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Komtar Tower

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Komtar Tower

Komtar Tower

Menara Komtar

கொம்டார் கட்டிடம்
Alternative names KOMTAR
Menara Komtar Complex
Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak
General information
Type Commercial offices
Government offices
Location 10000 Jalan Penang
George Town, Penang, Malaysia

5°24′52″N 100°19′45″E / 5.4145°N 100.3292°E / 5.4145; 100.3292Coordinates: 5°24′52″N 100°19′45″E / 5.4145°N 100.3292°E / 5.4145; 100.3292

Construction started 1974
Completed 1986
Cost RM207 million
Roof 231.7 m (760 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 65
Floor area 71,080 m2 (765,100 sq ft)
Lifts/elevators 26 Mitsubishi/Hitachi Elevators
Design and construction
Architect Architects Team 3
Jurubena Bertiga International Sdn.
Structural engineer Ove Arup & Partners

Komtar Tower, or Menara Komtar Complex is Penang's tallest building and the sixth tallest building in Malaysia located in the heart of George Town, dominating the island's skyline. KOMTAR is an acronym for Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak. When the skyscraper topped out it was the second tallest building in Asia after Sunshine 60 in Tokyo. Komtar was still Malaysia's tallest building for 3 years before it was surpassed by Menara Maybank in Kuala Lumpur in 1988.

Komtar is a multipurpose complex consisting of retail outlets, transportation hub and administrative offices for the Penang State Government. An acronym for Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak, KOMTAR was named after Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, the second prime minister of Malaysia, who officiated in the piling of Phase 1 on 1 January 1974. It bears the same name as Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak in Johor Bahru, built about the same time but on a smaller scale. The Johor Bahru KOMTAR only has 25 storeys.

The 65-storey tower is a 232 m (761 ft) 12-sided geometric block atop a 4-storey podium. The complex comprises office and retail commercial space as well as public and recreational facilities. It was designed by Architects Team 3 (AT3) of Singapore.[5] and designed and constructed with local expertise, also a geodesic dome of Buckminster Fuller's design. The architect involved in the design of the building was Lim Chong Keat, the younger brother of Dr Lim Chong Eu.

KOMTAR Tower commenced construction on year 1974 and at the time of its construction, Komtar is regarded as one of the cutting-edge buildings in Penang. KOMTAR was the vision of the then Chief Minister of Penang Dr Lim Chong Eu to revitalize the urban centre of George Town and usher the state forward.

KOMTAR occupies an 11-hectare site and is the single most ambitious urban renewal project undertaken by Penang Development Corporation, the development arm of the Penang state government. The master plan is divided into five phases for implementation.


Construction Chronology

Important dates in the planning and construction of KOMTAR include the following:

Date Event
1 January 1974 The first piling of the building's phase one was done by the late Tun Abdul Razak, the second PM of Malaysia.
1978 Part of the complex's first phase podium block was completed in 1978.
23–24 January 1983 A fire broke out at the 43rd floor of the building and destroyed the floors above it. Firemen were unable to put out the flames as it was too high up. The flames eventually burnt out after approximately eight hours. The building was still under construction at that time and it was the worst highrise fire in the country after the Campbell Shopping Complex and the Bank Bumiputra fires, both of which took place in Kuala Lumpur.[6]
1986 Phase 1, Phase 2A and Shangri-La Hotel opens.
1988 The construction of 65-storey Komtar Tower was completed.
1997 Construction of Phase 4, Prangin Mall begins.
2000 Prangin Mall opens.
2005 The long-time anchor tenant at the mall, Super Komtar, a local department store chain folded in. Another department store, Aktif Lifestyle (formerly Yaohan) occupying the adjoining block, has also ceased operations. Both sites have since been left vacant and the KOMTAR shopping precinct continues its demise.
1 May 2008 The new Penang State Government reaffirmed its commitment to revitalise KOMTAR by calling off the relocation plan of its administrative offices to Bayan Mutiara.
17 December 2008 A new anchor tenant named Pacific took over Super Komtar Supermarket & Departmental Store as the main anchor tenant with a floor space of over 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2). Upgrading and renovating works on Phase 2A completes.
19 August 2009 Komtar Walk was opened outside Pacific's main entrance. It features 19 F&B outlets and an open space. 1st Avenue, Phase 3 commenced construction.
27 May 2010 Popular Bookstore, which opened in Komtar at 1991 and was the first Popular outlet outside Kuala Lumpur, returned to its former location after moving to Prangin Mall in 2004. The store in Prangin Mall has since ceased operations.
17 August 2010 The state government, in a bid to bring the shine back to Komtar, is looking into installing a bubble lift that will take visitors right up to the 65th floor of the tower. The government is called for a Request for Proposal (RFP) to revive the 59th, 60th, 64th and 65th floors of the tower.
17 November 2010 ICT Mall @ KOMTAR opens.
25 November 2010 1st Avenue opens.

KOMTAR Revitalisation Project

Several initiatives are being deliberated under the first phase of the KOMTAR Revitalisation Project:

  • Calling of tender for the multi-storey car park after the existing operator hands it over to the state in December 2009.
  • Seeking interested parties keen in developing and leasing the commercial area at level four of the podium, levels 59 and 60 of the KOMTAR Tower, the squash centre and the food court both located on level 5.
  • Turning the rooftop garden and open area on level 5 into an extreme game park and youth performing centre.

In November 2012, KOMTAR was slated to be revitalised with a RM40mil budget, by upgrading and reconstructing levels 5, 59, 60, 64 and 65. This revitalisation project will cover a 30,000 sq ft boulevard to house food and beverage outlets and a banquet hall at level 5, an international class themed restaurant at levels 59 and 60, a sky restaurant at level 64 and a sky lounge at level 65. Besides that, the project will also involve constructing two bubble lifts costing RM6mil. This revitalisation is part of the Penang state government's initiative to regain the glory of KOMTAR. The entire project will take 30 months to complete. [7]

Phase 1


KOMTAR is a 65-storey complex housing offices, shops, food-courts and the Penang central government's office. KOMTAR is an acronym of Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak (Tun Abdul Razak Complex), in honour of the second Prime Minister of Malaysia, the late Tun Abdul Razak bin Hussein Al-Haj. Since 1985, it has been Penang's tallest building at a height of 232 metres (761 ft). This landmark located in the heart of George Town was the tallest building in Asia when it topped out (reached full height during construction phase).

KOMTAR had a duty free shop on the 57th floor. The Tower Tourist Center on Level 60 gave visitors an excellent panoramic view of the city, the mainland (Butterworth) and Penang Bridge. The observation deck was accessible from the tower's main entrance via the high-speed Mitsubishi elevator. The observation deck and the duty free shop is currently closed for renovation works and the Tourist Center has been moved to Level 3.

Dewan Tunku Geodesic Dome

The Dewan Tunku Geodesic Dome located on level 5 is a partial-spherical structure based on a pattern of circles called geodesics which intersects to form triangular elements. These triangular elements spread the stress across the entire structure. It is based on a concept studied, developed and popularized by R. Buckminster Fuller. The first dome structure that call called geodesic was created even earlier, by Walther Bauersfeld for the Carl Zeiss optical company, and was built in Jena, Germany, in 1922.

The dome is a multi-purpose hall used for performances, official functions, concerts and other events. The main entrance to the geodesic dome is from the auditorium level, and is also accessible from level 4 of KOMTAR.

Trader's Hotel

Traders Hotel (formerly known as Shangri-La Hotel) has 443 guestrooms.

ICT Digital Mall @ KOMTAR

ICT Digital Mall @ Komtar, or simply ICT Mall, is a new retail development managed by Venice Gateway Sdn. Bhd. in Komtar, Penang. Opened in November 2010, it occupies the space originally occupied by Yaohan Department Store and later by Aktif Lifestyle Store. The new mall is geared towards offering shoppers an array of electrical and electronic products including computer hardware and software, telecommunication products such as cellular phones, as well as cameras and photography gears.

The ground floor of ICT Digital Mall @ Komtar will be a food court, to be known as ICT Mall Food Court. To ensure smooth traffic flow to ICT Mall, a new overhead pedestrian bridge is constructed to link the third floor of ICT Mall to 1st Avenue Mall.

KOMTAR Bus Terminal

KOMTAR Bus Terminal is the hub of bus services in George Town. All the bus routes of Penang radiates from this terminal.

Floor Directory

1st Floor Main Entrance, KOMTAR Bus Terminal, ICT Food Court, Hotel Lobby
2nd Floor VIP Parking Bays, Popular Bookstore, ICT Handphones Department, Hotel Ballroom
3rd Floor Government Offices, ICT Computers Department
4th Floor Vacant
5th Floor Auditorium, Geodestic Dome
6th-65th Floor Offices

Phase 2A

Pacific Hypermarket & Departmental Store

The wholly new Pacific KOMTAR is the 74th outlet chain of The Store Corporation Berhad in Malaysia. Pacific KOMTAR is occupying 4 levels.


KOMTAR Walk, which covers a 155m-long stretch parallel to Jalan Dr Lim Chwee Leong, is a food and beverage hub being developed by Pacific Hypermarket & Department Store Sdn Bhd.

KOMTAR Walk would house 19 high-end F&B outlets underneath an open-air lightweight roof. The 19 new outlets, five single-storey ones will stand in a single structure at the foot of the overhead bridge facing the outdoor carpark. Meanwhile seven more are connected to the KOMTAR building next to the GeorgeTown White Coffee outlet while the remaining seven outlets, which are all double-storey, are located opposite (KOMTAR). These two rows are separated by a 5m walkway, which also allows for outdoor seating.

Phase 2B

Parcel of land sold to a local retail chain for development of retail commercial. Construction once began around the same time as Phase 4 Prangin Mall (see below) in 1997. However, the project has since been put on hold following soil subsidence affecting the surrounding areas, as well as the Asian financial crisis. The Prangin Mall development was later identified to be the most probable cause of the subsidence. Phase 2B is now used as an outdoor car park.

Phase 3: Prangin Mall


Prangin Mall is a shopping centre in George Town, Penang. Named after Prangin Road, also known as Jalan Dr Lim Chwee Leong, Prangin Mall was opened for business in the year 2001. It caters to a market ranging from lower to middle class. The mall comprises six levels including a basement floor, two levels of basement parking and a further three levels of parking at the upper floors.

Phase 4: 1st Avenue


Located in the heart of Georgetown along Jalan Magazine, 1st Avenue Shopping Mall measures 655,000 sqf in gross floor area and spreads over 7 retail levels.

TGV Cinemas

This is the first TGV Cinemas outlet in Penang Island. Opened on 8 January 2011, it has 8 cinema theatres with a capacity of 1,310 people. It also contains Malaysia's first Beanieplex, which enables moviegoers to relax on beanbags while enjoying their movies.

Phase 5

This abandoned site is bordered by four streets namely McNair Road, Dr. Lim Chwee Leong Road, Magazine Road and Beach Street. Earmarked for commercial use but revised in 2002 to include a transportation hub.

Penang Heritage Square

Recently in July 2012, Phase 5, which comprises 4.5 acres, was earmarked by the Penang State Government and Penang Development Corporation to be developed into Penang’s new heritage enclave, known as Heritage Square. This would be in line with George Town’s World Heritage Listing as well as to complement PDC’s revitalisation efforts for Komtar as the socio-civic centre and business hub of the State. This prime 4.5 acres of land in the heart of George Town will predominantly be public space. The Heritage Square and Centre will dedicate, consecrate and restore the cultural vibrancy of George Town by promoting the living heritage and street life in the inner city, as well as greening the city, thus ensuring a balanced development for the area. The project which is currently at the planning stage, with an objective of revitalising the Komtar Phase 5 area, and to improve the heritage value and significance of the site by creating urban spaces and landscapes for healthy urban living. The development of Heritage Square Project will revitalise the adjacent Komtar building complex which is directed at regaining the glory of Komtar as the nerve centre of Penang.

The components of Penang’s Heritage Square consist of the following:

  • To restore and refurbish the existing “Sia Boey” (Prangin Market) structure

This will revitalise the “Sia Boey” into a retail and tourist site, comprising among others a visitors’ centre, crafts and souvenir retail areas, flowers and food hubs. To expand the “Sia Boey”, market, it is expected that PDC will build an additional adjacent market to complement the existing one for a similar function. This restoration would mark the core zone boundary of the Georgetown UNESCO Heritage Site.

  • Creation of urban spaces

As George Town needs more public space for recreation, public congregation, celebrations and cultural performances, the urban public space which include some green areas will be promoted as the first of its kind in Penang for healthy living. The heritage celebration square will also provide a spot for a centre of culture, arts and traditions in George Town, in turn promoting cultural vibrancy and the concept of melting pot of cultures in the inner city.

  • Creation of a Heritage Celebration Square

To refurbish and reinstate the urban setting of the area whereby existing traditional pre-war shophouses along Maxwell Road will undergo adaptive reuse into cafes, coffee shops, tea houses, crafts and handicraft centres, mini-museums, boutiques and B&B hotels which are parallel with the heritage theme. To also reinstate urban setting and usage of the area whereby Maxwell Road will only be limited to pedestrians, and thus promoted as a walking street.

  • George Town Heritage Centre (GHC)

This 5-storey iconic building will serve as a venue for arts, cultural, heritage, community, youth and performing activities. The GHC will be raised above street level to provide street plazas for the public.

  • Restoration of Prangin Canal

To restore the Prangin Canal with plans for hawkers street food zone and street furniture amidst well-landscaped areas. [8]


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