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This article first appeared in City & Country, The Edge Malaysia Weekly on February 25, 2019 - March 3, 2019

Plenty of natural light shines through the tall glass windows of Little Rimba, one of the newer places in Lorong Datuk

Sulaiman, one clear afternoon. The trendy restaurant is full of patrons who have come in to grab a bite and coffee. It is a typical scene along the leafy thoroughfare.

The street in the heart of Taman Tun Dr Ismail is dotted with cafés, restaurants, bars and convenience shops. Some of the popular establishments are Thursdvys, Vin’s Restaurant and Bar, Quar/Tet TTDI and Hailam Kopitiam.

Five Arts Centre has been there for more than 25 years and there is also a 99 Speedmart as well as boutiques such as Cycle Studios and The Labels Luxe TTDI. A jujitsu school, Leverage BJJ Malaysia, also operates there.

According to Metro REC Sdn Bhd head of agency Terence Yap, “Lorong Datuk Sulaiman offers good food, conveniences and easy parking as the neighbourhood is away from the main roads.”

The street, he says, is bounded by Masjid At-Taqwa, Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Tun Dr Ismail 2 and Jalan Datuk Sulaiman 2. Several roads — from Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 2 to Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 8 — branch out from it.

There is little information on the history or background of Lorong Datuk Sulaiman. Many residents there are seniors, as well as second and third-generation families with schoolgoing children, says Yap.

Most of the buildings are shoplots and mainly single-storey terraced houses. However, he notices that more houses are being converted into 2-storeys.

A nearby landmark is Bukit Kiara Park. “It is the main attraction near Lorong Datuk Sulaiman and is popular with runners as well as cyclists in the area,” says Yap.

 “There are no new developments in the area that have been approved with the exception of one by Pavilion Group located further down the road.”

According to him, “Demand for residential properties has been consistent here. According to government data, a single-storey house in Lorong Datuk Sulaiman was transacted for RM1.3 million last year.

“The rental yield for landed property has always been low compared with non-landed properties. Single-storey terraced houses are asking for RM1,800 to RM2,500 in rent,” Yap says, noting that even at RM2,500, that only translates into a gross yield of 2.3% for a property valued at RM1.3 million.

Non-landed properties enjoy slightly better yields. This is because their values are much lower, from about RM750,000 to RM850,000, but they can fetch average rents of RM2,000, he explains.

 “This gives the owners a 3% to 3.2% gross yield. Newer developments in other streets in TTDI also generate the same yields,” he says.

Meanwhile, a single-storey house, measuring 1,760 sq ft, is priced at an average of RM1.2 million to RM1.3 million while non-landed developments can go for RM700 to RM750 psf, and the newer ones, RM800 to RM1,000 psf, he says.

He says there is one obstacle that may impact values along the road. “Weekends are crowded because of the activities in and around Bukit Kiara Park. There is a congestion issue, especially on Friday, as Masjid At-Taqwa is located close by.”

Yap concludes, “If the proposed development at Bukit Kiara Park does not take place, Lorong Datuk Sulaiman will remain a tranquil and family-friendly area.”

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