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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Successful redevelopment projects in Malaysia

MALAYSIA has successfully undertaken a number of redevelopment projects over the years and one of the most recognised and touted is the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) development that sits on the former site of the Kuala Lumpur Race Course.

The gleaming Petronas Twin Towers which still holds the record as the world’s tallest twin towers has undoubtedly put the country on the world map.

The KL Sentral project, which sprung up from what used to be an old workshop and depot for KTM Bhd, is also hailed as another regeneration project that has spruced up the city’s landscape.

VPC Alliance (KL) Sdn Bhd managing director James Wong says the growing interest for redevelopment of old buildings is mainly confined to Kuala Lumpur’s city centre as the majority of the old buildings in the capital city are located there.

Wong says the landmark redevelopment projects that have been completed include that of the KLCC Twin Towers, the KL Sentral, the Integra Building @ The Intermark was built on the site of the former City Square, and Menara Binjai which used to be the Chua’s family bungalow.

Going forward, he says projects in the pipeline include that of the redevelopment of Kampung Baru into a mixed development by Kampung Baru Development Corp; the Jalan Cochrane government quarters into a shopping mall, serviced apartments and a hotel; Warisan Merdeka’s 100-storey office tower cum hotel; and the former Pudu Jail into Bukit Bintang City Centre comprising a transit centre, service apartments, office space, recreational area, hotel and commercial space.

There is also the redevelopment of the Sungei Besi military airport into the Bandar Malaysia mixed development; the ex-Unilever site in Bangsar into service apartments, shopping mall, hotels and office towers; a 15.9 acre site in Section 17, Petaling Jaya into a mixed development comprising commercial, retail and residential units; and Crowne Plaza Mutiara Hotel and Kompleks Antrabangsa in Kuala Lumpur into service apartments, hotels, and office towers.

DTZ Nawawi Tie Leung Sdn Bhd executive director Brian Koh says economic obsolescence dictates that the old use or form is no longer viable and it makes lots of financial sense to redevelop the land.

“Redevelopment is part of the life cycle of urban rebirth, renewal and rejuvenation that creates new life out of the old that are no longer relevant,” he adds.

According to Koh, usually where a whole area is involved and there will be many political issues, a decisive and focused political will from the government will be required to make it successful.

He says the KLCC, KL Sentral, Bangsar South and Mid Valley are really very successful projects in rejuvenating the city and adding value to the surroundings.

“Pavilion KL is another recent example although there are mixed views on whether the old school building should be retained for adaptive reuse rather than knocking down the whole place,” Koh says.

Mah Sing Group Bhd group managing director and chief executive officer Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum says the 100-storey Warisan Merdeka tower which is currently being planned is an example where historical value will be preserved whilst the economic value is extracted.

“PNB which initiated the project has clarified that Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara will be preserved, and the mega project will be developed on the remaining surrounding land and designed to complement and blend in with the heritage theme.”

Leong says Mah Sing is involved in two redevelopment projects – Icon City, Petaling Jaya on the 20-acre site of the old Matsushita factory, and Southgate on the site of the old Malaysian Tobacco Corp company building.

Leong’s picks of overseas regeneration projects include Canary Wharf in London, Cheonggyecheon River in Seoul, and the industrial town of Bilbao in Spain.

“In Bilbao, the opening of the Guggenheim Museum designed by American architect Frank Gehry is deemed to be one of the most important structures of the last 30 years, giving a new lease of life to Bilbao by spawning various service industries,” he says.

Meanwhile, Koh’s overseas picks of good redevelopment projects include Dockland in London, Xintiandi in Shanghai, Sudirman CBD in Jakarta and Grassmarket in Edinburgh.

By The Star

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