Restoration of building in 2015 (now known as Old Malaya).

THE address that is getting more interesting today is 66, Jalan Raja Chulan - home to Old Malaya, a pre-World War II building built in 1919 and was once the glamorous residences of the Eurasian community.

A company called Bujang Valley Sdn Bhd decided to take over the site under a 15-year lease and transform the crumbling facade of the building, turning it into Old Malaya, featuring a range of food and beverage outlets.

Bujang Valley is a joint venture between Shahab Ira 1973 Sdn Bhd and Pampas Group.

Old Malaya founder Kana Theva said the company had decided to take a long-term lease and transform the site into a colonial real estate due to the location.

The heritage building once faced a possible future of demolition and redevelopment. With the determination to prevent such a future, Datuk Syed Mustaffa Shahabuddin, co-owner of Old Malaya, moved to realise his 15-year old dream to save the iconic landmark with Theva.


Malaysia Bonsai & Suiseki Society (MBSS) president Datuk Chua Kok Hwa attending to his bonsai garden.

Together, they embarked on a course to revitalise and restore the building to what it is today.

Conservation of the original building was started by Bujang Valley, along with The Department of Malaysian Heritage and an architecture design company. Together, they carefully restored and developed the original building into a row of international heritage styled shop fronts.


A section of the dilapidated building before restoration.

Theva said the conservation process took one year in order to retain many of the building’s original features while helping to preserve Malaysian architectural heritage.

“The original building was constructed in 1919 and was an Eurasian settlement back then before the British, and later Malay military officers and their families, took over.


Kana Theva.

“Years later, the land was acquired by Ng family. The last known to operate here was Life Records before it was abandoned and left to decay.

“Many private parties and property developers had offered the new land owners to buy over the site, but their proposals were declined. They are not going to sell. This is the site where KL Tower is located directly behind as a backdrop. This is what we thought of before


Hidden mansions and bungalows sandwiched between Jalan Raja Chulan and Jalan Tengah with KL Tower as a backdrop.

leasing the land. We knew the location would be perfect for our business,” he said.

According to Syed Mustaffa, a few original items in the pre-world war building were retained during restoration.

“The walls and staircases are original. Even the fittings of the windows are original. The intricate work that you see on the bottom and at the sides of the windows are orginal.

“The timber lining the ceiling is original. We just reinforced it with a high beam so there is no weight,” he said.

Syed Mustaffa said almost RM8 million was spent to refurbish the building.

NEW DEVELOPMENT IN JALAN RAJA CHULAN

It is understood that there are several plots of land surrounding Old Malaya, and some parcels will be redeveloped by a China property developer to include more than 4,000 serviced apartments.


A miniature size tree.

Shenzhen-based developer China Vanke Co Ltd was reported to have won the tender for a 2.99ha tract near Old Malaya.

China Vanke, which is listed both on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and Hong Kong’s stock exchange, is expected to pay RM500 million or RM1,600 per sq ft for the land.

The tract was put up for sale in March last year by Deloitte Corporate Solutions Sdn Bhd. Deloitte was appointed the liquidator to City Centre Sdn Bhd — the owner of the land — following an order by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on October 26 2015.

Property experts said the land is expected to fetch RM750 million, but there have been no takers.

“The land was on the market for sometime. The owners were expecting RM700 million to RM750 million, but developers were asking for a much lower price due to the land condition.

“I am not sure what the Chinese developer is going to do or how they are going to build several towers there, but I’m sure it will raise property prices in the area,” said a real estate expert, who is familiar with the deal.

China Vanke is expected to build six towers with more than 4,000 serviced apartments on the site through a locally incorporated company, Malola Garden City Sdn Bhd.

The estimated gross development value for the six towers is around RM2.5 billion to RM3 billion. Sharen Kaur

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