SIX heritage shophouses along Kimberley Street which belong to the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) will be refurbished.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the six two-storey shophouses would probably be used for traditional trades after the refurbishment.
“These units are in the buffer zone of the George Town Unesco World Heritage Site.
“They are identified as Category 2 heritage buildings with Early Transitional Style and have to be preserved and upgraded,” Lim told a press conference in front of the shophouses on Saturday.
He said the buildings were more than a century old and had major damage that had to be fixed quickly.
Lim said the council started renting out the units in 1956 but now, the shophouses were vacant due to structural insecurity.
“MPPP had called for a Request for Proposal to develop the shophouses but when it was closed in November last year, no bidders came forward,” said Lim.
He said the refurbishment would be a joint effort by the state government, MPPP, George Town World Heritage Incorporated, Think City Sdn Bhd, Penang Heritage Trust and a few private organisations.
“The cost and time needed to upgrade the units on the 7,061sq ft plot of land cannot be finalised yet as we need to wait for the dilapidation report that will be prepared by Think City.
“It is necessary to refurbish the units and restore suitable activities in the buildings so that they will not be neglected.
“Right now, in their dilapidated state, they pose a danger to the public,” he said.