Historic Category One heritage building up for rent, says MBPP


ONCE the home of powerful Achehnese merchant of Arab descent, Syed Mohd Al-Attas, in the mid-19th century (1860s to 1870s), the Syed Al-Attas mansion in George Town will now be put up for rent, the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) said.


Located at the junction of Armenian Street and Acheh Street, the over 150-year-old mansion was previously left to decay due to a lack of maintenance and proper care, which led to termite infestation, rotten timber flooring, leaking roof and damaged walls.


This was despite after going through several renovations when the mansion was previously owned by different parties.


The premises is now owned by MBPP.


In a brief press conference earlier, MBPP councillor Wong Yuee Harng said that MBPP had spent RM1.5 million to restore and upgrade the mansion.


Jointly collaborated with the George Town Conservation and Development Corporation (GTCDC), the works were completed on June 14 this year.


Wong said interested parties that wish to rent this mansion can visit the premises on Sept 26 at 9.30am, as there will be a briefing and site visit before further proceedings.


“We hope when this mansion is rented out later, the tenant will consider utilising this place to promote heritage values or anything relevant to George Town and its uniqueness.


“The rent period will be for three years,” he added.


Additionally, MBPP had on Sept 16 released a statement calling for tender, which was published by several newspaper outlets in Penang.


The mansion covers 10,994sq ft in land size and a built-up area of 6,088sq ft.


Syed Mohd Al-Attas, as reported in the early days, was a leader of the Red Flag Society and an instrumental figure in smuggling arms to the Achehnese resistance fighters in the 1870s.


Although surrounded by other buildings in the George Town World Heritage Site, the Syed Al-Attas mansion stands out tall as a grand Straits Eclectic-style mansion sporting a vertical-aligned star and crescent at the entrance.


Story and pix by Kevin Vimal