In a bid to encourage more people to stay in George Town, Penang Island City Council (MBPP) plans to transform council-owned shophouses into co-living and co-working spaces, reported The Edge.
“We want to repopulate George Town, so we want to have co-living spaces on the first floor of these shophouses, while the ground floor is used for commercial activities, preferably traditional trades and artisans,” newly appointed MBPP Mayor Yew Tung Seang told the Malay Mail.
In line with this, the council has teamed up with Think City and George Town World Heritage Inc (GTWHI) to refurbish a row of council-owned shophouses in the iconic Kimberley Street as the pilot co-living and co-working facilities for artisans.
Yew said each shophouse will be sublet to several tenants. They can utilise the ground floor for commercial purposes, while two different tenants will occupy two partitioned living rooms on the first floor. However, the commercial spaces will only be offered to local artisans and traditional trades to preserve George Town’s heritage.
“Rental will be kept affordable so that people will want to come back to live in George Town,” noted Yew, adding that the plan will complement the council’s overall plans to transform the historic area into a liveable space for all.
“We have [also] launched a few pocket parks and back-lane project so that these are accessible for the people and people can travel safely on bicycles using these back lanes.”
Meanwhile, co-working operator Colony expects to open its second facility in Malaysia at KL Eco City by June 2018, following the opening of its 18,000 sq ft co-working space at Vipod Residences along Jalan Kia Peng in July 2017.