5 Iconic Malls That Were Given a New Lease of Life - Jiran

5 Iconic Malls That Were Given a New Lease of Life

These shopping venues continue to thrive with refreshed look and change of management

Published on 2 December 2021

There are over 560 malls throughout Malaysia and more than 200 of them are located in Klang Valley according to Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB). Why are shopping malls still thriving despite the rising demand for e-commerce? 

Shopping malls are more than just places to shop for goods. Malaysians mostly go to malls as an outing with either friends or families. They dine, shop and watch movies on weekends, before festive seasons and not forgetting during school holidays.  

Some of these venues are deemed as iconic shopping malls that have existed for more than three decades. Let’s take a look at five local shopping havens that have stood the test of time. 

1. Bangsar Village I & II 

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Bangsar’s Telawi area today is vastly different from what it was three decades ago. Back then, the row of trendy cafés, restaurants and bakeries didn’t exist. Its main attraction was Hankyu Jaya, a Japanese department store and supermarket. Families often spent their time there stocking up on groceries, checking out new collections and treating their brood to a meal at Grandy’s, an American fast-food chain that served Southern comfort food.  

Hankyu Jaya closed its doors in the late ’90s. It was left vacant for several years before it was transformed into Bangsar Village I in 2004. It remains a favourite spot for families and those who prefer to do their shopping in a less-crowded environment. To cater to a larger patronage, a new wing was added and eventually called Bangsar Village II.  

2. Atria Shopping Gallery 

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Despite some bumps in the road, Atria is still regarded as an iconic neighbourhood shopping mall which serves those residing in Damansara Jaya and surrounding areas since the 1980s. Its first tenant was French department store Printemps before Kimisawa from Japan took over. Parkson Grand replaced the Japanese store and then Atria Shopping Centre was born.  

Although it was highly popular in the ’80s and ’90s, it lost its charm in the early noughties. OSK Property Holdings Berhad acquired the shopping centre and after years of total makeover, it was given a new lease of life and rebranded as Atria Shopping Gallery. It is now a far cry from what it was before. Atria now stands tall with eight levels, and the top of the building is occupied by Atria SoFo Suites, which comprise small office and flexible offices (SoFos). 

3. Fahrenheit88 

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Fahrenheit88 was formerly known as KL Plaza, which survived for 27 years before it was redeveloped. It was known to be one of the oldest shopping complexes in Kuala Lumpur and was home to iconic international brands like American music store Tower Records during its heyday in the 1990s. It was a hip and trendy spot that carried mid-range brands and outlets, and it continues to do so today. 

Formerly owned by the Berjaya Group, it was sold to the Pavilion Group in 2007. In 2010, it was rebranded as Fahrenheit88. Fun fact: the name was said to reflect the average temperature in Malaysia. Continuing its legacy of being a hub for internationally renowned brands, the shopping gallery became the first home to Japan’s top casual wear brand UNIQLO. Fahrenheit88 is also home to the largest Sephora outlet in the world beating out the previous largest stores in New York and Paris.  

4. Sunway Putra Mall 

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Before Sunway Putra Mall came to be, it was simply known as The Mall when it opened in 1987. It was officiated by the then Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad who personally buried a time capsule that will be unearthed after a century in 2087. He wrote a message addressed to the citizens of the future and included it inside the capsule.  

When it opened, The Mall was known to be the largest shopping centre in Malaysia. Its three-storey indoor theme park, Starlight Express, was one of the main attractions. Now, you will be able to find over 300 local and international brands spread across four distinctive categories at Sunway Putra Mall. These four unique shopping experiences are Vanity Hall (fashion and beauty), Market Place (household items), Selera Street (food and beverage), and Asian Avenue (everything Asian). 

5. Jaya Shopping Centre 

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Jaya Supermarket was originally built in 1974 and was one of the first supermarkets to open in Petaling Jaya. It served as a neighbourhood retail store that offered basic necessities. Dave’s Deli opened its first proper outlet in Jaya Supermarket in the early ’90s and has grown into a successful restaurant chain.  

The original building had four storeys of retail units compared to the current seven-storey mall that has more than 150 shoplots. The expansion and redevelopment of this historical piece of property led to it being renamed Jaya Shopping Centre to reflect the changes that have been made. Despite the massive transformations, Jaya Shopping Centre continues to have strong ties with the community.  

We’ve got more blasts from the past to share with you in our Nostalgia section! Keep up to date with all the stories via FacebookInstagram and Twitter.