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The Exchange TRX is placemaking on all levels, with a 10-acre rooftop park and department store set amid its 1.3...
There was a time when all roads led to Rome, then to KLCC. Soon, they will all lead to The Exchange TRX, the lifestyle destination into which the world’s huddled and liberated masses of humanity will flow. From underground, overland, by rail and on foot, there could be nowhere else in Malaysia as well-connected.

This 17-acre mixed-use development by leading international property and infrastructure group Lendlease, and TRX City Sdn Bhd (wholly owned by the Ministry of Finance) will tap the animating spirits of Kuala Lumpur to bring alive TRX, attracting local and foreign tourists who will add to the city’s 1.78 million multicultural population.

TRX is of course none other than the Tun Razak Exchange. TRX encompasses a sizeable 70-acre land parcel, with The Exchange TRX at its beating heart. Lendlease Retail Head for Malaysia, Mitchell Wilson, is a believer in mixed-use real estate developments, having successfully delivered on several landmark projects in different countries. In fact, TRX is a tilt at Singapore’s Marina Bay, London’s Canary Wharf and Hong Kong’s International Financial Quarters.

The Exchange TRX is Lendlease’s largest integrated development in Asia and is scheduled to open in phases from 2021 to 2025. Completed, it will comprise of six blocks of residences, offices and a hotel: the projected numbers for TRX in its entirety are 3,800 residential units and a workforce size of 45,000. But that’s not quite it.

The throb and centrepiece of The Exchange TRX is a 10-acre rooftop city park designed for society, in its original meaning of companionship. It will offer many, thoughtful and different kinds of spaces for the confluence and mingling of workers, residents, shoppers and tourists. Given the seamless connectivity of TRX, it holds the promise of The Exchange TRX as being an inclusive space that will engender a sense of belonging and community.

People will gravitate towards The Exchange TRX because it is also strategically designed as an unparalleled retail destination of some 500 experience stores to get life coursing through the entire district.

In what is probably a world-first, its 1.3 million sq ft of next-generation retail space will include a 10-acre rooftop park.

The interconnectedness of it all makes The Exchange TRX the one place to “work, eat, play, shop and have fun,” says Datuk Alfred Cheng, group managing director of Sogo KL, whose new-to-Malaysia 250,000 sq ft Seibu department store is an anchor tenant. You can expect premium and al fresco dining at this “park in a mall, mall in a park,” adds Wilson, who also enthuses about its potential for red carpet premieres, live concerts, curated showcases of the thriving Malaysian fashion, food and culture scene, sports galas, festivals and brand activations.

Speaking of the last, the response of luxury brands to Seibu has been “fantastic” and “tremendous,” says a delighted Cheng. He lets on that Seibu will have “the largest selection of luxury watches and jewellery, and the best collection ever seen in a department store for depth and quality.”

The design of the Seibu department store at The Exchange TRX has been commissioned to renowned London-based retail design specialists, HMKM, who describe themselves as an eclectic bunch of “architects, interior designers and graphic designers … also furniture designers, product designers, musicians, photographers, artists, illustrators, writers, chefs, fashion fanatics and sports fans”. The results of their work are eagerly awaited!

Hand in glove with the above, Cheng explains, is omotenashi, a level of personalised service without peer. Gourmands and Olympics fans might know it from the Japanese-French newscaster Christel Takigawa, who spoke of “the world’s most beautiful hospitality of Japan, O-Mo-Te-Na-Shi” in her winning bilingual presentation to the IOC.

Both Cheng and Wilson are bursting to name names, but are restraining themselves until the ink dries. Suffice to say for now that Cheng, in scouring the world for retail inspiration for 30 years, has come across “nothing like this once in a lifetime dream project”. - Harper's Bazaar