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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Kha Seng does its part to transform shopping scene

The Kha Seng Group, a niche retail property developer, has taken over Plaza Uncang Emas (UE3) at Jalan Loke Yew, Kuala Lumpur, and is turning it into a prime spot for retailers and consumers.

UE3 is undergoing a massive redevelopment. The RM280 million plan includes turning the existing mall into a niche home retail mall, dubbed Viva Home, and building a multi-storey business hotel above it.

Taking over such buildings is not new to Kha Seng. In 2004, it bought Central Market, located near the Klang bus station, from Melewar Group and turned it into a vibrant culture and arts centre.

Kha Seng paid RM38 million for the building's remaining 60-year lease in an open tender by Pengurusan Danaharta Nasional Bhd.

The decision to take on the project lies in founder Bernard Bong's passion for retail. His main focus is in taking over a building and finding loopholes to meet the demand and supply of end-retail consumers.

"Central Market and Viva Home are strong concepts that can benefit from proper planning and surveying to uncover what the market really wants," he said.

"It is our commitment to develop innovative, retail properties in the Klang Valley. We find there is a demand for them. We have more projects in the pipeline," Bong said in a recent interview with Business Times.

Kha Seng is currently developing the RM1 billion Kenanga Wholesale City (KWC) in Kuala Lumpur at Jalan Kenanga, off Loke Yew, which will open by mid-2011.

The 22-level KWC, with 500,000 sq ft of net lettable space, is set to be the flagship for the Malaysian fashion wholesale industry.

The Jalan Kenanga area is the existing hub for Malaysian fashion wholesalers. Some RM1 billion revenue is generated per year and this is expected to increase by threefold after KWC opens, Bong said.

The Kha Seng Group started as a garment manufacturer and wholesaler in the 1980s. It diversified into property development and investment some 15 years ago to ride on the growing retail market.

By Business Times

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