PJ SERIES: Bandar Utama
Updated: Apr 6
Bandar Utama is a residential township located within the Sungai Buloh mukim (subdivision) of the Petaling District, Selangor, Malaysia. It is a residential suburb and home to the popular 1 Utama Shopping Centre. Bandar Utama, together with neighbouring Kampung Sungai Kayu Ara, form the PJU 6 section of the city of Petaling Jaya.
The Bandar Utama story began in the 1980s when See Hoy Chan Holdings Group, one of the foremost property developers in Malaysia, conceived an idea to build a township that would address the increasingly sophisticated expectations of Klang Valley dwellers.
The vision was realized on a 1,000-acre former oil palm plantation (formerly known as Effingham Estate) situated adjacent to the thriving Damansara Utama and Damansara Jaya developments in Selangor and opposite to Taman Tun Dr Ismail in Kuala Lumpur.
The scale and favourable location offered the opportunity to create a township that is fully integrated for housing and local employment. See Hoy Chan looked beyond just building houses; they were thinking about building neighbourhoods and communities.
Development of Bandar Utama began in the early 1990s and an attempt to modernise the area was made with the opening of Sri Pentas, TV3's broadcast centre was officially opened on 22 October 1996, as well as the 1 Utama Shopping Centre, which became increasingly well known after the Jaya Jusco chain of department stores, presently known as AEON, moved its Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, Kuala Lumpur outlet to Bandar Utama Damansara in 1995.
With the opening of several new schools in 1997 and 1998, as well as the establishment of Kolej Bandar Utama (now First City University College), a tertiary institution, Bandar Utama Damansara continued to grow. In 2004, additional residential precincts of BU7, BU10 and BU6 (comprising 2½-storey houses) were completed. These are newer sections of Bandar Utama Damansara compared to the older sections, BU1 until BU4, which were completed in phases beginning from 1991 until 1996.
By 2007, 5,626 homes comprising of 2-storey and 2 1/2-storey were completed.
The Master Plan
Bandar Utama is a township planned with 3 distinct zones. The framework encompasses state-of-the-art residential, business, and recreational properties leading to a sustainable development which transcends the future.
Metropolitan commercial centre
A modern, lifestyle-orientated and progressive condominium zone
A relaxed and charming housing zone
The master plan added an innovative zoning and road system that emphasises safety, security, and serenity. Environment and green-oriented policies are also major priorities.
Nature and Environmentally-Friendly
The inclusion of green zones, suburban parks, and neighbourhood parks throughout the township attest to the belief that a healthy environment must include the optimisation of natural resources and uncluttered spaces in order to provide an area for activities and relaxation. Parks and green belt buffers act as natural borders between the residents and access roads. These parks and green zones remind residents about the joys of having a cool and refreshing, green ambience. A spider web of buggy tracks, jogging, walking, and bicycle paths are interwoven within the township for residents to conveniently travel within the community seamlessly without the use of vehicles.
Westlake Sanctuary’s landscape design is informal and unstructured, a forest park in a natural setting that is friendly to birds and other indigenous wildlife. Central Park has open spaces, jogging tracks, and abundant fishes and tortoises that reside in the lakes within Central Park. Central Park won the “Best Landscaping Award” from the Ministry of Culture, Arts, and Tourism in 1997.
The Central Park, Westlake Sanctuary, golf course green zone, and neighbourhood parks are not the only perfect places to get close to nature, but the Rainforest Conservatory sited within the premise of 1 Utama shopping centre is another perfect way of being close to Mother Nature. The Rainforest Conservatory showcased over 100 species of genuine Malaysian forest trees, local freshwater, and river fishes including Japanese Kois.
THE RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
The housing zone in Bandar Utama comes from 12 self-contained neighbourhoods sitting on elevated land 3 metres or 8 to 10 feet above the main roads. A defined landscaped green buffer zone between houses and these roads provides an effective barrier for privacy, street noise, and dust.
The 12 self-contained neighbourhoods range from BU1 to BU12. These neighbourhoods are served by roads, e.g. Jalan BU2/5 where "Jalan" is a Malay word meaning road, BU2 is the section and 5 is the road number. Houses on one side of the road have even numbers, and the other side odd numbers, so one side of a road will consist of houses with numbers 2, 4, 6, 8 and so forth while the opposite will have houses numbered 1, 3, 5, 7 and so on.
Each neighbourhood of not more than 500 link houses is also built around a cozy play field and park - a central meeting point for social interaction among the residents - which is within a safe walking distance from all the homes without crossing main roads.
An efficient traffic system ensures that the main roads by-pass the neighbourhood zones; traffic in and out of the neighbourhood zones are channelled through secondary roads. This system enhances security as through traffic is re-directed around the neighbourhood and makes the residential streets quieter and safe for pedestrians. A comprehensive network of pedestrian walkways links the entire township. These walkways, naturally shaded by trees, enable residents to walk, jog or cycle from one end of the development zone to the other safely and comfortably.
The height of elite living in Bandar Utama comes in the next phase of residential development: exclusive gated and guarded bungalows for that added peace of mind - The Effingham | Bandar Utama.
The condominium zone comprise of 6,000 condominium units developed over 9 phases on 200 acres of prime elevated land. It is a viable alternative for those home seekers lured by high-rise living or “a home in the sky” that comes with convenience without sacrificing living space. The condominiums are nestled amongst the lush greenery of the Bukit Utama 9-hole golf course and expanded leisure needs are easily met by the well-equipped renowned clubhouse, The Club @ Bukit Utama.
Places of worship
The Bandar Utama Buddhist Society was registered on 28 March 2000. Uttama Bodhi Vihara, located in BU3, is an iconic building that is the home of the Society. Today, it is known to many Buddhists throughout the Klang Valley.
In August 2017, Victory Centre, a Foursquare Gospel Church, moved into Centrepoint Mall. There are also many churches nearby Bandar Utama: Glad Tidings Assembly of God Church, Damansara Utama Methodist Church, PJEFC which are all located in Seksyen 13, Petaling Jaya, Grace Assembly located in Taman SEA (SEA Park), Church of St. Ignatius, near Kampung Chempaka (Cempaka Village, and Kristus Aman, located in Taman Tun Dr Ismail.
There is a surau (prayer hall) for Muslims at BU3, and the village of Kayu Ara has a mosque. Since 2016, there is also a huge mosque just beside the BU12 residential area.
There are 3 national primary schools, a Chinese primary school (Puay Chai 2) and a Tamil primary school in Bandar Utama. There are also four secondary schools. The first primary school was opened near BU12 in 1998. The first secondary school in Bandar Utama, SMK Bandar Utama was also opened around the same time.
There is also First City University College, formerly known as KBU International College (KBU), a private tertiary institution and the British International School, Kuala Lumpur that follows the British educational curriculum in Malaysia.
First City University College has an excellent track record of producing highly employable graduates, entrepreneurs, and award-winners through its quality teaching and learning capabilities. It is achieved by having dedicated teaching staff with strong industry experience, collaborating with reputable overseas universities and well-established companies, and offering specially-designed courses at competitive fees.
With the new recognition, First City UC now offers dual award degrees with its collaborative international partners, as well as its own homegrown degrees.
For early childhood development centres or kindergartens, there are a few such as Smart Reader Kids Bandar Utama Damansara which is located at a corner lot of Jalan BU6/12.
Community Centres and Recreations
There is a community centre completed in the year 2005 situated between BU6 and BU3 next to Puay Chai 2 school. This community centre contains a community hall, a football (soccer) field, basketball/volleyball court and a few indoor badminton courts.
Additional social and indoor sporting activities are easily available at The Club @ Bukit Utama. The Club located at Bukit Utama Damansara is a membership-based golf and recreation club that has a 9-Hole golf course with night golfing facilities. The Club facilities boasts of its three indoor artificial grass tennis courts, squash courts, badminton courts, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, steam room, amped trampoline park, gym, meetings and conferences facilities, a grand ballroom, and Extra Super Tanker, a popular Chinese Cuisine Restaurant. There are ample parking facilities available for members and guests.
Commercial Complexes and Shopping Centre
The status of Bandar Utama as one of the most desirable addresses in the Klang Valley was further underscored with the opening of 1 Utama in 1995. 1 Utama is located at the far end of the BU1-BU10 side (right beside Damansara–Puchong Expressway).
This shopping centre is a regional magnet for suburban shoppers and offers an exciting one-stop shopping, food, entertainment, and leisure hub. It is tenanted by almost every international brand, and two large cineplexes with a total of 24 screens. A significant number of international tourists also shop at 1 Utama.
1 Utama shopping centre is accredited to be the first in the world to feature a genuine living and thriving Malaysian rainforest inside a shopping centre with over 100 species of flora and fauna complete with a rainbow suspension bridge and a pond displaying freshwater fishes. The Rainforest Conservatory and informative displays are placed around for the viewing pleasure of shoppers.
It has been well patronised since its opening in 1995, allowing it to more than double its size since then. As of 2004, it spans more than 5,000,000 square feet (460,000 m2), making it one of the largest malls in Malaysia.
Centrepoint features a one-stop ensemble of shops, services, and local conveniences such as supermarket, news agent, bank, money changer, dry cleaner, video rental shop, tuition centres, hardware store, even a Chinese medicine shop and a wide selection of food and beverage outlets. Centrepoint is also right next to a McDonald's drive-through restaurant.
Bandar Utama City Centre is the premier business precinct of Bandar Utama. It is a venue of multinational and local corporations such as IBM Corporation, international accounting firm KPMG, Media Prima Group (TV3, NTV7, 8TV, and TV9 stations) and banks.
It is not all about business in the township and One World Hotel, a five-star business hotel connected to the 1 Utama shopping centre offers world of absolute convenience and comfort for business and leisure travellers seeking a luxurious 5-star home-away-from-home. Travellers have a choice of 438 opulent rooms and suites, and be spoiled by the state-of-the-art entertainment features and take advantage of the hotel’s many amenities such as the gymnasium, pool, spa, sauna, and steam rooms. There is a also a selection of tastefully-appointed meeting rooms fully-equipped with advanced conference facilities for business clients and ballroom with a seating capacity for over 2,000 people.
ONECARD is the official loyalty card of the Bandar Utama township. With the ONECARD, cardholders are provided with endless privileges and benefits when shopping, dining, and entertaining at 1 Utama shopping centre, One World Hotel, Centrepoint, The Club @ Bukit Utama, and other Bandar Utama properties, including access to preferred parking areas.
CONNECTIVITY & TRANSPORTATION HUB
An expansive networks of roads, highways, and expressways; namely the Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP), Sprint Highway (SPRINT), Penchala Link, and the New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) are connected to Bandar Utama.
Bandar Utama is served by a mass rapid transit (MRT) station, SBK09 Bandar Utama, on the MRT Kajang Line. It is located between Sri Pentas and the LDP. The station is directly linked with the One World Hotel/1 Utama complex and the 1Powerhouse building where the park and ride bays and feeder bus stop are located. In the future, the station will also serve as the terminus of the new LRT Bandar Utama-Klang Line.
There are two MRT feeder bus routes running from the bus stop, covering parts of Bandar Utama as well as neighbouring neighbourhoods.
There are also frequent buses to and from KJ24 Kelana Jaya on the LRT Kelana Jaya Line. These buses, which are provided by 1 Utama, depart from the 1 Utama New Wing bus stop. From this bus stop, there are also Rapid KL buses to and from Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.