Think City has identified Komplex Tun Abdul Razak (KOMTAR) and its surrounding area as a candidate for a BID scheme to rejuvenate the innter city and transform the area into a premier shopping destination as well as a bustling cultural, business and social centre.
KOMTAR is an iconic building in George Town and Malaysia. It forms part of the larger KOMTAR project, which began in 1974 as a city within a city. It was envisioned that the 11 hectare site would form a modern urban living space comprising governmental offices, hotels, shopping arcades, a transport hub and a five-acre roof top garden. It was conceptualised by then Chief Minister of Penang Dr. Lim Chong Eu as a means to revitalise the urban centre of George Town.
The 11-hectare site is divided into five phases of implementation. 1st Avenue Mall, which is Phase 3 of the project, is a contemporary urban mall that was completed in 2010. Phases 4 & 5 will be converted into an urban park. Earlier phases of the project, however, are now run-down and under utilised. In addition, the surrounding area including a number of malls such as GAMMA and Times Square have also deteriorated to a shabby state and is prone to traffic congestion.
For a BID scheme to work, a smooth working partnership between local government and business is crucial. In January 2011, a consultant was appointed to put all individual regeneration proposals together and submit a proposed plan to the Municipal Council of Penang Island for their consideration. Think City was also able to engaged Rapid Penang and the bus operator is now considering creating a dedicated bus service connecting all these properties. If successful, the KOMTAR area will be Asia’s first Business Improvement District.