Thirty years ago, it opened as eastern Singapore's largest suburban mall. Today, Parkway Parade retains every bit of its lustre, evolving to suit a neighbourhood growing in its affluence.
The mosaic of more than 250 decades-old tenants and new shops sprawled over 52,698 sq m of retail space attracts more than 1.5 million visitors a month. Residents label the mall an "icon" of the Katong area, praising the shopping centre for its ability to retain traditional tastes in glossier packaging.
"I affectionately call it your grandmother's house - it may be older, but it's still exciting every time you go back," said student Kelvin Chan, 24. "You feel happy and nostalgic whenever you step back into it."
Another shopper, 23-year-old Cheryl Goh, who works in aviation and has been going to Parkway Parade at least once a week for the past 18 years, added: "All the traditional shops, like the Chinese medicinal ones, that were here in the past are still here, along with speciality shops like the butchery and Japanese fish stall. "Even the food court has a rustic yet modern vibe to it."
At Arizma on the first floor, which was opened in June by mother-daughter duo Sangeeta and Nikita More, jewellery designs capture this demand for glammed-up tradition. Its Mandala collection, for instance, combines the traditional Tibetan Buddhist motif with more contemporary jewellery designs.
The ever-changing shopfronts speak of transformation - with retailers recognising changing spending habits - which keeps the mall's engine well-oiled. "Customers in Parkway actually purchase more of our higher-end products than at our other store in Novena," said Mr Gene Tan, director of The Diabetic Shop, located on the basement level.
For shoppers, these changes, along with an inflow of international chains, show the development of an increasingly affluent community in Marine Parade. "The older rich families in the East Coast - that age profile is greying, but this area has been attracting expatriates," said Mr Ku Swee Yong, chief executive officer of real estate sales organisation Century 21 Singapore. "Many of them work for international companies and it's a place between the airport and work."
But even as new malls spring up in the area, some shops at Parkway Parade stand the test of time. Yuen Loong Watch, for one, has been with Parkway Parade for all three decades. Business has been so good that owner Patrick Chong, 48, opened another unit on the basement level in January.