to enhance the beauty of the area.Unfazed, Lin Che Wei, economist and art lover together with art collector Oei Hong Djien and culture observer Goenawan Mohamad, adamantly knocked on the door of investors to set aside funds for the redevelopment of this oldest part of Jakarta city, known as Old Batavia.

Two consortiums were established, the JOTRC (Jakarta Old Town Revitalization Corporation) and JEFORAH (Jakarta Endowment For Art & Heritage). Both are supported among others by PT Intiland Development, PT Kawasan Industri Jababeka, PT Plaza Indonesia Realty, PT Ciputra Development, PY Kurnia Jaya Sukses and PT Mitra Lintas Surya and also State owned companies PT. Pos Indonesia and PT Pelindo II, reports Bisnis Indonesia.

In a press conference, Lin Chin Wei said that as a first step, an investment of US$9 million has been gathered. 11 investors have expressed their intention to participate, while the target is to reach at least 20 investors or more.

Total area covered is 516 hectares involving 85 buildings. First priority will be the revitalization of the Fatahillah Square and surrounding buildings. A plan is afoot to divert traffic around the square so that this will be accessible to pedestrians only, or at the most for bicycles.

Goenawan Mohamad stressed that although the majority investors were developers, this does not mean that the area will become an industrial estate.

The launch of the revitalization program is planned for 13 March 2014 with the official opening of the Jakarta Con temporary Art Space nd Visitor Center located at the revamped Post Office at Fatahillah Square. This will be celebrated with the week-long Fatahillah Fiesta that includes cultural performances and culinary attractions.

Oei Hong Djien, person in charge of the arts and culture consortium, said that works of 47 of Indonesia’s wellknown painters and sculptors will be displayed during 6 months, including works by Agus Suwage, Nasirun, Arin Dwihartanto, Davy Linggar, Dolorosa Sinaga, Entang Wiharso, Made Wianta and many more.

With the Post Office now transformed into an Art Gallery, contemporary artists have finally found a home for their works, which had been lacking so far.