Towers (Menara) of Penang

Penang (the greater metropolitan/urbanized area covering the entire State of Pulau Pinang with a population of over 1.5-million and density of over 1,500 people per kilometer square, instead of being an officially gazetted city of Malaysia which Penang has none to-date — besides the disputable status for recently proclaimed UNESCO heritage-site George Town as Malaysia’s first gazetted city dating to 1 Jan 1957) is one of the biggest “cities” in Malaysia in terms of the number of high-rises and skyscrappers, hosting 177 completed high-rises in total, with at least seven of which can be considered “skyskrappers” (over 80 metres in height) – behind only to:

  • Kuala Lumpur (538 known completed high-rises),

and well ahead of the major gazetted cities of:

  • Petaling Jaya (49),
  • Johor Bahru (36 – covering Iskandar Development Region including Kulai, Pasir Gudang, Nusajaya etc.),
  • Kuching (21),
  • Kota Kinabalu (12),
  • Shah Alam (10),
  • Bandar Melaka (8), and
  • Alor Star (3)

while the other three cities being Miri, Kuala Terengganu and Ipoh may have one or more high-rises.

The following list is based on the compilation at Emporis.com entitled “Skyscrapers of Penang Island” although it includes buildings on Seberang Perai districts of the Penang State (outside of Penang Island).

Building Name [Complex Name] Height Floors Year

  1. Menara KOMTAR 232 m 65 1985
  2. Gurney Resort 40
  3. Gurney Park I [Gurney Park] 40
  4. Gurney Park II [Gurney Park] 40
  5. Menara Northam 38 1998
  6. Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah Building 37 2002
  7. Gurney Hotel 37
  8. Regency 36
  9. Bukit Jambul Court 36
  10. Merit Sri Sayang Resort 33
  11. Silverton 32
  12. Taman Ratu Condominium 32
  13. MBf Tower 111 m 31 1993
  14. University Place, 1 [University Place] 31 2004
  15. University Place, 2 [University Place] 31 2004
  16. One Persiaran Gurney 31
  17. Menara BHL 108 m 30 1997
  18. Miami Green Condominiu.. [Miami Green Condominiu..] 30
  19. Miami Green Condominiu.. [Miami Green Condominiu..] 30
  20. Miami Green Condominiu.. [Miami Green Condominiu..] 30
  21. Miami Green Condominiu.. [Miami Green Condominiu..] 30
  22. Miami Green Condominiu.. [Miami Green Condominiu..] 30
  23. Miami Green Condominiu.. [Miami Green Condominiu..] 30
  24. Miami Green Condominiu.. [Miami Green Condominiu..] 30
  25. N-Park A [N-Park] 30
  26. N-Park B [N-Park] 30
  27. N-Park C [N-Park] 30
  28. N-Park D [N-Park] 30
  29. Midlands Condominium 30
  30. Mutiara Villa 30
  31. Sri Pangkor Condominium 30
  32. Pernas Tower 30
  33. Berjaya Georgetown Hot.. [1 Stop Midlands Park] 30
  34. Kingfisher Series Apar.. [Kingfisher Series Apar..] 29
  35. Tanjong Tokong Hotel 28 2002
  36. Sandy Bay Hotel 28
  37. U-Gardens, Condominium.. [U-Gardens] 27
  38. U-Gardens, Condominium.. [U-Gardens] 27
  39. Gold Coast, Resort 1 [Gold Coast] 26
  40. Gold Coast, Resort 2 [Gold Coast] 26
  41. Gold Coast, Resort 3 [Gold Coast] 26
  42. Gold Coast, Resort 4[Gold Coast] 26
  43. Eden Seaview Condomini.. [Eden Seaview Condomini..] 25
  44. Eden Seaview Condomini.. [Eden Seaview Condomini..] 25
  45. Eden Seaview Condomini.. [Eden Seaview Condomini..] 25
  46. MWE Plaza 25
  47. Northam Tower 25 2003
  48. Menara Greenview 25
  49. Victoria Heights 25
  50. E-Park, 1 [E-Park] 24
  51. E-Park, 2 [E-Park] 24
  52. E-Park, 3 [E-Park] 24
  53. E-Park, 4 [E-Park] 24
  54. Sun Ville, 1 [Sun Ville] 24
  55. Sun Ville, 2 [Sun Ville] 24
  56. Sun Ville, 3 [Sun Ville] 24
  57. Sun Ville, 4 [Sun Ville] 24
  58. Sun Ville, 5 [Sun Ville] 24
  59. Sun Ville, 6 [Sun Ville] 24
  60. Hotel Equatorial 24
  61. Jay Series Apartments,.. [Jay Series Apartments] 24
  62. Jay Series Apartments,.. [Jay Series Apartments] 24
  63. Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah Building 1 23 2002
  64. Grand View 23
  65. Taman Pekaka, Block A [Taman Pekaka] 23
  66. Taman Pekaka, Block B [Taman Pekaka] 23
  67. Ocean Tower 23
  68. Hotel Grand Continental 23
  69. Greenlane Heights, Blo.. [Greenlane Heights] 22
  70. Nipah Emas 22
  71. EPF Building 22
  72. Runnymede Office Tower 22 2002
  73. Holiday Inn Resort 22
  74. Twin Tower 22
  75. Menara UMNO 94 m 21 1998
  76. Prima Prai 21 2005
  77. Hunzaland, 1 [Hunzaland] 21 1997
  78. Hunzaland, 3 [Hunzaland] 21 1997
  79. Hunzaland, 2 [Hunzaland] 21 1997
  80. Hunzaland, 4 [Hunzaland] 24 1997
  81. Hunzaland, 5 [Hunzaland] 24 1997
  82. Jay Series Apartments,.. [Jay Series Apartments] 21
  83. Mar Vista Resort Build.. [Mar Vista Resort] 21
  84. Mar Vista Resort Build.. [Mar Vista Resort] 21
  85. Teluk Indah Flats, 1 [Teluk Indah Flats] 21
  86. Teluk Indah Flats, 2 [Teluk Indah Flats] 21
  87. Sri Golden Bay 1, 21
  88. Sri Golden Bay 2, 21
  89. NB Tower Butterworth 21
  90. Mewah Court Apartments.. [Mewah Court Apartments] 20
  91. Mewah Court Apartments.. [Mewah Court Apartments] 20
  92. Mewah Court Apartments.. [Mewah Court Apartments] 20
  93. Mewah Court Apartments.. [Mewah Court Apartments] 20
  94. Sheraton Hotel Penang 20
  95. Vistana Hotel 20
  96. Menara Malvest 20
  97. Marina Bay Apartment 20
  98. Gurney Hotel Sdn Bhd 19
  99. Leisure Bay Condominiums 19
  100. Copthorne Orchid Penang 19
  101. Sunrise Towers 18+2 80’s
  102. Crystal Heights, 1 [Crystal Heights] 18
  103. Crystal Heights, 2 [Crystal Heights] 18
  104. Lakeview Towers I [Lakeview Towers] 18
  105. Lakeview Towers II [Lakeview Towers] 18
  106. Greenlane Heights, Blo.. [Greenlane Heights] 18
  107. Greenlane Heights, Blo.. [Greenlane Heights] 18
  108. Bukit Jambul Flats 18
  109. Evergreen Laurel Hotel 18
  110. Cititel Hotel 18 1999
  111. Crown Prince Hotel 18 1992
  112. Wisma TNB 17
  113. Shangri-La Hotel 17
  114. Desa Seri Damai, 1 [Desa Seri Damai] 17
  115. Desa Seri Damai, 2 [Desa Seri Damai] 17
  116. Desa Seri Damai, 3 [Desa Seri Damai] 17
  117. Pelangi Apartments I [Pelangi Apartments] 17
  118. Pelangi Apartments II [Pelangi Apartments] 17
  119. Pelangi Apartments III [Pelangi Apartments] 17
  120. Pelangi Apartments IV [Pelangi Apartments] 17
  121. Greenlane Heights, Blo.. [Greenlane Heights] 16
  122. Park View Tower, 1 [Park View Towers] 16
  123. Park View Tower, 2 [Park View Towers] 16
  124. Park View Tower, 3 [Park View Towers] 16
  125. Farlim Flats, Block 4A [Farlim Flats] 16
  126. Farlim Flats, Block 4B [Farlim Flats] 16
  127. Farlim Flats, Block 4C [Farlim Flats] 16
  128. Farlim Flats, Block 4D [Farlim Flats] 16
  129. Farlim Flats, Block 4E [Farlim Flats] 16
  130. Sunway Hotel 16
  131. Wisma Penang Garden 16
  132. Rifle Range Flat A [Rumah Pangsa Padang Tembak] 16 1969
  133. Rifle Range Flat B [Rumah Pangsa Padang Tembak] 16 1969
  134. Rifle Range Flat C [Rumah Pangsa Padang Tembak] 16 1969
  135. Rifle Range Flat D [Rumah Pangsa Padang Tembak] 16 1969
  136. Rifle Range Flat E [Rumah Pangsa Padang Tembak] 16 1969
  137. Rifle Range Flat F [Rumah Pangsa Padang Tembak] 16 1969
  138. Rifle Range Flat G [Rumah Pangsa Padang Tembak] 16 1969
  139. Rifle Range Flat H [Rumah Pangsa Padang Tembak] 16 1969
  140. Rifle Range Flat J [Rumah Pangsa Padang Tembak] 16 1969
  141. Suntech PCC 15 2008
  142. Greenlane Heights, Blo.. [Greenlane Heights] 15
  143. Asoka, 1 [Asoka] 15
  144. Asoka, 2 [Asoka] 15
  145. Flamingo Series, 1 [Flamingo Series] 15
  146. Flamingo Series, 2 [Flamingo Series] 15
  147. Wisma Manila l 15
  148. Taman Lembah Hijau, Bl.. [Taman Lembah Hijau] 15
  149. Taman Lembah Hijau, Bl.. [Taman Lembah Hijau] 15
  150. Penang Mutiara Beach Resort 15
  151. Kampung Melayu, 1 [Kampung Melayu] 15
  152. Kampung Melayu, 2 [Kampung Melayu] 15
  153. Krystal Point Corporate Tower 14 2002
  154. Ferringhi Mutiara Apar.. [Ferringhi Mutiara Apar..] 14
  155. Ferringhi Mutiara Apar.. [Ferringhi Mutiara Apar..] 14
  156. Eden Fairway Condomini.. [Eden Fairway Condomini..] 14
  157. Eden Fairway Condomini.. [Eden Fairway Condomini..] 14
  158. Bukit Saujana, 1 [Bukit Saujana] 14
  159. Bukit Saujana, 2 [Bukit Saujana] 14
  160. Bukit Saujana, 3 [Bukit Saujana] 14
  161. Bukit Saujana, 4 [Bukit Saujana] 14
  162. Bukit Saujana, 5 [Bukit Saujana] 14
  163. Gembira Condominiums 13
  164. Menara MAA 13 2001
  165. Desa May 13
  166. Bangunan Dewan Perniagaan Melayu 13
  167. Taman Seri Setia 12
  168. Wisma Suria 12
  169. Kompleks Adorna Diamond 12
  170. Wisma Leader 12 1993
  171. Ferringhi Beach Hotel 12

Note however that the nine towers/blocks of Rifle Range Flats (RRF/RPPT or Rumah Pangsa Padang Tembak at Boundary Road, Ayer Itam, which were somehow not included in the list at Emporis.com) are varied in height from 14 to 18 floors, but recorded here for its average 16 floors height:

Constructed in 1967 and completed in 1969 (the oldest high-rises in Penang being the only ones in Penang before Menara KOMTAR was fully completed in 1985 and perhaps the third oldest high-rise apartment park in Malaysia after the eleven blocks of Tunku Abdul Rahman/Pekeling Flats (1964) and the three blocks of Suleiman Courts (Merdeka year of 1957)), this set of low-cost housing flats as one of the most crowded residential areas in Penang, has 4,741 housing units, of which 3,600 are owned by the Penang state government and rented out at the rate of RM180/360 for one-bedroom and two-bedroom units respectively plus RM15 maintenance fees each (or lower at RM80/100 respectively if earlier suggestion to the Penang State Exco to lower the rental rates of RRF in December 2006 has gone into effect). All the nine blocks are identically structured, despite with varied number of floors (and total height), has 24 units each floor above ground floor, four of which at the four corners has two bedrooms each while the rest has one bedroom each. Some of the ground floor units, especially those facing the main entrance where their central lifts (three each building) are located, have been converted to shops or government offices.

And we don’t have number of floor information for the following high-rises, so if you know the actual number, kindly advise using the comment form so we can add them to the ranking list. Thanks in advance!

  1. Vistana Apartments ?
  2. Menara Perdana ?
  3. Menara PCSI ?
  4. Gurney Beach Resort ?
  5. Sunway Seberang Jaya Butterworth Hotel ?
  6. City Bay View Hotel ?

The skyscrappers of Penang include:-

  1. Menara KOMTAR
  2. MBf Tower
  3. Menara BHL
  4. Gurney Resort
  5. Gurney Park I [Gurney Park]
  6. Gurney Park II [Gurney Park]
  7. Menara Umno

As observed from the long list above, most of the Penang’s high-rises are residential flats, apartments and condominiums while some are commercial lodging hotels and offices. History of high-rises in Penang started with the construction of nine square flats of low-cost public housing at Jalan Padang Tembak in 1967 which were first opened for residency in 1969.

Afterwards, the race by Penangites towards skyline view for the city however was quite slow following merger of the City Council of Georgetown and the Rural District Council of Penang to become the current Municipal Council of Pulau Pinang (MPPP) in 1974, with an exception to the building of Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak (KOMTAR) Complex, a five-phase construction project started in 1976, undertaken by the Penang Development Corporation (PDC), the development arm of the Penang State Government.

The first Phase of KOMTAR project was completed in 1986 consisting of a 65-storey office tower sitting atop a 4-storey commercial complex podium and a 17-storey international hotel, “The Shangri-La Hotel” or recently rebranded by the same company to “The Traders Hotel”. When opened in 1985, the KOMTAR Tower became the tallest building in Southeast Asia (losing to only to Seoul’s Korean Life Insurance Building (KLI 63 Building) in Asia category which was opened a bit earlier in 1985) until 8 Shenton Way was completed in Singapore a year later, but remain the tallest building in Malaysia until The Twin Towers of Petronas in Kuala Lumpur were completed in 1998 to disputably became the tallest buildings in the world at the time. Today, KOMTAR Tower is the sixth tallest building in Malaysia, and there had been no plans for a higher skyscraper in Penang including even in the recently unapproved plan for the Penang Global City Centre (PGCC) project.

Besides KOMTAR, there have been a few notable high-rises at Gurney Drive including the Sunrise Towers which was opened in the 80s. To make way for constructions of new lodging and commerce towers including Gurney Plaza, Gurney Park, Evergreen Laurel Hotel and G Hotel, the Gurney Beach was closed for swimming, and an esplanade structure with a long walkway was built along the streetline of a previously sandy beach.

When Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon took office of the Chief Minister in 1990, Penang Island started to gear from having a city skyline only George Town (beautifully observable from Butterworth town on the mainland, from the ferries connecting the two towns (service began in 1920), or from Penang Bridge further south connecting Batu Uban and Seberang Jaya – also opened in the same year as the KOMTAR Tower) into a stretch of urbanized area from Batu Feringhi & Tanjung Bungah in the northern tip of Penang Island all the way to Batu Maung at its southern tip. Ironically, when Asian Financial Crisis hit Malaysia among others between 1997 and 1998, more high-rises open than any other previous years – The five blocks of Hunzaland, Menara Northam, Menara BHL and Menara UMNO. Cititel, an 18-storey hotel also opened a year later in 1999.

From then on, construction of skyline materials in Penang became more rapid and openings of high-rises never stop especially near the waterfronts of Tanjung Bungah, Gurney Drive, Weld Quay, Sungai Pinang, Batu Uban, Pantai Jerejak and Bayan Baru. A large number of high-rise apartments have also been completed near the hills of Bukit Bendera (Ayer Itam and Paya Terubong), Bukit Gambir (Sungai Dua and around USM Minden), and Bukit Relau (Sungai Ara).

There already are more housing units than total households in Penang (with an average of about four person per household) per examination report on the Structure Plan for the State of Penang 2005-2020, but more and more towers are to be opened in the coming years due to a steady demand on luxury housing units on the land-scarce island…