The Forge was officially opened on October 12 by the city's then Lord Provost, Susan Baird.
She declared the centre open by unveiling a plaque and pulling a cord which turned on the fountains in the centre's atrium. She also cut two commemorative cakes, which were then presented to Eastpark Children's Home.
"I think the Forge will be good for the East End," she said. "People have been excited about its opening.
"The area has been through a lot of change, but still not nearly enough -there is still a long way to go, especially in the areas of housing and unemployment.
"Hopefully," Mrs Baird added, "the shopping centre will help the jobs situation."
Certainly, efforts had been made to ensure that the Forge looked to the future.
The building took the form of an array of stainless steel pyramids and sloping diamond shapes along its mile-long facade, explained David Stark, the project architect at the firm of Scott Brownrigg and Turner.
"At The Forge," he said, "a good first impression was essential to entice people from surrounding districts to shop in what had become a highly depressed, and depressing, area."
A key part of the design brief was to create a 'visually exciting and out-of-the-ordinary complex'.
The Forge, Mr Stark concluded, was "the most exciting thing to happen in the East End for years."
The £40m development comprised almost 500,000 sq ft of retailing space, including the largest Scottish superstore, at 125,000 sq ft, of the then supermarket chain, Gateway.
It had a large and busy foodcourt. A seven-screen cinema was due to open in the New Year. And that October there were 25 shops trading inside the Forge, with phased openings to follow for other stores.
"We have a catchment of around 1.6 million people within a half-hour's drive of The Forge," said the manager, Vincent Lochrie, "and we will be working hard to attract shoppers here.
"We run the complex on North American lines, and we'll be offering a wide variety of entertainments, from music to puppet shows, special promotions and fashion shows."
Twenty-five years on, The Forge is in good health, attracting an average of 140,000 customers a week, drawn mainly from the East End but also increasingly from Lanarkshire.
Its major stores include Asda, Poundland, Primark and Dunnes Stores. Fashion outlets include River Island, H&M, Bon Marche and Internacionale. There are specialist shops, banks, kids' clothing stores and mobile-phone shops. New arrivals include Yankee Candle, Barrhead Travel and Poundworld.
The leisure facilities have been expanded to include a seven-screen Cineworld and a family entertainment area. The food facilities range from a Subway sandwich shop to a Costa coffee outlet.
The Forge was extended in 2003, and in October 2006 it was bought by Belfast Office Properties for in excess of £100m.
An extensive £8m refurbishment in 2008-2009 created what The Forge's website describes as an "exciting modern environment", with "architecturally designed coffer ceilings, bespoke lighting, white quartz stone pilasters, and new large format tiling to the entire mall."
The mall's current manager is 49-year-old Paul Wishart, who had posts with Boots, Asda and the Co-op before arriving at The Forge.
"The Forge is a great place to work," he enthuses. "A great deal of effort by everyone here has been put into improving the service to our customers and we're continually looking at ways of improving their shopping experience.
"We have a great team working here, too. One staff member has been here for 25 years and another four have been here for more than 20."
The Forge will be switching on its Christmas lights on Sunday, November 17.
The day's activities, which start at 2pm, will include Santa's arrival, performances by Edward Reid, from Britain's Got Talent, and X Factor finalists The Risk, as well as children's entertainers. The grand finale will be a fireworks display.
The Forge is just part of the great changes that have swept across the East End.
New housing and other facilities, the M74 extension and the huge array of developments linked to next summer's Commonwealth Games have all changed the face of this part of the city.
It really has come a long way since the days of the Beardmore empire.