Cover Story: MRT2 to revitalise fringes of KL city centre

TheEdge Mon, Nov 02, 2020 04:00pm - 3 months ago


The areas of Chan Sow Lin, Bandar Malaysia, Kuchai Lama and Salak Selatan — which lie just south of the Kuala Lumpur city centre — are expected to reap the benefits when the Putrajaya Line is completed, according to property consultants.

The second line of the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Project will have five stations — Chan Sow Lin Station, Bandar Malaysia North Station, Bandar Malaysia South Station, Kuchai Lama Station and Taman Naga Emas Station — in these four areas.

According to a recent news report, the line is expected to be fully opened by January 2023.

Property consultants note that these areas comprise mainly factories, warehouses, workshops, showrooms, shophouses and housing schemes. The demographics shows that the people in these areas are predominantly of working age, between 15 and 64 years. Chinese form more than 60% of the population by ethnicity,  followed by Malays.

Pockets of land in these neighbourhoods have been redeveloped into modern mixed commercial developments, high-rise condominiums and serviced apartments over the last two decades, but Landserve Sdn Bhd managing director Chen King Hoaw observes that the old characteristics of these neighbourhoods remain prominent.

“These neighbourhoods have quite diverse demographics, ranging from local KL folks, who have been living there for more than a generation, to local and foreign labourers working in those factories, warehouses and workshops. The demographics will change, but we believe it will take time to happen,” he tells City & Country.

Zerin Properties managing director and CEO Previndran Singhe concurs, adding that is bound to happen with the anticipated growth in population as a result of future developments.

He believes the upcoming Putrajaya Line stations will be instrumental in rejuvenating areas and developing new growth areas or hotspots in these neighbourhoods in the next few years.

“These neighbourhoods are set to be revitalised because of the improved accessibility when the Putrajaya Line begins operation. The revival of the KL-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) [which will pass through the] Bandar Malaysia development, as well as the proximity to another mega development, Tun Razak Exchange, will be a catalyst for vast growth, owing to the renewed interest of developers and investors,” Previndran says.

After a long delay, IWH-CREC Sdn Bhd won the bid to develop Bandar Malaysia last year, beating more than 40 companies. In September, IWH-CREC settled the initial deposit payment. It has to fulfil two more stage payments of RM963 million each to the government, with the balance to be settled via two bank guarantees over three years.

IWH-CREC is a joint venture of Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd and China Railway Engineering Corp (M) Sdn Bhd. Following the initial deposit payment, the JV vehicle has been given the nod to undertake the development of the Bandar Malaysia project.

NSK is located within Kuchai Entrepreneurs Park, a stone’s throw away from the Kuchai Lama MRT station (Photo by Suhaimi Yusuf/The Edge)

TODs and TADs

Property consultants expect an increase in land-banking activities and new property developments, particularly transit-oriented and transit-adjacent developments (TODs and TADs) near the stations.

Besides Bandar Malaysia, new developments in the Chan Sow Lin, Bandar Malaysia, Kuchai Lama and Salak Selatan areas include M Oscar in Kuchai Lama (developed by Mah Sing), genKL in Kuchai Lama (CapitaLand and Juta Asia Corp), [email protected] at Chan Sow Lin (Binastra Land Sdn Bhd) as well as Damai Residence in Chan Sow Lin by Damai Cheras Sdn Bhd.

According to data from Zerin, these new developments are selling at prices starting at RM600 psf.

Previndran notes that several TODs — often defined as a mixed development typically within a 400m radius of a transit station or any public transport network — are under construction. More commercial and high-rise residential developments are expected to cater for increased demand, driven by higher human traffic and better connectivity to other parts of Greater KL.

Property consultants expect the properties near the upcoming MRT stations to be the next hot properties for homebuyers and investors, particularly young homebuyers who want to reduce their reliance on the use of personal cars.

Previndran says high-rise residential units in TODs and TADs by reputable developers priced at RM500,000 and below will be well received, as there is high demand for such products from the younger generation and those with small families.

The location of Chan Sow Lin, Bandar Malaysia, Kuchai Lama and Salak Selatan also appeals to many homebuyers and investors.

Chen says: “These locations are attractive because of their proximity to the Kuala Lumpur city centre, which offers vast job opportunities. Second, these are established neighbourhoods, equipped with amenities such as shopping and educational institutions.

“Finally, these neighbourhoods are located near the East-West Link Expressway and Kuala Lumpur-Seremban Expressway, which provide swift access to Petaling Jaya and other parts of the Klang Valley.”

IWH-CREC will undertake the development of the Bandar Malaysia project (Photo by Sam Fong/The Edge)

Challenges

Besides traffic congestion, owing to the many upcoming high-rise developments in these neighbourhoods, other concerns are the adequacy of infrastructure for the growing population as well as land amalgamation.

Chen says although highways and flyovers have been built and roads widened over the past two decades, traffic congestion persists. The only long-term solution, he adds, , is to take away a significant percentage of vehicles on the road by offering efficient public transport such as the MRT and light rail transit (LRT).

“The other major problem is that redevelopment has been taking place on a piecemeal basis. Whenever a high-density development is improved and developed, the infrastructure in the neighbourhood — including the roads — will not be able to cope with the increased traffic volume, thus creating bottlenecks at various spots,” he explains.

“This can be resolved only by having a comprehensive development plan, which entails revitalising or even relocating some of the industrial operations, with consideration given to an efficient network of road and rail systems.”

Meanwhile, Previndran says future developments in these neighbourhoods might face issues in terms of land amalgamation, as the area was originally an old industrial zone with land plots belonging to many individual owners and small holdings.

Developers that intend to start projects in these neighbourhoods will thus have to deal with various individual owners in order to acquire sizeable land banks and amalgamate them for future developments.

“In addition, the majority of the land plots within these areas are under leasehold tenure and are likely to have only a few years left on the lease. Developers will have to fork out extra cash to renew the lease to 99 years,” he says.

Nevertheless, property consultants are optimistic about the prospects of Chan Sow Lin, Bandar Malaysia, Kuchai Lama and Salak Selatan. New infrastructure, they believe, will enhance the accessibility and connectivity in these areas. That includes the HSR, which will have a station in Bandar Malaysia.

“Being so close to the Kuala Lumpur city centre and Bandar Malaysia, which has MRT stations on the Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line and Putrajaya Line as well as a terminus for the HSR that connects Kuala Lumpur and Singapore in 90 minutes, the neighbourhoods of Chan Sow Lin, Bandar Malaysia, Kuchai Lama and Salak Selatan are expected to be transformed for the better in the mid to long term,” Chen says.






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