Cover Story: Strategic central location a key draw

This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on May 24, 2021 - May 30, 2021.
The area abutting Old Klang Road is strategically located between Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya, with easy access to  numerous amenities (Photo by Mohd Shahrin Yahya/The Edge)

The area abutting Old Klang Road is strategically located between Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya, with easy access to numerous amenities (Photo by Mohd Shahrin Yahya/The Edge)

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One of the oldest thoroughfares in Kuala Lumpur, Old Klang Road or Jalan Klang Lama has seen considerable change over the past decade as new developments sprout up along the busy stretch of approximately 11km.

Lined by a mix of old shops and new commercial buildings as well as newer high-rise residences, the major artery is said to have been built over a century ago by the British colonial government and was the only trunk road linking Kuala Lumpur and Port Klang before the Federal Highway was completed in 1965.

The area abutting Old Klang Road is strategically located between Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya, with easy access to numerous amenities in places such as Mid Valley City, Bandar Sunway, Puchong and Sri Petaling.

Old Klang Road was named as such as it provided access to Klang from Kuala Lumpur, says VPC Alliance  managing director James Wong. “Since the opening of Mid Valley City in 1999, developers had started to build along Old Klang Road as they could foresee a high demand for developments there in the future.”

One of the earliest high-rise developments in the area is the 19-storey Pearl Point Condominium, built in 1999 by Aikbee Group  on a site once occupied by a sawmill, notes Wong. The development is integrated with Pearl Point Shopping Mall and The Pearl Kuala Lumpur Hotel. Other notable landmarks along the road include Plaza OUG (previously known as Yaohan) and The Scott Garden. An agent familiar with The Scott Garden observes that the retail podium is about half occupied now due to the Movement Control Order, compared with closer to 70% before the outbreak of the pandemic.

Today, much of the land in the Old Klang Road area has been almost fully developed with high-rise developments, Wong says. “Owing to the area’s strategic location between Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya, its mature location, as well as accessibility to Mid Valley City from Jalan Puchong via Old Klang Road, many developers have started building mixed-use and residential developments [along the stretch].”

According to Wong, these properties are appealing to buyers for their easy access to Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya via the Federal Highway, New Pantai Expressway (NPE), Shah Alam Expressway (Kesas), East-West Link Expressway (Salak), Sprint Highway and KL-Seremban Expressway.

Old Klang Road is also conveniently linked to other highways, including the Damansara-Puchong Expressway (LDP), Maju Expressway (MEX) and North-South Expressway (NSE).

Old Klang Road is a popular area for the middle-income segment of the population, Wong notes.

Vivo Residences & Suites (Photo by Mohd Shahrin Yahya/The Edge)

Significant number of new projects

CCO & Associates’ director Chan Wai Seen believes the area in the vicinity of Old Klang Road possesses all the attributes of a popular location. “However, the previously narrow and congested road had hindered its development progression. The road widening and completion of new highways nearby have improved the area considerably in terms of access as well as ambience.”

After the road-widening works were completed in 2014, property development activity along the trunk road and surrounding areas were invigorated, Chan notes. “Many small pockets of land and old buildings have since been earmarked for development.”

Pearl Point Shopping Mall and The Pearl Kuala Lumpur Hotel (Photo by Mohd Shahrin Yahya/The Edge)

Some of the ongoing/recently completed developments are Avara Seputeh by Ba Sheng Sdn Bhd; CitiZen 2 by Binastra Land Sdn Bhd; Residensi Far East in Kuchai Lama by Far East Kuchai Development Sdn Bhd; GenKL by CapitaLand and Juta Asia Corp Sdn Bhd; Millerz Square by Exsim Group; Platinum OUG Residence by Platinum Victory Sdn Bhd; The Riyang in Kuchai Lama by Suntrack Development Sdn Bhd; The Hermington by Aset Kayamas Sdn Bhd; The Address in Taman Desa by Maxim Holdings Sdn Bhd; Bloomsvale by Kerjaya Prospek Property Sdn Bhd; and Waltz Residences by WCT OUG Development Sdn Bhd, notes Chan.

Bloomsvale and Millerz Square are two new integrated developments comprising offices, serviced apartments and retail spaces. “The success of such integrated projects may further improve the popularity of Old Klang Road,” says Chan. He adds that international hotel chain Courtyard by Marriott is expected to open a hotel in Bloomsvale.

VPC Alliance’s Wong notes that another major development in Old Klang Road is 9 Seputeh by MRCB Land. Following the completion of Vivo Residences & Suites in 2018, the developer is expecting the completion of Tria Residences, comprising 734 units, this year.

As for upcoming projects, he says Aikbee Group is planning to develop UNIO KL South that will feature two residential towers with 650 units in Phase 1, another two residential towers with 650 units in Phase 2, and a residential tower with 300 units and retail lots in Phase 3.

Tee Teh Sdn Bhd has plans for two 44-storey blocks with a total of 442 condominiums, he continues.

Property development activity along the trunk road was invigorated after road widening works were completed in 2014 (Photo by Mohd Shahrin Yahya/The Edge)

“With many serviced apartment developments being launched or in the pipeline and only pockets of land remaining undeveloped, we expect the property market outlook for Old Klang Road to be stable,” Wong remarks.

Based on secondary market transactions in the past five years, the prices of condos and apartments in Old Klang Road have trended downwards since 2019, he notes, adding that  “it may be due to an oversupply in the area and the current economic situation because of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

“As parcels located along Old Klang Road are mostly developed, and owing to its long history and strategic location, property prices are expected to be stable and we don’t expect any major appreciation in the area,” he says.

For example, the average transacted price of SoHo units at The Scott Garden was RM458 psf last year, compared with RM458 to RM503 psf in 2019, he continues. As for condominium units at Pearl Point, average transacted prices were RM396 to RM442 psf in 2020 compared with RM306 to RM412 psf in 2019. (See table on secondary market transactions for more residential price trends.)

As for commercial developments, ground floor units at The Scott Garden (Metro Centre) were transacted at RM1,064 psf in 2019 compared with RM1,485 psf in 2017. Commercial units on the first, second and third floors recorded prices of RM895, RM678 and RM431 psf respectively in 2019, according to Wong.

Meanwhile, retail and office space at the 3rd Mile Square development recorded an average transacted price of RM778 psf for the ground floor units in 2020 compared with RM1,033 psf in 2018 and RM669 to RM832 psf in 2017. The price for first floor units was RM537 psf in 2018 compared with RM248 to RM308 psf in 2017, while units on the second and third floors saw prices of RM350 psf in 2018 and RM124 psf in 2017, Wong notes.

At Medan 28, commercial units on the ground floor were transacted at RM1,846 to RM2,454 psf in 2019 compared with RM1,311 psf in 2015, he says.

According to Chan, Old Klang Road was once the affluent address in the area before Bangsar appeared on the scene. Its transformation into an established area matching Bangsar and Damansara remains at an early stage, he says.

“To elevate the area further and for it to become an established commercial and residential address, a major development is required, such as how Bangsar South transformed Kerinchi and KL Sentral changed Brickfields,” he adds.

Though its development progression has lagged behind that of Bangsar and Petaling Jaya, Old Klang Road remains one of the more highly populated areas in the Klang Valley, largely owing to its strategic location, notes Chan.

According to Chan, average transacted prices of properties in Old Klang Road currently range from RM630 to RM730 psf at 9 Seputeh and Southbank Residence, RM600 to RM730 psf at Avantas Residences, RM600 to RM680 psf at Pearl Suria Residence and RM750 to RM880 psf at Verve Suites KL South.

Room for improvement

Owing to the increasing number of developments in the area, Chan says it is imperative to improve the infrastructure and public amenities to cater for the growing population.

“It would be great if more public transport facilities were to be introduced as well as premium amenities such as international schools, retail outlets and landscaping that would further improve the quality of living,” he notes.

Currently, the nearest public transport facilities are the Muhibbah, Awan Besar, Alam Sutera and Jalan Templer LRT stations. In the vicinity of Old Klang Road, the Taman Naga Emas and Kuchai Lama MRT stations under the Putrajaya Line are under construction.

Wong says the high volume of traffic in Old Klang Road has to be looked into. “Currently, there is no rail transport systems such as MRT and LRT in Old Klang Road. The area could also be improved by building flyovers to ease connectivity as well as by [further] widening the main roads.”

Chan is optimistic about the area’s development prospects in the medium to long term. “While the large incoming supply [of units] and economic uncertainty may keep property prices in check in the short term, prices may increase gradually in the medium to long term, supported by healthy population growth, growing occupancy rate and positive economic developments.

“In the short term, we expect the outlook for affordably priced properties to remain positive  despite the property market slowdown and uncertainty created by the Covid-19 pandemic, as demand for this segment of properties in this locality remains commendable,” says Chan.