LIKE NO OTHER – Even KLIFD will take 10-15 years before it can be a stiff competitor to Bukit Bintang, say property guru Gavin Tee and map maker Ho Chin Soon
No area will benefit from the great changes in the course of the country’s rapid development and globalisation more than Bukit Bintang which includes the Bukit Bintang, Jalan Imbi, Bukit Ceylon and Raja Chulan areas, foresees property guru Gavin Tee.
“Greater Bukit Bintang is the name most befitting this area which is expected to become the country’s hottest investment spot and the highlight of international investment focus for at least the next 10 years.
“Yes, the Golden 10 Years are for Bukit Bintang,” Tee said.
With the mega projects under the Economic Transformation Plan and Greater Kuala Lumpur Plan, Bukit Bintang has initiated great changes and made inroads towards becoming a world-class city. It will soon become the most expensive real estate area in the country, map maker Ho Chin Soon of Ho Chin Soon Research Sdn Bhd predicted.
Both Ho and Tee, founder of Swhengtee International Real Estate Investors Club, agree that Bukit Bintang is fast becoming “the best real estate destination” for both local and international investors.
“There would not be any other areas which can replace Bukit Bintang for the next 10 to 15 years as, basically, there is no competitor,” Tee noted.
“Even the Kuala Lumpur International Financial District (KLIFD) will take 10 to 15 years before it can be a stiff competitor to Bukit Bintang,” Ho added.
Tee thinks other great developments around the area will neither affect nor compete with Bukit Bintang. Instead, they will complement each other to further boost property values in Bukit Bintang.
According to Tee, the modern office towers that are going to be developed under the KLIFD plan, the Pudu Jail project with an estimated gross development value of over RM6 billion and the Warisan Merdeka development will help to further boost the commercial and tourism activities in Bukit Bintang.
Among them, Warisan Merdeka will be undertaken by Permodalan Nasional Bhd over three phases in 10 years starting with its 100-storey tower in the area.
He sees increased need for companies to set up offices to accommodate more professional expatriates engaged for the development work which in turn will translate into increased demand for housing and retail spending in the surrounding areas.
“Bukit Bintang will definitely become a place for tourists and the office crowd to hang out,” he said.
On the current old buildings such as shophouses which may restrict the urban renewal process, he said they basically belong to small individual owners with minimal impact.
Rather, he noted the old buidings’ unique character will make the place even more attractive, adding that he concurs with Ho’s comment that Bukit Bintang is the “cultural heart of KL”, a place that cannot be found anywhere else in the Klang Valley.
With the “local flavour” culture and buildings featuring traditional architecture, coupled with delicious local foods in Jalan Alor and great entertainment hangout spots in and around Changkat Bukit Bintang, Tee pointed out, the hotel, retail and residential property sectors in Bukit Bintang are enjoying brisk business, catering to the fast growing demands and needs of tourists and locals.
“Property demand in the Bukit Bintang area will be even higher than the high-cost buildings in KL City Centre, the future KLIFD or Jalan Ampang.
“It is the value of space usage that sets a higher real estate price, not the quality and cost of the building,” Tee said, emphasising that Bukit Bintang will fetch a much high price per square foot compared to other newer areas and modern buildings.
Meanwhile, Ho gave several reasons why “Bukit Bintang is the place for the present and future”.
First, major projects are located in the south portion of the KL Golden Triangle and south of Bukit Bintang.
Second, the north is hampered by unsuitable land conditions for use, namely Malay reserve land, and other major blocks belonging to the police and army (administrative offices) and which include KL General Hospital.
Third, the Ampang-KL Elevated Highway and the Klang River act as “barriers” for smooth connectivity and perception of seamless ribbons of growth.
Fourth, major underground MRT and LRT stations are located in the areas.
Fifth, major shopping districts in key cities in the world have a distinctive taste and atmosphere, and they tend to converge into densely packed vibrant lengths of streets. More importantly, they are accessible by underground metro lineS – the MRT.
Sixth, more lands at the eastern portion of Bukit Bintang are being converted for development.
Don’t Miss the Opportunity
FACTS – Real estate prices in Bukit Bintang are still on the low side despite its huge potential
There is no place like Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, which has the biggest concentration of shopping malls in the country. They include Pavilion KL, Sungei Wang Plaza, Fahrenheit 88, Bukit Bintang Plaza, Low Yat Plaza, Berjaya Times Square, Starhill and Lot 10.
Indeed, the whole Bukit Bintang street is practically occupied by malls, retail shops and hotels and is the must-visit place for everyone coming to KL. It is also a place for the locals to meet up for leisure or business.
Map maker Ho Chin Soon of Ho Chin Soon Research Sdn Bhd believes Bukit Bintang will be the “Orchard Road” (Singapore), “Ginza” (Tokyo) or “Fifth Avenue” (New York).
And on achieving such status, it will also move real estate prices closer to these destinations which are presently 10 times different from the current values, Ho said.
Gavin Tee, founder of Swhengtee International Real Estate Investors Club, added that prices of retail properties in Bukit Bintang, being the region’s lowest in the prime retail zone category, will provide an extraordinary investment opportunity. “Don’t miss the golden opportunity to invest in Bukit Bintang. You may only have it once-in-your-lifetime,” he said.
He stressed that it will soon become a “most liveable city” and a tourist hotspot, and the real estate market here will be “hot” for at least the next 10 years.
To a question on what properties are the best for investment in Bukit Bintang, whether residential or commercial, Ho recommended budget hotels, commercial/retail lots (such as those in Sungei Wang Plaza), shophouses and even serviced apartments provided they are within walking distance to Bukit Bintang.
Tee said his investors club has bought four projects in the vicinity and is continuing to hunt for the “best of the best properties” in the area to invest in.
He added he was quite surprised to be able to purchase a block of apartments there at a cost that is less than the prices in Puchong and Cheras.
“The great opportunity is here in Bukit Bintang because many property prices are still on the low side in this area as there have not been many changes in the past 15 years leading up to 2010.
“Many have failed to explore its development potential due to the perception of it being a ‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon’,” he pointed out.
On the impact of the MRT on the Bukit Bintang area, Ho thinks it will enhance property values and deliver immediate benefits.
Tee thinks that with the impressive underground station and air-conditioned walkway, this is the only place “qualified to be a global city”, adding that Bukit Bintang will definitely be the focus of foreign investors.
However, Ho believes that the massive development plan of KL must be supported by the Singapore-Johor Baru-KL high speed train in order to enhance business opportunities.
“Without good infrastructure, it’s hard to make the plan a success. The yet-to-commence high speed train will bring travellers to KL from Johor Baru within only an hour and 10 minutes if it runs at an average speed of 350km per hour non-stop.
“With this superb saving in travelling time, more multinational companies are expected to relocate to KL to set up back offices instead of in Singapore at higher running cost.
“This will not only bring the two countries closer but also help to reduce operation costs of some Malaysian companies which have branches in Singapore as they can now choose to set up a bigger office in KL with a smaller representative office in Singapore,” Ho elaborated.
On the concern of oversupply of office buildings, Ho said it is good news for consumers, adding that KL city will then become affordable and that will help enhance business activities.