KUALA LUMPUR: The shops on Jalan Imbi, located in Kuala Lumpur's Golden Triangle, may soon pave way for new developments as land in the city centre becomes scarce. The Imbi stretch from the intersection of Jalan Bukit Bintang to Jalan Sultan Ismail started out with residential bungalows. From the 1950s, shops sprouted up as some of the homes were converted for commercial use.

Jalan Imbi has long been viewed as a possible extension of its more affluent cousin Jalan Bukit Bintang. Developers too have realised this and one developer, Asia Pacific Land Bhd (AP Land), is believed to have acquired over 25,000 sq ft since 2008 in their bid to accumulate landbank. According to AP Land, it is in the planning stages for future commercial developments on their Jln Imbi tracts.

Meanwhile, several existing shop owners too have been buying other shops here to expand their businesses or for investment purposes.

According to property transactions data provided by Burgess Rawson Sdn Bhd, the most recent transaction was recorded in January this year where a 2-storey pre-war shop was transacted for RM2 million. This unit sits on a site of over 1,700 sq ft. An owner is also believed to be asking RM10 million for his two-storey corner unit plus an adjoining lot.

Burgess Rawson's data also showed that the year 2007 saw a spike in the number of transactions on Jalan Imbi and some believe that to be caused by an announcement of the possible redevelopment of the Pasarakyat project nearby.

VPC Alliance (M) Sdn Bhd managing director James Wong told City & Country that land here is certainly valuable due to its strategic location.

"Although demand is high for the shops on Jalan Imbi, owners are not willing to let go as they realise the capital appreciation potential. As demand far exceeds supply, property values are bound to appreciate," he says. He also believes that the shops would eventually be amalgamated for redevelopment.
Principal of Ho Chin Soon Research Sdn Bhd, Ho Chin Soon, feels that future developments at Jalan Imbi would complement the businesses found nearby such as shopping centres and entertainment outlets. "However, the process of acquiring contiguous lots for redevelopment would be a long one, easily between five to 10 years," says Ho.
*Read the full report in the June 1 issue of City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia.