Before mega malls like Ion and Jem took over our streets, these malls were the talk of town. Here, we look back at the glory days of some of our islands’ aging malls.
1. Bukit Timah Shopping Centre (opened 1978)
It might be dominated by tuition centers and Korean eateries now but back in its heyday, people flocked to this mall for its wide variety of affordable clothes.
2. City Plaza (opened 1981)
This bright eye-catching yellow and orange mall used to pull in the crowds with its stylish and affordable clothes from Hong Kong.
3. Katong Shopping Centre (opened 1973)
It was the first air-conditioned shopping mall to open up in Singapore. What a groundbreaking affair!
4. Thomson Plaza (opened 1979)
In the ’80s and ’90s, it was a huge magnet for families, thanks to Japanese megastore Yaohan. In fact, it was unofficially called Thomson Yaohan.
5. Queensway Shopping Center (opened 1976)
It’s where we go to for all our sporting gear. But how can we forget the uncles and aunties that put out tasty snacks like muah chee and tu tu kueh?
6. Lucky Plaza (opened 1978)
Anyone else a fan of those bubble lifts? Apparently, they were the first to have air-con in them instead of fans.
7. Golden Mile Complex (opened 1973)
Now a hub for tour agencies and all things Thai, this iconic building won a couple of architectural awards when it first opened.
8. Far East Plaza (opened 1983)
A youth magnet even back in the ’80s and ’90s, this was the first mall on the island to have a computerized musical fountain.
9. Great World City (opened 1997)
In the swinging ’50s and ’60s, Singapore’s nightlife was dominated by Gay World, Beauty World and Great World, and this was the site of one of them. It was a theme park, theater, cabaret shows and had lots of great street food. It finally closed its doors in 1978 and today, this six-story mall stands in its place.
10. Beauty World Plaza (opened 1983)
Most of the tenants from the famous Beauty World Center moved here after a fire destroyed it in the ’70s. Back then, Beauty World was as well known as one of the hottest haunts at the time, like its sister worlds.
11. Parkway Parade (opened 1984)
Before People’s Park Complex’s rooftop became the go-to spot for indie bands, there was Parkway Parade and the artists from 5th Passage Gallery who regularly put up performances relating to art and music.
12. Holland Road Shopping Center (opened mid 1980s)
Situated in an area once home to the British military and now to tons of expats, this neighborhood mall specializing in Asian crafts, arts, antiques and jewelry and was a huge hit back in the ’80s and ’90s.
13. Bras Basah Complex (opened 1980)
Sure, these days you’ll see plenty of art students hanging out at Art Friend, but book lovers will remember fondly the hours spent at the mall’s countless bookstores.
14. Centrepoint (opened 1983)
This was where all the cool kids used to hang in the ’80s; they were called the Centrepoint Kids. Think: avant garde hairstyles and over-the-top dressing.
15. Tang Plaza (opened 1958)
This iconic shopping center had a hand in creating Orchard Road as we know it. In fact, it was the first shopping center along Orchard Road and kicked started the development of our famous shopping belt.
16. Peninsula Shopping Center (opened 1981)
It’s long been the go-to for electronic goods. But in 1991, it shook up the peace in Singapore when a lone gunman tried to raid a jewelry store and even exchanged fire with policeman.
17. People’s Park Complex (opened 1973)
At one time, this was the biggest shopping center on our island; with its six full levels of shops. The shops are still there but it’s the rooftop that’s got all our attention
18. Plaza Singapura (opened 1974)
This popular mall has gone through two major facelifts, but in its earlier days, it housed big brands like Yaohan, Daimaru, Ponderosa and Times Bookstore.
19. Liang Court (opened 1985)
When this mall first threw open its doors, it stood beside a freshly cleaned and pollution free Singapore River, thanks to our island’s Singapore River clean-up project that took place over 10 years in the ’70s to ’80s.
20. Tanglin Shopping Centre (opened 1971)
It was one of our first luxury malls and was also the birthplace of multi-label fashion retailer Club 21 back in 1972.