THE traffic that flows in and out of Damansara Perdana on a working day is a testament to how busy the area is. The rumble of trucks and tractors can be heard at construction sites in the vicinity.
And development is showing no signs of slowing down with ongoing construction work on seemingly every piece of available land. Over the past two years, projects big and small have sprouted in the neighbourhood, apart from the developments of master developer MK Land Holdings Bhd.
Several developmens in various stages of construction are set to raise the profile of Damansara Perdana. These include The Altium by Gabungan AQRS and Mammoth Empire Holdings Sdn Bhd's Empire Damansara, Empire Residence and Empire City.
Empire City is a mixed-use development located across Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong from PJ Trade Centre. The developer is Cosmopolitan Avenue, a unit of Mammoth Empire. The first phase comprises 16 shopoffices, a 38-storey office tower with 786 units, a 4-storey commercial podium and a 3-storey mezzanine floor. The second phase comprises two 28-storey office blocks with 700 units and twelve 1 to 8-storey shopoffices and a 3-storey commercial podium on top of a 4-storey basement.
Empire Residence is a high-end gated development that covers 19.2ha next to Armanee Terrace 1 and opposite Perdana Exclusive Condominium. It comprises 750 three-storey terraced houses.
Empire Damansara is a mixed-use development comprising seven 4 to 14-storey office blocks, two blocks of SoHos, a studio block of between 23 and 40 storeys, a 25-storey hotel, eight 2 to 3-storey shops and a 6-storey podium.
AQRS' The Altium is also a Green Building Index (GBI)-certified mixed-use development. Located on 2.66 acres of leasehold land, it was launched in 2011 and comprises three components — The Prime, CEO Suites and The Pulse.
The Prime is a 22-storey Grade A, MSC-compliant green building with a gross floor area of about 300,000 sq ft.
CEO Suites are housed in 12 levels and offer 161,243 sq ft of space, a multi-tier security system, meeting rooms, swimming pools and a gymnasium. The SoHos are 612 to 1,041 sq ft in size and are priced from RM537,430 to RM891,411.
The Pulse is a three-tiered, 30,128 sq ft of nature-infused retail space to be used mainly for food and beverage outlets. It is not for sale.
According to news reports, AQRS will occupy four floors of The Prime as its headquarters upon its completion. To date, the components put up for sale in The Altium — which is expected to be completed in 3Q2014 — have been taken up. Meanwhile, there is talk that the project may undergo a name change.
Apart from the new projects, infrastructure upgrading and improved connectivity have boosted the confidence of homebuyers and investors in Damansara Perdana.
From 2008 to 2012, the serviced apartments and condos in the area saw a capital appreciation of 30% to 40%, according to Knight Frank Malaysia managing director Sarkunan Subramaniam.
The values of Ritze Perdana 1, which is on commercial land, and Ritze Perdana 2, which is on residential land, rose as much as 60% over the same period. This could be because these are more affordable units of 400 to 850 sq ft that are more in line with the current market trend.
Condos at Armanee Terrace — which are larger units of more than 2,000 sq ft — appreciated by about 25% over the same period.
Mohd Ikhram Merican, moderator of damansaraperdana.com.my — an online property exchange to help people find homes in Damansara Perdana — shares Sarkunan's views.
Prices at Metropolitan Square rose 38% between 2007 and 2011 and by 36% from 2011 to end-2012, he says. Metropolitan Square is sought after because of its high rental yield and facilities, he adds.
Sarkunan and Ikhram agree that improved connectivity to Mutiara Damansara and the surrounding areas has been a factor in pushing up values in the area. The construction of Penchala Link in 1998 provided easy access to Mont'Kiara and to the Kuala Lumpur city centre.
According to data from Knight Frank, in 2007, a 116,028 sq ft parcel in Damansara Perdana was sold for RM38.2 million or RM330 psf. In 2009, a 275,786 sq ft parcel went for RM37.1 million or RM135 psf. The same parcel was then transacted in 2011 for RM57.5 million or RM209 psf.
However, there is an apparent disparity between developments built before and after 2007.
Post-2007 developments like Armanee Terrace, says Ikhram, are seeing higher appreciation compared with pre-2007 developments like Perdana Exclusive and Perdana View. He says this is due to the better maintenance and construction quality of the newer developments.
In Sarkunan's view, Damansara Perdana is as vibrant as Mont'Kiara in Kuala Lumpur. While this may seem far-fetched to some, his reasoning is that the area is in a prime location, is easily accessible and seems to be an alternative location to Mont'Kiara. Prices are more affordable, it can cater to a wider local rental market and it is supported by a wide range of amenities and facilities, he adds.
"The area is surrounded by established and mature townships like Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI), Mutiara Damansara, Bandar Utama and Desa ParkCity," he says. "Major roads and highways make the area appealing to the public."
Some of the Klang Valley's more popular retail destinations, such as 1 Utama Shopping Centre, The Curve, Ikano Power Centre and [email protected], are also within the vicinity.
The LDP, New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) and SPRINT Highway provide good connectivity. Meanwhile, the proposed Damansara-Shah Alam Highway will link Puncak Perdana U10 in Shah Alam to the Penchala Interchange. While some residents have complained about the highway, DASH could become an alternative route to Persiaran Surian at Kota Damansara. It could also be an easier route to Subang Airport.
DASH could also be the link between the east and west of the Klang Valley, crossing over the NKVE and connecting existing highways such as the Guthrie Corridor Expressway, LDP and SPRINT.
DASH is a 20.1km, three-lane dual carriageway that will pass through Alam Suria, Denai Alam, Kampung Melayu Subang, Jalan Sungai Buloh, Kota Damansara, Damansara Perdana and Mutiara Damansara. A total of 12 interchanges has been proposed along the alignment.
Apart from the roads, the mass rapid transit's proposed Sungai Buloh-Kajang line will have designated stations in TTDI, Bandar Utama, Mutiara Damansara and Kota Damansara, further enhancing access to Damansara Perdana.
"The ongoing and proposed infrastructure and public transport network that will emerge in several years will add to the area's appeal," says Sarkunan.
Although Ikhram does not agree with Sarkunan that Damansara Perdana is an alternative to Mont'Kiara, he says property prices are getting closer to levels in Mont'Kiara.
"Damansara Perdana does not provide the lifestyle Mont Kiara offers its residents," he says. "Mont'Kiara is near malls like Publika and Solaris and has good restaurants and lifestyle shops, international schools and community-centric amenities and activities. These auxiliary factors are not present in Damansara Perdana to facilitate a shift in prestige."
Ikhram believes Damansara Perdana has the potential to rival Mont'Kiara if it offers more sophisticated products.
Nevertheless, Damansara Perdana has been very successful in attracting the middle-income group and young professionals due to its affordable property prices, he says.
But it is slowly losing that appeal as prices continue to escalate.
"There is a gross mismatch between income and property prices in the country," Ikhram remarks. "The growth in Damansara Perdana is really good, but we notice that people are shocked with the high prices these days. If prices continue to increase, I think the target market for Damansara Perdana would not be able to afford the properties here any more."
He adds: "I believe one or two things will happen if prices continue to increase — either the target market is going to shift as it will no longer be attracting young professionals but more the upper middle class or property prices will rise to a point where they will stagnate."
"The growth here has been spectacular, but I don't see the same growth rate in the next five to six years. At some point, prices will plateau."
On the construction of DASH, Ikhram says it may negatively impact some developments along its route.
"For developments like Ritze Perdana 2, Metropolitan Square and to some degree, Neo Damansara, DASH may negatively affect prices because they will be close to it," he says. "However, it would benefit the commercial properties in the area."
"Damansara Perdana has not exhausted its growth potential," says Ikhram. "Compared to Mont'Kiara that has been able to expand to Segambut and Jalan Kuching, Damansara Perdana's development is limited. Looking at the simple economics of demand and supply, there will not be an oversupply of commercial or residential properties and continuous demand will drive prices."
Sarkunan believes Damansara Perdana will continue to grow. Its appeal, he says, lies in its seamless connection to established schemes nearby and townships in the PJU locality, such as the 355-acre freehold Mutiara Damansara.
Damansara Perdana is expected to take another 10 years to be fully completed and is set to be a premier centre for business and living in Petaling Jaya, he adds.
This story first appeared in The Edge weekly edition of Feb 4-10, 2013.
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