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Saturday, August 27, 2011

What development means to the LDP

TTDI-LDP interchange: It is baffling why the soon to-be-built MRT alignment does not feature in this part of urban development.

Several developments, of considerable scale, will be emerging fairly soon along the Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong. Some of these developments will be completed in four years, while others will have a longer gestation period.

Four of these projects are being developed by Subang-based developer Empire group. The four pieces of land were purchased from MK Land, who developed Damansara Perdana.

What is visible as one drives along the LDP today is the on-going construction of Empire City on the side of Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. This 23-acre development comprises several high-rise office blocks, serviced apartment blocks, a hotel and a retail area spanning a major portion of the 23 acres and a massive car-park beneath. It is sandwiched between the LDP and tracts of Malay reserved land. Empire City is scheduled to be completed by 2015 and will have about 10 access roads or viaducts leading to and away from.

In Damansara Perdana, on the other side of the LDP, the group has three more pieces of land. Empire Damansara, another mixed development comprising several office blocks, is located next to Metropolitan Square. This is on the outer fringes of Damansara Perdana which sits next to the thriving Kota Damansara township .

The LDP, in other words, besides being a highway, also serves as a sort of border and runs fairly close to the delineation between Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya.

Empire Residence, a high-end gated and guarded development on 19.2ha of land inside Damansara Perdana itself, is being developed together with MK Land in a joint venture. This project will house 750 three-storey units instead of the 3,353 condominium units originally planned.

The Empire group's fourth project is located near the Penchala Toll near MK Land's Flora Damansara. According to an agent marketing one of its projects, the developer plans to fill up a natural lake located on this piece of land. A tertiary development or a resort-like development is being planned. Plans are still hazy.

While the Empire group has set its sights to develop on this side of town, two other developers are also planning their projects further along the LDP heading towards Sri Damansara.

Land & General Bhd (L&G) will be stepping up development of its high-rise condominium projects on 42 acres in the Sri Damansara township. This is expected to be launched towards the end of2011. It is currently known as Meranti and will be built over four phases. About 2,800 units of condominium are being planned.

In Sri Damansara, TA Global will also be offering Damansara Avenue, a 48-acre project comprising several apartment and office blocks, and commercial developments. It is estimated that this will take 10 years tocomplete. There are about four to five blocks of serviced apartments and an equal number of high-rise office blocks.

All these projects will add to the population located along this stretch of the LDP. The majority of the roads accessing these projects, or leading away from these projects, will feed into the LDP. Some will be via the Sg Buloh road. It does seem a scarry propostion for the LDP! One can't help but wonder how the LDP is going to cope with the sure growth in traffic along this short stretch divided by the Penchala toll. As it is, the LDP is terribly congested during peak hours and these develpments are bound to make things worse.

What will it be like in the next couple of years when these projects are ready to host their tenants and owners?

It is also baffling why the soon to-be-built My Rapid Transit (MRT) alignment does not feature in this part of urban development which lies between the PJ-KL border when so many projects have been approved and ear-marked for development.

This takes us to the issue of town and urban planning. We cannot do away with development, modernisationand the pressing need for housing. All these are part and parcel of growth and progress.

But, what the local authorities can do is to consider the pressure such massive projects will add to the road and transport system. Without an integrated public-transportation system, these projects may dilute the livability of the area they are piling their foundations in.

Local authorities and transport planners cannot abdicate their roles as guardians and overseers of this community along that LDP stretch. When planning approvals arrive on their tables, they have to consider these new projects based on what is already existing there. The local authorities have to take into consideration the many condominium developments that are already there, in this case the Damansara Perdana location. They have to consider the limited access into Sri Damansara today and the effects of how two massive projects totalling 90 acres will affect that access.

Assistant news editor Thean Lee Cheng wonders what travelling on the LDP will be like a few years from now.

By The Star

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