150-year-old mansion in heart of city now for rent

Wong (centre) and other councillors visiting the mansion in Armenian Street, George Town.— Photos by LIM BENG TATT/The Star

A GRAND double-storey heritage building believed to be more than 150 years old is now on the market for rental.

Nestled in the heart of George Town, the historic Category One building was the home of powerful Acehnese merchant of Arab descent Syed Mohd Al-Attas in the mid-19th century (1860s). It was known as the Syed Al-Attas mansion.

The building features multiple rooms and open spaces in the “Straits Eclectic” style and was later owned by a businessman from the southern Indian Chettiar community.

It subsequently became the Penang Heritage Centre in the late 1990s.

Currently owned by the Penang Island City Council (MBPP), the sprawling bungalow located at the junction of Armenian Street and Acheh Street boasts a land space of 10,994sq ft and a built-up area of 6,088sq ft.

The mansion had previously been left to decay due to lack of maintenance and care, which led to termite infestation, rotten timber flooring, a leaking roof and damaged walls.

MBPP councillor Wong Yuee Harng said the council spent RM1.5mil on restoration.

Visitors checking out the interior of the building.Visitors checking out the interior of the building.

“The restoration work was a joint collaboration with the George Town Conservation and Development Corporation (GTCDC).

“It took two years and was completed on June 14 this year. There was a slight delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

Wong said the council was targeting to rent it out for commercial purposes but was open to other ideas from those applying for the tender.

“We will give preference to those who want to use it for heritage purposes like turning it into a museum. From 2000 to 2015, it was a museum.

“It is a nice heritage building and we hope to have a good tenant to help maintain and protect the building,” he said.

“We hope the tenant will also promote the uniqueness of the place. The rent period will be for three years,” he added.

Those interested in renting the mansion can visit the premises located at 128, Armenian Street, for a briefing at 9.30am on Monday.

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