Sunday, April 13, 2008

Wangsa Maju’s allure -This part of KL has become a sought-after address

HAVING started off with mostly low-and medium-cost flats totaling some 8,360 units since the 1980s, Wangsa Maju has moved on to be a thriving township catering to over 400,000 middle to upper middle-income residents. Real estate consultants familiar with the area say with the Tunku Abdul Rahman College in the area and the good infrastructure and amenities there including major highways, international schools, medical centres, foreign embassies and LRT stations, coupled with the proximity to the city centre, this township has been transformed into a location sought after by the medium- and upper-income folks. About 160 to 200 acres of the township has also been dedicated to greenery. The 1,000-acre leasehold township was developed in the early 1980s, and was identified in the Kuala Lumpur Master Plan 2020 as a key growth area in the northeastern quadrant of Kuala Lumpur. It was jointly developed by Kuala Lumpur City Hall and Peremba Bhd through Landmarks Land and Properties Sdn Bhd (formerly known as PGK Sdn Bhd). Today, the Wangsa Maju area and its neighbouring freehold areas such as Setiawangsa (500 acres), Taman Rampai (200 acres), Desa Setapak (100 acres) and Taman Bunga Raya (200 acres), make up a thriving and bustling area of well over 2,000 acres. According to Landmarks Land and Properties, Wangsa Maju comprises 13 sections. The residential sections are mainly Sections 1, 2, 5, 6, 10 and 12. From the earlier offerings of flats, the developer has moved on to build landed properties and is now focusing on high-rise projects. The commercial portion, Metro Homes Bhd director See Kok Loong says, was mainly located in Pusat Bandar Wangsa Maju in Sections 1 and 5. “The residents mostly shop in Jusco Alpha Angle [Section 1] and Carrefour [Section 5]. There are also shopoffices in this area. However, the commercial activities are now centralised in a main hub called Kuala Lumpur Suburban Centre [KLSC],” See adds. Developed by Landmarks Land and Properties, KLSC is on a 128-acre tract next to Section 5. Its general manager Tan Ching Meng says two-thirds of KLSC has been zoned for commercial use. It currently houses the four-level Carrefour hypermarket (some 10 acres), a Projet petrol kiosk and various food and beverage outlets such as Victoria Station, NZ Curry House, KFC and Pizza Hut. About 40 acres have been allocated for a landscaped green lung called Metropolitan Park. Another two smaller landscaped gardens measuring 2.5 and 1.7 acres add to the lush environment. “KLSC comprises mainly shopoffices and is divided into three sections. KLSC 1 is developed by Landmarks Land and Properties while KLSC II was sold to Hedgeford Sdn Bhd in 2004. KLSC III is developed through a joint venture between Landmarks Land and Properties and Hedgeford. Jewel in the crown “KLSC is our jewel in the crown and is only 6.5 km away from the city. It is easily accessible through various highways such as the Middle Ring Road II, the Ampang Elevated Highway and the soon-to-be completed Damansara Ulu Kelang Expressway [in 2008],” adds Tan. At KLSC I, there are 92 units of 3- and 5-storey shopoffices on an eight-acre tract which were built before 1997 and were sold en-bloc for over RM1 million. When these were completed, a 3-storey unit changed hands for RM1.35 million. A similar unit was transacted in 2003 at RM1.15 million. This, says Pan Properties principal Brian Tan, is attributed to the lack of parking space there. “The situation is worsened by the narrow internal roads. It’s common to find motorists double parking and it deters businesses from taking up space here,” he explains. At KLSC II (1.5 acres), Hedgeford has built 12 units of 3-storey shopoffices, which were going for over RM900,000. According to Brian, none has been sold on the secondary market so far. “Offices make up most of the tenants here and occupancy is high. Rental en-bloc is easily RM7,500 while ground floor units are between RM4,000 and RM4,500,” he offers. KLSC III comprises 56 units of 3-storey shopoffices that were were sold for over RM1 million. Launched in 2005, it has a take-up of 70% and will be completed this year. In 1984, Landmarks Land and Properties offered 525 sq ft low-cost flats in Sections 1 and 10 at RM25,000. A year later, medium-cost flats with a built-up between 527 and 682 sq ft were sold for between RM37,000 and RM64,000. In 1988, Landmarks offered 110 apartments with builtups of between 850 and 1,000 sq ft from RM79,000. The following year, the developer began offering landed properties such as terraced homes, townhouses, superlinks and semidees in Sections 4, 5 and 6. Metro Homes’ See adds that the supply of properties is also increasing in tandem with the population base. “Landmarks Land and Properties is beginning to focus on condo developments such as the 436-unit Desa Putra and 94-unit Desa Villa [which also offers low-rise villas]. The rising supply is supported by the demand, mostly spillovers from the city centre,” See offers. The new offerings At KLSC, Landmarks Land and Properties is developing the Wangsa Link serviced shopoffices which will be completed by mid-2007. Launched in August 2004, it comprises 300 units in 73 blocks. With a gross development value of RM108 million, prices of the stratified units start from RM225,000. To date, over 90% have been sold. It has also started the groundwork on a 11-acre shopping hub at KLSC. Dubbed Wangsa Walk, the 2-level shopping mall offers some 200,000 sq ft of retail space and 90 units for lease. With a gross development cost of RM30 million, it will be completed next year. According to Tan, there are still some 35 acres left for development at KLSC. “This is our last parcel left and in the pipeline are high-rise corporate suites and SoHo [Small Office Home Office] space on two acres planned for launch next year,” offers Tan. The developer is not in a hurry to roll out their plans. Wangsa Maju will take another six to eight years to be fully developed and will have a gross development value of some RM3.4 billion. On the residential front, Tan adds it has also embarked on several joint ventures to develop high-end properties. “Together with IJM Properties Sdn Bhd, we are developing a three-phase high-rise Riana Green east.KL. Phase 1 was launched last year and sales have reached 20%,” he offers. Sited on a 14-acre tract, Riana Green east.KL is atop a hill and has a total gross development value of RM388 million, and is scheduled to be completed in 2012. The first phase, Sagaris, takes up five acres and has a 36-storey tower, two mid-rise towers and a central plaza block. With 391 condos and average built-up of 1,900 sq ft, prices are between RM200,000 and RM1.05 million. It is scheduled for completion in 2009. The remaining two phases will see more high-rise condominiums as well as low-rise villas. Riana Green east.KL will feature a total of 954 units and a 5-acre green zone linear park will run through the entire development. Some 130 acres in Seksyen 12 has been allocated to jointly develop an exclusive resort-style RM1 billion gated bungalow project with Tan & Tan Development Bhd.

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