The history of Central Market goes back to 1888 where the location it now stands was used as an open wet market. Later when the open market continued to expand, a permanent structure was built to house all vendors. By the 1930s, the permanent structure was further improvised to have the current facade which we can see today and hence on opened its doors to Kuala Lumpur’s growing population as a wet market.
Towards the end of the 1970s, the Malaysian Heritage Society decided to preserve the building under its heritage programme and through an allocation of RM9 million granted by the Federal Government, the building underwent another facelift to renovate the building from a wet market to a Centre for Malaysian Culture, Arts and Handicrafts. Ever since then the façade remained unaltered to retain the charm of the yesteryear.
On the 15th April 1986, Melewar Leisure Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Kumpulan Melewar Berhad took over the ownership of the building and used it to promote the Malaysian Culture through the sales of Malaysian Arts and Handicraft products.