MALACCA (Feb 7, 2014): The RM40 billion project in Malacca known as Melaka Gateway which will be launched by the prime minister today will open its doors to visitors in 2018. The 609-acre project which is being developed by KAJ Development Sdn Bhd (KAJD) will see the first phase attracting some 900,000 visitors during the first year of operations, said KAJD CEO Datuk Michelle Ong. "We expect to have 900,000 visitors in the first year including international cruise passengers," she told reporters at a briefing here yesterday. Ong said the first phase, which will be built on Pulau Melaka, will include Malaysia Eye, two hotels, several resorts, a heritage walk, a fashion district and a marina terminal. "We have already started work on Malaysia Eye and it will be erected in six months' time," she added. According to Ong, the company obtained the concession for the project in September 2010 and received all approvals for the project in September last year. KAJD will be the master developer of the project and it is currently in negotiations with various potential partners and investors for the project. Ong said it is talking to at least five international brands and will be announcing some of its partners at the launch ceremony today. Melaka Gateway is a project with 12 precincts including residential, commercial, cultural, entertainment and lifestyle elements. It is scheduled for completion by 2025. The 12 precincts are Gateway Entertainment Precinct, Melaka Marina & Cruise Centre, Melaka Historical Walk, Gateway Maritime Arena & Beacon, Branded Fashion District, International Theme Park, Melaka Cultural Walk, Waterfront Marina Villas & Resorts, Gateway Wellness & Lifestyle Precinct, Melaka Skyline Apartments, Lohas Park & Residences and Eco Isle Resorts. Its marina terminal will be the largest in Asia, tapping into the growing number of cruise ships plying the route which currently do not stop at Malacca due to lack of facilities. KAJD chief operations officer Gavin Lau said the marina terminal alone will cost some RM600 million. "It will be able to handle three cruise ships at the same time," he said. Lau said funding for the project will be a combination of internal funds, partnerships and bank borrowings. He said some of the land, especially the residential portions, may be sold to other property developers while some parts of the project will be jointly developed with other partners and investors. "There are 12 zones in total and there will be a lot of international operators. Some of the properties will be developed by other developers, some on our own and some with partners," he added. KAJD which is predominantly a construction company, currently manages Malacca Zoo and Bird Park. It was also the company that undertook the revamp of Malacca River.