Saturday April 3, 2010
BB Park’s glorious draw
By JAYAGANDI JAYARAJ
DATING back to the 1930s, the BB Park in Bukit Bintang has been a centre of social and cultural activities for the Kuala Lumpur residents.
Back then, the park, which was built at the present Sungei Wang Plaza site by a group of businessmen, flourished as an entertainment place after it was sold to Shaw Brothers, who then upgraded it and renamed it BB Park.
The centre was known for its cabaret and dance halls, and it even had a boxing ring, stage shows, theatres, restaurants, exhibitions and games stalls — until it closed in the early 1970s.
Today, BB Park, which is under the management of Low Yat and Sons Realty Sdn Bhd, has continued to live up to its glory days.
In fact, the place is still undergoing renovation to make it more relevant to the present Kuala Lumpur residents, as well as for tourists.
For the purpose, the company has spent RM3mil in the last six months alone, for renovation work that involved re-painting, landscaping, lighting,, putting up signages and setting up the retail floor.
The place also has a water feature to liven up the environment into a relaxing hub for visitors.
Low Yat and Sons Realty property management and operations area general manager (planning) Patrick Honan said the vision for the park was to make it the social dining and cultural place that it once was while staying relevant to the present Kuala Lumpur lifestyle.
Honan said BB Park was full of history, and that was what differentiated the centre from the other social entertainment hubs in Kuala Lumpur.
“For any venue to be successful, it has be relevant and refreshed, hence the renovation. We want to bring back the taste and flavour of what this place has been for the people.
“Generations of Malaysians have been a part of it, and I believe many of the older generation probably courted here. It was very much the ‘in’ destination then,” he said during an interview on March 24. The park boasts seven restaurants and bars, serving food ranging from local favourites to foreign cuisine such as French, Japanese and Thai.
The centre also has a few outlets focusing on Malaysian art like Batik and the Y H Art Gallery.
Modern and unique in its own way, BB Park is also on its way to having push carts offering various Malaysian kuih and other interesting kiosks.
Reinforcing the theme of rest and relax with some fun, the park also features live entertainment.
On Thursdays and Fridays, there is a live band belting out contemporary music on the common stage located at the centre of the park, while over the weekend, there is a band playing Retro and Jazz numbers.
“Our idea is to get visitors move from one outlet to another to enjoy the live music on the central stage. On weekends at 8pm, there are also cultural shows to entertain the crowd, as we work with freelance dancers from Istana Budaya and others,” he said.
Honan added that the company planned to keep sourcing for new cultural performers every two or three months, and as for the bands, they wanted to highlight local bands.
“We are also talking to our tenants to bring in amateurs for jam sessions, which we plan to have once a month,” he added.
Apart from targeting the young and tourists, BB Park is also looking into getting companies to hold events there.
“We have some companies holding annual dinners here. Those who are interested can work with the various restaurants and combine services for a whole BB Park experience rather than keeping to one outlet,” he said.