A ROW of six shophouses in Kimberly Street in Penang is set to be a model project for co-living (shared living) and commercial spaces.
The RM3.6mil project scheduled for completion in June will allow for commercial activity and co-living within shophouses located at the George Town heritage enclave.
Penang Island City Council (MBPP) mayor Yew Tung Seang said the effort was part of an initiative to draw people back to inner George Town.
“We want to repopulate George Town so we want to have co-living spaces on the upper floor of these shophouses.
“The ground floor can be used for commercial activities, preferably by artisans,” he said during a site visit to the project recently.
Yew said this would bring back the function of the heritage shophouses which were originally meant to be a mix of commercial and residential spaces, adding that the rental would be kept at an affordable rate.
The restoration efforts, which started in 2015, is a collaboration between the state, MBPP and George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI), Think City Sdn Bhd, Penang Heritage Trust and Penang Apprenticeship Programmes For Artisans.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the state was also providing funds to aid the physical restoration of heritage premises.
“The RM3mil Heritage Habitat Seed Fund, which was initiated in 2017, will be open for applications in July this year.
“We will consider increasing the fund should the response be positive.
“The fund will be able to provide relief in restoration cost, thereby preventing an increase in rent charges and maintaining long-term tenancy at the site,” he said.
Chow said they were now finalising the contract agreement.
Also present at the project site were Komtar assemblyman Teh Lai Heng, GTWHI general manager Dr Ang Ming Chee and MBPP Heritage Conservation Department director Danny Koay Hock Hsiang.