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Komtar to be revitalised as Penang lookout point

GEORGE TOWN: A ride in a bubble lift up to the 65th floor of Komtar to view the scenery from one of Southeast Asia's highest buildings will soon be among the attractions the 35-year-old tower will offer visitors as the state government attempts to revive one of Penang's most prominent landmarks.

The state government has called for a request for proposal (RFP) for the revival of the 59th, 60th, 64th and 65th floors with a floor space of 52,000 sq ft, and also the 205,674 sq ft space on the rooftop of the fifth floor, which now house a food court, geodesic dome and open space.

The 65-storey tower — completed in 1985 — is a 12-sided geometric block that is 760 ft (232m) tall and sits atop a four-storey podium.

Komtar occupies an 11-hectare site, and was the single most ambitious urban renewal project undertaken by Penang Development Corporation (PDC), the development arm of the Penang state government.

Over the past two years, the state government and PDC have undertaken a revitalisation process aimed at bringing back the glory of Komtar — which over the years had fallen into a state of despair — as a socio-civic and business hub of the people.

To date, efforts by the state government have borne fruit with two major anchor tenants — Pacific Hypermarket and Departmental Store — and an IT mall taking up several floors at the complex.

The ground floor of the podium block has also been revived, with Komtar Walk — a sheltered mall with several upmarket food and beverage outlets taking up space — making Komtar almost 95% occupied.

At a press conference attended by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, PDC general manager Datuk Rosli Jaafar said the revitalisation and upgrading efforts would complement the state's aspirations to promote Komtar as a centre of tourist attractions both internationally and locally.

At the present moment, certain sections of the 64th floor have been rented by telecommunications companies to install their equipment, while the deck on the 65th floor was originally planned as a landing spot for airlift evacuation.

Lim said the scenery from those levels were spectacular, giving a panoramic view of the city that includes George Town's world heritage precinct.

"The state government and PDC want to fully utilise these strategic areas by creating new activities to attract more people here while at the same time unlocking the value of our assets.

"By the same token, on the 59th and 60th floors, plans include turning the premises into an international class restaurant, which can serve as a major tourist attraction. To complement this, the 64th and 65th floors can be incorporated as part of a plan for a restaurant cum viewing deck.

"We feel that these uppermost floors of Komtar have immense potential as they offer a bird eye view of the city and the mainland," Lim added.

He said PDC was also studying a proposal for an outdoor sky lift connecting the fifth floor to the 65th floor, which would improve the mobility for tourists to visit the top of Komtar in a spectacular ride.

"It is a known fact that many cities create attractions using their high rise buildings including the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, Taipei 101 and Shanghai World Financial Centre. They have been success stories, and Komtar will be no exception," Lim added.

The fifth floor podium block rooftop, meanwhile, has a huge potential to be an income source for prospective food operators, leisure and entertainment outlets, he added.

Documents for collection have been out since Monday, and the last date of submission for the RFP is by Nov 15.

The documents of the proposal are available from the PDC office in Bayan Baru, while enquiries can be forwarded to [email protected]

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