'Underground city' plan for KL township

Located on a huge 197ha piece of land, Bandar Malaysia now houses an air force base and other government facilities.

It is located 7km from the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, and used to be Kuala Lumpur's main airport.

The developers plan to turn this corner of Kuala Lumpur into the capital city's central transport hub that features the Malaysian terminus for the proposed high- speed rail between Singapore and Malaysia. Other rail links that will pass through Bandar Malaysia include the upcoming MRT lines, the inter-city KTM Komuter, and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport network called Express Rail Link.

A consortium comprising Malaysia's Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH) and China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC) will undertake the development of the entire Bandar Malaysia as a master developer, said IWH director and executive vice-chairman Lim Kang Hoo.

IWH-CREC is buying a 60 per cent stake for RM7.41 billion (S$2.4 billion), with the other 40 per cent remaining with state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

The consortium is planning to develop a third of the land parcel in the first phase, by selecting a developer to oversee it.

Bandar Malaysia is estimated to have a gross development value of RM150 billion over a 15- to 25-year period.

A two-level underground city, modelled after Montreal's Underground City, will be built beneath the entire plot of land, officials said.

The underground city will feature food and beverage outlets, as well as shopping, commercial and lifestyle residential facilities, Tan Sri Lim said.

"In Malaysia, it is either too hot or too much of rain. An underground city, which is not affected by the weather, makes it attractive," he told The Straits Times.

Eunice Au

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 01, 2016, with the headline ''Underground city' plan for KL township'. Print Edition | Subscribe