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Saturday, December 11, 2010

The regeneration of Sentul

When the YTL group took over Taiping Consolidated Bhd in 2001, one of the priced assets that came with it was a piece of land in Sentul.

Much of the early concept for that master plan development stemmed from the Sentul KTM Komuter station and its tracks which split the 294-acre land.

Datuk Yeoh Seok Kian ... ‘We will monitor demand for future residential and commercial projects.’

It was on this basis that the group decided to make Sentul a transport hub, leveraging on the commuter station that was already there and the golf course, which it had turned today into a private park for residents.

Sentul is located 5km north-west from the heart of Kuala Lumpur and 45 minutes from KLIA. Taiping Consolidated eventually became YTL Land & Development Bhd (YTL Land), a 64% subsidiary of YTL Corp Bhd.

Executive director Datuk Yeoh Seok Kian recently unveiled Sentul's first commercial development d7, a seven-story block comprising 20 retail stores on the ground floor, 78 office suites and 34 duplex offices in Sentul West. The project is completed and 100% sold.

Another project d6, on Sentul East, is being planned. A sky bridge connects the two. d7 was launched at RM380 per sq ft a few years ago.

It is expected to be priced about RM650 per sq ft in the secondary market. Rental rates are between RM3.50 and 4.00 per sq ft.

The seven storey project will have offices, retail and food and beverage outlets. It will be a low-rise office building with courtyard and communal spaces.

It will have two unique office layouts duplex units with skylights, pantry and spacious interior and office suites, which come as empty shells with flexible configurations.

Yeoh says the company will build residential and commercial projects with a total sales value of about RM8bil over the next seven years. That location will be among YTL Land's largest property development.

The plan was to characterise the two halves differently. Over time as Sentul West becomes more established, the community is likely to be more senior and relatively more sedate, compared with the community in Sentul East which will cater more to the up-and-going younger group of people living there, he says.

Covering 186 acres, Sentul West will be the crown jewel of the location comprising a 35-acre private park and residences, offices and retail shops.

Sentul East, which spans 108 acres, with all its vibrancy, will set the tone for modern downtown living.

Yeoh says between 15% and 20% of its targeted projects for that location has been completed since work started on that site in 2002, beginning with The Tamarind in Sentul East and subsequently The Maple in Sentul West.

We will monitor demand for future residential and commercial projects to ensure good buying interest for each project, Yeoh says, alluding to the uncertainties that plague the global economy today and the effects on Malaysia's property market.

But for now, he says there is much they can be proud of. Public infrastruture has improved significantly over the years and Sentul now had a iconic development the new KTM train station, a connecting hub that anchors Sentul West and Sentul East.

Pedestrian sidewalks and skywalk, improved traffic systems, LRT and commuter trains are also part of Sentul's transportation plan, Yeoh says.

Sentul Link also provides access to Jalan Sentul and Jalan Ipoh by connecting Jalan Mahameru at the intersection of Jalan Kuching.

This access helps alleviate existing traffic congestion at the Jalan Mahameru-Jalan Ipoh, Putra World Trade Centre intersection, he says.

When completed, Sentul will have a mixed development of 7,000 units of residential properties, commercial offices and retail outlets.

We are also trying to improve Sentul's past image of being a place that's often plagued by criminal activities, Yeoh says.

He says too often, city development projects tend to focus on decentralisation and the relocation of communities, which ultimately results in cities losing their identity.

The regeneration of Sentul is not just about renewal of the physical environment and wealth. It is also about the renewal of its community, their access to local services and their relationship with the area and the people that live and work there, he says.

YTL Land, which has a market capitalisation of about RM1.05bil, currently has a land bank (with no holding costs) of over 2,000 acres with a sales value of about RM12bil.

By The Star

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