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  • Linking Developments In PJ Sect 13

    ABOUT 10 new developments with a gross development value of RM4.7bil have been approved in Section 13, Petaling Jaya, a check with developers involved shows, and these projects are causing much concern to residents in Sect 12 and in the larger PJ area.

    They are worried the projects will cause overdevelopment and traffic congestion in the area.

    It is uncertain if the Budget 2014 measures with regards the property sector – an increase in taxes and banning of developers interest-bearing scheme – will result in a go-slow among developers there. It seems unlikely.

    Recently Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd (F&N), one of the largest developers there with 12.75 acres, says it will launch 900 units of service apartments in the fourth quarter of next year. The project comprises a mall, small office home offices (SoHos), corporate office and a 250-room hotel. It will be a joint venture with Singapore-based FCL Centrepoint Pte Ltd.

    The project is located at the Jalan Kemajuan-Jalan Universiti junction while at the other end of Jalan Kemajuan-Jalan Semangat, Best Western Hotel will be part of the CentreStage development that will be ready next year.

    This means that at this juncture, two hotels with a total of about 600 rooms are being planned there. PJ Hilton, Crystal Crown and Lisa De Inn are three of the nearest hotels in the vicinity.

    Section 13, developed under the Special Area Action Plan mooted by the Petaling Jaya City Council, will have an 85-bed Columbia Asia Hospital on 2.5 acres. Construction is estimated to be completed by November next year and the hospital operational by the first quarter of 2015, a statement from Columbia Asia Sdn Bhd says.


    Medical facilities

    The company is 30% owned by the Employees Provident Fund and the remainder held by US-based fund International Columbia USA LLC. It has 10 facilities in Malaysia.

    This facility and another in Klang will be its 11th and 12th property. It has other medical facilities in India, Indonesia and Vietnam.

    “The company believes in setting up smaller hospitals – fewer than 100 beds – built in residential areas for accessibility and efficiency,” a statement says.

    Currently, the slant of Section 13’s various developments is towards residential. Interest in the leasehold land, which has between 50 and 55 years more to run, is due to its convertibility from industrial to commercial use. In Section 13, parcels of five acres and below have a plot ratio of 1 to 3.25; a one-acre site can have a maximum built-up 3.25 times its foot print. Parcels of 5-15 acres have a plot ratio of 3.5 times and beyond 15 acres, 3.75 times.

    One of the largest parcels is the Colgate Palmolive land. Redevelopment will take time because of the capital investment in the form of machinery, a source says. The same applies to the Dutch Lady land. F&N freed land for redevelopment when it moved to Pulau Indah.

    A similar scenario is expected with the other landowners as land value rises above the value of old machinery, says Ahmad Jefri Clyde from Garis Architect who helped draw up the Special Area Action Plan years ago.

    There is also nothing stopping landowners, or developers, to buy out neighbouring sites to amalgamate adjacent plots, Clyde says. The F&N land is an amalgamation of two parcels. There are two adjacents parcels in the Colgate Palmolive land. This increases the land size, and thus raises the plot ratio.

    The F&N site is interesting because its larger land size frees it to have a variety of components. The trend in real estate development today is towards mixed use with residential, retail, hotel and office components integrated in one location. This is only possible with larger land area. Compare this with the less than one-acre site of Avenue D’Vogue which has 360 units of SoHos.


    Reduce congestion

    Congestion and lack of open space are the two challenges there. Because land parcels are privately owned, this makes it difficult to release land for open space.

    In order to reduce congestion within and in the peripherial of Jalan Universiti, Jalan Semantan and Jalan Kemajuan and in the internal roads like Jalan 13/2, Jalan 13/4 and Jalan 13/6, developments within these three major roads must be connected or linked within and with other developments in the area. Linking Plaza 33 with the up-and-coming former Jaya Supermarket development will enable access to two areas by foot and reducing traffic volume.

    Public transport is also unsatisfactory. As these 10 projects become a reality, there will also be more traffic.

    Bearing in mind that public transport is a federal government matter and Section 13’s impending congestion is a local authority matter, the Petaling Jaya City Council may need to impose on developers to do the needful, that is linking the developments with sky bridges or foot paths.