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There are several businesses still operating on Jalan Imbi.

THE Exchange 106, a skyscraper under construction within upcoming financial district Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) in Jalan Imbi, represents some great history of Kuala Lumpur.

Formerly known as TRX Signature Tower, the building retells the significance of Kuala Lumpur’s early developments and structures, most of which were built in the early 20th century when the tin mining industry was booming.

The Exchange 106 draws its beauty from the rich heritage and history of the location.

The area between Jalan Imbi and Jalan Davis was once dotted with many bungalows that flourished and were collectively a well-known landmark among the Kuala Lumpur community known as Pak Luk Kan.

To begin with, the name Pak Luk Kan, which literally translates to “Land of the 106 Bungalows”, was part of the architecture blending of local and colonial styles.

The bungalows in Pak Luk Kan used to house public service employees from the 1920s to 1980s and 1990s when they made way for the Pasar Raya Bukit Bintang, which came to be known as the Imbi Market, and the Pasarakyat Bus Terminal, and thereafter the site of the TRX.

Pak Luk Kan contributed to the rich heritage of different cultures in the area at Jalan Imbi. Originally known as Imby Road in English, Jalan Imbi was named after Sergeant Imby Seed in in 1905 as his home was considered a unique landmark there. From then came other landmarks that still exist today, including the Imbi Chapel, Oversea Restaurant, Sakura Restaurant and Fei Har Ching Ser Temple.


What’s left of Jalan Imbi.

In the vicinity of Pak Luk Kan, there is large part of Jalan Imbi that was owned by the late Loke Wan Tho. A known personality of the day, he was the poetry-loving film and cinema magnate, philanthropist, respected ornithologist and shutterbug who founded the Cathay Organisation and was the son of tycoon Wong Loke Yew.

Another famous landowner was the Low Yat Group, one of the pioneers of Kuala Lumpur’s development who built commercial buildings in the Golden Triangle. The legacy started by Tan Sri Low Yat was carried on by his descendants in further developing Kuala Lumpur, taking new opportunity and leaving an indelible mark on Kuala Lumpur.

V. Raju, a retired civil servant from Malaysia’s Department of Survey and Mapping and previously a resident of Jalan Selatan, said almost all government quarters at the Pak Luk Kan area then were built before Merdeka and could have been historical gems if efforts were made to preserve them.

“My family’s time in the 106 bungalows area was idyllic. Kids played out in the road and in each other’s house. We had Chinese and Malay neighbours on either side, it was all very muhibbah,” said Raju.

He said as the years went by, the Imbi area became a hot commodity with its proximity to the commercial and retail developments of a thriving Kuala Lumpur.

“We knew it was just a matter of time that the government quarters would make way for the spread of the city.”

Raju said he moved out when the area made way for the development of the market area.

“While we may seem to lose a bit of old Kuala Lumpur, I’m glad that the Exchange 106 is paying homage to the Pak Luk Kan era, incorporating a bit of the heritage into its history, too.”

On May 13 2015, 1MDB Real Estate Sdn Bhd (1MDB RE), the master developer of TRX, and Mulia Group’s unit, Mulia Property Development Sdn Bhd, signed a sale and purchase agreement for the development rights of the land for the Exchange 106, then known as the Signature Tower. The land was sold at RM665 million.

Groundwork commenced on March 1 2016, with the mat concrete foundation laid in May 2016.

CONNECTING TO HISTORY

Mulia Property, the developer of the Exchange 106, found a way to connect the history of Pak Luk Kan to it by referencing the 106 bungalows.

Drawing on the historic references of the land, the company took the original idea of Pak Luk Kan and modernised it. From 106 bungalows that adorned a single area, it transformed the spirit of the neighbourhood by taking it to the skies. Now, 106 glorious floors dominate the skyline, thus welcoming innovators, dreamers, builders, artists and investors.


An old wooden house with KL Tower as the backdrop.

The 106-floor building is topped with a 65m, 12-storey high illuminated crown, making it 452m tall. It will have a net lettable area of 240,000 sq m.

The Exchange 106 is nearing completion to the highest international standards, complementing the country’s architectural treasures of Petronas Twin Towers and KL Tower.

It offers column-free office space of 22,000 to 34,000 sq ft, the largest columnless space in the country. These are designed for flexible layouts and open-plan interior configurations.

The diagonal positioning of the tower also provides ample distance from neighbouring towers and 360-degree views.

The main lobby is 15m tall, sophisticated and elegantly finished with highest quality materials, with book-matched marble cladding and English Burl wood veneer ceilings. It functions as a threshold to the different lift zones serving the six vertical zones and podium.


The famous Chinese village.

The crown of this magnificent tower will be the marquee and defining element for the TRX development. It is adorned with super-clear glass triangulated and folded to create dramatic and effective reflections during the day and distinctive glow during the night. The LED lights throughout the building change will reflect the colours of the ringgit.

“How befitting the area that used to house the leading public service members of Kuala Lumpur will now house the leading corporate citizens of Malaysia,” said Mulia head of marketing Christine Yeap.

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