Streetscapes: Trendy cafés and more in mature university area

This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on February 22, 2021 - February 28, 2021.
Trendy cafés and more in mature university area

Trendy cafés and more in mature university area

-A +A

Flanked by Universiti Malaya and Mahsa Avenue International College (MAIC), Jalan Ilmu in Kuala Lumpur has experienced more activity in recent years, especially among the student community.

One of the attractions here is Pokok KL, a trendy glasshouse-themed café that is filled with natural light and lush greenery. It attracts a steady stream of city dwellers and café hoppers and is a popular brunch spot that serves croissants, pies, pastas, nasi lemak and truffle fries.

Nearby cafés and landmarks include Three Guys Café, KFC, Degree Coffee, Bayu Café catering and services, Wunderbath, Merceria neighbourhood grocer and The Zoo co-working space.  Around the corner is the office of the National Institute of Public Administration.

Another popular landmark near Jalan Ilmu is Mahsa Avenue, an event space that also houses Kedai, an artisanal marketplace that sells and promotes homegrown brands, from handmade pottery to F&B. Kedai is divided into three main areas — The Shops, The Lorong and Rekabox — that host bazaars and workshops.

Situated in a mature university area, Jalan Ilmu is tree-lined and verdant.  “Jalan Ilmu is part of the inner road of Universiti Malaya. During the 1990s, it was not open to the public, and as an accountancy graduate of the university in 1996, I remember we were not allowed to use that road,” recalls Metro Homes Realty Bhd executive director See Kok Loong. “It was connected to Jalan University (Jalan Professor Diraja Ungku Aziz) when MAIC was being constructed.”

On market activity along Jalan Ilmu, See explains: “There are no transactions in the area as I believe the land is either leasehold or under a build-operate-transfer contract as all of the commercial and residential [units] are for rent only. For example, at MAIC, the residence fee for single and twin bedrooms ranges from RM500 to RM1,200 per month. [It is not comparable to] the market price as it is more of a student community price.”

In terms of outlook, it appears that prices, values and rents will be controlled as the land in the area is predominantly owned by Universiti Malaya, according to See.

“All the land belongs to the university and it acts as a non-profit organisation. Therefore, it is unlikely [for the street and the area] to have any further developments in the coming years.”