By MAK KUM SHI
Kuala Lumpur’s leading commercial, shopping and entertainment hub will continue to prosper.
THE Golden Triangle in Kuala Lumpur has seen rapid growth over several decades. Unique synergy between different economic sectors has resulted in a multiplier effect on growth within this region. With the region undergoing a regeneration, the Golden Triangle will continue to experience growth in the future.
The Golden Triangle is Malaysia’s leading commercial, shopping and entertainment hub, located at the north east of Central Kuala Lumpur and roughly covering the areas north of Jalan Pudu and Jalan Changkat Thambi Dollah, west of Jalan Tun Razak and south of Jalan Ampang.
It is already hosting both national and global headquarters of several multinational companies, an internationally renowned shopping destination and a vibrant entertainment hub for locals, tourists and expatriates alike.
Rapid growth over several decades
KSK Group Berhad chief executive officer and KSK Land Sdn Bhd managing director Joanne Kua shared that early development of the area was centred on Bukit Bintang.
Early developments included Sungai Wang Plaza, the Hilton Hotel, the Regent Hotel, the old Equatorial Hotel, as well as the soon-to-be-demolished Concorde Hotel along Jalan Sultan Ismail.
Other buildings eventually emerged, including The Weld, Lot 10, Low Yat Plaza, Shahzan Towers, Wisma Genting and Menara Promet.
The rapid growth of the Golden Triangle over the past decades was mainly driven by investment, rapid urban and infrastructure development and the booming tourism sector.
Kuala Lumpur is a key investment destination for businesses and investors. Given Malaysia’s secure business environment and sound infrastructure, businesses of various sizes, both regionally and globally, have chosen to operate their businesses in Kuala Lumpur. This has given a boost to real estate and commercial developments within the Golden Triangle.
She cited a survey by global property consultant Knight Frank that the Kuala Lumpur central business district (CBD) and Golden Triangle remain the most attractive regions in Malaysia for commercial real estate investment for 2015.
The booming tourism sector also plays an important role in the growth of the Golden Triangle. The Government has launched intensive promotion activities to position Malaysia as a destination of choice for both leisure and business tourism.
More world-class players are setting up new retail, recreational and hospitality facilities, which have expanded business, employment and investment opportunities in this area.
TRX City Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Azmar Talib shared recent years has seen a move out of the Golden Triangle by businesses migrating away from the city centre to commercial areas outside of the CBD as a way to deal with congestion.
This has contributed to the growth of newer business areas like Bangsar South and Mutiara Damansara. The Golden Triangle, despite its concentration of commerce, has seen slower growth as it reaches its capacity.
“Iconic developments such as Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) and Pavilion anchor the existing CBD. However, in my opinion, the Golden Triangle has yet to reach its full potential as one district. We foresee that the increase in connectivity, with the rail improvements, and subsequent reduction of congestion will change the current face of the Golden Triangle and unlock new areas of growth,” Azmar said.
Unique synergy with growth multiplier effect
Kua viewed the growth potential of the Golden Triangle positively and believed it will have a strong multiplier effect on the growth of other economic sectors including tourism, hospitality, retail and real estate.
The variety of commercial, hospitality and retail shopping malls is a potent mix for real estate growth. Along with multiple food and beverage (F&B) and fine dining outlets, as well as sound infrastructure, this has led to tremendous growth in real estate values in Kuala Lumpur Golden Triangle, as benchmark prices are set almost every other year, when new developments take shape in place of the old.
With good growth amidst strong fundamentals, Malaysia’s property prices are still considered affordable in Asia. Foreign investors’ appetite for Malaysian properties are growing. Malaysian properties offer promising rental yield between four and five percent per annum.
The development of Bukit Bintang and KLCC areas as leading shopping havens have driven tourism activities. The recent growth of Islamic finance and Malaysia’s key oil and gas sector has led to strong demand for office and retail space, as well as residential high-rises.
The Government’s Economic Transformation Programme’s (ETP) focus in mega infrastructure and transportation projects will further strengthen the Golden Triangle as an iconic destination for ‘work, life and play’.
Various entry point projects have been established by the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU), including the recent Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail project, development of an integrated urban rail system, as well as designating Bukit Bintang and KLCC as a vibrant shopping precinct.
Golden Triangle’s regeneration
Azmar commented that TRX is a catalytic development for the regeneration of the Imbi area, and in extension, the Golden Triangle itself. Located at the crossing of Jalan Tun Razak and Jalan Sultan Ismail, it will serve as the new southern gateway to Kuala Lumpur and will extend the current KL CBD and the Bukit Bintang shopping belt.
TRX will also host Line 1 and Line 2 of the MRT at the TRX interchange station. It is expected to be the busiest MRT station in Kuala Lumpur, due to its central location and pedestrian connectivity to Bukit Bintang that will enable it to draw high pedestrian traffic to the surrounding area.
TRX can create a huge potential in expanding the existing Golden Triangle’s shopping destination by enhancing the existing Bukit Bintang shopping belt and extending it all the way into the Imbi area and the TRX retail section.
Shoppers can enjoy a dedicated vibrant pedestrian walkway that seamlessly connects major shopping points within the Golden Triangle, boosting its profile as a major international destination.
It is foreseen that these changes will enhance the quality of the area, transforming Imbi into the most preferred location in KL city centre.
The Bukit Bintang City Centre (BBCC) is expected to contribute to the Golden Triangle’s vibrancy in the future. This 19.4-acre development, located at the crossroads of Jalan Imbi and Jalan Pudu, is master-planned by Jerde Partnership and will comprise six blocks of serviced apartments, a retail and entertainment block, four-star and five-star hotels, branded residences, serviced residences, strata and corporate offices.
BBCC is expected to appeal to the new generation of house seekers who want a convenient and comfortable lifestyle environment. It already enjoys the presence of the existing KL Monorail and light rail transit (LRT) on site, but the BBCC management has had positive discussions with Prasarana to create an upgraded transit hub to seamlessly connect the LRT together with the existing and future monorail.
Bukit Bintang City Centre chief executive officer Datuk Richard Ong is excited what the future holds with BBCC. The development takes a cue from the Government’s vision to restore inner city living through regenerating the city and improving the social fabric of the urban landscape.
In other parts of the world, properties in the capital city are highly coveted as they provide very conducive and liveable conditions for its inhabitants. In Malaysia, people typically work in the city but stay in the suburbs.
This could be due to the prohibitive price of the existing residential supply or the lack of truly integrated offerings that can fulfil the lifestyle needs of new generation of house buyers.
“We believe this is an opportune time to transform the site by creating comprehensive amenities such as modern workplaces, sophisticated dwellings, exciting entertainment and leisure offers that are also close to nature.
“City developments usually lack green features, but we have taken great pains to create a huge rooftop park on top of the mall to ensure that our dwellers can be close to nature. This rooftop park will be one of the largest green oasis in the city centre.
“We believe that BBCC will become an integrated development in the true sense of the word, by virtue of the fact that it has the most comprehensive offers all under one roof,” Ong said.
Kua expects the Golden Triangle to continue experiencing changes in the form of new developments, as well as the mushrooming of more high-rises in place of the old.
Plans are already underway to redevelop certain parcels of land along Jalan Sultan Ismail. This includes the Concorde Hotel site, the old Equatorial Hotel and the MAS building, which has been bought by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF).
The Tradewinds Square mega-development may see the Triangle’s tallest building, comprising a 110-storey corporate office tower, a 61-storey mixed use tower, and a shopping mall with a floor space of 1 million sq ft.
Kempinski Hotels, a world-leading European luxury hotelier, has chosen to open their first hotel in Kuala Lumpur by 2020.
The Kempinski Hotel Kuala Lumpur was recognised by PEMANDU as one of the Entry Point Projects (EPP) under the tourism national key economic areas (NKEA).
The Kempinski Hotel Kuala Lumpur, with a committed investment value (excluding land cost) of RM360mil, is expected to provide more than 700 new job opportunities.
The new MRT lines will also boost the overall development of the Golden Triangle, enhancing its appeal as a leading retail and tourist destination. In fact, land and properties in the vicinity of the MRT lines have enjoyed an increase in value.
New developments in the surrounding area, including 8 Conlay, are expected to enjoy the same price appreciation spillover effects.
The Golden Triangle is also benefiting from the spillover impact from rapid development around the KLCC area, notably the mushrooming of new branded residences.
“KSK Land is proud to be partnering YOO and Kempinski Hotels to bring more options and vibrancy to this area through YOO8 serviced by Kempinski, the branded residence component of 8 Conlay.
“We believe 8 Conlay will be an exclusive piece that property buyers and investors would like to add to their portfolio. In fact, it is very rarely you get a branded luxury residence sitting on a retail podium, on top of great location and premium services.
“In summary, Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle is not a static developed area. It is transforming, in line with the nation’s transformation to make Kuala Lumpur a liveable and vibrant city,” Kua concluded.
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