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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Redeveloping Kampung Kerinchi

David Khor says Bangsar South City is changing the landscape of the area.

The rapid development of Bangsar South City in Kampung Kerinchi by UOA Group is now changing the landscape of the area that used to be a slum with squatters.

UOA Holdings Sdn Bhd general manager David Khor says the group is braving itself with the challenges and is optimistic of successfully developing the project within a few years.

“We are trying to lift the image of Kampung Kerinchi and along the way, contribute back to the people here by providing new amenities, jobs and upgrading the access roads,” Khor tells StarBizWeek in an interview recently.

The group, he says, is lucky in the sense that when it bought the land in 2005, the squatters had already been assisted by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to be relocated to the nearby flats.

“Our task that time was to help DBKL to revive the delayed flats and complete them within three months and we did,” he says.

Spanning 60 acres with gross development value of RM4.5bil, the development of Bangsar South is set to be fully completed in the next five to seven years.

“The plan is to have an equal 50:50 ratio of commercial and residential component. About 20% of the development is already completed,” he says.

The development is called Bangsar South City because it shares the same postcode with Bangsar even though the location is in Kampung Kerinchi, says Khor.

Khor says the group is now working together with Kampung Kerinchi residents, with the help from non-governmental organisations, to aid single mothers in need of assistance and provide tuition classes for children as part of its corporate social responsibility.

“We want to uplift the image of Kampung Kerinchi to become the place of choice to live,” he says.

In fact, Khor says this is why the name of Jalan Kerinchi is still used as the address of Bangsar South City.

Before starting the development, Khor admitted that when the project was fully completed, traffic problems might arise as more people come to live and work.

“The result showed that the access roads are still sustainable to handle traffic. However, we do have plans to build new access roads when the time comes,” he says.

Touching on the outlook of property market last year and this year and its impact to the development, Khor says, despite the property market been affected by the economic crisis, the progress of Bangsar South City development has not been impacted at all and there are no delays.

“We believe this year, the outlook will be more positive and promising. Our sales are doing well based on the responds we received for our residential and commercial properties,” he says.

UOA is building grade A offices, retail avenues, boutique condominiums, service suites and a clubhouse. Two blocks of condominium called Acacia and Begonia which are now completed and enjoying 80% sales and in two months, the group will launch the service suites.

On the commercial side, its boutique offices have attracted some of the prominent local and international companies.

“The selling and rental rates for our residential and commercial properties are still competitive as compared to our neighbour, Bangsar, where the price for residential is around RM450 to RM500 per sq ft while the rental rate for our commercial side is around RM5.50 psf,” he says.

Khor says most of the buyers for the residences are local, with many of them being UOA followers over the past 20 years.

In January, Bangsar South City was awarded the MSC Malaysia Cybercentre status by the Government.

The group is now able to attract more MSC-status companies and by 2013, they expect to host some 200 information and communications technology (ICT) companies.

“Our focus is to become an important node in the local telehealth segment in collaboration with key figures in the health ICT industry,” Khor says.

The group has established a 24/7 Cybercentre management office and a one stop centre on its journey to help create, nurture and grow a vigorous ICT in tandem with the MSC Malaysia agenda.

Bangsar South City’s close proximity to Universiti Malaya also ensures availability of qualified graduates to man the demand of Bangsar South’s ICT tenants.

Elaborating further, Khor says the group has set up The Advanced Informatics and Management Centre (AIMaC), aiming to pioneer and become a regional hub for growing eHealth industry, spurring concurrent local development and attracting/fostering local talents.

“At the same time, we are supporting the green technology initiated by the Government by building more environmental friendly buildings that use less energy and planting more trees for a greener landscape,” he says.

For the future plans for the group, Khor says they are looking to buy strategic lands with focus location in the Klang Valley to add up to their existing 100 acres of land banks.

By The Star

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