This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly on March 25, 2019 - March 31, 2019
One of the first things that struck me when I arrived at the commercial area of Taman Melawati was the number of one-way streets, which are narrow and heavily congested during office hours. One of these one-way streets is Jalan Negara, at the heart of the commercial area. It starts from the intersection with Jalan Bandar and ends at the intersection with Jalan Bandar Melawati.
The shops in Jalan Negara include BIG Pharmacy, Health Lane Family Pharmacy, stationery and specialist art supplies shops, digital printing outlets, motor accessories shops, two number forecast operators and Bicycle World Sdn Bhd, as well as branches of most major banks.
On the left side of the street from Jalan Bandar is a cul-de-sac — Jalan Negara 2 — with 4-storey shop offices. Landmarks near Jalan Negara include the Melawati Mall, a newly completed 38-storey condominium development, Serini Melawati, and the 1.37-acre office block Melawati Corporate Centre.
There is a wealth of food choices, ranging from fast food such as Domino’s Pizza and KFC as well as Secret Recipe, a branch of Mohd Chan Restaurant (a Chinese Muslim restaurant) and Restoran Sari Ratu (Nasi Padang). At Medan Selera Taman Melawati one can find the popular Hamid Mee Rebus Penang and a halal Hainanese chicken rice stall.
According to VPC Alliance Sdn Bhd managing director James Wong, Taman Melawati is a former rubber plantation that was known as Hawthornton Estate. Development began in the 1970s. “The township was developed by Negara Properties (M) Bhd, which is now part of Sime Darby Group. Taman Melawati is a growing middle-income neighbourhood. But Jalan Negara is handicapped because of the heavy traffic and lack of parking spaces, which affect businesses in the area.”
In terms of monthly rent, the 2.5-storey shop offices near Jalan Negara range from RM2.30 to RM2.50 psf, or RM10,000 to RM11,000 per unit, with yields from 3.4% to 3.8% per annum.
There have not been any property transactions in Jalan Negara since 2013, and according to Wong’s research, the only recent transactions were in neighbouring roads, Jalan Bandar 1, 2, 4 and Lorong Selangor.
The last transactions in Jalan Negara were for three 2-storey and 3-storey shop offices, with built-ups of 4,270 to 4,650 sq ft, sold at RM323 to RM421 psf. The road next to Jalan Negara saw four transactions of 2½ to 4-storey shop offices last year. They were sold at RM276 to RM495 psf. The vast difference in value was due to the locality of the properties, says Wong.
The lower transacted price of RM276 psf was for a property located in Lorong Selangor, a lane connecting Jalan Negara to Lorong Serawak that faces an open area where the night market and farmer’s market (morning market) are held. The higher price of RM495 psf was for a 2½-storey shop office in Jalan Bandar 1, where two chinese restaurants, a coffee shop, an Indian restaurant, a fish market and a wine and liquor store are located. The recent asking prices for a 4-storey shop office, with a land area of 1,765 sq ft and built-up of 6,705 sq ft, in Jalan Negara range from RM2.5 to RM 3.5 million or RM373 to RM522 psf.
Wong says that although Jalan Negara is a popular area, traffic woes will affect values. “It is unlikely that property values in this area will increase substantially in the near term.”
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