GEORGE TOWN, Oct 29 — Penang’s most famous tower, the 65-storey Komtar, will bear a brand new face by 2016 after a RM50 million revitalisation and rejuvenation project that kicks off today.
The revitalisation project is part of the northern state government and its investment arm, Penang Development Corporation’s (PDC), efforts to breathe new life in the icon.
“This revitalisation project ties in well with the macro strategy to improve Komtar and its business vicinity through Asia’s first Business Improvement District Scheme (BIDS) where stakeholders pool their resources to implement an urban regeneration programme for the city,” Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said at the official groundbreaking ceremony for the banquet hall of the project.
The project is undertaken by Only World Group (OWG) after it was awarded the project through a request for proposal exercise by PDC.
Lim said the whole project will consist a banquet hall on the level five rooftop, two external high speed observation lifts to link level five rooftop to levels 59 and 60 and also up to levels 64 and 65.
The project will also include the refurbishment of the premises at levels 59, 60, 64 and 65, the refurbishment of the four existing lifts at the tower block and the associated lift lobbies, shopping arcades at the open space at level five and the installation of escalators at the grand staircase from Komtar Walk to level five.
OWG had taken possession of the site for construction works of the banquet hall last month and the hall is expected to be completed by mid 2014.
OWG chairman and group chief executive officer Datuk Richard Koh said they have put in a few additional features such as transparent floor at one of the outdoor dining areas on levels 64 and 65.
“We will have international class “sky dining” restaurants, open-themed lounge and different themes at each level,” Koh said.
He added that they were confident that their unique attractions planned for the tower will draw in a lot of visitors.
“We see a very huge potential in Penang and we believe this project, once completed, can bring in more tourists,” he said.
Komtar, which is an acronym for Kompleks Tunku Abdul Rahman, was completed in 1986.
Ever since it has been one of the island state’s main icon and in its early days, it was the sole shopping and business centre in the state.
In the past decade, the iconic tower has deteriorated and Lim admitted that it is not possible to be the main shopping centre again but believed the project will bring back its shine.
“Even now, all the lots in the tower and on the podium are all taken up but some shops decide not to open, so that can’t be helped,” he said in a press conference after the ceremony.
He added that it is not possible to use the tower as a hotel as originally planned since all the lots are taken up.
Lim also said once the project is completed, it will be the catalyst to spur the reopening of shoplots in the complex.