The Star, 28th June 2016

Modeled after global financial centers such as Canary Wharf in London and the Marina Bay in Singapore, the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) development is conceived to create a financial and commercial hub for Kuala Lumpur that is truly world-class. It will be one of the most transformative urban regeneration projects for the city, injecting new life into the area and redefining the future CBD for Kuala Lumpur.

As a financial and commercial centre, TRX aims to create a business ecosystem which enables companies to be more efficient because of the ease and convenience that it offers – access to larger pool of talents, close proximity to customers and partners and greater opportunities for networking.

The 70-acre district boasts Grade-A office space, exclusive residential towers and hotels, hospitality, retail and leisure offerings that offer world-class work, live and play environment – with an estimated gross development value of RM40 billion.

Part of the Government’s Economic Transformation Programme, TRX represents the physical nucleus to focus the groundwork that Malaysia has done – both in conventional and Islamic finance — and provide a physical hub to financial players and investors.

Aside from the clustering benefits of world-class financial institutions and home-grown companies in one place, TRX can also help in branding Kuala Lumpur as a global financial city, providing world-class setting to support the city’s future growth and job creations within the financial and services sectors.

Essentially, the TRX project is an investment opportunity especially for investors and financiers who see Kuala Lumpur as leading emerging international financial city and Islamic Finance first global hub.

This proposition has appealed to local and foreign investors alike. TRX’s roster of investors includes global infrastructure and property group Lendlease, Indonesia property giant Mulia Group, Veolia Water Technologies, Affin Bank Berhad, Lembaga Tabung Haji and the WCT Group.

Its master developer TRX City Sdn Bhd, which changed its name from 1MDB Real Estate Sdn Bhd last December, is in the final stage of an ownership transfer to the Ministry of Finance (MOF). With this, TRX City now has a firmer, more focused footing to create a dedicated financial hub for Malaysia.

2016 has recorded strong progress for the project. In May, the concrete pouring for the Signature Tower, involving a massive 20,000 m3 mat foundation, took place over two days – one of the biggest concrete pourings seen in the world.

The construction of the Signature Tower, developed by Mulia, is rapidly progressing. The early development of the tower is crucial to the maturity of TRX as a whole, as it acts as an anchor landmark to the entire project. It can also help catalyze the physical development for other parts of TRX and support the establishment of the overall TRX brand.

The tower, which currently is the only building in TRX offering office space for lease, will comprise of 92 floors, with massive column free floor plates averaging at 34,000 square feet. It is located within the prominent Financial Quarter of TRX, fronting Jalan Tun Razak and Jalan Sultan Ismail.

The development of TRX’s Lifestyle Quarter has also seen solid progress since April, with rock blasting and excavation works being carried out.

The retail-led mixed-use development, which has a forecast Gross Development Value of over RM8.0 billion, is a joint undertaking between TRX and Australia’s Lendlease. It occupies over 17 acres and when completed will comprise of a new retail mall, several residential towers and a hotel, all connected to a roof-top central TRX park.

The design and planning approval for the exciting lifestyle and residential components are currently in advance stages, and they are expected to be launched in the second half of 2016.

Ensuring the district is seamlessly connected and accessible has been a priority to TRX. Apart from hosting two MRT lines – the Sungai Buloh-Kajang line and the Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya line – TRX will also undertake improvements of the road connectivity in the area, with new access points and an upgrade of existing roads.

The areas surrounding TRX are already seeing value uplifts as investors and real estate players anticipate the benefits of being close to an international financial district and a significant improvement in connectivity.

In early June, TRX City has started the tender process for the next phase of its infrastructure work: the proposed traffic dispersal and improvement to part of Jalan Tun Razak, as well as construction of the TRX ingress and egress.

This contract will include the construction of Jalan Tun Razak-TRX Ingress and Egress (underground tunnel), MEX-TRX Ingress (elevated), SMART-TRX Ingress and Egress (underground tunnel), and related works.

TRX is spending an estimated RM3 billion on its infrastructure to turn the 70-acre land into a truly accessible international world-class financial hub.

This involves creating a loop tunnel system for TRX, which provides direct access to and from the major highways, to various points within the development, giving the district the best connectivity in the city.

The TRX Master Plan also includes rejuvenating and regenerating the surrounding areas such as Bukit Bintang, a plan that is aligned with DBKL’s vision to enhance the city and turn it into one of 20 most liveable cities in the world.

Moreover, TRX has in place a solid sustainability agenda — it is investing in green facilities covering waste water management, digital infrastructure and public spaces to create a truly sustainable international financial district.

One of the advantages for TRX being developed at a master plan level is that, apart from having buildings that meet a required level of sustainability, its large infrastructure are outfitted at the district level – and this allows businesses and residents to be even greener.

TRX currently is in partnership with Veolia Water Technologies Southeast Asia for wastewater treatment and recycled water supply. A key component of its sustainability framework, the district will be supported by Veolia’s onsite water treatment system to reduce water consumption by recycling more than 90% of the waste water.

This recycled water is to be used mainly for toilet flushing, cooling and irrigation, is expected to cut potable water demand from Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (SYABAS) by about half.

The recycled water will also be used for irrigation of the 12-acre TRX central park, the green lung at the heart of the district. The park and the rest of TRX landscape are important elements in helping the district create a desirable open space, and key in making it a pedestrian-friendly district.

The entire TRX district will be a walkable neighbourhood with shaded routes, including connections between the MRT station and the shopping mall through the park. Squares, gardens and parks will all be connected via a network of water features and streets lined with mature trees.

Grant Associates, the consultant for distinctive sustainable landscape such as Singapore’s Gardens by The Bay, has been chosen to design TRX’s Public Realm.