Komtar phase 5 may be scrapped and instead the area my be conserved for its cultural and heritage character.
Well done, PDC, for thinking twice about this! Also be careful how the canal is rehabilitated bearing in mind the area is swampy ground.
This is from theSun today:
Phase 5 of Komtar project maybe scrapped
Boats may once again ply the idyllic Prangin canal being earmarked for a new rehabilitation exercise for Penang’s inner-city.
GEORGE TOWN (April 10, 2011): The Penang government is looking into scrapping the final phase of the Komtar development initiative which was conceived during the 70s as an ambitious “urban renewal” project for the city.
Sources told theSun that the Penang Development Corporation (PDC), which owns the land on behalf of the state, is looking into radically amending the original plans for a high-density, multi-storey commercial development on the site which makes up Phase 5 of the long-term Komtar project.
It is learnt that the PDC has commissioned a study on how the area, which includes part of the historic Prangin Canal and several pre-war shophouses, can instead be conserved for its cultural and heritage character.
Plans are also afoot to develop an urban park, with the canal rehabilitated as an arterial waterway, so as to provide a new green lung for the city, the sources said.
The latest development comes on the heels of criticisms against the PDC when a block of old shop-houses were recently demolished after a commissioned study had been done on the conditions of the physical structures in the area.
The demolition also followed the controversial tearing down of the historic and well-known ‘Sia Boey’ market on the Phase 5 land a few years ago despite it having existed for about a century.
The Komtar project has seen several delays since its five phases were envisaged about 35 years ago, replacing the numerous heritage buildings and traditional residents who inhabited the sprawling inner-city area.
The project also forced the disappearance of a huge cultural enclave as four popular cinemas – the Paramount, Royal, Eastern and Capitol theatres – were demolished.
The first phase comprising a podium block was completed in 1978, followed by the iconic 65-storey Komtar Tower and the Geodesic Dome which were built 10 years later.
The subsequent phases over the next 20 years have included a five-star hotel and three more shopping mall blocks whose construction have been dogged by a series of setbacks.
The final Phase 5 has seen significant opposition as several quarters point to frequent traffic congestion caused by the high-density commercial activities that have sprung up there.
Phase 5 also lies along the very edge of the Unesco-listed heritage zone of George Town. The area was in fact part of the original heritage zone proposed for conservation before the site meant for listing to the international body was downsized.
Sources said by cancelling the Phase 5 plan of another high-rise modern commercial project, the authorities are keeping the option open for the rehabilitated area to be included in the Unesco heritage zone in the future. — theSun