SPEECH BY CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG
AT THE LAUNCHING OF THE RESTORATION WORKS AND RE-ADAPTIVE USE OF GODOWNS AT LEBUH VICTORIA
ON 27TH OCTOBER 2017 AT 9.30AM
Salam Sejahtera, Salam Bersih and Good Morning.
I am pleased to be present today to launch the heritage restoration works and re-adaptive use of heritage buildings here at Lebuh Victoria, comprising 2 godowns ( No 161 and 163) and one shop lot (No 165) which is in line with the State Government’s aspiration to not only conserve heritage buildings in the George Town UNESCO World Heritage Site but also readapt it for future use. These godown buildings No 161 and 165 are possibly the oldest godowns that are still existing in George Town.
The conceptual design proposal is to physically and spiritually revitalise a complex of badly dilapidated godowns and shop lot at Lebuh Victoria, built around 1900s into a modern MSC status office, while still maintaining and respecting the old world charm and traditions of the place.
On this I would like to congratulate Penang Development Corporation (PDC), George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI), Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang (MBPP), NGOs and the people of Penang, for all your support to the State Government in conserving heritage buildings and promoting local traditions, crafts and arts in Penang. By marrying technology with heritage we can advance Penang towards an intelligent and information city, towards Industry 4.0 focusing on Big Data Analytics, Cloud Computing and Internet of Things (IOT).
In line with this, PDC which is spearheading this adaptive reuse of the over 100-year old buildings, plans to turn it into an MSC-status office space and retro-fit it with modern infrastructure.
The State Government and PDC’s decision to rehabilitate and conserve these old buildings is testimony to its concerted effort to preserve Penang’s living heritage and historical traditions. In the19th century, this waterfront godown was originally used to accommodate new immigrants from China, awaiting the next ship to take them to the tin mines in South Thailand. With Penang’s growth into a maritime trading centre in the late 1900s, the buildings were then used as storage and distribution centres for goods.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As these buildings were lying in a dilapidated and precarious state and in a dire need for total restoration, the State Government had approved an allocation to acquire and then for the repairs and restoration works, which are to be carried out in accordance to heritage guidelines. Apart from restoration works, the project also includes construction of additional floor space to the godowns and shop lot for future use.
The cost for the repair, restoration works and additional floor space is about RM10.3 million (RM10,288,880) and is fully funded by the State Government. The project was awarded via open tender to Image Façade Construction Sdn Bhd and PDC is tasked as the Project Manager for calling the tender and subsequently monitoring the work progress.
PDC has also appointed Arkitek Urbanisma Sdn Bhd which has a good heritage conservation track record. Among its restoration projects include the Penang Court Complex along Light Street and the restoration of the main copper dome of the Kapitan Keling Mosque which was accorded an award from the MIA (Malaysian Institute of Architects) for its clinical and authentic conservation efforts.
The commencement date of the project was on 27 March 2017 and the expected completion is on 26 September 2018. Current work progress at the site is at 13%. After restoration, the floor space of the buildings will actually be increased from the current 847.11 sq metres to 1,223.8 sq metres.
This restoration project of Lebuh Victoria Godowns will provide good training ground for the human resources of PDC to further its expertise in heritage buildings.
In conclusion, this restoration project at Lebuh Victoria will definitely be a catalyst to Industry 4.0 and help drive the conservation and revitalization of Lebuh Victoria in particular and will complement the State conservation efforts at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of George Town as well as see the convergence of the past, present and future.
With these words, I have the pleasure now to officially launch the RESTORATION WORKS AND RE-ADAPTIVE USE OF GODOWNS AT LEBUH VICTORIA.