05 September 2010

Developing Pudu Prison

When government announcing their intention to develop the controversial Pudu Prison site, questions popped up on who is the developer(s)?

Since then, UDA Holdings Bhd is awarded by government to spearhead the lucrative project, speculating other prominent developers also will come into the project as joint-developer. Etc, Mah Sing group, Berjaya, and YTL Corp. However, according to UDA chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, UDA ultimately will be the master developer anyway.

History of UDA

TheStar: The interest surrounding UDA is, to some extent, due to its original mandate given by the Government. Originally a government agency, UDA was formerly known as Urban Development Authority. It was set up in 1971 to promote planned urban development and to elevate bumiputra economic participation in urban areas.

The Pudu prison site is not Malay reserve land. Even then, the bumi factor has cropped up. It is on this note that UDA chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed drew some conclusions between property development and bumiputra ownership.

“We must have a mix (in ownership) to do justice to the land value. This is a project for the country. I don’t want to put a figure to it (ownership mix), but there must be a mix,” he tells StarBizWeek.

Personal Opinion

Undeniably, this is a multi-billion land, if it was developed properly. Planning is crucial to make the project successful, unlock the full potential value of the land, and integrating the it to the surrounding area which comprises Berjaya Times Square, Sungai Wang Mall, and whole stretch of Jalan Bukit Bintang. Traffic spill over is almost guaranteed given the presence of Malls and LRT station situated nearby.

In fact, the bumi issue should not be raised up as this is not a Malay reserve land, if we want to achieve the objectives stated above. It must be planned and developed in an open-minded way, without touching on race issue, and instead, should focus on the demand of the targeted group - businessman.

Tips to UDA:
There is a overly crowded commercial area nearby (across the LRT line), where there is an over-demand of commercial lots for whole-sale business, which are fetching a very, very, very high rental rates now. All you need is just to build a bridge, linking it to your site, catering for their business and you sure can get the spill-over rental effect. Think about it.

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