THE One Bangsar project along Jalan Ara Bangsar, which used to house a row of upmarket restaurants, is today an eyesore, with nine bungalows left in a sorry state.
One Bangsar opened its doors in December 2004, offering city folk French, Thai, Japanese, North Indian, Italian, Vietnamese and Malaysian cuisine at restaurants that offered a choice of indoor or al fresco dining.
Occupying a 1.4ha area, One Bangsar comprised nine restaurants.
Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), in an agreement with landowners Eng Lian Enterprise Sdn Bhd, agreed to temporarily convert the land status from residential to commercial for five years, expiring on Dec 31, 2009.
A whopping RM7mil was spent on its construction, with a different landscaped theme for each bungalow.
However in March 2010, DBKL decided not to extend the operators’ business licence.
This came about after numerous protests and complaints by residents in the area, voicing their discontent on noise, traffic and cleanliness at One Bangsar.
Then mayor Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail gave the operators six months to relocate and said that the land would revert to residential meant for bungalow lots as per the original master plan.
Following this, Eng Lian Enterprise, developer Markibra Services Sdn Bhd and the operators took DBKL to court to seek legal redress.
The courts, however, did not favour the application of the aggrieved parties.
It has been close to three years since One Bangsar closed down and the place has been left abandoned.
A visit by StarMetro recently showed that the entire stretch of bungalows is overgrown with weeds and shrubs while barbed wire had been strung at the entrance of each bungalow.
Some of the restaurants also had broken windows and doors, as well as rubbish in the compound.
When contacted, Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib said during a special OSC meeting recently, DBKL had decided to reconsider the developer’s proposal to turn the area into a ‘limited commercial zone’.
“We will relook at the developer’s proposal and determine whether the type of businesses operating there will be suitable for the area.
“All parties involved including residents may have to make adjustments as we need to take into account the surrounding environment,” he said.
He added that if the place was left vacant and unused for long, it could invite vagrants and drug addicts into the area.
Bangsar Baru Residents Association (BBRA) president Datuk George Joseph said it was up to the landowners, Eng Lian Enterprise, to propose future development on the site.
“Residents should be consulted should there be future development at the site as we will be directly affected,” he said.
However, George firmly said they would oppose any future plans for restaurants as these would contribute to noise pollution and traffic congestion.
“We want the place to be developed because leaving it idle may turn the stretch into a dumping ground or invite vagrants and drug addicts into the area,” he said.
He added that the abandoned buildings could also be a breeding ground for Aedes mosquitoes and was damaging to Bangsar Baru’s image.
Meanwhile, BBRA secretary Prem Kumar Nair added that residents should be consulted before any decisions were made.
“There was a meeting, a few months ago, with the mayor where he informed us about the proposal to turn the place into a limited commercial zone.
“However, DBKL needs to specify what kind of businesses will be allowed to operate here,” he said.
Bukit Bandaraya Residents Association president Datuk M. Ali said Bangsar residents have been kept in the dark about future developments in the area.
“This type of ambiguity would not be in question if the Draft Kuala Lumpur City Plan (DKLCP) 2020 was gazetted,” he said, adding that the reasons for the delay must be made public.
Eng Lian Enterprise, when contacted, declined to comment on the matter.