“WE are blessed and glad,” answers I-Bhd deputy chairman Datuk Eu Hong Chew when asked about the upcoming light rail transit line three (LRT 3) that will have a station in the heart of its flagship development, the i-City in Shah Alam.
I-Bhd, the master developer of the 29.1ha i-City, is now relooking at enhancing i-City into a transit-oriented development due to the LRT 3 plan – a completely new rail connection from Bandar Utama to Johan Setia in Klang.
“We already have the basic building blocks in the sense that our masterplan for i-City is to be a pedestrian-based development with overhead bridges connecting the 29.1ha ultrapolis.
“With the LRT 3 station next to i-City, we are looking at the possibility of providing a bus transit to the KTM Komuter station, i-City LRT station and i-City itself,” he says.
Eu says i-City has 72 acres of development land. “Of this, we have only developed about 20%. Under construction now is another 20% of the land area,” he says.
On the advantage of the LRT station and the proposed bus rapid transit (BRT) along the Federal Highway, Eu says i-City will be served by both the LRT and BRT.
“We are looking at how i-City can be the link between these two public transport nodes – LRT at the northern boundary and BRT at the southern boundary.
“i-City will own about 25,000 carparks when fully developed and we think that this can complement the park-and-ride concept associated with the LRT,” says Eu.
But details are still being planned to fully capitalise on the LRT connection to the coveted “ultrapolis”– a term used to redefine what a metropolis should be reflecting the nation’s aspiration to be a developed and high-income economy by 2020.
Eu says the proposed i-City LRT station will be located on the northeast of i-City, within 5 minutes walking distance to the Best Western i-City Hotel.
Will this bring up property prices and rental rates in i-City?
“The biggest impact for i-City is not so much the property prices or rental rates. Rather the LRT station will make i-City a more attractive location for call centres and business process outsourcing.
“We currently face challenges in attracting such sectors to i-City because these are people-intensive businesses that need effective public transport connectivity.
“And, of course, our theme park will benefit from the LRT station,” he says.
Currently, i-City is an MSC Malaysia Cybercentre-certified development and a world reference site for Cisco’s Smart+Connected Community.
It has also obtained an endorsement as a Tourism Destination from the Tourism and Culture Ministry and is considered an international park by the Selangor state government.
i-City sees an average of 90,000 visitors a week.
With all this in place, i-City is set to become a MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) hub for business and leisure travellers.
The park will “not give sky-rocketing earnings growth” but will be the “bedrock, together with the company’s property investment portfolio” once fully-completed, says Public Invest Research in a report.
In 2014, I-Bhd’s leisure division contributed RM47.78mil in revenue and RM12.9mil in pre-tax profit to the group.
The brokerage adds that I-Bhd’s property investment division, which includes the RM750mil Central Plaza @ I-City mall, is expected to open in 2018 and will contribute a “consistent” annual income of about RM17mil to I-Bhd.
In financial year ended Dec 31, 2014 (FY14), I-Bhd recorded a net profit of RM53.4mil on the back of RM261mil revenue.
Public Invest expects I-Bhd’s FY15 and FY16 revenue to grow to RM380.3mil and RM547mil respectively.
It notes that despite the property market being on an apparent downcycle, there is a visible shortage of property in the Klang and Shah Alam.
LRT 3 will be operational in 2020. Based on studies done by Prasarana, it is estimated that 450,000 workers and 50,000 tertiary students live along the LRT 3 corridor.
The RM9bil project will ferry passengers from 1Utama in Petaling Jaya to Johan Setia in Klang in 51 minutes. In total, there will be 25 stations along the 36km-long route.
From 1Utama, the train will head to Damansara Utama, Dataran Prima and Glenmarie in Shah Alam.
From there, the alignment leads to the Shah Alam Section 13 stadium before going underground for two kilometres, passing through Section 12 and Section 14 near the Shah Alam city centre.
Shah Alam’s largest neighbourhood, Section 7, will also have a station in the vicinity, dubbed the i-City station.
From there, the line will continue to Bukit Raja station, passing through Klang town before moving down to areas such as Taman Selatan and Sri Andalas before the final station at Johan Setia Klang.
There will be 10 park-and-ride stations with 5,000 parking bays at ground level.
The line will be integrated with existing and future public transport networks at four stations, including One Utama with MRT Sungai Buloh – Kajang Line, Station 3 with Kelana Jaya Line, Sirim with BRT Kuala Lumpur – Klang, and Klang Town with KTM Komuter.