AFTER more than a century stuck in time, Kampung Baru is set for dramatic changes that will see several ambitious projects coming up in the Malay enclave over the next 10 to 20 years.
Some of the main projects include the Kampong Bharu City Centre (KBCC) that will become the focal point of the area.
Projects under the KBCC will include a plush park called KBCC Central Park with pedestrian walkways, pocket parks and water features.
Twelve iconic buildings with four signature towers with a collective gross development value in the billions of ringgit will also be built here.
Another ambitious project is a 70-storey tower with a ferris wheel built on the rooftop.
Ready to boom
“Kampung Baru is set to boom,” said Kampong Bharu Development Corporation (PKB) chairman Datuk Affendi Zahari in an exclusive with StarMetro recently.
“Things are in motion already, ever since the government launched the Kampung Baru Detailed Development Master Plan early last year.”
The rustic village is slated to become the new Malay cultural centre and the city’s new economic hub with 1,900 hotel rooms, 30mil sq ft of office space, 17,500 residential units and 12% green and water feature space.
“The UDA legacy has begun and piling work is already going on. It will take a few years but we will get there,” Affendi said referring to the UDA Holdings Bhd initiative to help rejuvenate Kampung Baru.
The company is undertaking a RM400mil mixed development project on a 1.15ha tract of land near the Pasar Minggu.
Kampung Baru gateway
To kickstart the redevelopment process, the 60-year-old blue gantry located in Jalan Raja Muda Musa, which has been one of the landmarks in the village, will be removed and replaced with a modern structure measuring 19m in height and 16m in width.
“The design will be modern contemporary with traditional motifs. The original design was very Arabic, but after we showed it to the Prime Minister, he asked ‘Why Arabic? Why not Malay?’. So we had that changed to reflect the Malay traditions based on a songket theme.
“We have already sent the paperwork and drawings for approval by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).
“A tender will be called by DBKL, and if everything goes according to plan, we expect the gateway to be up this year,” Affendi said.
“It’s going to be more than iconic, we want Kampung Baru folk to see something is moving here before the big guns come in,” Affendi said, referring to the bigger developments.
He hoped to inspire the residents to have some trust in PKB by then.
The 115-year-old village will also be getting a major facelift in the form of pedestrian walkways and widened roads as well as mini parks throughout the township in the next few years.
“Kampung Baru has never gotten anything except for a few roads,” Affendi said.
“We are within minutes of KLCC but we still lack basic amenities.
“We need to rejuvenate this township with something we can see and enjoy now,” he added.
The goodies Affendi spoke about are a series of pedestrian walkways running through the village.
He cited a 950m walkway from Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz to Quill City Mall.
“The stretch will be widened between 6m and 10m and beautified with greenery and benches to encourage people to walk and cycle,” Affendi said.
Integral to any development is accessibility, and with a plot ratio of 10, Kampung Baru needed highways going in and out of the area, said Affendi.
After much negotiations with the government, the PKB managed to get the Duta-Ulu Kelang Expressway (Duke) and the Ampang-Kuala Lumpur Elevated Highway (AKLEH) to provide direct access into the township.
“DUKE agreed to come into Kampung Baru when initially it was only supposed to end at Hospital Kuala Lumpur.
“With the Prime Minister’s approval, and many meetings, we managed to get them to provide direct access via the DUKE 2 package,” he said.
With an LRT station already in place in the south of the township, and a monorail station on the west side, and with the MRT Line 2 (Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya) alignment passing through Kampung Baru and KLCC East; Kampung Baru is certainly one blessed township.
Another series of projects to transform the township involves turning open spaces in the village into pocket parks.
Affendi said three sites – Kampung Pindah’s open field, a plot of land near Jalan Raja Abdullah and plot of land at the AKLEH/UNIKL junction – have been identified for these parks.
“The one that will be developed first is the Herb Garden project at the junction of Jalan Raja Abdullah and Jalan Dewan Sultan Sulaiman.
“We want to transform the place into a pretty garden with water features and basic amenities.
“And what I would like to do is to engage with the residents to tend to these gardens,” he said.
“The Kampung Pindah open field is actually a football field which we want to turn into a recreational park with jogging tracks, fitness spots with gazebos, benches and a playground, while the AKLEH park will be a small recreation spot for residents to hang out.
Kampong Bharu City Centre
In the heart of the Malay enclave lies an area called the Kampung Masjid, Kampung Baru, which encompasses some 16.2ha of land, involving 187 lots belonging to some 1,217 landowners.
This spot will be the focal point of the village’s development where the 12 iconic buildings will be built, with four signature towers and about 17mil sq ft of space.
The towers will be connected via a series of pedestrian walkways and pocket parks.
“This will be a garden city; I have this dream of people walking to work, cycling, stopping by a bench under a tree, having their lunch or just reading a book,” he said.
“We were inspired by the pedestrian walkway in New York called the High Line and that is what we would like to see happen in Kampung Baru,” he said.
Inspiring the landowners
While PKB has ambitious plans on paper, implementing it is not so easy, especially since they have to convince some 5,000 landowners to develop the land.
Mayors and ministers have been trying since the 1970s to develop the Malay enclave, but the biggest stumbling block is the 1,355 lots which are owned by more than 5,300 people.
On average, each lot is owned by at least five landowners with the most at 208 landowners for a lot.
“Naturally people want to know how much they stand to get from the sale of their land.
“We have advised them to form their own coalition, and when they have come to a consensus on what they want to do with their land, we can help them find a developer of repute; or if they prefer, they can get their own developer,” Affendi said.
“But they must stand united on this.
“They have to bear in mind that if the lot is only 5,000 sq ft, they are not going to get any development done since the Government is pushing for high development with a plot ratio of 10 here,” he said.
Affendi explained that with almost 70% of the lot sizes less than 30,000 per sq ft, it was not economical for developments with a plot ratio of 10.
“So we are putting in the infrastructure to bring the investors in and hope that the landowners will also see the merits and choose to develop their land as well,” he said.
“Trust me, once everything is up, you do not want to get left behind,” Affendi added.
Towers in progress
At present, work has already started in Kampung Baru with several projects in the construction stage.
Fifteen others are in the process of obtaining development orders.
A notable project is the M101 Entity Sdn Bhd comprising two blocks of 70-storey towers with a ferris wheel right at the top.
Others are the Safuan Residen, a 39-storey serviced apartment; Business Suite @ Arina, 21-storeys of business suites; Legasi Residen, a mixed development by UDA Holdings; and Safuan Suites and a 34-storey serviced apartment project by Safuan Group Bhd.