TIRED of living next to an abandoned white elephant for the past four years, residents heaved a sigh of relief when it was reported that the SStwo Mall in Petaling Jaya had been bought over by the DK Group of Companies last year.
Residents were also happy that the developer had installed spotlights and put up hoardings around the abandoned building.
Six months have since passed and residents want to know what is next.
In September 2018, there were news reports DK Group was planning to build a 250-room hotel and serviced apartments.
The retail space – from its current net lettable area of 460,000 sq ft – would also be reduced to between 260,000 sq ft and 300,000 sq ft. The land area is 3.16ha.
Residents are eager for the building to be redeveloped as they fear the dilapidation will get worse the longer it is left vacant.
The last thing residents want is to be left with a monstrous eyesore that will affect the area’s property value.
They also fear the empty building will become a breeding ground for Aedes mosquitoes and a magnet for undesirable elements.
Residents living in Jalan SS2/72 and Jalan 19/30 said before the hoardings were erected, vandals who broke into empty shops to steal recyclable materials inadvertently preyed on nearby houses as well. They claim to have lost shoes and underclothes.
The empty building was also becoming a haunt for drug addicts.
One resident living in Jalan 19/30, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the space should have been turned into a park with a children’s playground.
He said before construction of the mall began, residents objected to the planned development.
They pointed out there were already too many malls within Petaling Jaya but the mall was built and it opened in 2010.
It closed less than five years later in March 2015 but even that was mired in controversy as about half a dozen tenants expressed anger at having to vacate their premises with no compensation forthcoming.
Despite tenants’ protests that inadequate time was given for the move, Pramerica AsiaRetail, an entity under AsiaMalls Sdn Bhd which owned the mall before it was eventually sold to DK Group, said that it had done everything by the book.
But as the building remained empty over the next few years, tenants were left wondering why they were forced to vacate the premises so quickly.
Spencer Samuel, 83, a resident in the area for the past 43 years, said it was wasteful for the building to be left idle any longer.
“It is a beautiful, solid building. It will be good if a supermarket opens up in there, ” said Spencer.
“It will be nice if there was food court and maybe a coffee place in the building, ” chimed in resident Winnie Chua, who enjoyed patronising the commercial spaces offered by the mall before it closed its doors.
“I would not mind a barber or tailor shop in there. Maybe a sundry shop too. It will be very convenient as all I need to do is to just walk across, ” said another resident Tan Bin Hooi.
When contacted, DK Group sales and marketing general manager Patrick Lim said the company had no immediate plans to carry out any demolition or embark on refurbishment plans for SStwo Mall yet.
On residents’ concerns that the building would decay and attract undesirables, bringing down their property prices, Lim said a security team had been assigned to patrol the property grounds to prevent trespassers, vagrants and drug addicts from entering the premises.
“We will also send a team to check the building site soon, ” said Lim.
A check at site revealed that the mall’s parking lot was being used by a car manufacturer to store its vehicles.
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