THE Kuala Lumpur populace is perhaps all too familiar with the Maju Junction building.
Nestled at the intersection of Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, the building has gotten a new lease on life as it has been transformed into Parkson Maju Junction shopping centre.
It has a completely revamped look since Parkson Corporation Sdn Bhd took over management of the shopping centre in the middle of last year.
“It is our first fully-managed mall in Malaysia, encompassing shopping, dining and lifestyle under one roof,” said Parkson Group chairman and managing director Tan Sri William Cheng.
Cheng said the Parkson department store is now the anchor tenant, occupying three floors or about 9,290.3sq m of space.
It offers a diverse range of products from fashion to home furnishing, electrical, electronics and household products.
Two other major tenants – Foodpark by Parkson and Little Kingdom – complement the department store.
They mark the company’s first foray into a gourmet-concept supermarket and food hall as well as an edutainment outlet for children.
“Foodpark by Parkson marries grocery shopping and dining, and is inspired by concepts that we have adopted from overseas.
“The outlet sits on over 3,344.5sq m of space, offering local and foreign food from the world over,” said Cheng, adding that there were also 16 food stalls for consumers to choose from.
Cheng explained that Little Kingdom was an adventure and exploration outlet for children, with games and puzzle maze to be enjoyed together with parents.
Occupying more than 3,716sq m over two floors, he said the outlet provided a venue where parents and children could bond and have fun while the latter could also learn new things along the way.
The shopping centre has 26 other tenants which include restaurants, cafes and service outlets for a comprehensive shopping experience.
According to Cheng, Maju Junction Mall was not well-maintained before.
In a bid to rejuvenate the place, the proprietor had met with Parkson to see if it would establish a department store there.
“I thought even if Parkson came in, if the mall was not well-managed in its entirety, it would be difficult for the department store to operate well,” said Cheng.
“The mall must be in a good state inside and out.”
Cheng said he then proposed to Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd group executive chairman Tan Sri Abu Sahid Mohamed for Parkson to rent the whole building and take over its management.
“Tan Sri (Abu Sahid) agreed and handed over the building along with 46,451.5sq m of retail space.”
The move to take over the management of the Maju Junction building is also part of Parkson’s direction to become a comprehensive retailer.
So, in addition to the department store, Parkson has introduced a supermarket and food hall as well as an edutainment outlet.
“We can no longer just operate department stores alone, we must also venture into more areas pertinent to malls,” said Cheng.
He said food and beverage was one of these areas.
“If you can do it well, you can attract many consumers, especially in Malaysia as we are known for our love of food.
“More Malaysians are willing to spend on a good meal and that’s why we must make sure this area is well-managed,” Cheng explained.
Some of the restaurants are Johnny Rockets, Franco, The Quiznos Café and The Library Coffee Bar at the shopping centre’s Urban Food Hall.
Cheng revealed that the building’s total revamp cost about RM60mil.
“We feel the refurbishment is necessary to give people a fresh impression.
“It used to be quite run-down, through no fault of the proprietor,” said Cheng.
“They are developers, not mall operators, this is not their forte and that is why we were enlisted to step in.”
This may be Parkson’s most recent endeavour in managing an entire shopping centre, but the company is not a stranger to running them.
Cheng said Parkson had built and operated five shopping centres in Malaysia before the company eventually sold them.
“You know these malls as Ipoh Parade, Subang Parade, Seremban Parade, Klang Parade and Mahkota Parade.
“We have more than 20 years’ experience in managing malls,” he said.
Parkson has built its latest mall in Qingdao, China, which is slated to open in April.
“We are in the midst of building one in Cambodia as well, and we are planning for another in Malacca,” said Cheng.
Besides building its own malls, Parkson will also continue to manage for others.
“Our next mall will be in M Square, Puchong, which is scheduled for a mid-year launch,” Cheng stated.