Success stories on adaptive reuse of buildings in downtown KL

REXKL and Zhongshan Building are just two of the places that have been revived using the adaptive reuse process in downtown Kuala Lumpur.

Think City partnerships and creative Sector senior director Izan Satrina Mohd Sallehuddin had said that adaptive reuse of heritage buildings was a priority.

“This has been an ongoing approach for over a century to safeguard built heritages in a way that revitalises an area and promotes culture, as well as socioeconomic prosperity.

“It also relieves the public sector of otherwise costly maintenance, and opens a valuable revenue stream for the city and communities,” she said in an opinion piece published ahead of the first tabling of Budget 2023 in October last year.

Izan Satrina said an example of an urban area that comprises a collection of heritage buildings suitable for adaptive reuse is the Dataran Merdeka Heritage Precinct.

She added that it offered an “excellent opportunity” to accelerate the rejuvenation of downtown KL, attract investments and realise the economic potential of multiple national monuments.

“Dataran Merdeka Heritage Precinct holds many historic tales and should be cared for in a similar manner to the Taj Mahal or Alhambra (in India and Spain, respectively).

“It is rich in history because colonial buildings, including Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad, symbolise our national identity, the legacy of the Federated Malay States and the independence of Malaya.

“There are 17 heritage buildings in the heritage precinct, 11 of which are listed in the National Heritage Act 1976,” she wrote.

Izan Satrina added that there are many aspects that need to be integrated into the planning of the heritage precinct, including working alongside multiple stakeholders as well as finding fresh ways of reusing and connecting buildings and spaces, some of which will require pedestrian-friendly pathways.

Think City was allocated RM10mil under Budget 2023 for urban renewal efforts to boost the transformation of downtown KL.

However, that could be subject to change when the revised Budget 2023 is tabled on Feb 24.

Think City is an impact organisation on a mission to make cities more people-friendly, resilient and liveable.

It also offered a Downtown KL Grants Programme, which aimed to revitalise the historical city centre towards the creation of a liveable, vibrant and thriving hub.

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