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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Going Back to Wisma Atria

Some time ago when I was on school holiday, I came up to KL by express bus to visit my sister for a few days. She was living in SS2 at that time, and the one thing I remembered was she brought me to Swensen’s near Wisma Atria in Damansara Jaya.

That was the very first time I came to Wisma Atria. Yes, long before The Curve or 1 Utama or Mid Valley, PJ had Wisma Atria, the modest shopping mall surrounded by shop offices servicing the middle class residents of Damansara Jaya, SS2 and Damansara Utama. It was never as happening as those huge malls in KL at that time, but it thrived as a community mall, with its family based shops and eateries. There was also a little Parkson, where housewives came to do their shopping during the weekdays, and families hung out together during the weekends at Esquire Kitchen or KFC.

Then later when I first came to work in KL and stayed in SS2 as well, I came to Wisma Atria almost every weekend, during the times when I wasn’t in Imbi Plaza (that’s another place I should blog about someday…!). I remember back then there were these huge PC shops outside Atria, CompAsia being one of them, the other the names seem to escape me. There were also other frequent haunts – the old magazine shop where I could get PSOne mags cheap, the Playstation shops on the 2nd floor, and the PC games shops at the top floor. And also Victoria Music Station, where I fed my dose of underground metal in those days (Campbell Complex was too far).

The other day, I was in Shah Alam for a party, and I got an SMS that my pal HM’s grandmother had passed on, and that a wake service would be held somewhere in DU that same day. So to kill time, I decided to drop by at Wisma Atria for an hour or so, I didn’t want to go to madness that is called 1-Utama.

I had known that Wisma Atria had been in decline for many years now, but it had been a long time since I stepped in there. It was still early on the Sunday evening, and the place was almost deserted. Parkson was gone, replaced by the depressing new Giant. All the cool Playstation lots facing Parkson were all gone. All my usual haunts upstairs were also gone, replaced by other tenants that don’t seem to last very long. Only a few familiar places were still around, one of them was the PC store at the top, but inside, I didn’t see anyone I knew.

Dave’s Deli was gone, the bookshop replaced with some faux couture place, at least Victoria Music Centre was still there. I didn’t go in.

Wisma Atria is now a shadow of its former self, with the kids in the area all grown up and moving away. The newer generation of kids and students are obviously more attracted to 1-Utama and the newer malls, it isn’t hard to see why.

I don’t know how long the place can last, even though the management is still desperately trying ways to revitalize it. I think it pretty much depend on the lunch crowd from the surrounding offices. I dunno, maybe it’s better to redevelop it as a kind of rebirth, but it may not still work.

At least Jaya Supermarket is still doing well, although only just.

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