Abandoned buildings of Malaysia
Mayan lost city
Visit date(s) : 2004, 2011
Year of build : 1993-1994
Current status : Renovated and resurrected

Locals dubbed this building ‘Mayan lost city’, a play on the mall’s real name of, 'Kemayan City'. I had been lucky to see Kemayan way back in early 2004 when much of the buildings fit out and equipment was still left in place. The basement level had about 4ft of water in it but the overall building was still relatively intact.

Construction of the 65,000 square meter mall began in the early 1990's. The project was to be Johor's largest integrated shopping mall, offering up office space and a 560 room hotel at the eastern end of the building. In 1997, during the mall's final phases of completion, the Asian economic crisis hit stopping construction dead in its tracks.

Contractors and suppliers were said to have been at desperation point, going so far as to gaining unauthorised access to the shutdown site to retrieve un paid for equipment and materials they had fitted and installed prior. You can imagine the dire financial circumstances for all those involved with the project, including of course the individuals who purchased actual shop lots. This of course was only the tip of the iceberg with many other projects in the country going the same way during this period.

Kemayan then sat derelict, but it did have its own 24/7 security team, their job was to guard what was left for any eventual resale or resurrection of the project. Unfortunately the site proved too big to protect and over time much was lost to theft and vandalism, anyway.

By 2007, security had become so reduced that it was incredibly easy for anyone to access the site, including me. The whole building by then had decayed into a terrible mess. So much had now been stolen it had literally been turned inside out and back to bare concrete. Much of the malls structure had become a death trap, with random holes in the floor dropping storeys down to oblivion. The stagnant air within Kemayan's dark confines was so rotten that I developed a sore throat that lingered for days after. But all that being said, what an amazing location Kemayan had turned into to explore. It had taken on a real life post apocalyptic look and feel straight out of a Hollywood movie. Funnily enough, a stunt scene for a 2013 straight to video Dolph Lundgren movie was actually shot here in the main atrium.

Today, things have completely been transformed; Kemayan has since been reworked and has evolved into a brand new 'mega mall', now known as the "Paradigm". But, Kemayan's old legacy hasn't been completely erased, its original 1990's multistorey carpark has for the most part has been retained! So the infamous Mayan still lingers on here like a bad memory that just won't go away.

In the news:

24/11/04 - TheStar, Kemayan will ask Jawira to revive abandoned shopping complexes

08/10/08 - TheStar, Buyers in a quandary over stalled project

26/9/14 - NST, Construction irks residents

From the archives : 2004
My first look at the Mayan in 2004. The main shopping mall section had mostly been completed by 1998, however the hotel end of the building hadn't even got much past the construction phase.
Select work : May - June 2011

1st floor shop lots.

The main atrium.

Partially submerged lifts. The ground floor levels were completely flooded out in black stagnant water.

Main entrance. North side.