Komtar phase 5 may be cancelled


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
Himanshu Bhatt
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

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12 Apr 2011 4.22pm

Just after 308 I emailed Lim Guan Eng with a suggestion. Unfortunately he ignored it. My suggestion is actually very simple. The rows of old houses along Magazine Road and in between Magazine Road and Pranglin Road, many of them abandoned, can be rehabilitated by the state government. And then the state government can rent out these shop houses with subsidies, to vendors, under one condition: That the vendors must sell their wares at low prices, while providing quality products. This will open up a place where Penangites can shop for quality goods with low price. There are already ample… Read more »

16 Apr 2011 10.27am
Reply to  penangite

What makes you think that it is easy to buy up the old shop houses?

12 Aug 2011 2.00pm
Reply to  penangite

What Leman says has a point. Most of these buildings are not owned by the state government. The owners or their descendant may not even be in Penang anymore. Even if they are, some are waiting to make a quick profit by selling it off instead of restoring them. Have anyone of you check the prices of pre-war buildings recently? Unless there is a law that forces them to maintain upkeep of the building there is little to nothing that the state government can do. Penangnite should probably help contact these owners and get them to hand over the property… Read more »

12 Apr 2011 1.42pm

On paper it sounds wonderful, doing up the canal and having a park there. I really hope it happens and it’s not all talk. It would bring sense and meaning into Penang, bring back a bit of its soul. Because thru the years, Penang had been turned more and more into another ugly Asian city of concrete and dust and traffic snarls, no urban parks, no quality in its streets and spaces. Penang doesn’t need another shopping mall, more concrete chaos! Penang needs more green spaces, because we are all part of Nature. Look at the beautiful cities in Europe,… Read more »

Penang Voter
Penang Voter
11 Apr 2011 7.05pm

That’s how an effective Government works. Keep up the good work LGE and team. You are truly a gem to Penang.

Kerie Leong
Kerie Leong
13 Apr 2011 1.47pm
Reply to  Penang Voter

Fully agreed.

The present Pakatan government has done to much to revive the life around Komtar since the last election.

I doubt things will ever change if Gerakan is still in office.

11 Apr 2011 6.29pm

Komtar was envisaged by Tun Lim Chong Eu and he gave this project to his relative which is an Architect in Singapore and at that time Singapore was building some tallest buildings like the OCBC bank and UOB bank next to the stinking Singapore River. The character of Penang was destroyed.

12 Apr 2011 3.15pm
Reply to  kingkong

But Singapore has come a long way since that OCBC building.
The river is no longer stink and you can swim on it.

For Penang, it is still one ‘Erection’ dominating its skyline.

Bruce Li
Bruce Li
11 Apr 2011 2.53pm

This is indeed a nolstalgic good feelings as we preserve some heritage elements and not over develop Penang to the stage where many old timers would feel threatened.
Now if only the place is turned into leisure area and not commercial spot.

11 Apr 2011 2.45pm

Priority is to provide a ‘Green Lung’ in the Georgetown area.

Plant more trees to provie shades from the burning sun.
This is a simple thing to do.

Any news on the swiftlet operators who are protesting that they should be allowed to turn heritage houses into nesting area for swiftlets for profit?

16 Apr 2011 10.28am
Reply to  Khalid

We all know who engineered the protest by the swiftlet farmers.