The Power of the Integrated Development
CONTRIBUTED BY CHRISTOPHER LIM
CEO, TRITERRA SDN BHD
INTEGRATED developments have been around for years, but not all are created equal.
Firstly, let’s explore what an integrated development actually is. Not everyone describes them the same way. Such ambiguity makes them hard to define but the general consensus is that an integrated development, at its core, is a planned township with a mix of commercial and residential elements. How successful it depends on how well it incorporates these various components that comprise it to meet the needs of the community.
A successful integrated development with a winning formula is one which puts forward a holistic plan that addresses the four key components of catalyst, infrastructure, complementary factors and momentum. While there is no guaranteed template for success, any integrated development that plans and executes its master plan to great effect incorporating these key elements is definitely off to a great start. So it helps to analyse them in considerable detail.
Let’s take the KL Metropolis, for instance. This development will take up a 75.5-acre site with an estimated GDV of RM20 billion to be completed over the next 15 years. Among other notable landmarks, it will also host the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), the only ministry outside Putrajaya (aside from the Public Works’ Department, JKR).
As a future landmark address, it is a mega project which will also incorporate the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC) and the High Court plus several upcoming integrated developments. In fact, it has been designated by the Prime Minister to become Kuala Lumpur’s international trade and exhibition district.
KL Metropolis will be the catalyst of a new wave of socioeconomic activity in the area for years to come, enlivening its communities and enhancing the value of the already established neighbouring areas of Sri Hartamas, Mont Kiara and Dutamas.
There is also a high-proliferation of government organisations in the vicinity with a strong legal network due to the High Court being located here along with industry-leading infrastructure. These will be bolstered by enhanced road access and future MRT connectivity to link the various communities in the vicinity.
As the first component of KL Metropolis, MITEC will be fully operational by Q1 2017 and is set to be the country’s largest exhibition centre with a gross floor area of over one million sq ft, with a total of 11 exhibition halls on three levels – four times larger than Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. It will be among the top three convention centres in Asia when fully operational.
Other upcoming developments in the eight precincts of KL Metropolis comprise residences, retail elements, offices, hotels and a medical centre. The infrastructure will also benefit from three major road upgrades, access to the DUKE highway. Furthermore, dedicated bus and rail facilities, as well as elevated walkways interlinking the whole development, will further enhance its connectivity.
If Mid Valley City is considered to be the central hub or gateway serving the Southern and Eastern corridors of Kuala Lumpur, KL Metropolis serves a similar purpose to the Northern and Western regions, both geographically and as a catalyst for increased urbanisation. It will be one of the most balanced communities in Kuala Lumpur.
An integrated development within four to six km of the Kuala Lumpur central business district (CBD) is rare, let alone one with such an expanse of land within close proximity of prime neighbourhoods. There remains no more integrated development land larger than 50 acres within four km of the KL CBD. Only two large-scale integrated developments are within 4km of KL CBD – KL Sentral and KLCC. Two more are between 25 and 50 acres – Mid Valley City and Eco City.
Table 1: Comparison of the major integrated developments in Kuala Lumpur
|BBCC||19||BBCC Dev Co|
|Mid Valley City||25||Tan & Tan|
|KL Eco City||25||SP Setia|
|Desa Park City||473||Samling|
|Kota Kemuning||1,854||Gamuda Land|
|Setia Alam||2,000||SP Setia|
Indeed, integrated developments are normally established in underdeveloped areas as a catalyst. KL Metropolis’ proximity to so many affluent and popular neighbourhoods means that this is one integrated development destined for success with strong local neighbourhoods and international communities supported by one another.
It should also be self-sustaining and exemplify non-competition. What this means is that the project is developed in phases with demand-based planning and phased rollout to suit the needs and expansion of the area. It eschews the common practice, which pits one developer-dominated area versus another to sway investors. It is an approach that provides area concentration and builds momentum while catalysing growth and further development and adding vibrancy to the area.
Kuala Lumpur can be divided into three distinct zones. Firstly, we have the KL CBD or Epicentre. We also have the Prime Fringe or Heartbeat zone which is between three to five kilometres of the CBD. Finally, we have the Fundamental zone which lies beyond and encompasses many popular and populous suburbs. KL Metropolis will be located in the ‘Prime Fringe’ or Heartbeat zone of Kuala Lumpur, which is arguably the focal area of interest.
Why? Because of the continuous growth of the Fundamental suburbs coupled by the migration of many working in the CBD closer to the city as they upgrade for practical and aspirational reasons.
Additionally, as property prices within the Kuala Lumpur CBD continue to escalate and are out of reach, there is a corresponding movement towards the highly appealing but slightly removed Heartbeat zones. This results in a convergence of population shifts from both directions which influence and redefine the spheres of business and drive the appeal of coveted neighbourhoods perceived as “the next big thing”.
KL Metropolis will be a merger of strong neighbourhoods with international trade and business and exceptionally diverse multicultural elements. Consider the prime, mature neighbourhoods around it:
- Mont Kiara– A world-renowned address just 500m away which is home to residents from over 51 nations. The neighbourhood is home to four international schools, captains of industry and an affluent mix of expats and locals.
- Bukit Tunku (or Kenny Hills) – The nation’s pride – just one km away, often described as the Beverly Hills of Kuala Lumpur.
- Hartamas– Chic and sophisticated with a young urban population
- Other diverse and emerging neighbourhoods of Dutamas, Segambut, North Kiara and Sentul, all standing to gain from the socio-economic and infrastructure enhancements catalysed by KL Metropolis.
Will KL Metropolis be successful? There is every indication that it will be, given the sheer number of positives going for it, ticking many investors’ boxes in its quest to be the jewel of the crown in the area. Doubters who are perhaps concerned by the relatively untested track-record of NAZA-TTDI would do well remembering that they are already a successful globalised conglomerate with vast resources, compared to then-construction biased MRCB when first developing KL Sentral.
There is also a very established government presence with MITI, MATRADE, the High Court in addition to the gargantuan MITEC located here.
Also, given the multi-phased and well-planned nature of an integrated development, the master developer will ensure that there is sustained momentum both in terms of the composition of the new development launches at KL Metropolis as well as the marketing effort that will drive publicity and interest over the long-term.
In summary, with good fundamentals for capital appreciation further enhanced by limited supply and spurred on by The Met, MITEC and well thought out infrastructure, continuity and sustainability, KL Metropolis’s emergence as a key ‘city within the city’ is strongly cemented.
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