WHILE Kuala Lumpur takes pride in hosting most skyscrapers in Southeast Asia, some long abandoned projects in the city remains an eyesore. One such project is Plaza Rakyat along Jalan Pudu, which had been left idle for more than 20 years.
A Focus Malaysia article on April 20, 2013 titled “hurdles hamper Plaza Rakyat revival”, said with arbitration process was still ongoing between the Kuala Lumpur City Hall and Plaza Rakyat Sdn Bhd (PRSB), the original developer, back then and there was little sign of a white knight swooping in to complete the project.
The article highlighted, even if there was settlement and the City Hall appointed a new company to take over the project, many problems remained to be solved.
Focus Malaysia quoted then UDA Holdings chairman Nur Jazlan Mohamed as saying: “Whoever takes over the project will have to pay the bank about RM700 mil upfront, which is the amount loaned to the original developer with years of interest.”
Nur Jazlan pointed out that the existing foundation of Plaza Rakyat was useless and the new developer would have to demolish it as the project had been abandoned too long. In addition, the project, he said, was sitting in a water catchment area and there was a small river running through it.
This meant whoever took over the project would have to spend extra for the demolition works, rerouting the river and setting up a new foundation.
Furthermore, he noted that the property was no longer in Kuala Lumpur’s prime area, as such it held lower property value compared to places like Bukit Bintang.
Pessimistic on a possible takeover anytime soon, Nur Jazlan remarked that the new developer would have to address these issues since no enterprise would want to enter into a project that gives a negative yield.
The Sundaily on Nov 11, 2019 reported that then Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad had said the Plaza Rakyat project would be built by a new developer with the development order to be released later that year after the developer settles certain charges set by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall.
As per the report, the ministry had set some requirements to ensure the project would not be abandoned again, besides examining the background and financial capabilities of the contractors involved.
“We have no reason to be sceptical of their capabilities. If they still fail, the developers will lose hundreds of millions of ringgit. We will help them by providing some flexibility and incentives, including a 50 per cent discount on the development charges,” he was quoted as saying.
In the meantime, the Star reported on Nov 25, last year that Plaza Rakyat unit buyers wanted to meet Khalid over compensation for late delivery of the project.
Updating on the a latest development of the project, the Edge in a Jan 13, 2020 report said Profit Consortium Sdn Bhd had won the tender from KL City Hall to redevelop the site for RM740 million back in October 2015, but little development seemed to have been made thus far.
According to the Edge, when it approached Khalid for comments, he said Profit Consortium has paid few tens of millions to the KL City Hall and the alternative was to leave the project as it is, as no one else has made an offer to acquire it. – Oct 1, 2020