When speaking of Penang it can refer to Georgetown, the island of Penang, or the state of Penang, which includes the island and the strip of land on the peninsula. Most visitors to Penang visit the historic Georgetown on the northeast tip of Pulau Pinang, but there is more to Penang than Georgetown.
Apart from the large tourism crowds that Georgetown attracts, Penang is also an industrial and IT centre, and it’s positioning itself to become the Silicon Valley of the East. Penang is also a popular location for retirees with the Malaysia My Second Home program.
This post covers developments across the island and mainland Penang, excluding projects in the UNESCO World Heritage area of Georgetown. Developments in Georgetown are mainly limited to restoration projects, which will be the subject of another post.
This map includes all projects mentioned in this article.
[Map of Penang construction projects.]
Penang South Islands
Penang South Islands is a proposal to build three artificial islands off the southern coast of Penang Island. The land use will be a mix of residential, commercial, and open space, with an industrial area on Island A (underneath the airport flight path).
Read more information about Penang South Islands.
Andaman by Eastern & Oriental is a new urban development on an artificial island of Gurney Drive.
Sia Boey Urban Archaeological Park
[Image via thestar.com.my.]
Sia Boey Urban Archaeological Park is the rehabilitation project of the Sia Boey Market and Prangin Canal. The market and shophouses were ruins, while the canal was heavily polluted. The market is on Prangin Road, which forms the southern boundary of the UNESCO World Heritage area. It’s on the other side of the road so it doesn’t have UNESCO protection. The old shophouses were in such bad shape that they looked like they would be left to rot. The shophouses were saved from demolition, and they will be restored into a repurposed shopping and recreation area.
[Image via grant-associates.uk.com.]
Gurney Wharf is a seafront public park that is being reclaimed from a tidal mudflat off Gurney Drive. The park is somewhat inspired by Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, which was also fashioned from reclaimed land. The park includes the Seaside Retail Food and Beverage (F&B) Precinct.
Marriott Residences Penang
The Marriott Residences Penang on Gurney Drive is a 55-storey/190-metre skyscraper that will include a hotel and apartments.
The Fith Avenue Hotel
Address: Corner McNair, Macallum, and C.Y.Choy, George Town, Penang.
A new hotel development in the Seven Streets Precinct, south of the UNESCO World Heritage area of Georgetown.
Address: Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, George Town.
Runnymede Bay is a proposed multi-building project to the west of the UNESCO buffer zone on the road known as Millionaire’s Row. The plan includes a 61-storey apartment block (211 metres), a hotel, and commercial and office space, alongside the restored Runnymede Hotel. This site has been controversial as a historic building has already been demolished. It’s outside the UNESCO area, so it doesn’t have the same level of heritage protection.
The Light Waterfront
The Light Waterfront is a mega-development covering 152 acres of seafront property near the Penang Bridge. This mini-city will feature residential, business, retail properties, a marina, and parkland. The plan has changed from the original design and doesn’t look as ambitious as the first plan. By the looks of the latest render it will change again when the last phase is released.
Tropicana 218 Macalister (completed)
Address: 218 Jalan Macalister, George Town, Penang.
Tropicana 218 Macalister is a 2-tower residential, hotel, and retail development on Macalister Road.
22 Macalisterz @ George Town
22 Macalisterz @ George Town is a 36-storey tower located on Macalister Road.
Green City Residence
Address: Jalan Macalister, George Town, Penang.
Developer: GCG Development Sdn Bhd.
Green City Residence is a 29-storey residence and 4-star hotel.
Sunway Valley City
Address: Jalan Paya Terubong, Air Itam.
Developer: Sunway Property.
Sunway Valley City is a “mixed-development project, spanning over a 9.7-ha site, is divided into four phases, comprising shop offices, serviced apartments, a shopping mall, an educational institute (Sunway College), an office tower and a medical centre.” [thestar.com.my.] The site is on the former Lee Rubber Factory, to the south of Air Itam.
The One (Penang Cyber City)
The One (Penang Cyber City) was proposed in 2007 and has gone through design variations since then. It’s located at Bayan Lepas (near the airport), which was touted to become a world-class IT hub.
Penang International Commercial City
Penang International Commercial City (PICC) is a proposed mixed development project of apartments, commercial, retail, hotels, and a medical centre.
The Wave @ Penang Times Square
Address: Jalan Dato’ Keramat, George Town, Penang.
This distinctive apartment tower is next to Penang Times Square, not far from KOMTAR. This 38-floor tower will be a mix of apartments and retail.
The Central @ Penang Times Square
Address: Penang Times Square, George Town, Penang.
Next to The Wave is The Central, which is phase 4 the Penang Times Square development. The tower will be approximately 150 metres and have 654 apartments.
City of Dreams
Address: Seri Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Tokong, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia.
City of Dreams is a luxury apartment development featuring two 40-storey towers named Elaine and Chloe. The property is on the waterfront at Tanjung Tokong, facing the skyline of Gurney Drive.
Penang International Airport Expansion
The expansion of Penang International Airport was approved in 2019 and was expected to start construction in 2020. The project was postponed during the pandemic, and it is not expected to start until 2025.
Penang International Airport expansion news
Penang airport expansion postponed till 2025: Wee – [05/10/21]
Penang in no hurry to speed up expansion work unless pandemic over, says CM – [30/07/20]
“The Penang International Airport (PIA) expansion project has been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Jagdeep: Penang Airport expansion works to begin in March next year – [13/12/19]
“Construction works for the expansion of the Penang International Airport (PIA) will begin in March next year and are expected to be completed in 2024, said state Housing, Local Government, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo today.”
Penang Rapid Transit
There have been several proposals over the years for some form of rail transit system, with plans for a light rail, monorail, and trams. The Bayan Lepas LRT is currently under consideration, which will connect the airport to KOMTAR (at the edge of the historic Georgetown area).
Read more about the Bayan Lepas LRT.
[LRT Station at Penang International Commercial City (PICC).]
Penang Sky Cab
[Image via straitstimes.com.]
Another public transport proposal that has been floating around for a while is the Penang Sky Cab. This is a cable car that would connect Butterworth to Georgetown. Initial reports had the alignment similar to the current passenger ferry. Later proposals have it connecting to The Light LRT station. It’s still mentioned on the government transport site, but at this stage, it will probably be a “never built” project.
Penang Sentral is the new transport hub in Butterworth, becoming the main transportation hub for the state of Penang, and an improved gateway to the island of Penang. It facilitates transfers between buses, trains, and ferries, and it includes retail and residential developments, resembling the malls and apartments built around KL Sentral.
Penang Undersea Tunnel
[Image via thestar.com.my.]
The Penang Undersea Tunnel is a proposal that would connect Butterworth on the peninsula to the island’s northern coast near Gurney Drive. The 7.2 km tunnel has been mired in controversy that has delayed construction. There are concerns of the traffic exiting in an already congested area, and a corruption scandal regarding funding has also put the project in doubt.
History and progress face off in a Malaysian square – [11/02/22]
“Penang embodies the nation’s heritage, but creeping development threatens the area’s historical structures and UNESCO status.”
Penang residents call for halt on hillside developments – [08/11/17]
“Residents of Miami Green Resort Condominium have called for an end to all development on hillslopes in Penang following numerous landslide incidents, in particular, the recent Tanjung Bungah landslide which claimed the lives of 11 men.”