Thursday, 10 August 2017

(NST) Rail link boost for Sentul projects

EXCITEMENT is building in Sentul on news of a faster rail link to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang and onwards to Singapore when the high-speed rail (HSR) project is fully completed.

Malaysia is also investing billions of ringgit to develop an integrated rail network in the Klang Valley comprising the light rail transit (LRT), KTM Komuter, KL Monorail, Express Rail Link (ERL) and the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT).

Combined, they are Malaysia’s largest infrastructure project, which is designed to enhance the city’s livability and connectivity.

Sentul is one of many areas in the Klang Valley which will benefit from the rail development plan.

Two property projects — Sentul East and Sentul West, developed by YTL Land & Development Bhd — will directly benefit from the existing rail lines and will be riding on new developments, such as the MRT, for further growth.

Serving both projects are the KTM Komuter and two LRT lines — the Sentul Timur-Putra Heights route on the Sri Petaling Line and the Sentul Timur-Ampang route on the Ampang Line.

Three stations — the Sentul KTM station, and the Sentul Timur and Sentul LRT stations — are nestled strategically in the heart of Sentul East.

YTL Land executive director Datuk Yeoh Seok Kian said Sentul is four stations away from the KL Sentral transport hub in Brickfields via KTM Komuter and enjoys direct connectivity with the ERL’s KLIA Ekspress route to KLIA.

He said all three train lines (KTM Komuter and the two LRT lines) from Sentul are also connected to MRT Line 1, with interchange stations at various points.

“This further enhances Sentul’s accessibility by rail, making it even more popular among property buyers and investors,” Yeoh told NST Property in an interview.

Sentul has been earmarked as a hotspot to benefit from the MRT project.

MRT Corp Sdn Bhd has fully completed MRT Line 1, which runs from Sungai Buloh to Kajang.

By 2022, MRT Line 2 (Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya) will begin operations, and Sentul is one of many areas that are expected to benefit.

MRT Line 2 starts from Sungai Buloh, passes through Sentul and Bandar Malaysia before terminating at Putrajaya.

Bandar Malaysia is Malaysia’s first integrated transit-oriented development and the Kuala Lumpur terminal of the KL-Singapore HSR.

“We have a MRT station at both the Sentul East and Sentul West projects. Station 11 in Jalan Ipoh is located close to The Maple at Sentul West, while Station 12, which is an underground station, is situated before the entrance to Jalan Strachan leading into Sentul East.

“MRT Line 2, which is currently under construction has added two more stations for Sentul, adding more value to our developments.

“With the current KTM Komuter rail service, you will be able to reach KLIA via KL Sentral from the station in Sentul East in an hour. In future, you will be able to reach Singapore via the HSR station in Bandar Malaysia in about two hours,” he said.

Yeoh said it is highly anticipated that Sentul would benefit from the future MRT Line 3, or the Circle Line.

MRT Line 3 is the final line for the MRT project and is currently in the planning stages .

Saving the past for future generation

Sentul has been a railway hotspot for a very long time. The town was founded in the late 1800s when the first Malayan railway line opened between Taiping, Perak and Port Weld. The rail line was gradually expanded to connect the north and south of Malaya.

The town claimed the honour of establishing Sentul Works in the early 1900s, one of the finest integrated engineering railway workshops in the country, helping to elevate Sentul’s prominence.

The diminishing economic and social dependence on the railway line in the 1960s saw the decline of the once-prosperous railway town.

Several decades later, YTL Land saw an opportunity in Sentul and embarked on an urban renewal initiative, today known as Sentul East and Sentul West.

Yeoh said the majority of urban redevelopment projects are focused on decentralisation, and relocating whole communities. Sentul, however, was revived to preserve its history, culture and heritage.

“By adopting intelligent solutions under a master plan, Sentul was resculpted to re-capture its colours, soul and spirit. Not all has been lost, as the master plan deliberately retains its downtown culture and heritage, while providing an opportunity for urbanites to embrace green living within the city,” he said.

“Old railway warehouses and workshops that were once part of the Sentul Railway Workshops succumbed to disrepair as rail transport declined in the 1960s.

“As these buildings can no longer be used for their original purpose, a new use through adaptation is one way to preserve their significance and heritage.

“The creative adaptation of the old and original is the principle behind YTL Land’s successful adaptive reuse projects in Sentul,” added Yeoh.

The strategy for the development of Sentul East and Sentul West, which combined covers 118.97ha prime freehold land, was catalysed when the site was effectively split in half by the existing Sentul KTM Komuter Station and its tracks.

Hence, the master plan was developed by characterising the two halves differently, forming unique personalities in Sentul West and Sentul East.

Sentul West, comprising 75.27ha, celebrates the outdoors with a haven of greenery intermingling with exclusive residences, offices and shops amidst lakes bordering a 14.16ha private gated park.

Sentul East, with 43.7ha, sets the tone for modern downtown living, combining the rawness of Sentul with the grace of inner city courtyard tenements.

Yeoh said the aim for the Sentul East and Sentul West projects was to keep both the developments focused on art, design and heritage.

“These are not like other developments, which focus on building commercial and residential properties.

“We have the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC) now and in future, we are building an art gallery, a mall and possibly a university that focuses on art, design and heritage. We want to harness on the heritage,” he said.

Future buildups in Sentul East

Yeoh said there are a few projects that have been planned for the development of Sentul East.

YTL Land is introducing The Fennel, a 38-storey residential tower.

Complementing the curves of The Capers, an earlier development in Sentul East, The Fennel carves an edge with its sharp-angled iconic towers piercing the sky.

Yeoh said the building design took imagination to a new level, sculpting the sky through an interplay of clean lines and edges, adding further energy and vitality to the facade.

Previous projects by YTL Land in Sentul East include The Maple, which is the only residence in Kuala Lumpur with a private gated park. The Maple was completed in 2006.

Forthcoming developments include d2 and d5. d2 exudes a rustic charm with its Corten exterior cladding. It will feature individual office blocks linked by landscaped courtyards, terraces and corridors. The estimated built-up area is 320,000 sq ft. d5, a commercial development with a built-up area of 340,000 sq ft, will boast an ingenious design comprising six pods encased in steel that are connected by sky bridges while being open to the elements.