THE iconic Starhill Gallery, which is part of a portfolio of retail assets owned by Singapore-based Starhill Global Real Estate Investment Trust (SGREIT) will undergo a transformation and revealed as The Starhill – Home of the Tastemakers in 2021.
The mall, the most luxury retail establishment in the Bukit Bintang shopping district was developed by YTL Corp Bhd more than two decades ago.
It opened in 1996 and houses more than 100 renowned luxury timepiece and jewellery brands, as well as other contemporary luxury labels.
The mall was renovated in 2005, with renowned American architect David Rockwell at the helm of the project, which resulted in its current glass dome-like façade.
YTL Land & Development Bhd vice president Joseph Yeoh said the mall will be partially closed (from October this year) for renovation with some brands continuing to operate.
Yeoh said, the completion of phase one renovation is scheduled for the second quarter of 2020 in tandem with the relaunch of Shook!, Lu Yu Tea House and Jogoya.
The soft opening of new stores and other food and beverage outlets is scheduled in the last quarter of 2020.
Hospitality and retail experience under one roof
Yeoh said the mall, after undergoing the transformation will redefine Kuala Lumpur's shopping scene in a new concept that infuses hospitality into the retail experience.
The mall, which sits directly opposite Pavilion KL, is connected to YTL's five-star JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur hotel by a "Time Tunnel". The link bridge also connects to YTL's The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur.
Yeoh said, with Kuala Lumpur remaining among the top five most popular tourism destinations in the Asia Pacific region alongside Tokyo, Seoul, Bangkok and Singapore based on Mastercard Destination Index 2019, it is crucial for The Starhill to optimise the cross cultivation of experiences between the retail and hospitality floors to offer unique shopping offerings for hotel guests from the two luxury hotels.
Key to the refurbishment is to improve spatial layout, circulation and overall shopping experience; all interior common areas will be fully refreshed.
A new double-volume entrance atrium will feature a lush green wall with multiple LED screens projecting brand videos of The Starhill and tenants to welcome all visitors.
The central atrium will also be overhauled to include a new connecting bridge plying across the sun-lit atrium and cantilevered balconies designed as pop-up space.
The Bukit Bintang facade will be given a facelift with new LED screens and a new café terrace on level one overlooking the new piazza.
Yeoh said, the concept of The Starhill reinforces the group's positioning as the place to be in Bukit Bintang.
"The Starhill bucks the city’s cookie-cutter mall trend, going boutique-size at 300,000 square feet of retail space to cultivate a more personalised retail ambience which is warm yet discreet, when others have gone mega with an anodyne take on the shopping experience. Today, discerning shoppers seek special access and discoveries but most importantly, they want meaning, authenticity and connection and this is what we set out to achieve in The
Starhill,” he said.
YTL has partnered with top consultants from the region.
Yeoh said, the consortium comprising Cistri (Singapore), Husband Retail Consultant (Hong Kong), Kokai Studio (Shanghai) and Eight Partnership (Hong Kong) – expert retail, design and branding consultants have meticulously studied the fluid landscape and identified transformative, game-changing strategies for The Starhill over the last two years.
"With fast-changing values and consumption behaviour among savvy and socially-connected consumers, the transformation to become The Starhill is in line with the need for retail malls to constantly evolve and differentiate to stay at the forefront of the changing retail landscape," said Yeoh.
More luxury rooms after the transformation
The JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur will add 162 rooms to its current inventory on the upper floors of The Starhill.
The Starhill, facing Jalan Gading and Jalan Bukit Bintang, will be distinguished by four floors of experiential retail space and three more floors of hotel rooms creatively converted from former retail space in the upper levels of the mall.
Offering new and stylish accommodation, the new extension will be seamlessly integrated with the lower retail space in one vertical seven-floor development – a first in Asia that truly breaks down the boundary between retail and hospitality.
Combining JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur and The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur, there will be over 1,100 rooms seamlessly connected to The Starhill in two year's time contributing excellent footfall to the retail floors, said Yeoh.
The Starhill, coupled with the new hotel rooms, will officially launch in 2021.